Couples in California who wish to become parents but have difficulty conceiving and carrying a baby to term might turn to surrogacy. The type of surrogacy chosen has different legal implications that prospective parents should understand before embarking on this journey.
What is gestational surrogacy?
Gestational surrogacy is the most common type involving egg, sperm or embryo donation. It is accomplished through in vitro fertilization where eggs are extracted from the intended mother or an egg donor and then fertilized with sperm from the father or a sperm donor. The resulting embryos are then transplanted into the uterus of the surrogate, who carries the child to term. The surrogate has no DNA ties to the babies she carries and births.
What is traditional surrogacy?
In this form of surrogacy, the eggs come from the surrogate mother, who agrees to artificial insemination with sperm from the father or a donor. This sperm is carefully treated in a laboratory before the insemination procedure to achieve a high concentration rate and ensure pregnancy.
What is the difference?
The biggest difference between the two types of surrogacy is that the gestational surrogate is not related to the baby she carries whereas a traditional surrogate is. Both surrogacy types require legal agreements with documents that outline the rights of all parties involved. In traditional surrogacy, the gestational carrier should sign a document relinquishing parental rights to the baby as she is genetically related to it.
Understanding the terms involving surrogacy can be difficult. The words surrogate, surrogate mother and gestational carrier are often used interchangeably although each has a slightly different meaning. Any legal documentation should incorporate the correct terms to ensure the appropriate parental status when the baby is born.