Surrogacy Terms You Need To Know
So, you think you’d like to become a surrogate or a parent through surrogacy. You sit down. You start googling. You see the search results and immediately start thinking, “What the heck are these words?” Gestational carrier? Surrogate mother? Transfer? The IP finds a GC, makes a match, and has an ET? Sometimes the way people talk about surrogacy can be confusing. So, we put together a little glossary of surrogacy terms that can help you on your way! And, of course, if you’d still like to talk through it, call us! We’re always here to help! You can even live chat with us on Facebook!
These surrogacy terms can also be helpful for family or friends who don’t quite understand your lingo. Send them the link to this post so they can get on the same page!
Surrogacy terms to know (and one to forget)
Traditional Surrogacy vs. Gestational Surrogacy
Looking back at surrogacy throughout history, surrogacy has involved a woman carrying a baby for another couple using her own egg to help create the baby. This is considered Traditional Surrogacy. Today, thanks in part to the advancements of medical science, a woman can carry a baby for another family without using her egg at all. The baby has no genetic link to the surrogate. Surrogacy professionals call this surrogacy term Gestational Surrogacy.
While most people use the word, surrogate, to describe the woman carrying their baby, the medical term most often used is gestational carrier or GC. During much of your journey, people you work with will use this surrogacy term to help make it clear that the egg being used for the pregnancy is not genetically linked to the woman who carries the pregnancy for the full gestational period. You’ll hear us use the word surrogate for those incredible women we work with at Hope Surrogacy!
While many people also use the term surrogate mother to describe the woman who carries a baby for another parent or parents, we’ve found that in our community, the term surrogate mother doesn’t fit. Most surrogates will tell you that they don’t want to ever use the term surrogate mother for themselves because simply put – they are not the moms. So, we stick with surrogate and leave the term mother for the woman who will raise the baby! We can go ahead and forget the surrogacy term surrogate mother. ;)
What’s an IP? Is it me?
IP stands for Intended Parents, the person or couple who have come to surrogacy to build their family. These are moms and dads who will raise the baby that the surrogate carries through pregnancy.
By the time you get to surrogacy, most people know that in vitro fertilization, or IVF, is a part of this journey to parenthood. This is the process of fertilizing an egg outside of the uterus. Then a doctor will place the embryo created by this process into the uterus where, if all goes well, it will attach and create a pregnancy. On the surrogacy journey, the surrogate is participating in an IVF cycle to achieve pregnancy. (The medical process for this is a huge task. We’ll guide you on choosing your clinic, and we’ll help you through the entire pregnancy.)
Once the IPs have successfully created embryos for their surrogacy journey, the embryo transfer is the process where the embryo is placed in the surrogate’s uterus. This is a big day! Check out this post about what that day can be like!
Parentage Agreements? Sibling projects? What do these mean?
This is a legal document created by your lawyer and signed by the parents, the surrogate, and the surrogate’s spouse/partner, outlining the terms you’ve agreed on for your surrogacy journey. Most importantly, it explicitly states who the intended parents of this baby will be. (This document is extremely important, but don’t worry, we’ll help you make sure everything is set up clearly and securely!)
Sometimes IPs and surrogates work together to bring more than one baby into the world. A surrogate might help a family carry two babies through two different pregnancies. We call this a sibling project! We’ll make sure you and your match are on the same page about whether or not you’ll consider doing a sibling project together! And you can make that known right away when you send us your information.
What other surrogacy terms have you heard that you want to know more about?
These are just a few of the surrogacy terms you’ll find helpful as you make your way through your surrogacy journey. Have a question about another word? Send us a message or ask us in the comments!
Plus, if you want to hear surrogates describe this process in THEIR words, check out our podcast here.