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What’s the Difference Between a Surrogate and a Gestational Carrier?

Many people aspire to become parents but struggle with infertility. Some are unable to conceive. Others have conceived but miscarried. After several years of trying, these hopeful parents may consider having children through alternative means. Some may decide to use surrogacy.

During the surrogacy process, intended parents hire a woman to carry and deliver a baby for them. There are two different types of surrogacy: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. With traditional surrogacy, the woman who carries and delivers the baby is known as a surrogate. The woman who carries and delivers a baby through gestational surrogacy is referred to as a gestational carrier (or sometimes gestational surrogate)

It’s important to distinguish the difference between a surrogate and a gestational carrier because these terms are often used interchangeably. Why is that? To understand the answer to that question, we need to dive deeper into the logistics behind each type of woman.

Surrogates and Gestational Carriers

The main difference between a surrogate and a gestational carrier is her relation to the child(ren).

During a traditional surrogacy, the surrogate uses her own egg for the conception process. This makes the surrogate the baby’s biological mother. Typically, the intended father’s sperm is used to conceive the child through a process called artificial insemination. The intended father’s sperm is inserted into the surrogate to fertilize her egg.

For gestational surrogacy, eggs and sperm are collected from the intended parents and used to conceive embryos in a laboratory through a process called in vitro fertilization (IVF). Afterwards, the embryos are placed inside the gestational carrier in the hopes that at least one will implant. If the intended parents are unable to provide the eggs or sperm for the IVF, they can use a donor or sperm bank. Either way, the gestational carrier’s egg isn’t used, so she has no biological connection to the child.

Why Gestational Carrier Over Surrogate?

Most people use gestational surrogacy and a gestational carrier to avoid the emotional and legal complications that often come with traditional surrogacy. Since surrogates are biologically related to the children produced through traditional surrogacy, they are more likely to get attached. They may also fight for custody or refuse to give the children to the intended parents post birth. Because of all the legal complications, traditional surrogacy is illegal across the United States and is no longer recognized.

Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Oklahoma only offers gestational surrogacy because we believe it is a better option for both the intended parents and the woman assisting them through the surrogacy process. If you have any questions about gestational surrogacy, or if you are interested in becoming a gestational carrier, don’t be afraid to contact us.

Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Oklahoma is a surrogacy and adoption agency, licensed by the state of Oklahoma and leader in the community. We assist both intended parents and gestational carriers (surrogates). Our staff members are committed to providing an ethical, empowering, and personalized experience to all involved in the surrogacy process. 

You may visit our website here or call toll-free: 800-898-6028 | OKC Local: 405-755-1999 | Tulsa Local: 918-447-7777
or Text: 405-310-8790 

Meet the Author: Heather Valenzano is an up-and-coming content creator with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and a minor in English. After graduating from Iona College in 2019, she got an internship – and then a part-time job – writing blogs and managing social media accounts forHip New Jersey, a lifestyle website owned byLong Shot Productions. She has also produced website and social media content forCommonPage, an external collaboration platform.

When she isn’t working, Heather enjoys watching crime shows like Forensic Filesor posting book reviews toOnlineBookClub.orgunder the username “LavenderLiterature2.”

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