22 Surrogacy Terms To Know – Guide For Surrogates & Parents


Surrogacy is a complex and intricate process, involving various medical and legal terms that can be overwhelming for many intended parents and surrogates. It’s crucial to have a good understanding of these terms to navigate the surrogacy journey successfully.

Some of the technical terms commonly used in surrogacy include the gestational carrier, traditional surrogacy, embryo transfer, intended parents, surrogacy agency, surrogate compensation, legal contracts, and medical screening. Each of these terms plays an essential role in the surrogacy process and can have a significant impact on the outcome of the surrogacy journey.

Understanding these terms and their implications can help both the intended parents and surrogates make informed decisions about their surrogacy journey. For example, knowing the difference between gestational and traditional surrogacy can help intended parents decide which method is best for them, while understanding the legal contracts can protect both parties and ensure that everyone’s rights and responsibilities are clearly defined.

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To sort out this confusion we have prepared a detailed list of the most common terms used in the surrogacy process such as Egg Donor, Surrogate Mother, IP and etc. You’ll come across these terms during your surrogacy journey more often.

1. Carrier/Surrogate/Surrogate Mother

These terms can be used interchangeably. The definition of a surrogate mother is a woman carrying a child for dependent parents who are unable to do so on their own. Surrogates can be further classified in two types: traditional surrogates and gestational surrogates.

2. Traditional Surrogacy

The surrogate becomes pregnant through artificial insemination and is genetically related to the baby. Traditional surrogacy was one of the most popular and preferable processes until a decade ago. After all, nowadays most surrogacies are gestational surrogacy.

3. Gestational Surrogacy (GS)

The surrogate becomes pregnant through In Virto Fertilization (IVF) and is not genetically related to the baby. Also, embryos are created using the eggs of an egg donor or the intended mother, and sperm of a sperm donor or the intended father.

4. Egg Donor for Surrogate Mother

A woman donates eggs or oocytes, later which will be used for assisted reproduction via IVF.

5. Egg Retrieval

The process by which eggs or oocytes are retrieved from the ovaries of an egg donor.

6. Intended Parent(s)

The legal parents of children are born through surrogacy and you’ll usually hear terms such as Intended Mother (IM) and Intended Father (IF).

7. Matching

The matching process is complete during the initial phase of surrogacy and egg donation.

The Intended Parents (IP) view profiles of the surrogate or egg donors. When the IP has chosen a surrogate they would like to work with, the Surrogate will be able to talk to them to see if she agrees to work with them. All of this is facilitated by Physician’s Surrogacy, San Diego, California.

8. Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2)

Both the egg donor and Surrogate Mother may need to do one of two standardized tests. These tests determine mental health disorders. Also, the tests ensure that our egg donors and surrogates are ready for the journey in helping others achieve the family of their dreams.

9. Carrier Agreement/Surrogacy Contract/ Surrogate Mother Contract

A legal contract between Intended Parents and Surrogates.

These terms & conditions of surrogacy can be negotiated by both parties before signing through their legal representation. This contact explains the rights and obligations of both parties.

10. Surrogacy Monitoring Clinic

A fertility clinic that is generally local to the Surrogate or egg donor and provides medical treatment. These treatments include ultrasounds and blood work during an egg donation cycle and surrogate pregnancy.

11. Obstetrician and Gynaecologist (OB/GYN)

An obstetrician or OB for short is a physician who delivers babies. A gynecologist, GYN for short, is a physician who specializes in treating diseases that are related to female reproductive organs. Also, GYN provides well-woman health care primarily on the reproductive organs.

12. Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE)

They do medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the female reproductive tract. In general, an Obstetrician or Gynaecologist who specializes in the function/dysfunction of the reproductive organs in women.

13. Surrogate Mother Cycle Schedule

Basically, the term means a surrogacy schedule created by an IVF doctor or coordinator. The schedule lists important appointment dates leading up to embryo transfer.

14. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

IVF is the process where fertilization takes place by manually combining an egg and sperm. In brief, this process creates an embryo in the laboratory and Reproductive Endocrinologists diagnose and treat IVF.

15. Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)

When a frozen embryo (fertilized and frozen egg) is thawed and transferred into a Surrogate Mother or Intended Mother’s uterus.

16. Beta Testing for Surrogate Mother

A type of blood test to help indicate whether a woman is pregnant or not. It is usually performed 10 days after an embryo transfer. Levels of pregnancy hormones such as Estradiol, Progesterone, LH, and HCG are measured during this test.

17. Amniocentesis

The term refers to Amniocentesis test that is essential for surrogacy.

It looks for any chromosomal abnormalities, neural tube defects, and genetic disorders through the examination of a cell’s amniotic fluid. Basically, this test took place between 14 and 20 weeks of pregnancy.

18. Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)

A radiology procedure is used to determine the condition of the fallopian tube and uterus.

19. Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) of Surrogate Mother

This test is similar to Amniocentesis. CVS is a diagnostic test that can identify abnormalities and other inherited disorders. This test is usually taking place between 10 and 12 weeks of pregnancy to look at cells in the placenta by either inserting a catheter into the uterus from the vagina or by inserting a needle from the belly into the uterus.

20. Blastocyst or “Blast”

The term refers to an embryo for surrogacy that has developed successfully for 5 to 7 days after fertilization. Blastocyst has 2 distinct cell types and a central cavity filled with fluid (blastocoel cavity). An embryo must reach Blastocyst state before being implanted in the uterus.

21. Pre-Birth Order (PBO)

Before the surrogate mother gives birth a court order that must acquire. This allows the Intended Parents and the surrogate access to the baby in the hospital.

22. Post-Birth Order

After when the surrogate gives birth to a baby, then a court order will be acquired. Basically, this law removes the surrogates’ name and leaves only the Intended Parent’s name on the birth certificate establishing guardianship of the parents.

Physician’s Surrogacy is the leading surrogacy agency that facilitates gestational surrogacy. So, if you still have any questions related to the surrogacy process, our staff at Physician’s surrogacy would be happy to help you.

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