Gestational Carrier vs. Surrogate: What’s the Difference?

If you are someone who has looked into surrogacy in Colorado as an option for your family’s needs, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ve come upon the terms “surrogate” and “gestational carrier.” While many people may assume that these terms are interchangeable, gestational carriers and surrogates are, in fact, not the same. 

Do you know what differs? If not, Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Colorado is here to outline the difference between gestational carriers and surrogates.

Gestational Carrier vs. Surrogate

While there are some underlying similarities between gestational carriers and surrogates, these terms mean largely different things. In order to gain a better understanding of surrogacy, knowing the difference between gestational carrier vs. surrogate is essential. 

Difference #1: Traditional vs. Gestational Surrogacy

When considering where the terms surrogate and gestational carrier are used most frequently, one thing to understand is which type of surrogacy they are typically associated with. The term “surrogate” typically describes someone who carries another family’s child in traditional surrogacy, which is actually illegal across the United States and no longer recognized. On the other hand, “gestational carrier” is used as a term for the woman who carries intended parents’ children in gestational surrogacy, which is the form of surrogacy that Colorado specializes in and recognizes. Therefore, in almost all cases, gestational carriers are the women who carry children for intended parents in Colorado and throughout the United States. 

Difference #2: Biological Mother or Not

Another key difference between surrogates and gestational carriers is whether or not they are the biological mother of the child who is born. In the case of traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is the actual mother of the child she carries. This can lead to major complications with custody and makes it impossible for more than one intended parent to maintain a genetic link to their children. 

Gestational carriers, however, are not biologically related to the child they carry. Because gestational surrogacy involves the process of IVF and implantation of a fertilized embryo — created from the egg of the intended mother and sperm of the intended father — into the gestational carrier, she is not the biological mother. This is one reason why many people love gestational surrogacy. Intended parents have the option to maintain a genetic link to their child! 

Difference #3: Legalities

Legal worries about surrogacy are among some of the top concerns that intended parents have when considering surrogacy as an option for them. However, these legalities can be managed much smoothly with gestational carriers than with surrogates. In gestational surrogacy, the gestational carrier and intended parents will enter into an agreement through a surrogacy contract. This contract serves to ensure the surrogacy process is as uncomplicated as possible, especially because many decisions are made before the pregnancy begins. 

For surrogates, though, the legalities can be quite complex as the surrogate is also the biological mother of the child. Thus, she has the ability to express concerns about custody, especially because a surrogacy contract is typically not negotiated in traditional surrogacy. 

If you are concerned about any legalities associated with surrogacy, a good way to help relieve these stresses is to reach out to a surrogacy agency like Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Colorado

Difference #4: Intended Parent Relationships

Many times, gestational carriers are women who may not know the intended parents prior to the process at all. With the help of a surrogacy agency, gestational carriers can be matched to intended parents who are a good fit for them. Therefore, they can foster a relationship that is related to the gestational surrogacy process and navigate where they may want to take the relationship after the fact. 

Surrogates, though, may have a more involved relationship in the child’s life than gestational carriers due to their position as the child’s biological mother. Most surrogates may already know the intended parents that they will be working with, which can be great in some cases, but also lead to unexpected social consequences in others. For this reason, many people may prefer to develop and regulate their relationships with a gestational carrier over a surrogate.  

Difference #5: Requirements 

In order for a woman to become a gestational carrier, there are specific requirements set by each state that she must meet. Some of these requirements in Colorado include being within a specific age range, having already had a child of her own, and more. However, because traditional surrogacy is illegal in the United States, there are not specific requirements for women who want to act as a surrogate. 

Having specific requirements for women who are interested in carrying someone else’s child is extremely valuable in helping to ensure a safe pregnancy and delivery. Thus, gestational surrogacy is an overall safer method for intended parents to seek the help of another woman (a gestational carrier) to help achieve their dreams of having children. 

Interested in Becoming a Gestational Carrier? 

If you are a woman who is interested in becoming a gestational carrier, or are a gestational carrier looking to be matched with intended parents, feel free to reach out to us at Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Colorado. We have resources to support both gestational carriers and intended parents and are here to help ensure a smooth surrogacy process along the way. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions that you may have!

If you are interested in surrogacy and want to learn more about your options, contact Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Colorado by email, phone, or text: Email Us, Text us: 720-371-1099, Call us: 303-670-4673 (HOPE). If you are hoping to adopt, please contact us here.

Meet the Author: Ashley Nies is an undergraduate student at Stanford University who is studying Human Biology and Political Science. Ashley is largely interested in various aspects of health and healthcare, and writes about these topics. She has taken classes on rhetoric, ethics and social media in health, as well as other creative writing classes during her freshman year at Stanford. 

Ashley is from Las Vegas, Nevada, and considers herself to be fun-loving and adventurous. She values the importance of combining STEM with liberal arts education and hopes to integrate these in her writing. 

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