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What are the two different types of surrogacy arrangements?

| Jan 27, 2019 | Alternative Reproduction |

As a prospective parent considering alternative reproduction in Connecticut, you may have heard different and confusing terms such as “surrogate” and “gestational carrier.” Despite their often interchangeable use, there is a subtle difference between the two that represents a separate surrogacy arrangement.

According to Very Well Family, there are two different types of surrogacy arrangements: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. With the advent of in vitro fertilization, gestational surrogacy is now the most common arrangement made. A gestational surrogate has no biological relationship to the child that she carries for the intended parents. Rather, fertility specialists use IVF to create one or more embryos, usually with one or both of the intended parents’ reproductive cells, and transfer one or more of these embryos into the gestational surrogate’s uterus. The term “gestational carrier” sometimes applies to these surrogates to emphasize the fact that they are not biological parents to the babies they carry.

Because a gestational carrier is not biologically related to the baby she carries, she has no legal right to claim the child after the birth. However, legal complications can still arise with gestational surrogacy. For example, some jurisdictions require that at least one of the intended parents be biologically related to the child, meaning that either the intended mother must provide an egg for fertilization by donor sperm or the intended father must provide sperm with which to fertilize a donor egg. Other jurisdictions, however, do not require a biological link between either of the intended parents and the child, meaning that both the sperm and the egg may come from donors.

Before IVF was available, however, the only possible surrogate arrangement was traditional surrogacy. This process involves artificial insemination of the surrogate with sperm from either the intended father or a donor. Because it is the surrogate’s own egg that becomes fertilized, she is a biological parent of the child. Traditional surrogacy arrangements involve legal complications because of the surrogate’s biological relation to the child, and as IVF becomes more prominent, traditional surrogacy has fallen out of favor and only rarely takes place today. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.