When working with a surrogate, families have two primary options: a gestational carrier or a “traditional” process. Traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy do have many similarities, but they are also very, very different experiences.

It’s crucial for intended parents to consider whether they’d prefer gestational surrogacy vs. traditional surrogate procedures— and that requires a bit of research. Learn the difference between gestational and traditional surrogacy with Extraordinary Conceptions.

No two families are exactly alike. They all have different dynamics, traditions, and histories that make them unique. For many, those histories include a very special origin story: their children were brought into the world with the help of a surrogate.

If you’re reading this today, you might be considering surrogacy as an option for your own family. Congratulations! By visiting us here, you are already taking the first steps towards the future that you want. However, as you begin to research and learn about your options, you may find yourself overwhelmed by unfamiliar terms or concepts. Though new to you, these terms have been around for awhile, and it’s important to know what they mean before deciding what type of surrogacy might be right for you.

If you’ve been browsing fertility forums or websites, you’ve likely seen comments discussing traditional vs. gestational surgery. If that’s confusing to you, not to worry!

What is the Difference Between Gestational Surrogacy and Traditional Surrogacy?

Gestational and traditional surrogacy have one common factor: both involve a third party (a surrogate) to carry a baby for an intended family. Aside from that, the two procedures are actually quite different, though that major difference stems from one very important aspect: eggs.

A traditional surrogate uses her own eggs and will be biologically related to the baby she is carrying. Meanwhile, a gestational carrier will be pregnant with the biological baby of either an egg donor or the intended mother.

Let’s break it down a bit further.

What is Traditional Surrogacy?

With traditional surrogacy, there is no need for intended parents to search for an egg donor nor undergo a procedure to retrieve their own. Instead, the surrogate will provide her own eggs. There are several reasons that some intended parents choose to work with a traditional surrogate.

First of all, traditional surrogacy tends to be significantly less expensive than its counterpart. This is largely because it doesn’t involve working with an egg donor, but there’s more to it than that. Traditional surrogacy tends to be more affordable because of the medical procedures it involves; unlike gestational surrogacy, which always requires IVF treatments, traditional surrogates conceive through IUI, or intrauterine insemination.

Another reason some intended parents choose to work with a traditional surrogate is that it requires fewer medical procedures for both the intended mother and the surrogate carrier. With traditional surrogacy, the intended mother will not have any medications to take or egg retrieval procedures to undergo. Though she will still undergo some fertility treatments ahead of her pregnancy, there will be less preparation for the surrogate as well.

Traditional surrogacy is, however, emotionally complicated, and therefore not a very common option these days. In fact, it’s illegal in many states, and it’s often not particularly easy to find a willing traditional surrogate.

What is Gestational Surrogacy?

These days, gestational surrogacy is by far the more commonly-used choice of the two types. Though it does involve more money and medical aspects, it is largely preferred; there are fewer complexities that come with a traditional carrier.

With gestational surrogacy, your carrier will undergo IVF (in-vitro fertilization) and carry a baby for you, the intended parent(s). This will happen using an embryo that has been made of the intended father’s sperm and an egg of either the intended mother or a chosen donor. That egg will have been retrieved from the donor or intended mother through a medical procedure.

Unlike traditional surrogacy, gestational surrogacy is completely legal— and common— in most US states. Additionally, in the cases of gestational surrogacy, all parties are protected by a legal contract. That is not the case for traditional surrogacy.

Which Option is Right For Me and My Family?

When it comes to choosing how to build your family, the decision is ultimately a personal one. We cannot tell you in an article if gestational or traditional surrogacy is a better choice for your family, as we don’t know your circumstances. However, we’d like to help— and we can! At Extraordinary Conceptions, we’ve spent the last fifteen years helping families navigate the confusing (but ultimately rewarding) process of surrogacy, egg donations, and creating a family through fertility treatments. We are proud to have dedicated fertility centers in both the US and Canada, a large team of brilliant and caring professionals, and a mission to help as many families as possible feel complete.

If you feel that surrogacy might be in your future, please get in touch with us. We’ll be able to talk with you about all of your options and help you chart the right path for you and your family. Congratulations on taking this big step towards your dreams— we are here to help make them come true!