The surrogacy process is a rewarding one for everyone involved, but many of the related terms are often new and may be confusing at times. This article defines and explains some of the terms you’ll come across during your surrogacy journey.
Surrogacy Definitions You Need To Know
There are several aspects of surrogacy that we’ll discuss below, but we’ll start with the most important term:
What is surrogacy?
Surrogacy is a type of pregnancy where a woman carries and gives birth to a baby for a person or people who are unable to have children.
Generally, this is an accurate definition. But because of the numerous critical aspects of surrogacy, both prospective surrogates and intended parents need to know several other important surrogacy terms.
Here are a few of the key surrogacy definitions that you need to know:
Who is involved in the surrogacy process?
Surrogacy often means something different, depending on the role you’ll take on during the entire process. In most surrogacy journeys, here are the usual people involved in the process:
Surrogate (Traditional Surrogacy)
With traditional surrogacy, the woman who becomes pregnant also provides the egg. This means that the baby is genetically linked to the surrogate. Surrogates are usually between 21 to 44 years old and have successfully carried out a pregnancy before.
Through gestational surrogacy, the woman carries an embryo created by the intended parents either through their own egg and sperm or through a donation. Unlike a traditional surrogate, a gestational carrier doesn’t have a genetic link to the baby. This process requires in vitro fertilization (IVF). These days, traditional surrogacy is rarely done. The terms surrogate and gestational carrier are often used interchangeably while referring to gestational surrogacy. This is often abbreviated to GC.
Intended parents are the person(s) who want to have a child through surrogacy. Usually, they have already created an embryo that will be transferred to the surrogate’s uterus. They become the legal parents of the child and will raise them. This is often abbreviated to IP or IPs.
Egg / Sperm Donor
If the IP can’t create an embryo with their own egg or sperm, they will use a donated egg or sperm cell.
A surrogacy agency helps provide intended parents and surrogates with the needed services throughout the surrogacy process. They guide everyone through the steps and aim to make it as straightforward and stress-free as possible.
A surrogacy attorney makes sure that the entire surrogacy process is legal. They are a key player in the process because they ensure that the rights of both the intended parents and the surrogate are protected. For intended parents, surrogacy attorneys help them understand local surrogacy regulations, draft and finalize the surrogacy contract, and establish their parental rights. Both parties should have their own independent surrogacy attorney.
A fertility clinic is essential to the medical surrogacy process. A doctor has to approve the gestational carrier before the process can begin. Both the IP and the surrogate then work with the clinic to complete the embryo transfer and other critical steps.
What are the different types of surrogacy?
Every surrogacy journey is unique. How it’s defined also depends on the specific type of surrogacy process you choose. Before you can set out on the surrogacy path that is right for you, you will have several decisions to make. Here are the different ways you can define surrogacy:
With traditional surrogacy, the surrogate and the baby she carries are related. She has either donated an egg to the in vitro fertilization process or has gone through the process of intrauterine insemination.
Gestational surrogacy is the most common type of surrogacy. The surrogate is not genetically linked to the baby she carries.
Also known as compensated surrogacy, this occurs when a surrogate receives a base compensation for carrying the baby and providing related surrogate services.
With an altruistic surrogacy, the surrogate’s pregnancy- and surrogacy-related expenses are covered by the intended parents but she does not receive any base compensation.
International surrogacies occur when either the IP or surrogate is located outside of the United States.
There are many other factors that can affect how you personally define surrogacy. Your trusted surrogacy professionals will help you through every step of the process. By choosing a recognized surrogacy agency like All Families Surrogacy, you can rest assured that you will be able to create a surrogacy journey that aligns with your goals and needs.
If you’d like to know more about the surrogacy process or if you want to talk to a surrogacy expert before making a decision, contact the All Families Surrogacy team!