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Understanding the Process of Traditional Surrogacy

by Tracy Finke

Surrogacy is an increasingly common assisted reproductive technology used by couples and individuals who are unable to conceive.

When you first start looking into this process, you might think that every process is similar, a woman becomes pregnant and carries a baby to term for the prospective parents. However, there are actually many different types of surrogacy.

Typically, the terms ‘traditional surrogacy’ and ‘gestational surrogacy’ are the most used to categorize different forms of surrogacy around the world, although in fact there is variation within and overlap between both terms.

In both forms of surrogacy, the surrogate will carry out a pregnancy to term for another person, so what is the difference between gestational and traditional surrogacy?

The main difference is that in traditional surrogacy, the surrogate’s eggs are used, making her the biological mother of the baby she carries; while in gestational surrogacy, the surrogate has no genetic connection with the child.

Traditional surrogacy is a trend that is slowly losing steam, mainly due to legal and emotional complexities because the surrogate’s genetic material is used. However, it is still a viable option for some prospective parents to complete their families.

Learn more about traditional surrogacy and its pros and cons.

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What is traditional surrogacy?

Traditional Surrogacy is a process by which the surrogate is artificially inseminated (AI) with the sperm of the prospective parent father (or sperm donor). This artificial insemination can be done at home or in a fertility clinic with treatments like Intrauterine Insemination.

The resulting child is thus genetically related to the intended father (or the sperm donor) and the surrogate, but not to the intended mother who raises the child. As a result, the surrogate is technically

Who uses traditional surrogacy?

In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate doubles as the egg donor, so prospective parents who cannot produce healthy eggs may turn into traditional surrogacy because they will need an egg donor anyway. People who may use traditional surrogacy:

  • Single men
  • Gay couples
  • Intended mothers who cannot produce healthy eggs

How does traditional surrogacy work?

Traditional surrogacy works in eight simple steps:

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1. Learn about surrogacy

Surrogacy can be a very fulfilling journey process but it also comes with some challenges. The first step of a traditional surrogacy process is to educate yourself.

You can do it online, and you also can get in contact with surrogacy specialists to learn more about this process.

2. Decide on the type of surrogacy

A traditional surrogacy journey can be completed in different ways, and deciding the type of surrogacy you want to do will shape your experience.

When it comes to surrogate compensation, the main difference between these two surrogacy types is that an altruistic surrogate will be only reimbursed for surrogacy-related expenses while a traditional surrogate pursuing compensated surrogacy will get additional monetary compensation on top of the pregnancy expenses.

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3. Work on your surrogacy plan

This step is especially important as it will help you to determine what are your needs, goals and expectations for your journey

4. The match

This is probably one of the most exciting steps of your journey. You want to find your ideal surrogacy soul.

You can find your match using a surrogacy specialist but you can also do it on your own through surrogacy communities, online groups, classified ads, or working with a relative or a close friend. For more details check: MySurrogateMom

When looking for a match it is important that both of you share the same goals and expectations for the journey. During the matching phase ask a lot of questions.

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5. Medical & psychological screening

After the match, a traditional surrogate will need to complete a medical examination to ensure she is healthy enough.

In addition to the medical screening, it’s recommended to pass a psychological evaluation in order to ensure the surrogate is mentally ready to carry someone else’s child

6. Surrogacy agreement

After the psychological and medical screening have been passed, it’s time to move to the legal phase in which surrogate and prospective parents will work on drafting a surrogacy contract.

This is a very important part, as the agreement guides the entire surrogacy journey, clearly outlining each party’s rights and responsibilities before, during and after the pregnancy.

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7. Fertility treatment

Once you get the clearance from the clinic and the legal agreement has been signed it´s time to start fertility treatment. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is used to artificially inseminate the traditional surrogate using the sperm of the prospective parent or a donor.

Once pregnancy is confirmed, an ultrasound will be done some days later to confirm heartbeat.

8. Pregnancy and delivery

Like any pregnancy, you will need to have your regular prenatal checkouts.

After the long surrogacy process, the birth of the baby is a special time for both the surrogate and the prospective parents. Usually, the IPs will join the surrogate at the hospital.

Before the birth, it’s important to have a birth plan in order to ensure all requirements, expectations, and needs are covered when this special moment arrives.

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Pros and Cons of traditional surrogacy

The following pointers might provide some useful insights into the pros and cons.

Medical Process

Artificial Insemination is a simpler process than IVF, that requires the surrogate to undergo fewer fertility treatments.

Legal Process

Traditional surrogacy regulations are more complicated because the surrogate is the biological mother of the baby and her parental rights need to be legally terminated after the baby is born. The prospective parents would then need to go to court to gain custody of the baby.

Wait Time

Most surrogacy agencies only work with gestational surrogates, and many surrogates prefer gestational surrogacy to traditional surrogacy. This can make it more difficult to find a traditional surrogate. Visit here for more details: MySurrogateMom

Traditional Surrogacy Cost

On average, the cost of traditional surrogacy tends to be lower than for gestational surrogacy because IUI is less expensive than IVF.

Final Thoughts

There are several challenges and benefits to consider when debating traditional surrogacy vs. gestational surrogacy. Ultimately, it is up to you to think about your own goals and priorities when choosing the form of surrogacy that is right for you.