What is Gestational Surrogacy?

Not every couple has a partner that is able to carry a pregnancy. Women in some heterosexual relationships can’t physically carry a pregnancy because of illness, injury, or for unexplained reasons. Couples with two male partners that wish to have a genetically related child need to use a surrogate to achieve their goals. There are also circumstances where a woman simply chooses to not carry her own pregnancy, for either personal or professional reasons.

Whatever prompts your need for a surrogate, there are a few things that are important to understand and arrange before beginning the process to make sure things run smoothly.

Traditional vs. Gestational Surrogacy


There are two types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational.

In traditional surrogacy, the woman who carries the pregnancy uses her own eggs and is the biological mother of the baby.

In gestational surrogacy, the woman carrying the pregnancy is not the biological mother of the baby.

Before the advent of in vitro fertilization, all surrogacy had to be traditional. Even now, there are reasons that some families choose to use a traditional surrogate. One common situation is for a couple with two male partners who both want to be biologically related to their child. If one partner has a sister or cousin willing to donate her eggs and act as surrogate, then the other partner can provide the sperm. The surrogate will then be inseminated using IUI. Traditional surrogacy may involve more complicated legal implications for everyone involved. That is why many infertility practices recommend, and most couples choose gestational surrogacy instead.

a couple with their surrogate

With gestational surrogacy, the process begins with choosing a surrogate. For both the protection of the parents and the surrogate, it is important to work with a reputable surrogacy agency. Once a surrogate has been chosen, sperm and eggs - either from the parents or from donors depending on the situation - will be collected, embryos will be created through in vitro fertilization, and then the embryos will be transferred to the surrogate. 

Legal Considerations

Depending on your unique family, there are different legal considerations to manage when using a surrogate. Before you begin the process of choosing a surrogate and going through the fertility therapies needed, it is important to work with a lawyer to create contracts outlining everyone’s legal responsibilities and rights.

At home insemination or using sperm donated from a known source are often less expensive, but they may leave you in some legal jeopardy. In some states, the “requirement is that the insemination take place under the supervision of a licensed physician.” Make sure to research the requirements where you live before pursuing either of these options. 

With the legalization of gay marriage nationwide, some challenges have been resolved, but there are still some states that require extra steps for the non-biologically related partner to be recognized as the parent of the baby. In these states “LGBT couples may have to go through an additional process to be legally recognized as the parents of their child and to obtain a birth certificate naming both parents.” Know your rights before beginning the surrogacy process.

How to Find a Gestational Surrogate

Like any pregnancy, working with a surrogate can be both exciting and stressful. That’s why it’s so important to understand the full process before you begin. Our fertility specialists have the knowledge and resources to help guide you through this process. We will work with you to understand your unique family and specific goals so that we can grow your dreams together. Contact us for a free consultation!

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