The Two Types of Surrogacy: Traditional Surrogacy and Gestational Surrogacy

Whether you have heard about surrogacy before, or it’s a new topic for you, it’s important to understand what it means to grow your family through surrogacy and what it all entails. Generally speaking, surrogacy is an option for intended parents hoping to expand their family, but who are not able to do so themselves. There are two types of surrogacy: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. Both have their own set of pros and cons, and one might be more favorable to you than the other. 

Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Colorado understands that each and every intended parent is unique, and has their own requirements within their family planning. Thus, we are here to further define the two different types of surrogacy for you to help you determine which would best fit you.  

What is Traditional Surrogacy? 

In Traditional Surrogacy, the surrogate’s eggs and intended father’s sperm are used during the fertilization process. This means that the surrogate shares a genetic connection with the intended parents’ child and is considered the biological mother. In some cases, the surrogate can choose to keep the baby once he or she is born, instead of giving them to their intended parents per agreement. Because this can, in turn, lead to many legal issues, traditional surrogacy is largely banned in the United States. 

However, if you, as the intended parents, want to grow your family through traditional surrogacy, you’ll want to see if your state allows it and get a lawyer to help you through the process.

What is Gestational Surrogacy?

With gestational surrogacy, a woman — called a gestational carrier — is used to carry the egg and sperm of the intended parents. Or, for same sex couples or individuals, the egg or sperm provided by a donor. Gestational surrogacy is most commonly used when intended mothers are not able to carry their baby to term due to infertility or another known medical condition. 

Once the egg and sperm have been taken from the intended parents or donor respectively, they undergo a process called in vitro fertilization (IVF). Put simply, IVF is a technique that fertilizes the eggs and sperm inside of a laboratory to form embryo(s). These are, then, implanted into the gestational carrier. Because the gestational carrier  is not biologically related to the child, there are less legal complications. There is no risk of her wanting to keep the baby, as she knows from the beginning what she is agreeing to. That is, helping a couple or individual have a family they couldn’t otherwise have. 

Two Types of Surrogacy

Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Colorado offers intended parents the opportunity to fulfill their dreams of parenthood through gestational surrogacy. Because the gestational carrier is not biologically related to the child, gestational surrogacy has less legal complications. There is no risk of her wanting to keep the baby, as she knows from the beginning what she is agreeing to — helping a couple or individual have a family they couldn’t otherwise have. Thus, we believe this type of surrogacy keeps everyone’s best interest at heart, and is the more positive way to grow your family.

If you are wanting to grow your family through gestational surrogacy, or are a gestational carrier wanting to help another family, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to hear from you, and are more than happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you have.

What’s the Difference?

As mentioned earlier, there isn’t necessarily one type of surrogacy that is preferential to the other. However, there are many factors that should be considered when deciding whether traditional surrogacy or gestational surrogacy would be more favorable for the intended parents looking to have children. Differences between traditional and gestational surrogacy include: 

  • The surrogate’s relationship to the child that is born

In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is also the biological mother of the child, while in gestational surrogacy, the gestational carrier is not biologically related to the child. Therefore, intended parents may want to consider whether or not they prefer the surrogate to also be the child’s biological mother or not. If so, traditional surrogacy would be the better option for intended parents deciding between which type of surrogacy was more suited to them. If not, gestational surrogacy would be the more preferable option for intended parents. 

  • Whether or not an egg donor is involved in the pregnancy

Intended parents who are considering surrogacy may want to look into the possibility of having an egg donor. This could be because the intended parents do not have viable eggs to be used in fertilization, or there is a specific egg donor that they want to be involved in the pregnancy. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate serves as both the egg donor and carrier of the child. However, gestational surrogacy allows the possibility to choose a specific egg donor should the intended parents want to do so. 

  • The use of a sperm donor in the pregnancy

Both traditional and gestational surrogacy allow for the possibility of a sperm donor in fertilization. However, in traditional surrogacy, a sperm donor’s sperm can be used to artificially inseminate a surrogate. In gestational surrogacy, though, a sperm donor’s sperm is used in the process of in vitro fertilization to create the embryo to be implanted in the gestational carrier. 

  • In vitro fertilization versus artificial insemination

In both types of surrogacy, fertilization occurs without direct sexual contact. In gestational surrogacy, in vitro fertilization is used to fertilize an egg that will later be implanted in the gestational carrier’s uterus. Gestational surrogacy thus gives intended parents the option to use their own sperm and eggs, or those from a sperm donor and/or an egg donor. In traditional surrogacy, artificial insemination is used to fertilize the surrogate’s eggs, and sperm can come from either the intended parents, or a sperm donor. However, the egg that is fertilized will be that of the surrogate. 

When considering surrogacy as a possibility for your family, Adoption Choices of Colorado has resources to help you better understand your options. Adoption Choices of Colorado offers many options for intended parents looking to start or grow their families, including those to support gestational surrogacy. 

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, Call us: 720-371-1099, Call or Text 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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