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The Difference Between Gestational and Traditional Surrogacy

October 11, 20232 min read

When beginning your path to surrogacy, you will find there are so many surrogacy terms that it feels like you are learning a new language! Keep reading to learn the fundamental differences between two types of surrogacy; gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy.

What is Traditional Surrogacy?

Traditional surrogacy is when the surrogate has a biological connection (her egg) to the baby. Most commonly, the sperm is from the Intended Father or sperm donor. The surrogate will often undergo an IUI (intrauterine insemination) in traditional surrogacy. An IUI is a medical procedure where the sperm is inserted through a catheter into the uterus in hopes of achieving a pregnancy.

It is important to note that traditional surrogacy is not legal in every state. Some states have banned traditional surrogacy because the surrogate has a biological connection to the child. In states where traditional surrogacy is legal, the Intended Parents (IPs) typically need to go through a step-parent adoption process for both IPs to be recognized as the baby’s legal parents. As a result, not every fertility clinic or surrogacy agency will work with IPs who are pursuing traditional surrogacy.

For IPs who need a donor egg, it is more common for IPs to utilize a donor egg and/or sperm, create the embryos, and then find a gestational carrier.

What is Gestational Surrogacy?

Gestational Surrogacy is when the surrogate (typically referred to as a gestational carrier or “GC”) undergoes an embryo transfer and carries the baby for the IPs. The embryo is created by combining the egg from one person (typically the Intended Mother or an egg donor) with the sperm (typically the Intended Father or sperm donor) in a lab (fertility clinic). The baby is genetically tied to the Intended Parents and/or donors. The gestational carrier does not have any biological connection to the baby.

As gestational surrogacy has become increasingly popular, people will often drop “gestational” and simply say “surrogacy”. Similarly, the terms “gestational carrier” and “surrogate” are often used interchangeably. 

Pro tip: most IPs do not prefer the gestational carrier be referred to as the “surrogate mother”!

Similarly to traditional surrogacy, gestational surrogacy is not legal in every state. Currently, it is legal in 47 out of 50 states. Unlike traditional surrogacy, fertility clinics and surrogacy agencies are typically always able to work with IPs pursuing gestational surrogacy.

Whether you decide to pursue a traditional or gestational surrogacy ultimately depends on the unique circumstances of the Intended Parents. Both routes are an amazing way to fulfill your dreams of achieving parenthood.

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Jessie Jaskulsky

Owner of Surrogacy Simplified

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