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Surrogacy Attorney in Winchester, Virginia

Surrogacy is a beautiful way of building the family you always wanted. It involves a woman, known as the surrogate, carrying and giving birth to a child for another person or couple, known as the intended parents.

If you're thinking about becoming a surrogate or looking into surrogacy as a parent, it's important to really understand all of the ins and outs of the process. 

At The Law Office of Karen M. Holman, I will guide you through this process with empathy and sensitivity and give you all the information you need to make the best choices at every stage. 

When to Contact a Surrogacy Attorney

My job is to guide you through your surrogacy journey. Here are some critical times when you should reach out to me: 

One of the first times you should call me is when you are just starting to explore surrogacy options. I can explain the different types of surrogacy and help you understand the legal implications of each type. 

You should also contact me when you are ready to match with a surrogate. I will draft and review contracts that specify the rights and responsibilities of the intended parents and the surrogate.  

Another key time to contact me is before any medical procedures begin. I will guide you through the legal processes required before transferring embryos or starting hormone treatments. This helps prevent any legal issues down the road. 

You are likely to need me when it is time to establish parental rights. In many places, you will need a pre-birth order or post-birth adoption process. I can help you through these steps. 

If any issues arise during the surrogacy journey, call my practice immediately. These issues could include disagreements between parties or changes in circumstances. I will help resolve disputes and ensure that the process continues smoothly.

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Surrogacy Laws in Virginia

Virginia has specific laws governing surrogacy to ensure the rights and interests of both surrogates and intended parents are protected. 

Legal Framework 

In Virginia, surrogacy arrangements are governed by the Virginia Code, which outlines the requirements for valid surrogacy contracts. Some key points include: 

  • Pre-birth orders: Intended parents can obtain pre-birth orders to establish their parental rights before the child's birth. 

  • Surrogacy agreements: These must be in writing and signed by all parties. They should address issues such as medical expenses, compensation, and each party's rights and responsibilities. 

  • Court approval: Some surrogacy agreements require court approval to ensure they comply with Virginia law and protect the best interests of the child. 

  • Surrogate requirements: In Virginia, surrogates must be at least 21 years old, have given birth to at least one child, and undergo medical and psychological evaluations. 

Types of Surrogacy

There are two primary types of surrogacy: 

Traditional Surrogacy 

Traditional surrogacy involves a surrogate mother who is artificially inseminated with the intended father's sperm or a donor's sperm. In this process, the surrogate not only carries and delivers the baby but also provides the egg, making her the biological mother of the child.  

This form of surrogacy often requires legal agreements to ensure all parties' rights and responsibilities are clearly defined. Traditional surrogacy also involves emotional and ethical considerations due to the surrogate's genetic connection to the child. 

Gestational Surrogacy 

In gestational surrogacy, a woman, known as a gestational carrier, carries and gives birth to a child for another person or couple. The gestational carrier isn't genetically related to the child, as the embryo is created using the intended parents' or donors' sperm and egg through in vitro fertilization (IVF).  

People often choose this option if they’re unable to conceive or carry a pregnancy due to medical reasons or if they're a same-sex couple.  

Gestational surrogacy involves legal agreements, medical procedures, and emotional considerations. It is a complicated yet rewarding option for those looking to start a family.  

Benefits of Surrogacy

Surrogacy offers a viable solution for many people who wish to become parents but face obstacles.  

Here are some key benefits: 

  • Biological connection: Gestational surrogacy allows intended parents to have a genetic connection to their child. 

  • Control over pregnancy: Intended parents can have more control and involvement in the pregnancy process. 

  • Legal protection: Surrogacy agreements protect the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved. 

  • Experienced carriers: Surrogate mothers are usually experienced in childbirth and are screened for health and psychological concerns, ensuring a stable environment for the pregnancy. 

  • Family building for non-traditional families: Surrogacy provides an avenue for same-sex couples, single individuals, and those unable to carry a pregnancy to build families. 

  • Medical safety: Medical professionals closely monitor IVF and surrogacy, ensuring the health and safety of both the surrogate and the baby throughout the process. 

  • High success rates: Technological advancements in assisted reproductive techniques have significantly improved the success rates of surrogacy, making it a reliable option for many. 

  • Emotional fulfillment: Surrogacy allows intended parents to experience the joys of parenting from birth, creating an immediate and deep bond with their child. 

  • Legal acknowledgment: Many regions have well-established legal frameworks that recognize surrogacy arrangements, providing clear legal recognition of parentage from birth. 

The Surrogacy Process

The surrogacy process involves several steps: 

1. Initial Consultation 

This crucial first step involves a comprehensive discussion about your goals and expectations for the surrogacy journey. During the consultation, surrogacy professionals will answer your questions, explain the entire process in detail, and help you understand the emotional and financial aspects of surrogacy. This meeting ensures that you are fully informed and ready to move forward. 

2. Matching with a Surrogate 

Finding the right surrogate is a personalized process that considers your specific criteria and preferences. Agencies typically have a database of pre-screened surrogate candidates. The matching process involves reviewing profiles, meeting potential surrogates, and confirming a mutual agreement to proceed. This phase establishes a strong and trusting relationship between the intended parents and the surrogate. 

3. Medical Procedures for Fertilization and Embryo Transfer

Once a match is made, medical procedures begin, often involving in vitro fertilization (IVF). This process includes retrieving eggs from the intended mother or an egg donor, fertilizing the eggs in a lab, and carefully transferring the resulting embryos into the surrogate’s uterus. Fertility specialists meticulously monitor these steps to maximize the chances of a successful pregnancy. 

4. Legal Agreements 

Comprehensive legal agreements are established to protect the rights and interests of all parties involved. These contracts cover various aspects, including the surrogate’s responsibilities, the intended parents’ obligations, financial arrangements, and parental rights. Legal professionals specializing in reproductive law ensure that all agreements comply with applicable laws and provide security and clarity for everyone involved. 

5. Support During Pregnancy

Throughout the pregnancy, medical professionals, surrogacy agencies, and legal advisors continuously support the intended parents to ensure a smooth transition to parenthood. Regular medical check-ups, psychological support, and legal guidance address any issues that arise. As the pregnancy progresses, steps are taken to finalize legal procedures for parentage, ensuring a seamless transition to parenthood for the intended parents. 

Surrogacy Attorney in Winchester, Virginia

With over a decade of experience as an adoption attorney in Virginia, and as an adoptive mother, I, Attorney Karen M. Holman, understand the emotional and legal ramifications of surrogacy. I aim to help you build your family with confidence and peace of mind. I serve families in Winchester, Virginia, and throughout Northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley, including Harrisonburg, Staunton, Woodstock, Strasburg, and Stephens City. Call today to start your dream of having a family.