What Is the Difference Between Traditional and Gestational Surrogacy?

shutterstock_1095110075Surrogacy is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART) that requires a woman who is not the intended mother to carry a pregnancy to term, give birth to the child, and then give that child to its intended parents. Although every surrogate pregnancy requires someone to carry it to term, there are different types of surrogacy from which to choose.

Traditional Surrogacy

Traditional surrogacy is a surrogate pregnancy in which the egg comes from the woman carrying the pregnancy. The baby is conceived through artificial insemination using either the sperm of the intended father or donor sperm. Once conception has taken place, the surrogate carries the pregnancy to term, then gives the child to the intended parents once it’s born. In traditional surrogacy, the woman carrying the pregnancy is both the biological and birth mother of the child. In almost every state that allows Traditional Surrogacy the intended parents must adopt the child and the surrogate must consent to the adoption post birth as she is, under the law, the legal mother of the child and her rights must be terminated.

Gestational Surrogacy

Far more common in today’s ART landscape, gestational surrogacy requires the surrogate to go through in vitro fertilization, or IVF. An egg, belonging either to the intended mother or a donor, and sperm, either from the intended father or a donor, is combined to allow fertilization to take place. Once conception has occurred, the resulting embryo is then implanted into the surrogate mother’s uterus. The surrogate carries the pregnancy to term, then relinquishes the child to the intended parents after the birth. In gestational surrogacy, the baby is not biologically related to the surrogate, but the surrogate is still considered the birth mother. In many states the Intended Parents can obtain a birth order either pre-birth or post-birth that names them as the parents. A few states do not require a court order rather based on DNA they are listed on the birth certificate in a post birth amendment process.

Choosing Surrogacy

Couples choose surrogacy for a multitude of reasons, from the age of the intended parents to fertility problems, and on through same-sex parents, genetic issues, and more; it’s a choice that has made it possible for families to grow in new and exciting ways. Even though it’s becoming more common, surrogacy, and especially gestational surrogacy, is still the subject of many questions from prospective parents. These are often best answered by an experienced ART attorney, a surrogacy support group, or even by facilitators from surrogacy agencies. Regardless of who you choose to help you navigate your surrogacy journey, you should make sure you understand the legal issues and possible obstacles that may arise.

Navigating the Legalities of Surrogacy

Regardless of which type of surrogacy you choose, there are obvious legal questions that come along with the decision. You may see blogs and other resources that downplay the potential legal issues with surrogacy, but the process cannot be considered “simple” in a legal sense.

Surrogate pregnancy is a complex issue and if you’re considering this path to grow your family, you should enlist the help of a qualified ART attorney.

Working with an Experienced ART Attorney

In most cases, it’s best to seek advice from an attorney with experience in the field of assisted reproduction. Should you choose to work with an agency, you will still find it helpful to have an attorney who can help protect your interests in the surrogate pregnancy. At Jennifer Fairfax, Family Formation Law Offices, Jennifer and Catelyn have been working to build families through ART for many years. Whether you’re a same-sex couple looking to start your family, you have fertility issues, or you need a surrogate for any other reason, with Jennifer and Catelyn, you’ll find the best surrogate legal services to fit your situation. Find out more about growing your family through surrogacy and other ART options today.

“I believe in working with each of my clients—in support of their family dynamic—to make the dreams of parenthood a reality. Whether you are single or married; or gay; a step-parent, a surrogate or intended parent or a child of adoption, it is my mission to serve as your advocate. With a dedication to the ethical and sensitive nature of each situation, I will help you understand the laws within Maryland or Washington, DC for adoption or surrogacy, and pledge to be your partner throughout the journey.” - Jennifer Fairfax