Traditional Surrogacy & Gestational Surrogacy Compared

It’s no secret that some couples struggle to carry a baby safely to full term. In contrast, others struggle to conceive. Fortunately, modern science has given many aspiring parents hope by offering multiple options. Through processes such as gestational and traditional surrogacy, couples can now fulfill their dream of having a family of their own. Gestational surrogacy is more common in the United States. But the lines can get blurred between these two surrogacy terms for many couples searching for the best way to build their family.


So, if you’re considering going the surrogacy way, it’s vital to fully understand more about it before going into it. That way, you have an idea of ​​what to expect and can make the right and informed decision regarding your family. Read on to learn more about traditional and gestational surrogacy and which one suits you.

Traditional Vs. Gestational Surrogacy

Gestational surrogacy

Gestational surrogacy, also known as host or partial surrogacy, is the most common type of surrogacy in the United States. According to Surrogate, the surrogate mom, also known as the gestational carrier, isn’t biologically related to the baby she’s expecting. The eggs are extracted from the intended mom (or egg donor) and mixed with sperm from the intended father (or sperm donor). Health care professionals use in vitro fertilization (IVF) to create the embryo in the fertility clinic, which is then transferred to the surrogate’s uterus.

Since IVF was introduced, gestational surrogacy is now the preferred option. Over the past decade, the number of babies delivered to gestational surrogates has increased by 89%, with many notable celebrities using this method.

Traditional surrogacy

Traditional surrogacy, also known as genetic or full surrogacy, is where the egg donor is also the surrogate and is genetically related to the child she’s carrying (biological mom). According to Southern Surrogate, The health care practitioner creates the embryo from the intended father (sperm donor) in a process known as intrauterine insemination (IUI).

Until the invention of IVF in 1978, traditional surrogacy was the only option for struggling people to conceive. In fact, according to The New York Times, 99% of today’s surrogacy plans involve a gestational surrogate. Also, the genetic surrogacy process can be more emotionally and legally complicated, making it far less common.

RELATED: 51-Year Old Mother Acting As Gestational Surrogate For Daughter Is 35 Weeks Along

Traditional Vs. Gestational Surrogacy: Pros & Cons

Each of these surrogacy types comes with its pros and cons.

Gestational Surrogacy Pros

  • The baby can be biologically related to one or both parents
  • It has a high success rate, which helps avoid the pitfalls linked to other fertility options.
  • You’re involved as much as possible given the circumstances.

Gestational Surrogacy Cons

  • Comes with higher costs than standard fertility treatment, like IVF only. Other than IVF and routine check-ups, the parents are also responsible for the life and expenses of the surrogate during the pregnancy and the reimbursement.
  • You’ll also have to undergo the IVF process before surrogacy, which can take several tries.
  • You give up a sense of control because you have to trust that your surrogate sets the stage for your child to join the world with the best health possible.

Traditional Surrogacy Pros

  • Is cheaper than gestational surrogacy because IVF isn’t required, and the surrogate doesn’t have to undergo medical procedures.
  • It provides a viable alternative to adoption, where one parent is biologically related to the child.

Traditional Surrogacy Cons

  • Since the surrogate is related to the child, it poses an additional emotional process for both parties.
  • There may be legal problems. So, there has to be a legally-binding surrogacy agreement between the two parties, so most people opt for gestational surrogacy.

Factors Before Choosing Gestational Or Traditional Surrogacy

According to Surrogate, While comparing these two types of surrogacies seems straightforward, both have several implications that the intended parents need to consider when comparing gestational and traditional surrogacy. If you’re not sure which fits you, look at these main differences between the two:

  • Egg Donor: Do you need an egg donor to create the embryo carried by the surrogate? In gestational surrogacy, same-sex couples, single males, heterosexual couples, and females who cannot conceive will need the help of an egg donor. You won’t need an egg donor for traditional surrogacy because the surrogate offers her own eggs, acting as both the donor and the surrogate.
  • The professionals involved: Most surrogacy professionals specialize in either gestational or traditional surrogacy. And since gestational surrogacy is more popular, people interested in traditional surrogacy may have fewer options when looking for a traditional surrogacy agency and will have to wait longer.
  • Medical Process-For gestational surrogacy, the doctor uses IVF, while for traditional surrogacy, the doctor uses IUI, and these two medical procedures are different. IUI is generally simpler, requiring the surrogate to take lesser fertility treatments. Also, the intended mom doesn’t have to take fertility medicine or go through the egg retrieval process since her eggs aren’t used to make the embryo.
  • Legal Process While both procedures are legally complicated, traditional surrogacy is more complicated because the surrogate is genetically related to the baby and has parental rights up until she delivers. So, these rights have to be legally terminated after delivery. In some states, the intended parents fill in a stepparent adoption to get parental rights. For gestational surrogacy, parentage is already established from the go with a pre-birth order, making it less complicated.
  • Wait Time: Traditional surrogacy is emotionally complicated, gestational surrogacy, because the unlike surrogate may be unwilling or take time to give up the child after delivery. Also, potential parents may experience difficulty getting a willing surrogate, which further lengthens their wait time.
  • The cost: Gestational surrogacy costs more than traditional surrogacy due to the differences in the medical procedures. So, it’s essential to check which one fits your budget.
  • Risk – Although it’s hard for surrogates to challenge the agreement in order to keep their baby, traditional surrogacy poses a more significant legal risk. If the surrogate bonds with the child, she may fight to keep the baby in court, causing a long legal battle. So, consider whether you’re comfortable with your child being carried by the biological mother and the legal and emotional risks involved, mainly because the genetic link to the child could further complicate the process. Also, would you like your child to maintain a relationship with the surrogate mom after delivery? All of these are important in determining the type of surrogacy you choose.

Sources: Surrogate, Southern Surrogate, The New York Times

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