The collaboration reproduction process either through the “gestational surrogate” or via insemination for intended parents create a labyrinth of legal issues that would need to be addressed incrementally.

Intended parents are the individuals who put the process in motion, married or unmarried, who have committed in writing and otherwise to be the legal parents of the child to be born.

The intended parents would need to file a petition of parentage for a legal declaration by the court.

The Court will have jurisdiction when:

  1. The intended parent or the surrogate is a District resident ;
  2. Who have actually resided in the District for at least one year preceding the commencement of the action;
  3. The child was born in the District.


The parentage petition must include the followings:

  1. An affidavit by the medical professional pertaining to the collaborative reproductive process
  2.  A copy of the executed surrogacy agreement;
  3.  An affidavit that no other proceedings concurrently filed or litigated;
  4.  An affidavit by an attorney representing each party.

The court order of parentage will include:

  1. Order confirming legal parentage of the intended parents;
  2. Directing Vital Records to issue the birth certificate including the intended parents;
  3. Un-declare the surrogate as the legal parents of the child.


Surrogacy agreements are required to provide legal protection for all parties involved. The DC statute promulgates the agreement and must include among other terms the following principle subjects:

  1. Be in writing and have the surrogate and the intended parents as signatories;
  2. Be executed prior to the embryo transfer or insemination;
  3. Include affirmation that all parties are represented by independent legal counsel;
  4. Acknowledge and attest that the surrogate not be the parents of the child;
  5. Agree to surrender physical custody of the child to the intended parents upon birth;
  6. Agree that at all times during the pregnancy the surrogate shall maintain control and decision-making authority over the surrogate’s body;
  7. Include an affirmation by the intended parents that they will take physical custody and have the legal custody over the child upon birth.

Some of the legal definitions pertaining to this subject are as follows:


Collaborative reproduction generally means assisted reproduction that either:

  1. Involves a surrogate or a donor for;
  2. An intended parent.

It does not include or pertain to:

  1. Traditional birth through intercourse;
  2. Assisted reproduction by individual or couple using their own reproductive means.


An individual other than the intended parents who:

  • Has not provided the egg or embryo;
  • Who agrees to gestate the embryo or become the surrogate;
  • Through the collaborative reproductive process and for the intended parents.

The prosecution of the petition for parentage, the surrogacy agreement and related legal documents would require a full understanding of the DC child custody laws and statutes.  Contact our offices to schedule an intake appointment with our DC child custody lawyer.

Categories: Family Law.