The 4 Different Types of Surrogacy You Need to Know

The 4 Different Types of Surrogacy You Need to Know


There are many different types of surrogacy, so whether you’re a prospective surrogate or an intended parent, it’s important to understand how surrogacy types differ so you can choose the path that’s best for you.

To help you learn more about the types of surrogacy, we’ve broken them down for you in this article. If you have any further questions, you can always contact a surrogacy specialist today.

Traditional vs. Gestational Surrogacy

When it comes to the medical process involved, there are two types of surrogacy: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. The main difference between these two processes is how the embryo is created — more specifically, whose egg is being used.

In traditional surrogacy (otherwise known as “partial surrogacy” or “genetic surrogacy”), the embryo is created with the surrogate’s own egg, usually through some kind of IVF or artificial insemination process. After carrying and giving birth to the baby, she will have to go through an additional process to terminate her parental rights, as she will be the biological mother of the child. Because of the emotional and legal complexities involved in traditional surrogacy, it is the less commonly used method of surrogacy today.

Gestational surrogacy, on the other hand, is the new norm for intended parents and surrogates. In this type of surrogacy (also known as “full surrogacy” or “host surrogacy”), a surrogate does not use her own egg and, therefore, is not biologically related to the child she’s carrying. Typically, an embryo will be created by the intended parents (using a donated sperm or egg, if necessary) and will then be transferred to the surrogate’s uterus. If you work with American Surrogacy and many other surrogacy professionals, you will usually complete a gestational surrogacy.

Gestational and Traditional Surrogacy: What’s Right for Me?

While gestational surrogacy is the recommended surrogacy process today, you will still have the choice between traditional surrogacy vs. gestational surrogacy as a prospective surrogate or intended parent. There are many pros and cons to each process, so it’s important that you fully research both types of surrogacy before deciding what’s right for you.

Here are some things to consider:

1. Who Uses the Two Types of Surrogacy:

People who use traditional surrogacy may include:

  • Single men

  • Same-sex male couples

  • Intended mothers who cannot produce healthy eggs

People who use gestational surrogacy may include:

  • People who have struggled with infertility

  • Intended single parents, male or female

  • Same-sex couples

  • People who don’t want a genetic relationship between the surrogate and their child

  • Anyone who cannot carry a pregnancy safely to term

2. The Laws Regarding These Types of Surrogacy

While the laws regarding your surrogacy will vary based on your state, there are some general differences when it comes to the legalities of gestational and traditional surrogacy.

For example, with gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is not the biological mother of the child born. Therefore, you may be able to complete a pre- or post-birth order that protects your parental rights to your child from the moment they’re born. Eliminating that genetic connection will make your surrogacy process easier from a legal standpoint.

With traditional surrogacy, because the surrogate is related to the child, she will have to terminate her parental rights after the child is born to allow you to legally become the child’s parents. There may be a waiting period before a biological mother can sign away her parental rights (as you will technically be completing an adoption), and you always run the risk of that surrogate mother deciding to invoke her parental rights to the child, even if you’ve signed a surrogacy agreement ahead of time.

Keep in mind: Traditional surrogacy is banned in many states.

3. How Much These Types of Surrogacy Cost

When it comes to a discussion of the cost of surrogacy, this is usually only a factor for intended parents; surrogates will have their pregnancy-related costs covered and may receive additional compensation for carrying the child.

Because traditional surrogacy is a less invasive form of IVF that does not require harvesting of eggs from an egg donor, it may be the cheaper of the two options for intended parents. However, your decision on which type of surrogacy to pursue should not be based solely on the cost involved. How much your surrogacy will cost will also depend on the professional you use to complete the process. Talk to an American Surrogacy specialist today to learn more about our surrogacy costs and how we compare to other surrogate professionals.

Deciding between a gestational and traditional surrogate is a personal choice but, in our experience, gestational surrogacy is the better option to avoid possible legal and emotional complications that could come from a biologically related surrogate. Our surrogacy specialists can discuss your individual situation in more detail with you to help you decide which type of surrogacy is best.

Compensated/Commercial Surrogacy vs. Altruistic Surrogacy

In addition to deciding between gestational and traditional surrogacy, you will also need to decide what kind of compensation, if any, will be included in your surrogacy contract. When you get ready to begin your surrogacy journey, there are two paths to take: compensated/commercial surrogacy or altruistic surrogacy.

Compensated surrogacy is just what it sounds like; in addition to the coverage of all pregnancy-related costs, a surrogate will receive a base compensation for carrying the intended parents’ child. This kind of commercial surrogacy can be a complicated legal and ethical matter, as some state laws do not allow for compensated surrogacy of any kind.

Some intended parents and surrogates choose to do an altruistic surrogacy instead, where a surrogate does not receive any additional compensation beyond the coverage of pregnancy-related costs. Typically, this kind of surrogacy is completed when intended parents and surrogates previously know each other — for example, they are close friends or family members — and can also be called “identified surrogacy.”

Compensated and Altruistic Surrogacy: Which is Right for Me?

Just like some surrogacy professionals only complete gestational surrogacy, you may only have the option of a commercial surrogacy if you find a surrogate or intended parents through a surrogacy professional. You’ll want to speak with your surrogacy specialist to determine what kind of surrogacies they complete and how state laws may affect whether or not your surrogacy can be compensated or altruistic.

The choice between commercial surrogacy and altruistic surrogacy is a controversial one, and which one is best for you will likely depend on your own feelings about paying a woman to carry your child. Critics of commercial surrogacy say the process takes advantage of vulnerable women in need of money and exploits the system of human reproduction. On the other hand, many people are uncomfortable with the idea of having a surrogate carrying a child and receive nothing for doing so, in case she feels exploited or underappreciated during the process. While an altruistic surrogacy may save intended parents money, it may also come with challenges for the relationship between the intended parent and surrogate during the process.

If you have already identified a surrogate or intended parents through a previously established relationship, an altruistic surrogacy may be possible. However, it’s unlikely that an altruistic surrogacy will be possible by finding a match with a surrogacy professional.

If you’re considering a compensated surrogacy, you may question, “Where is commercial surrogacy legal?” This is best answered by your surrogacy specialist or surrogacy attorney, as the laws within certain states may be open to interpretation and varying levels of implementation based on athe judge overseeing the case. When you complete a commercial surrogacy, you’ll want to work closely with your surrogacy specialist and surrogacy attorney to make sure you follow all applicable state laws and come to a surrogacy agreement that’s beneficial for both parties involved.

To learn more about what types of surrogacy American Surrogacy can help you complete, please call us today at 1-800-875-2229.