Washington State Vote Raises Issues About Surrogacy Laws

April 15th, 2011

A Senate vote in Washington state will not only keep paid surrogacy alive there, it also raises many of the issues that are so important to us here at ConceiveAbilities. The bill looks at various legal issues related to parentage, but removed the aspects that would have allowed for surrogate compensation.

As it stands in Washington, surrogates can be compensated only for indirect expenses like legal or medical bills. Much of the debate leading up to the vote was from lawmakers concerned that paid surrogacy would “commercialize” pregnancy – some ultimately comparing it to illegal trafficking of organs and even prostitution.

We’ve learned from experience that any woman motivated simply by financial incentive will not make it far in the process. With the appropriate screening and support, like that provided by a reputable agency, the surrogacy process can move seamlessly for both surrogate and intended parent. But the fact remains that the act of carrying a baby is hard, life-altering work. Surrogates deserve to be compensated for the time and effort put in by them and their families.

We found this quote from Sen. James Hargrove especially interesting: “When you put money into the mix, that becomes problematic and there is the potential for abuse because of the financial motive.” The reality is that there's a far greater risk of abuse when there isn’t positive legislation in place. And regardless of supportive legislation, surrogacy isn’t going anywhere. Washington should take this opportunity to review laws in states with strong legislation (like Illinois) to understand that when the law is well-crafted, it actually reduces the risk of abuse, questionable practices and heartache for those building families in this way.

You can learn more about the Washington bill here.

-provided by guest blogger, Kate Palm, Program Coordinator at ConceiveAbilities