Feature | What Is A Surrogate Mother? | Gestational Surrogacy

What Is A Surrogate Mother?

Anyone who wants to have a baby through surrogacy pregnancy needs to know the answers to important questions such as “What is a surrogate mother?” In this post, you will learn more about the surrogate mom and the kinds of surrogacy arrangements you can pursue.

What Is a Surrogate Mother? | Explore a Growing Method of Having a Child

In This Article:

  1. What Is a Surrogate Mother?
  2. Why Should You Undergo Surrogacy?
  3. What Are the Different Kinds of Surrogacy?


What Is a Surrogate Mother?

Let’s answer the question: what is a surrogate mother, and what is surrogacy? It is a form of assisted reproduction wherein another woman carries a baby for the intended parents (IPs) to full term.

Every couple or person who wants to have a child can have their own requirements for a surrogate. For instance, they may prefer someone who lives within the state. Usually, though, these are the criteria:

  • Good overall health
  • Experience carrying and giving birth to at least one healthy child without complications
  • No history of giving up a child for adoption
  • Between 21 and 35 years old (exceptions may apply)
  • Owner of health and life insurance
  • Willingness to attend regular doctor appointments
  • Willingness to participate in counseling sessions and legal proceedings

One of the most essential requirements to consider is where the surrogate is living. Surrogacy is a controversial and hotly debated pregnancy-related topic. Surrogacy laws can widely differ. In the United States, not all states support it. Others are unclear about where they stand. Not all countries are open to it as well.

Why Should You Undergo Surrogacy?

Why Should You Undergo Surrogacy? | What Is A Surrogate Mother? | Gestational Surrogacy

Considering the legal implications, emotional toll, and complexity of the surrogacy journey, it’s not for everyone. Nevertheless, for many couples, it is the safest or only possible method to have a child. A person or a couple may not be able to carry a baby for the following reasons:

  • Fertility issues of one or both IPs (e.g., infertile couples)
  • Complications with the intended mother’s uterus (e.g., medical issues or having had a hysterectomy)
  • Heart disease or other medical conditions that threaten the health of the intended mother or baby
  • Previous complications with pregnancy or birth
  • Same-sex couples or a single person wanting to have a baby
  • Advanced reproductive age of either or both of the IPs

What Are the Different Kinds of Surrogacy?

Another important question to ask besides “What is a surrogate mother?” is what kind of surrogacy program do you want to do? There are at least three known types. Two of them are the most popular.

1. Traditional Surrogacy

In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is the biological mother. However, she agrees to forfeit the raising of the child.

Most of the controversy about surrogacy revolves around traditional surrogacy. Many people believe the surrogate mother can become too attached to the baby. She may then refuse to give up her parental rights to the IPs after birth.

In most situations, both the surrogate and the IPs sign a surrogacy contract. However, the state may invalidate it and deny the IPs the custody of the child.

Furthermore, to give the sperm, the intended father donates semen to a fertility clinic, but it’s also possible to use a sperm donor. If this happens, the baby will be genetically related to the surrogate mother but not to the IPs. The latter, therefore, may need to adopt the baby. This may present legal complications.

If you choose traditional surrogacy, consider hiring an attorney to create a detailed surrogacy agreement. It should define the roles of all parties involved and what should happen in the event of having twins or triplets.

2. Gestational Surrogacy

A gestational surrogate mother is the birth mother but has no genetic relation to the baby. Insemination occurs through in vitro fertilization (IVF). The lab then helps grow the embryo from the donated sperm and egg. Once it becomes viable, the clinic then implants it into the surrogate.

The embryo, meanwhile, may grow from the following combinations:

  • Sperm and egg from the IPs
  • Donor sperm and donor egg
  • Intended father’s sperm and donor egg
  • Donor sperm and intended mother’s egg
  • Donor embryo from another gestational carrier

In the United States today, more IPs tend to choose gestational surrogacy over traditional surrogacy. It seems to be more accessible in most states due to fewer legal hurdles.

However, some may require the baby be genetically related to at least one of the IPs, so surrogacy cases involving donor egg, sperm, and/or embryo has the most complex legal issues.

3. Altruistic Surrogacy

In reality, there are many ways to answer “What is a surrogate mother?” The above-mentioned types of surrogacy usually refer to commercial surrogacy. It means there’s a form of compensation involved such as money. The opposite of that is altruistic surrogacy.

In this type of surrogacy, the surrogate mother still carries the baby, whether biological or not, to full term. However, there’s no agreement and compensation. Most of those who serve as surrogates are close friends or even family members of the IPs.


What is a surrogate mother? Crystal shares her story through CNNMoney:

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“What is a surrogate mother?” is one of the biggest questions you need to tackle if you’re thinking of going through the surrogacy process. She can be a person you, as IPs, know. She may come from an organization or agency that facilitates the agreement. Regardless of what type of surrogacy you want, it’s best to choose someone you can trust.

Do you think surrogacy should be legal in all states? Share your opinions in the comments section below!

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