There are two types of surrogacy, gestational and traditional. A surrogate mother is a woman who agrees to carry someone else’s baby. She becomes pregnant using some form of assisted reproductive technology, frequently IVF. The surrogate mother carries the baby to term, gives birth, and the baby is released from the hospital to the intended parents. What follows is a description of gestational vs traditional surrogacy.
What is Gestational Surrogacy?
The most common type of surrogate is a gestational carrier. A gestational surrogate becomes pregnant through IVF and gives birth to a baby that is not biologically related to her. Here’s how it works.
- Embryos are created using the intended parents’ egg and sperm or that of a donor.
- Embryos are created by a doctor in a lab and then are frozen for later use or transferred into the surrogate’s uterus.
- The gestational surrogate becomes pregnant and is released to the care of her OBGYN for the rest of the pregnancy.
- The legal process of obtaining a pre-birth order establishing the intended parents parental rights and terminating potential parental rights of the surrogate, if any.
- The gestational surrogate gives birth and the baby is discharged to the intended parents.
What is Traditional Surrogacy?
In a traditional surrogacy, the surrogate’s egg is used to create the embryos. This means the traditional surrogate is a biological parent of the baby. Traditional surrogacy is far less common than gestational surrogacy. Here’s how it works:
- An embryo is created using the intended father’s sperm or that of a donor.
- The traditional surrogate’s eggs are used to create the embryos either through IVF or artificial insemination.
- The traditional surrogate becomes pregnant and is released into the care of her OBGYN for the rest of the pregnancy.
- The legality of obtaining a pre-birth order establishing parental rights is less certain in traditional surrogacy. This is because the traditional surrogate is a biological parent. A court might not be willing to terminate her parental rights, if any, prior to the baby being born.
- The traditional surrogate gives birth, and if there’s a valid pre-birth order, the baby may be discharged to the intended parents.
Gestational vs Traditional Surrogacy
- Gestational surrogacy is less risky than traditional surrogacy because the surrogate is not a biological parent. Terminating her parental rights, if any, are routinely obtained pre-birth.
- Traditional surrogacy is generally less expensive than gestational surrogacy because artificial insemination is less expensive than IVF. It also requires fewer medications for the surrogate.
- Gestational surrogacy likely poses less potential psychological harm to all parties because the surrogate is not a biological parent. It is likely much easier for her to move on from a gestational surrogacy than a traditional.
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