Is the Surrogate Related to the Baby?

When it comes to gestational surrogacy, people have a lot of questions about surrogate baby DNA. For many people, surrogacy is either a brand new family-building method or something that they’ve only heard about through friends and family who have done it. This is completely normal, and it’s why we’re used to hearing from curious people who want to know what the surrogacy process is really like. If you fall into either of these categories, you might have questions like:

“Can a baby look like the surrogate mother?”

“Does a baby get DNA from the surrogate mother?”

“Does a surrogate have to have the same blood type?”

In gestational surrogacy, the answer to all of these questions is no. But to help explain why we’ve created this guide to gestational surrogate DNA. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out through our free information form. [AJ1] 

1.  Are surrogate mothers related to the baby?

When most people think of surrogacy, they often assume that the child shares the surrogate’s DNA because it’s her eggs being used. Therefore, she must pass on her surrogate genetics. But that’s actually not the case in the vast majority of surrogacy journeys today. The most important thing you should know is that there are two different types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational.

In traditional surrogacy, the child would receive DNA from the surrogate because her egg is being used. She is the biological mother of the baby, even though she is carrying the child for the intended parents. An embryo will be created in the lab using her egg and sperm from either an intended father or a donor. This type of surrogacy is only getting rarer because of the legal and emotional challenges. Most surrogacy agencies try to stay away from traditional surrogacy.

Gestational surrogacy, on the other hand, is very different and is the one you’ll see most often. Gestational surrogates are not related to the baby. The baby that they’re carrying is 100 percent the intended parents’, not theirs. The embryo is inserted into their uterus through IVF after being created with an egg and sperm from the donors or intended parents. So, when you’re trying to figure out whether a surrogate mother is genetically related to the child, it depends on whether she’s doing a traditional or gestational surrogacy. Just know that, in most situations today, the surrogate is not the biological mother of the baby she is carrying.

2. Will the baby look like the surrogate mother?

This is another question that we get a lot, and the answer also depends. Many people wonder whether the surrogate’s appearance will play a role, especially when it comes to race and surrogacy. But again, this will depend on whether you’re doing traditional or gestational surrogacy. Because most surrogacies completed today are gestational surrogacies rather than traditional, in very few cases does the baby look like the surrogate mother.

The appearance of the baby will come down to who contributed the egg and sperm when the embryo was created. If the intended parents created the embryo on their own or with the help of a third-party donor, then the resulting baby will likely look like the intended parents and/or the donor. If they’re doing a traditional surrogacy, then the baby will likely share some traits with the surrogate because her egg is being used. So, can a baby look like the surrogate mother? Yes, but only in traditional surrogacy.

3. Do surrogates share blood with the baby?

The answer to this is yes and no. Many people believe that family implies a blood relative. But only in traditional surrogacy is there any type of “blood” relation between the surrogate and the child. Traditional surrogates are the biological mother of the child, but gestational surrogates are only carrying the child for the intended parents. There is absolutely no biological connection between a gestational carrier and the baby.

But do surrogate mothers literally share blood with the baby? Yes. But this doesn’t mean that they both have to share the surrogate’s blood type. In fact, there are many biological mothers and children who have different blood types. If you’re asking, “Does a surrogate have to have the same blood type?” You don’t need to worry. You can still have a safe and healthy surrogate pregnancy with different surrogate and baby blood types. 

Before the embryo transfer process even begins, you will undergo a thorough medical screening with blood tests included to check to make sure everything looks okay before you start.

4. Does a surrogate transfer DNA to the baby? Whose DNA does a surrogate baby have?

When it comes to genetic inheritance, the only thing that matters is the genetic material that went into creating the embryo. In order to make an embryo, you need genetic material from the sperm donor or an intended father and an egg from the egg donor or an intended mother. Regardless of who carries the embryo, any genetic material will only come from the individuals who helped create the embryo. If the surrogate mother is going to transfer her DNA, then it will be through traditional surrogacy. So, does a surrogate mother share DNA with the baby? Not in gestational surrogacy. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter whose uterus the embryo is going into. The only time the baby will get the surrogate’s DNA is in traditional surrogacy.

But doesn’t the gestational surrogate still have a right to the child?

No. In gestational surrogacy, the child is entirely the intended parents’. The baby will not share any DNA with the surrogate, they won’t look similar, they won’t necessarily share a blood type, and they are in no way related. Biologically, the child’s parents are the intended parents (and/or the donors used to create the embryo). And even if the intended parents need assistance from an egg or sperm donor, the child is still legally theirs.

One of the reasons that most agencies stay away from traditional surrogacy is because of how messy it can get. Legally and emotionally, that surrogate shares a blood relation with the child. Therefore, she also has inherent parental rights to the baby she is carrying. Because of how many complications are involved, it’s not often that you see an agency complete many traditional surrogacies.

The surrogacy process can be a little confusing when you’re just getting started. Especially when it comes to questions about surrogate child DNA. Remember that if you’re just getting started, you can always contact us through our free information form to learn more.