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Gestational Carrier vs Surrogate [Understanding the Difference]

Surrogacy is such a personal and emotional choice for surrogates and intended parents, alike. Although the actual surrogacy process can be very technical, it’s important to always be sensitive and respectful when talking to someone who is going through the process.

Today more than ever, using the proper language is important — and gestational carrier is no exception.

Although this family-building process has been around for decades, there’s still a lot of confusion when it comes to exactly what surrogacy involves.

Our mission is to educate surrogates and intended parents — as well as the greater community — about exactly what surrogacy is like. A great place to start is by learning and using proper terminology and language to protect everyone involved in this process.

Not sure what we mean? Keep reading to get the real details that you need to know. You can also contact us online to get more free information.

What’s the Difference Between a Surrogate and a Gestational Carrier?

When you first start researching the surrogacy process, you’ll likely come across a lot of conflicting information. Surrogacy is a rapidly advancing field, and the truth is that many websites and professionals don’t update their education information as often as they should.

One of the biggest aspects to your research is that you’ll likely discover that there are many different names for the women who volunteer to carry a child for someone else. Some of the most common terms can include:

There is a big difference between surrogate and gestational carrier, or gestational carrier and traditional surrogate. Before we move any further, you need to understand what those differences allude to.

There are two ways a woman can choose to carry for intended parents. She can engage in:

  1. Gestational surrogacy, in which the intended parents create an embryo on their own and the surrogate simply has the embryo transferred to her uterus. This is the most common type of surrogacy today.
  2. Traditional surrogacy, which is where the surrogate has her eggs harvested to create an embryo for the intended parents — thereby, carrying and giving birth to her genetic child. This type of surrogacy is illegal in most states and discouraged by reputable professionals.

The debate over “gestational carrier” vs “surrogate mother” — and the charged emotions related to both terms — stems from this key difference in procedure.

“Gestational Carrier” vs. “Surrogate Mother”: Signs of the Changing Times

For centuries, the “traditional way” was the only way women could become surrogates, either by completing in vitro fertilization with their eggs or underwent artificial insemination.

In these situations, a surrogate was the biological mother of the child she carried, which is where the term “surrogate mother” came from. Even though a surrogate did not raise the child she carried, her biological connection held enough weight that “surrogate mother” became the norm in talking about the surrogacy process.

However, after the introduction of gestational surrogacy, the term became outdated. A surrogate no longer had to be related to the child she carried, and both intended parents and surrogates objected at the use of “mother” to describe the role that a gestational carrier took on.

A gestational carrier is in no way a “mother” to the child she bears; however, the prevalence of the term is hard to erase after years of its usage.

Today, many surrogacy professionals, intended parents and surrogates themselves advocate for terms like “gestational carrier” vs “surrogate.” Using these terms helps to clarify the reality of genetic connection in surrogacy, and it’s a movement we are 100 percent behind.

Why Our Website Uses “Surrogate Mother” — and Other Surrogate Synonyms

All of that being said, if our website is so dedicated to education and correct terminology usage, why do we so frequently use “surrogate mother” and other “surrogates” synonyms?

It’s a complicated issue, and our intent is never to offend anyone who comes to our site for objective, educational materials on the surrogacy process.

However, the fact is that many women, like you, who are first researching being a gestational carrier are only familiar with the common phrases seen in media and other stories about surrogacy. For them, there is no difference between “surrogate” and “gestational carrier” — but, because the former is so heavily used by those unfamiliar with the process, it’s often the phrase they use themselves, too.

In order to educate as many people as possible about the surrogacy process, we want to meet them at their level of knowledge. Many prospective carriers early in the process consider themselves as “surrogate mothers” in the making.

On our website, our content is written to reflect the terminology you and other women are familiar with and use. Only then can we begin to explain the right way to talk about surrogacy and guide you toward the best path.

We know that “surrogate mother” can be a heated term, and we in no way condone its use by professionals. However, we do recognize that surrogacy is a fairly new process to a lot of people, and there can be a great deal of ignorance about the process.

By using the term in our website, we aim to meet people at their current knowledge level — and help them better understand what surrogacy is really about.

If you have more questions about the difference between surrogate and gestational carrier or about being a surrogate yourself, we can help. Contact a surrogacy professional today for free to get more information.

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