Whether you’re a prospective surrogate or an intended parent, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you’ll pursue a gestational or traditional surrogacy. There’s a lot of buzz and controversy surrounding these two types of surrogacy, so it’s important that you know the truth about them before moving forward with your surrogacy journey.
There are many nuanced differences between gestational and traditional surrogacy, and the best way to learn about each in more detail is by talking with one of our surrogacy specialists. In the meantime, here are three important differences to know about traditional vs. gestational surrogacy.
1. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is not genetically related to the child she carries. In traditional surrogacy, her eggs are used to create the embryo for the intended parents.
Gestational and traditional surrogacy are deemed separate surrogacy processes because of the way the intended parent’ embryos are created — a decision that impacts the rest of the surrogacy process. In gestational surrogacy (the most common form of surrogacy today), intended parents create embryos with their own sperm and egg, or using a sperm or egg from a gamete donor. However, in traditional surrogacy, a surrogate uses her own eggs to create an embryo for the intended parents, either through the in vitro fertilization process or through an artificial insemination. Therefore, a traditional surrogate is the biological mother of the baby that she carries, while a gestational surrogate is not at all related to the baby.
This important difference between traditional surrogacy vs. gestational surrogacy informs the rest of the surrogacy process — from the medical procedures involved to the legal process required. As you’ll read below, traditional surrogacies are much more complicated due to this genetic relationship.
2. The legal process is much more complicated in a traditional surrogacy than in a gestational surrogacy.
When a woman is carrying a baby for other people, the legal process is already complicated. Necessary steps must be taken to draw up a contract that protects both the intended parents’ and the surrogate’s rights, and a lawyer must ensure that the intended parents’ parental rights are established as early as possible in the pregnancy or after the child is born, usually through a pre-birth or post-birth parentage order.
However, when the surrogate is genetically related to the baby that she’s carrying, establishing parental rights can be a bit more complicated. That’s because, unlike a gestational surrogate, a traditional surrogate has inherent parental rights because of her genetic connection. Therefore, there is the possibility that she decides to enact those parental rights, creating more risk for the surrogacy process in general.
3. It’s much easier to find a surrogacy professional that will help you complete a gestational surrogacy than one who will assist with a traditional surrogacy.
Because of the legal risks and additional considerations needed for traditional surrogacy, it’s rare for surrogacy professionals to assist prospective surrogates and intended parents who wish to complete this process. Because gestational surrogacy is much safer, it’s a much more common process for intended parents and surrogates, and there are plenty of surrogacy professionals like American Surrogacy who will help you reach your surrogacy goals in this manner.
If you’re looking to complete a traditional surrogacy, recognize that you may have a harder time finding a professional who is willing to work with you through this process. After you find an intended parent or surrogate who has the same surrogacy goals (which can be just a difficult), you may need to complete an independent surrogacy out of necessity — which places far more responsibility on both parties in the surrogacy. In most cases, those who complete traditional surrogacies are single men, gay male couples or heterosexual couples who use a female relative to have a genetic connection when they can’t both share their genes with their child. American Surrogacy, like many surrogacy agencies, cannot work with those hoping to complete a traditional surrogacy.
These are by no means all of the important things that intended parents and prospective surrogates should know about gestational and traditional surrogacy, but they’re often some of the biggest deciding factors for those who are choosing between the two surrogacy paths. For more information, we advise you speak to your fertility specialist or our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) to learn more about which surrogacy process — traditional surrogacy vs. gestational surrogacy — might be right for you.