The path to parenthood is different for everyone—and the same goes for every surrogacy journey. When we talk about surrogacy, there is one important distinction to make: the difference between gestational and traditional surrogacy.
Gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy are two very different practices. It’s important to understand exactly what these terms mean, especially when you’re considering taking your own surrogacy journey.
Here are the critical differences between gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy.
What Is Traditional Surrogacy?
In a traditional surrogacy, the surrogate’s own egg is fertilized (typically via artificial insemination), which means that the surrogate is both the carrier and the biological mother.
That being said, there is a much greater legal risk involved for Intended Parents in traditional surrogacy cases.
While surrogacy laws differ from state to state, traditional surrogacies are rarely (if ever) backed by law.
There are a number of legal complexities involved in traditional surrogacy, especially regarding legal parentage. Since the surrogate is biologically related to the child, she must relinquish her parental rights to the Intended Parents—and if she fails to do so, the Intended Parents are at risk of losing their rights to the child.
The lack of legal backing makes traditional surrogacy a high-risk option. As a result, most surrogacy agencies only work with gestational surrogates—including Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists.
What Is Gestational Surrogacy?
In a gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is not biologically related to the child in any way. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is used to transfer another woman’s fertilized egg (or embryo) to the surrogate’s uterus. The embryo is fertilized using an egg either from an Intended Mother or an egg donor and sperm from either an Intended Father or a sperm donor.
In order for the Intended Parents to establish parentage of the child, they need a birth order to have their names listed on the birth certificate as the legal parents. Depending on the state where the child is born, Intended Parents may use either a pre-birth or post-birth order to obtain legal status as the child’s parents.
Before you pursue any surrogacy journey, it’s important to fully understand the two types of surrogacy and how you may be safeguarded or impacted by your decision.