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Virginia Surrogacy Law Overview

The Center for Surrogate Parenting walks you through Virginia surrogacy law

Surrogacy is a beautiful family-building method. However, it can be complex, especially when it comes to the laws surrounding it. Thankfully, our experienced surrogacy agency is well-versed in the surrogacy laws of each state, including Virginia surrogacy law. In fact, the Center for Surrogate Parenting (CSP) has completed dozens of finalizations of parental rights in this state.

As the oldest surrogacy agency in the world, we have helped U.S. and international parents to welcome healthy babies with help from U.S. surrogates. We are proud to say that we have never experienced issues with intended parents being able to bring their babies home.

To help you learn more about Virginia surrogacy law and how to create a surrogacy contract, we’ve included some basic information below. You can also contact us for more information.

    • Is a surrogacy contract valid and enforceable?

      Surrogacy is technically permitted by statute in the state, but Virginia has several nuances in its surrogacy laws that make the process unique. For example, the state has a unique process for establishing parentage. The state requires parents to either get prior court approval and undergo a home study or wait until at least three days after the child’s delivery to file the requisite forms with the Birth Registrar. In addition, the state’s surrogacy laws also place an absolute prohibition on surrogacy agencies operating in Virginia, and any violation of such is a felony crime.

    • Does the state have surrogacy laws and/or case law?

      Virginia’s Assisted Conception Statute, entitled the Status of Children of Assisted Conception Act, permits surrogacy and upholds the enforceability of any surrogacy contract that complies with the requirements.

    • Are the courts typically favorable or unfavorable towards surrogacy arrangements?

      Virginia courts are favorable towards surrogacy arrangements that comply with the state’s statutory surrogacy scheme.

    • Is commercial surrogacy legal?

      No, under Virginia’s surrogacy statutes, a surrogate may only be compensated for her medical expenses or other costs, but nothing else.

    • Is traditional surrogacy permitted?


    • Is gestational surrogacy allowed?


    • What are the requirements for an enforceable surrogacy contract?

      A surrogacy contract shall be binding and enforceable if it is in writing and signed by all parties. The contract must be court-approved prior to the commencement of any medical procedures and found in accordance with all requirements. There must be no agreement to provide compensation beyond that explicitly allowed for under the statute for medical expenses and ancillary costs. The surrogate and intended parents should meet specific requirements, and it is recommended that they have independent legal counsel. The agreement should include provisions that discuss the legal, financial, and contractual rights, expectations, penalties and obligations of the surrogacy agreement.

    • Are pre-birth and post-birth orders permitted?

      Instead of filing for a pre- or post-birth parentage order, parents can only establish their legal parental rights through the court-approved model or the non-court approved model. The court-approved model requires the court’s pre-approval prior to the surrogate’s IVF cycle, a home study and a court hearing. The more common non-court model requires the parents to file a Surrogate Consent and Report form with the Birth Registrar at least three days following the child’s birth.

    • Can both intended parents be declared the legal parents?

      Yes, (after the Report and Consent form have been filed) if the parents are a married heterosexual or same-sex couple and at least one of them is genetically related to the child.

    • Will the state honor a pre-birth order issued by another state?

      It is not likely.

    • What do intended parents need to know about getting the baby’s birth certificate?

      The timeframe for getting the birth certificate varies, depending on the Vital Records Office, but it can take up to 3-4 months. The initial birth certificate will always list the surrogate and her husband, if any. However, after the Report and Consent form is filed with the court, the birth certificate will be amended to replace their names with the parent’s names. For this reason, it can take longer than it does in most other states to obtain the birth certificate.

      Same-sex parents are listed as Parent and Parent. International gay couples most likely cannot obtain an initial birth certificate that names the biological father and gestational carrier, because it is Virginia procedure to list the gestational carrier and her husband. They can obtain a birth certificate that names the biological father only. They can subsequently obtain a birth certificate that names the biological father or both fathers only, with no mention of the surrogate.

    • Are post-birth adoptions permitted?

      Intended parents who are unable to obtain a parentage order will be required to complete a post-birth adoption in order to obtain and secure their legal parental rights. However, only married parents can file for adoption in Virginia because the state only allows for stepparent adoptions and does not permit second parent adoptions. Thus, unmarried couples will have no recourse for establishing their parental rights in the state.

    • Are second-parent adoptions permitted?


    • Are stepparent adoptions permitted?

      Yes, and they are available to married couples.

VorzimerMasserman Disclaimer: This is a summary for informational use only and should not be relied upon for legal advice. Please note that the state laws regarding surrogacy frequently change and vary from county to county. The attorneys of VorzimerMasserman are only licensed in California. VorzimerMasserman shall not be responsible for any liability associated with this list.