Changes to rules about surrogacy in Virginia take effect Monday, as part of a raft of new laws effective July 1.
The changes allow single people or same-sex couples to enter into surrogacy agreements in Virginia. The law previously limited surrogacy agreements to those where the child would end up with a married man and woman as parents.
The change was sparked by a four-year fight by Jay Timmons, a former chief of staff for Gov. George Allen, and his husband, Rick Olson, to get full legal custody of their son, Jacob. A Wisconsin judge, who has since resigned, attempted to take away their parental rights.
The couple had gone through the surrogacy process in Wisconsin due to what appeared to be clearer laws guaranteeing their rights.
“There was literally not one night where we didn’t feel like we would wake up and have somebody knocking on our door to tell us that they were taking our child away,” Olson said.
He called the law “a monumental milestone in a four-year horrific journey.”
Jacob turns 4 this summer. He has two older sisters.
Timmons plans to push for similar legal changes in other states to ensure a smoother path for families of all kinds, without the need to hire more than a dozen lawyers to fight in court.
“I don’t think you’re ever done fighting for families,” he said.