... Because Everyone Can Build a Family

GESTATIONAL SURROGACY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Surrogacy contracts are illegal under District of Columbia Code § 16-402(a), which states that surrogate parenting contracts are “prohibited and unenforceable” in the District of Columbia. Anyone who is involved in or assists in the formation of a surrogacy contract receive a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment of up to one year, or both.

The one-year prison sentence has turned the DC surrogacy statute into a criminal prohibition, and it has been an effective deterrent. Gestational surrogacy contracts are not written under DC law or with Gestational Carriers who live in the District of Columbia. Intended Parents who wish to build their families by Gestational Surrogacy must be matched to a Gestational Carrier who lives in a state where surrogacy contracts are legal.

PRE-BIRTH PARENTAGE ORDERS

Do courts grant pre-birth parentage orders? No. Because surrogacy contracts are illegal and unenforceable under DC law, neither pre-birth nor post-birth parentage orders are granted.

Will DC Vital Records honor a pre-birth order from another state? Dubious. Because of the statute’s prohibitions, most surrogacy contracts have provisions to ensure that a Gestational Carrier will not deliver in the District of Columbia.

What is the typical time frame to obtain a birth certificate after delivery? Not relevant for surrogacy births, because they do not occur in the District of Columbia.

Same-Sex Couples

How are same-sex parents named on the final birth certificate? Mother and Parent or Father and Parent.

Can an international same-sex male couple obtain an initial birth certificate naming the biological father and Gestational Carrier? No, not for a DC birth certificate

Can they subsequently obtain a birth certificate naming only the biological father or both fathers, with no mention of the Gestational Carrier? No

Can the non-biological parent in a same-sex couple obtain a second parent adoption based solely on the fact that the child was born in the District of Columbia?
No, as already noted, a Gestational Carrier will not give birth to a child in the District of Columbia, because of the statute’s prohibition against surrogacy contracts.

If no, will DC Vital Records give full faith and credit to a second parent adoption order from another state and add the second parent to the birth certificate? Not applicable, because the child will not be born in the District of Columbia.

SECOND PARENT & STEPPARENT ADOPTIONS FOR DC RESIDENTS

Note: This situation arises if the child is born outside of the District of Columbia. The parents then return to the District of Columbia to obtain a second parent adoption or stepparent adoption in the District of Columbia.

Will courts in the District of Columbia grant second parent adoptions or stepparent adoptions to heterosexual couples living in the District of Columbia? Yes
Does the couple need to be married? No, but then a home study is required.

Will courts in the District of Columbia grant second parent adoptions or stepparent adoptions to same-sex couples living in the District of Columbia? Yes
Does the couple need to be married? No, but then a home study is required.

EGG AND SPERM DONATION

Is there a statute or published case law that addresses the rights of a donor over the resulting eggs, sperm, embryo or child? Yes, Section 16-909(e)(2) states: “A donor of semen to a person for artificial insemination, other than the donor’s spouse or domestic partner, is not a parent of a child thereby conceived unless the donor and the person agree in writing that said donor shall be a parent.”

If the statute only refers to sperm donors, is there a case law interpreting this statute to provide the same protection in the egg donor context?
No

TRADITIONAL SURROGACY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Traditional Surrogacy contracts are also illegal under District of ColumbiaCode16-402(a), which applies to all “surrogacy parenting contracts.”

State law information provided by the following attorneys practicing Reproductive Law in this state:
 
Diane S. Hinson
Chevy Chase, MD
diane@creativefamilyconnections.com
(240) 235-6006

Jennifer Fairfax
Silver Spring, MD
jfairfax@jenniferfairfax.com
(301) 221-9651

Other attorneys practicing Reproductive Law in this state:

Sogand Zamani, Esq.
Washington, D.C.
info@zamaniassociates.com
http://zamaniassociates.com

Law Office of Brian Esser
brian@esserlawoffice.com
www.esserlawoffice.com

This is a copyrighted document and therefore protected by the copyright laws of the United States. Violation of these laws is a punishable offense under the US Copyright laws and, depending on the method of transmission, under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Any retransmission or use of this document or any map herein is expressly prohibited without prior and express authorization of Creative Family Connections LLC.

Creative Family Connections LLC is not providing legal advice to users of this website, nor does use of any of the maps or summaries on this website constitute or create any attorney-client relationship between Creative Family Connections LLC and users of this site.

This website is not intended to substitute for consulting with legal counsel in the appropriate local jurisdiction. Creative Family Connections makes no warranties that the information on this site is current, accurate, or that favorable results that have been obtained in prior cases will be obtained in future cases.


Please advise us of any state law updates at map@creativefamilyconnections.com.