State-by-State Surrogacy Laws: Surrogacy in West Virginia
Looking for surrogacy information in the Mountain State? If you’re considering surrogacy in West Virginia, learn more about the qualifications, overall process, and things you’ll need to keep in mind as you explore a potential surrogacy journey. Researching surrogacy can be overwhelming. It’s okay to take your time. It’s important to discuss your options with qualified Assisted Reproduction professionals. The information presented throughout the guide below is not meant to substitute proper due diligence with a lawyer specializing in surrogacy.
In general, surrogacy contract jurisdiction will follow the state the surrogate lives in, though there are circumstances where the agreement is drafted where the Intended Parent(s) lives or will the embryo transfer will occur. Discuss your options with a qualified attorney. If you need help finding one, check out Surrogacy Place’s attorney directory.
West Virginia permits surrogacy compensation via W.VA Code 61-2-14h(e)(3). There are no statutory requirements for surrogacy in state law. Surrogacy best practices are guided by industry standards, including those set by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Because W.VA Code 61-2-14h(e)(3) does not limit compensation to gestational carriers specifically, compensated traditional surrogacy is also permitted in West Virginia. Traditional surrogacy (where the surrogate is the biological mother of the child(ren) she will be carrying) is inherently more complex psychologically and legally. Those interested in traditional surrogacy should proceed with cautious.
Is commercial surrogacy fully legal in West Virginia?
There are no restrictions on a surrogate receiving payment for her services in the state. West Virginia is considered a “surrogacy-friendly” state and commercial surrogacy is freely practiced.
Do you need to use a surrogacy agency in West Virginia to match or manage surrogacy?
Not at all. There are no states where a surrogacy agency is needed to ensure all requirements are met. Agencies are also not a predictor of whether or not you will have successful surrogacy journey. Only qualified medical and legal professionals can ensure you meet all obligations. You can choose to do your surrogacy without an agency (called “independent surrogacy”) or with by engaging with an agency via an exclusive contract. The advantages of going independent are discussed below.
Emergency abortion access in West Virginia
In 2022, West Virginia governor Jim Justice signed a bill banning abortion in nearly all cases. Although there are ostensibly exceptions for the life of a pregnant woman, bills such as §16-2r-3 tend to prevent physicians from taking immediate action when unexpected pregnancy complications arise. Abortion restrictions may cause a hospital’s staff to wait until a woman is in the final stages of sepsis or cardiac arrest before intervening when there is less of a chance of disastrous outcomes. It remains legal to travel out of state for Reproductive healthcare, however. Intended Parents and surrogates should be on the same page with respect to termination. They should also have conversations about travel contingencies, if desired.
Who can be Intended Parent(s) in West Virginia?
Any type of person or family can pursue surrogacy in West Virginia. This includes members of the LGBTQ+ community as well as individuals who share no direct genetic connection to their child(ren) as is the case if using an embryo donor. Pre-birth orders are generally granted to most types of Intended Parent(s), though this may vary by county. An experienced West Virginia attorney can guide prospective Intended Parent(s) using a West Virginia surrogate in terms of what their options are for establishing legal parentage.
How to become a surrogate in West Virginia
The first consideration is to be honest with yourself – are you fully qualified? If you’re not sure, you can take Surrogacy Place’s surrogacy quiz to find out.
Generally speaking, surrogates should meet the following requirements in West Virginia:
- They must clear medical and mental health exams given by professionals.
- They must be full citizens of the United States or permanent legal residents.
- They must be represented by their own lawyer and their attorney must paid for by Intended Parent(s).
- They should not have had any major complications from past pregnancies.
- They should have had at least one biological child of their own that they carried/birthed.
- They should not be enrolled in government assistance programs including Medicaid.
- They cannot use drugs, tobacco, or be exposed to hazardous toxins.
- They need to be at least 21 years old and younger than 42.
- They should possess excellent general health including a Body Mass Index within a healthy range (e.g. between 18-32).
If the above applies to you, pending a thorough review of your medical records, you may make a great surrogate. If you meet the qualifications for surrogacy, you can start matching with Intended Parents. If you’re thinking about an independent journey (surrogacy without a surrogacy agency as the middle man), SurrogacyPlace.com is a great starting point for to self-match with like-minded Intended Parents.
After you find your match and complete your medical screening, legal contracts will be drafted and finalized. Assuming everything is agreed upon, you’ll schedule an embryo transfer. Hopefully a pregnancy will result soon after!
Gestational surrogates – visit our 8-steps-to-take-on-your-way-to-becoming-a-surrogate guide.
Matching with a qualified surrogate or IP in West Virginia
Intended Parents and surrogates can self-match and find each other using Surrogacy Place’s search capabilities. Whatever you require for a successful surrogacy journey, have those discussions directly with all of your potential matches.
SurrogacyPlace.com is free for surrogates. Surrogates can create profiles and access the site at any time. Intended Parents need pay an access fee. Learn more about self-matching via Surrogacy Place.
Here’s some advantages of doing an independent journey in West Virginia
The biggest advantage to most Intended Parents is that they end up paying significantly less for surrogacy without an agency. Since self matching via a site like Surrogacy Place allows you to meet potentials directly, there’s never a need to pay an agency tens of thousands (in some cases hundreds of thousands!) of dollars. In turn, eliminating an agency from the budget can result in surrogates receiving a higher base compensation since the bulk of an Intended Parent(s)’ budget isn’t being siphoned off by agency costs.
There’s also the freedom to choose a match that works for you with no pressure from an agency. Most agencies show 1-2 potential matches. Many who go independent explore a wide variety of potentials and are more confident in finding “the one.” Self-matching via an independent journey can also shorten wait times significantly.
When going through an agency or matching independently, you are always responsible for your own due diligence. Your attorney and a qualified Reproductive Endocrinologist are there as partners, however, so always approve your match with the assistance of professionals.
Many surrogates in West Virginia and throughout the country match independently. Here’s some of the reasons many prefer indy surrogacy.
As an Intended Parent, how much can you expect to pay? If you’re budgeting for surrogacy, you might find our surrogacy cost sheet helpful.
Looking for surrogacy guidelines from other states? Visit Surrogacy Place’s surrogacy by state hub.