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It takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to have a child.

As a woman who is unable to conceive naturally, this can be one of the most heart-breaking moments in your life. You feel like a failure. As if you are the only one who is unable to get pregnant. Stop! Stop with the self-doubt, the negative imagery you created about yourself and your body. There are so many opportunities for you and your partner or spouse to become parents and grow the family you have always hoped and dreamed of. If you and your partner or spouse envisioned raising a child who was created from the both of you, gestational surrogacy is a great option.

When looking into surrogacy, there are a few different options to consider. First off, there are two different types: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. While one may believe that surrogacy is just surrogacy, they would be greatly mistaken. Not only do traditional and gestational surrogacy differ from each other, but the definitions for “surrogate” and “gestational carrier” are also different. As an agency that only offers gestational surrogacy through gestational carriers, Adoption Choices of Oklahoma wants to make sure that we provide you with the most accurate information possible.

Definition of Terms

To begin, we first need to define the meanings behind “surrogate” and “gestational carrier.”

  • A surrogate, or traditional surrogate, refers to a woman who shares a genetic link to the child.
  • A gestational carrier is a woman who carries and delivers a child for another couple or individual (aka. the intended parents). She does not have any biological connection to the child.

How a Traditional Surrogate is Impregnated

When using a surrogate through traditional surrogacy, the process is pretty simple. Doctors take the sperm of the intended father and artificially inseminate the surrogate. After her egg becomes fertilized, pregnancy results. She then carries the baby to term and delivers him or her to the intended parents.

However, there’s a major difference between surrogates and gestational carriers that needs to be highlighted. Because the egg of the surrogate was used –  and not the intended mother’s – she has a genetic connection to the baby. In fact, this is why utilizing a surrogate through traditional surrogacy for family planning is largely illegal in the U.S.

How the Gestational Carrier is Implanted

On the flip side of things, you have a second option –  gestational surrogacy. When you choose gestational surrogacy as a heterosexual couple, your doctor or fertility specialist will gather your eggs and fertilize them with your partner’s or spouse’s sperm. After the embryo is formed, the gestational carrier will undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) and be implanted.

For same-sex couples and single parents, the process is similar except for one detail. Female sex same couples need a sperm donor, and male partners need an egg bank. Single intended parents need either an egg or sperm bank respectively.

Again, the gestational carrier herself shares no biological relation to the child. The egg and sperm used are from the intended parents.

Why the Difference is Important

Most women dream of having their own child. They imagine feeling the first kicks, hearing the heartbeat and experiencing the beautiful journey of growing and creating a baby who has a biological connection to them.

Yet, for many women, this isn’t possible. Their bodies aren’t physically able to safely sustain a pregnancy to term. Potential medical issues include, but are not limited to: problems with their uterus, infertility, or a history of pregnancy complications or miscarriages. However, the true reason can only be determined through evaluation by a primary healthcare provider (PCP).

This may seem like the end of the world for intended parents, but this is where gestational surrogacy offers a solution. That’s why knowing the difference between a surrogate and gestational carrier is so important. It’s a game changer. A second chance at having a child who is genetically connected to them.

If you are one of the many women who are unable to conceive naturally, just remember: it’s ok. Our staff at Adoption Choices of Oklahoma wants to be part of your village.

Adoption Choices of Oklahoma

Adoption Choices of Oklahoma is a private adoption agency, licensed by the state of Oklahoma and leader in the adoption community. We have been assisting birth parents, children, and adoptive families in Oklahoma for over 19 years. Our staff members are committed to providing an ethical, empowering, and personalized adoption experience to all involved in the adoption process.  If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us. You may visit our website here or call 405-794-7500 (Oklahoma City) or 918-982-6220 (Tulsa).

Support Adoption Choices

CrowdriseAdoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.

However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.

About the Author

Ashley Johnson

Ashley Johnson is an Editorial Intern from Pendroy, Montana. She writes a weekly lifestyle  blog which includes adoption and surrogacy. Before starting at Adoption Choices, Inc., Ashley worked for six years as a legal clerk for a judge in Montana. She has decided to go back to college to finish her degree in Communications in hopes of pursuing her passion for writing. Ashley is excited  to share her experience with adoption as well as being able to bring a rural outlook on adoption and surrogacy.

In her spare time, Ashley enjoys working on her family ranch with her husband and two children, coaching high school basketball and settling in.

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Sources:

Center, Shady Grove Fertility. “What’s the Difference Between a Gestational Carrier and a Surrogate?” PR Newswire: Press Release Distribution, Targeting, Monitoring and Marketing, 30 June 2018, www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/whats-the-difference-between-a-gestational-carrier-and-a-surrogate-150487325.html.

“Gestational Carrier (Surrogate)”. Reproductivefacts.Org, 2020, https://www.reproductivefacts.org/news-and-publications/patient-fact-sheets-and-booklets/documents/fact-sheets-and-info-booklets/gestational-carrier-surrogate/. Accessed 29 Feb 2020.

Johnson, Traci C. “Surrogate Mothers: What It Is and How Does Surrogacy Work.” WebMD, WebMD, 6 Sept. 2019, www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/using-surrogate-mother#1.

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