Many times, when intended parents or prospective surrogates are interested in the surrogacy process, they become overwhelmed by the extent of associated medical terms. After all, unless you’re a medical professional with experience in this field, you may be unaware of the definition of surrogacy and other terms related to assisted reproductive technology.
Therefore, to be completely prepared for the surrogacy process, it’s important that you understand the surrogacy definition and how professionals define certain terms used during the process. We’ve helped you out by defining surrogacy and all the other terms you need to know in this article.
First, here’s the surrogacy definition you need to know:
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines surrogacy as “the practice by which a woman (called a surrogate mother) becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby in order to give it to someone who cannot have children.” In a nutshell, that’s your basic definition of surrogacy.
However, within that broad definition, there are many different ways to define surrogacy — by the way the embryo is created, by whether the surrogate is compensated or not, by which professional you work with, and more. Here are just a few different types of surrogacy to explore:
- Traditional vs. Gestational Surrogacy
- Commercial Surrogacy
- Altruistic Surrogacy
- Agency Surrogacy
- Independent Surrogacy
- Identified Surrogacy
In addition to understanding the definition of surrogacy, you’ll also need to understand the various terms that are associated with the process. Here are some surrogacy definitions to be aware of:
- Intended Parent: This is the person who cannot carry a baby to term and hires a surrogate instead. Their egg or sperm may be a part of the transferred embryo, and they may be a single parent or married.
- Surrogate: This is the woman who carries a baby to term for the intended parents. Usually, she is between the ages of 21 and 35, has had a successful pregnancy and already has children. Surrogates are sometimes also called gestational carriers.
- Egg or Sperm Donor: In cases where the intended parent cannot create an embryo on their own, this is the person whose gamete they use to complete their embryo. This could be someone they know, or they may find a donation from an anonymous person through a gamete bank or fertility clinic.
- In Vitro Fertilization: This is the medical process used to fertilize an egg outside of a woman’s uterus. In surrogacy, a fertility specialist will collect eggs and sperm from the intended parents (or from a donor), fertilize the egg in a test tube or culture dish and then implant this embryo into the surrogate’s uterus.
- Surrogacy Agency: This is the organization that helps intended parents and prospective surrogates through every step of the surrogacy process, from screening to matching to mediating contact and more.
- Fertility Clinic: This is the medical organization that completes the IVF and embryo transfer processes. Both intended parents and surrogates will need to work closely with their fertility clinic to complete their surrogacy.
There are more terms associated with surrogacy, but these are the general surrogacy definitions you need to know if you’re considering this process. Look around on our website for more information about these different aspects of surrogacy.
But, you also may have heard the term surrogacy in reference to industries other than the fertility field — and you’re not mistaken. “Surrogacy” is a word that can be applied to many other situations. To clear up any confusion you may have about the definition of surrogacy, we’ve listed some of these other terms below:
- Political Surrogate: Also known as a campaign surrogate, this person acts on behalf of a candidate running for office — often by appearing at events on their behalf or using their influence to bolster the image of a candidate.
- Health Care Surrogate: In situations where a person cannot make medical decisions themselves, a health care surrogate will be the one to do so. Usually, this is a friend or relative of the person in medical distress.
- Legal Surrogate: This is another term for a health care surrogate.
However, when you hear the word “surrogacy” in regards to childbirth and pregnancy, you can be reasonably sure the surrogacy definition that applies is the first one listed in this article.
If you’re interested in more information on the definition of surrogacy and how it works, we recommend you contact a surrogacy professional to learn more about how to get started with the process.
Are you interested in learning more about surrogacy or starting the process? Complete our form to request free surrogacy information now.