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Two types of surrogacy: Traditional and Gestational

The type of surrogacy is determined by how the embryo is created and whether the gestational carrier is the biological mother. The two different types of surrogacy are categorized as traditional or gestational.
Traditional Surrogacy
Traditional surrogacy refers to when a surrogate’s biological eggs are used to get pregnant and deliver the baby for another couple. In this scenario, the surrogate would be genetically related to the baby.
Before assisted reproductive technology provided “in vitro fertilization” (IVF), a traditional surrogacy was the only way to complete a surrogacy. In this process, the surrogate is artificially inseminated with the intended father’s sperm and once pregnant, she then carries and delivers the baby.
This type of surrogacy arrangement is not always promoted because it led to many legal and emotional struggles when it came time for the surrogate to give up the baby to the intended parents. This type of surrogacy is much rarer now, and is, in fact, illegal in some states.
Gestational Surrogacy
Now that donor eggs and IVF can be used, gestational surrogacy is often preferred and much more common within the fertility industry. Gestational surrogacy requires more medical appointments and noninvasive procedures, making it more expensive than traditional surrogacy. However, because the surrogate is not genetically related to the baby, there are fewer legal issues involved and many intended parents (and surrogates) feel much more comfortable with the process.
Gestational surrogacy requires 3 main steps:
Egg donation or retrieval
The intended couple choose an egg donor or the intended mom may choose to use her own eggs. To prepare for the egg retrieval, the egg donor or individual can take a series of fertility medications to stimulate her ovaries. The eggs are later retrieved during a short 30-minute procedure.
Fertilization of the embryo
After the eggs are retrieved, they are fertilized with the intended father’s sperm to create embryos. The embryos can either be frozen or immediately transferred to the surrogate, depending on the intended parents desired timeline.
Embryo transfer
The embryo transfer consists of a small procedure where the embryo(s) are placed into the surrogate’s uterus through a very fine transfer catheter. This is a low-risk procedure and does not require pain medication or sedation. Because an egg donor was used, the surrogate has no genetic relation to the child.
Payment for Surrogacy
Although surrogacy is highly generous, compensating a surrogate for her time, effort, commitment, and possible risk and discomfort experienced throughout the pregnancy and delivery is essential. This type of fair compensation is standard when intended parents use an agency to find a surrogate carrier.
Within all modern surrogacy contracts, the intended parents have the responsibility to cover all medical costs associated with the pregnancy. Although an expensive service, payment plans can be determined to separate costs by the stage of the surrogacy.

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