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  • John C. Whitbeck, Jr.


    John C. Whitbeck, Jr. practices in the following areas of law: Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Mediation, Arbitration, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Criminal Law, DUI/DWI, Reckless Driving, All Felonies, All Misdemeanors, Juvenile Crimes, Mental Health Law, Civil and Business Litigation, Construction Litigation, Education Law, Election Law, Debt Collection, Consumer and Lemon Law.

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  • Ruth M. McElroy


    Ruth M. McElroy practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Pre and Post Marital Agreements, Domestic Violence, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Juvenile Crimes, Felony and Misdemeanor Crimes, Traffic Offenses, Debt Collection, Civil and Business Litigation. She serves the Virginia Court system as a Guardian ad litem.

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  • Jennifer D. Cisneros


    Jennifer D. Cisneros practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Juvenile Crimes, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Estate Planning, Wills and Probate, Trusts, Civil and Business Litigation and Debt Collection.

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Traditional Surrogacy versus Gestational Surrogacy: What are the Differences?


For parents who want to have children and are struggling or unable to get pregnant, surrogacy might be an option. You are likely already familiar with the term surrogacy, which is an assisted method of reproduction that can help prospective parents start a family when they might not be able to otherwise. However, you may or may not realize there are two types of surrogacy: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy.

Traditional Surrogacy

Traditional surrogacy involves the surrogate woman using her own egg which is inseminated with the intended father’s, or donor’s, sperm. This means she is the biological mother of the child. This method is less common than gestational surrogacy due to the legal and emotional factors involved. Basically, the surrogate gives birth to the biological child and then has to sign over parental rights to the intended parents.

If you’re considering traditional surrogacy, it’s crucial to work with a very knowledgeable Virginia family law attorney who is skilled with traditional surrogacy contracts and agreements. It is so much more complex than gestational surrogacy.

Gestational Surrogacy

With gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is not biologically linked to the baby.  The intended mother goes through in vitro fertilization (IVF) to create embryos, which are then transferred to the surrogate. In some instances, there may be an egg donor as well. At least one party of the couple commissioning the gestational surrogacy is the biological parent.

Main Differences in Surrogacy Types

The most common difference between the two types of surrogacy is typically the use of an egg donor in gestational surrogacy. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate uses her own eggs, so she is basically both the donor and the carrier.

Medical procedures utilized in each surrogacy differ. With gestational surrogacy, IVF, or in vitro fertilization is used, which creates the embryo that is implanted into the surrogate. Artificial insemination is typically used with traditional surrogacy, but IVF may be an option in some cases.

The waiting time can vary due to the complexities surrounding traditional surrogacy. In some cases, it can be harder to find a willing surrogate which can cause delays too. Legal processes add to the time frame, which can make it a much lengthier process versus gestational surrogacy.

Expect the costs of gestational surrogacy to be higher simply due to the difference in medical procedures. IVF is the most costly difference, but also factor in the costs of egg donation and fertility treatments that you wouldn’t have with a traditional surrogate.

Surrogacy in Virginia

In general, the laws surrounding surrogacy in Virginia are extensive and complex, with an entire chapter of the Code of Virginia devoted to it. Virginia Code §20-156 through §20-165 deals with “Children of Assisted Conception.” While both types of surrogacy are permitted in some instances, there are strict conditions that must be met. In Virginia, only married couples are eligible. Unmarried parties cannot both be listed on the birth certificate, only the genetically related person. The other would likely have to legally adopt the child to assert parental rights.

If you’re contemplating surrogacy, it’s best to meet with a qualified Virginia surrogacy attorney before starting the process. Our Leesburg based team is very skilled with surrogacy contracts and issues surrounding the process in the state. Contact Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC at 703-997-4982 to schedule a confidential consultation.



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Governor Northam’s Executive Order 53 provides that businesses that offer professional rather than retail services may remain open. Our firm is continuing to operate to ensure you and your family have advocates available for whatever legal issue you face. For clients who prefer, we can arrange meeting by Zoom or other video-conferencing. We are also implementing internal procedures to provide a safe environment in the office. Please contact us at 703-777-1795 or schedule an appointment today!