Surrogacy: Traditional vs. Gestational

Surrogacy is when one woman carries an embryo and gives birth for another woman. There are two types of surrogacy, traditional and gestational. Both types are commonly used, based upon the individual and personal needs of the intended parent(s).

Who Opts for Surrogacy?

Surrogacy entails many legal, moral and financial issues that need the utmost attention to detail. There are many personal reasons to use a surrogate. Among the family dynamics of those seeking to use surrogacy are:

  • Couples or single women who have suffered multiple miscarriages
  • Couples or single women who have had trouble conceiving a child
  • Gay male couples who want to have a child using one partner’s sperm
  • Couples or single women who are past the age of healthy conception and pregnancy or who have a medical condition that does not allow the woman to carry a pregnancy to term

Traditional Surrogacy

The traditional surrogate mother carries an embryo, which was created with her own egg and the sperm of the intended father or a sperm donor. Traditional surrogacy is accomplished using in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI).

Traditional surrogates generally do not take any fertility drugs, although some surrogates opt to take a mild form such as Clomid to enhance ovulation. More typically, they keep track of their natural ovulation cycle to determine the best timing for the insemination.

Traditional Surrogacy Concerns

The surrogate mother is actually the child’s biological mother. This fact raises concern for many prospective parents and surrogate mothers. The surrogate needs to give a biological child up at birth and deal with the idea of that child having potential half siblings. There rarely has been a legal custody dispute involving a traditional surrogate.

Traditional surrogacy often involves the intended parents going through a process to legally adopt the baby at birth.

Gestational Surrogacy

A gestational carrier or surrogate carries an embryo and gives birth to a baby created with an egg and sperm from the intended parents. This surrogate is the carrier of the embryo only and has no biological tie to the baby. IVF is used to fertilize the intended parents' eggs with sperm for implantation into the surrogate’s uterus.

Gestational surrogacy is currently the most common surrogacy practice. It is the more expensive choice of surrogacy due to the medical support involved.

Gestational Surrogacy Perks

Gestational surrogacy allows a couple to have a child that is genetically their own. Legal adoption is not needed and the parents are usually immediately listed on the baby’s birth certificate.

The Baby

The objective of either type of surrogacy is the live delivery of a baby that is biologically tied in some way to the intended parents. Traditional versus gestational surrogacy is a personal choice based upon a variety of factors. Through surrogacy, couples and singles that would otherwise not experience the joy of parenthood have been able to do so.