Do Surrogates Have the Same Rights as Parents in Virginia?
In Virginia, surrogacy is becoming more and more accessible to people who want to be able to have a child of their own.
Any type of family can go through the process of surrogacy in Virginia, including same-sex and unmarried couples. Before you begin the process of adding a new addition to your family, you should be aware of parental rights not only of your prospective surrogate mother but also as the child’s intended parent.
What is a Gestational Mother?
A gestational mother is someone whose uterus is used for the nurturing and development of an embryo into a baby. This person is considered the child’s mother unless the intended parent is genetically the child’s parent. If the intended mother is the child’s genetic mother, then they are the child’s mother.
In Virginia, there are two types of surrogacy agreements potential parents can choose that will define the rights of the parent, which are traditional and gestational surrogacy.
What’s the Difference Between Gestational Surrogacy and Traditional Surrogacy?
With a traditional surrogacy, an egg is fertilized using the sperm of the intended father or from a donor. This means that the surrogate mother is genetically related to the child. In a gestational surrogacy, an embryo is formed from an egg and sperm by the intended parents and implanted into the surrogate mother. In this case, the surrogate mother is not related to the child.
The difference between a traditional surrogate and a gestational surrogate is that the gestational surrogate mother doesn’t have a genetic relationship with the child. This means that as a surrogate, you wouldn’t be the baby’s biological parent.
Can a Surrogate Mother Keep the Child?
There are laws in place to protect the rights of both the surrogate mother and the to-be parents of a child. However, without proper legal documentation, vulnerabilities may be left open. The details for each type of surrogacy and whether or not the mother may be able to keep the baby are listed below:
- Traditional Surrogacy - A traditional surrogate is the biological mother of the child, however, as a traditional surrogate, you would sign over your parental rights to the child’s intended parents. Without a contract, you would be the baby’s legal mother and the intended father who gave the sperm would be the legal father.
- Gestational Surrogacy - As a gestational surrogate, you would be considered the baby’s mother, unless there is a contract involved stating the intended biological parents will be the legal parents of the child. Once your child is born, Virginia law provides an administrative birth certificate amendment process to relinquish parental rights as a surrogate.
If you are looking to hire a surrogate or want to be a surrogate, then you should speak with an attorney and gather as much information as possible before starting the process.
Consult a Virginia Beach Family Lawyer
Surrogacy laws in Virginia are very complex and intricate. Our experienced family law attorneys at Bush & Taylor, P.C. will explain the process, answer questions, and prepare a contract that works best for your family’s needs to start your journey to surrogacy.
Reach us today at (757) 926-0078 for a free consultation.