Different Types of Surrogacy

Different Types of Surrogacy
Terms and types associated with surrogacy are often used interchangeably, which explains the confusion surrounding the concept of surrogacy itself. However, the two main types of surrogacy are known as “traditional surrogacy” and “gestational surrogacy.” Two sub types are “altruistic” and “compensated.”


This type of surrogacy involves a woman who carries a child who is biologically related to her. She is artificially inseminated with the sperm of the intended father, and her eggs are used to conceive the baby. She then carries the baby to term and delivers him or her. Terms that are often associated with the woman carrying the baby are: partial surrogate, natural surrogate or, simply, surrogate. Traditional surrogacy is also sometimes known as straight surrogacy.

With traditional surrogacy, typically the male intended parent will go to a fertility clinic and donate a semen sample, where it is then cleaned and prepared by the clinic staff. If this isn’t possible, or the intended parents are looking to reduce the cost of surrogacy, they can use a sperm donor.

From a legal standpoint, traditional surrogacy comes with an increased risk of complications. For instance, with a sperm donor, the child is not biologically related to one of the intended parents. Rather, he or she is related to the surrogate/ biological mother. Thus, an adoption process may be required to establish parenthood for the intended parents. Even if the child is genetically related, there is a risk that -- despite the contractual agreement between the surrogate and intended parents -- the surrogate can change her mind. Because of the risks involved, traditional surrogacy is rarely used and not as highly recommended.


This type of surrogacy is also known as “host surrogacy” or “full surrogacy.” Legally speaking, it is a less complicated process, because at least one intended parent is genetically related to the child, making second parent adoption necessary. Individuals who have struggled with infertility, prospective single parents or same sex couples are good candidates for gestational surrogacy. Anyone unable to carry a child to term, and who doesn’t want a biological tie between their carrier and child should consider gestational surrogacy as well.

With gestational surrogacy, the child being created is not related to the surrogate mother -- or gestational carrier, as she is often otherwise referred to. Rather, the embryo is implanted via in vitro fertilization (IVF) and uses the eggs and sperm donated from the intended parents. It is then transferred into the chosen carrier.

Different Types of Surrogacy

Determining which type of surrogacy is right for you is best achieved through an appointment with your doctor or medical provider. Be sure to research all the options available to see which one fits best for you.

About the Author

Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.

In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history as an adoptee, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Virginia Frank.

When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and a book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.