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Surrogate mother vs. gestational carrier

Let’s talk vocabulary today. There can sometimes be some confusion on what exactly is taking place in a surrogacy pregnancy. Basically, there are a couple of different kinds: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy.

Traditional surrogacy is what people often think of when you mention that you are a surrogate. A baby is conceived through intrauterine insemination (IUI). This is when sperm is inserted into a woman’s fallopian tube in order to impregnate her. In this case, the only donated material is the sperm, and the egg is the woman’s. As a result, she is genetically related to the baby she bears. This used to be the only way to have surrogates until 1978, when in vitro fertilization (IVF) was invented. (If you’ve seen Glee, this is how Rachel was conceived.)

Gestational surrogacy, on the other hand, is achieved through IVF. Both the egg and sperm are donated, and the egg is fertilized in a lab to create an embryo. The embryo is then inserted in the carrier’s uterus. As a result, she bears no genetic relation to the baby she bears. She is literally just a gestational carrier.

In the case of my future pregnancy, I will be a gestational carrier. The embryo that will be inserted was created from the intended parents’ egg and sperm, so the child will be entirely genetically related to them and their daughter. While I will bear the child, in no way will I be a mother to the child.

For the purposes of this blog, I will use the term “surrogacy,” simply because it’s simpler than writing “gestational carrier” all the time.

Do you know anyone who was conceived by or who has made use of IUI or IVF to have children? It’s more common than you think! Share in the comments.

If you’d like more information, see this article, where I got most of my information. A quick Google search also turns up a lot of great info! 

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