Traditional vs Gestational Surrogacy [Weighing Pros and Cons]

Because the type of surrogacy you choose will ultimately impact the entire process, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each before making a decision.

Whether you are a hopeful intended parent or a prospective carrier, understanding your options for the types of surrogacy available helps make choosing between traditional vs. gestational surrogacy much easier. To help, we have written this guide to compare the differences between traditional and gestational surrogacy, as well as some pros and cons of choosing either.

With such a life-changing decision as surrogacy, you want to be well educated on the process, legalities, impact, and all other aspects involved. Anytime you have questions about surrogacy, you can fill out this online form to get more information from a surrogacy professional. 

In the meantime, continue reading to learn more about gestational and traditional surrogacy and to help determine which journey may be best for you.

What is the Difference Between Gestational and Traditional Surrogacy?

One of the most commonly asked questions from both hopeful intended parents and prospective surrogates is, “What is the difference between gestational surrogacy and traditional surrogacy?” The difference primarily comes down to: Are the surrogate’s own eggs used to conceive the baby?

In gestational surrogacy, which is sometimes referred to as “host surrogacy,” the embryo is created through IVF (in vitro fertilization). Here, the eggs and sperm of the intended parents or donors are combined to make an embryo. That embryo is then transferred to the surrogate’s uterus to carry. During this process, the carrier has no biological relation to the baby she will carry to term. The child is genetically related to the intended parents (unless donor egg or sperm was used). At no point does the surrogate have a biological connection or parental rights to the baby. The rights belong to the intended parents.

During traditional surrogacy, which is sometime referred to as “genetic surrogacy,” the surrogate’s own eggs are used in the process and are fertilized through intrauterine insemination (IUI) from the sperm of either a donor or the intended father. In this process, the surrogate is the biological mother of the baby. As the biological mother, the surrogate has parental rights, which she may then choose to relinquish after the baby’s birth, and the intended parents can take them over. 

Although there will be differences in the process, legalities, and more, the main takeaway when determining the difference between traditional and gestational surrogacy is the medical processes and the biological relationship the baby will or will not have to the surrogate.

Pros and Cons of Traditional vs. Gestational Surrogacy

If you’re thinking about becoming a surrogate or are a hopeful intended parent and are unsure which type of surrogacy may be best for you, determining the pros and cons of gestational surrogacy vs. traditional may help. When it comes to such an important choice, only you can make the final decision, but professionals are always available to answer any questions you may have or provide any information you need.

Traditional Surrogacy Pros

  • Cost: Traditional surrogacy tends to be less expensive than gestational surrogacy. This is primarily because IUI is less expensive than IVF.

  • Medical procedure: Because the surrogate uses her own egg, IUI is less complicated than gestational surrogacy’s IVF and does not require finding an egg donor.
  • Relationship: In the majority of traditional surrogacies, the surrogate is a friend or family member. This may make the experience more personal and comfortable. 

Traditional Surrogacy Cons

  • Added difficulties: Because of the emotional and legal complexities, many states prohibit traditional surrogacy.

  • Adoption: Intended parents will often need to complete a post-birth adoption with the consent of the traditional surrogate in order to gain custody of her biological baby. 

  • Parental rights: As the biological mother of the baby, the surrogate has parental rights. At any point, she could change her mind and keep the child, which would be within her legal rights. In gestational surrogacy, the carrier is not the biological mother, has no parental rights, and cannot legally keep the baby.

  • Relationship: Intended mothers are unable to be biologically related to the baby in traditional surrogacy.

  • Finding an agency: Because of the legal and emotional risks, the majority of surrogacy agencies will not complete a traditional surrogacy.

Gestational Surrogacy Pros

  • Relationship: Gestational surrogates aren’t biologically related to the baby they carry for the intended parents, so it’s less emotionally and legally complicated. This also allows for intended parents to have a genetic relationship with their child. 

  • Legalities: Many states have laws in place that support gestational surrogacy and establish the intended parents with pre-birth parentage orders, giving them parental rights throughout pregnancy and thereafter. This eliminates the need for post-birth legal measures and ensures the surrogate cannot change her mind and keep the baby, unlike in traditional surrogacy.

  • Process: From the screening to the medical procedure itself, gestational surrogacy was created to keep everyone’s best interest in mind while helping intended parents achieve their dream of parenthood.

Gestational Surrogacy Cons

  • Cost: Although there will be various factors to determine the total costs, gestational surrogacy can be more expensive. This is primarily because the intended parents usually need to find an egg donor, in addition to the costs of IVF.

  • Procedure: The medical procedure of either harvesting eggs from an intended mother or working with an egg donor can make gestational surrogacy a lengthier process.

These are some of the pros and cons of both types of surrogacy. As you can tell, there are many differences between gestational and traditional surrogacy. You will have numerous factors to consider before making such an important decision. Keep in mind, traditional surrogacy is most commonly used by:

Gestational surrogacy is most commonly used by:

  • Intended parents who want their child to be genetically related to them 
  • Intended parents who don’t have viable egg and/or sperm
  • Same-sex couples hoping to have a child
  • Single parents with dreams of parenthood

The type of surrogacy you choose will impact the laws, emotional implications, and essentially the entire process for both the surrogate and the intended parents. Nobody can make this decision for you; only you can decide which is the best path to take. 

Whether you are a hopeful intended family or prospective carrier, surrogacy is an amazing journey, one which takes plenty of thought, research, and consideration. We encourage you to fill out this form to get in touch with a surrogacy professional for more information and to get answers to any questions or concerns you may have about traditional vs gestational surrogacy.