The Different Types of Surrogacy: Which is Right for You?

What are the different types of surrogacy, and which is right for you? Find out more about each of the surrogacy types here.


Did you know there are many different types of surrogacy? As a complicated medical process, surrogacy can be completed in several ways, tailored to everything from who will be genetically related to the baby to what kind of relationship intended parents and surrogates want to have with each other.

The different types of surrogacy can be overwhelming when you’re first learning about this method of assisted reproduction, but they actually help to make sure that intended parents and surrogates choose the kind of surrogacy that’s perfect for them. Surrogacy is not one-size-fits-all, and a surrogacy professional can help you choose the process that’s right for you based on what you desire from your surrogacy experience.

To help you understand the various surrogacy types and assist you in your decision, we’ve explained some types of surrogacy here and given you some tips on which might be best for you.

Genetic Relationship: Gestational vs. Traditional Surrogacy

When it comes to creating an embryo, there are two types of surrogacy to contemplate: traditional and gestational. In a nutshell, here’s what you need to know about these types of surrogacy.

In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate’s egg is used to create the embryo of the child she is going to carry (either through intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization.) In gestational surrogacy, the intended parents create an embryo using their own egg and sperm or using donated egg or sperm.

While traditional surrogacy was the only way to complete a surrogacy throughout most of history, over the past 30 years, gestational surrogacy has become the more popular of the two types of surrogacy. Not only does it allow both parents of a heterosexual couple to be biologically related to their child, but it also helps eliminate some of the legal and emotional struggles that come with a surrogate being genetically related to the child she’s carrying.

So, how do you know which of these surrogacy types is right for you? It’s always best you confer with your surrogacy professional, but here are some reasons why people may choose traditional or gestational surrogacy:

Traditional Surrogacy:

Gestational Surrogacy:

Payment for a Surrogate: Compensated vs. Altruistic Surrogacy

Another factor that creates different types of surrogacy is the compensation that a surrogate is paid to carry the intended parents’ child.

When a surrogate is given base payment for carrying the child (beyond reimbursement for pregnancy-related expenses), this is known as compensated surrogacy. If a surrogate does not receive any additional payments, she will complete an altruistic surrogacy.

So, how do you decide between these two types of surrogacy? Here are some factors that may apply to your situation:

Compensated Surrogacy:

Altruistic Surrogacy:

Where It’s Completed: Domestic vs. International Surrogacy

Surrogacy is an ART process that’s completed around the world. However, many countries have strict laws regulating this process, so depending on where you live, you may have the choice between two types of surrogacy: domestic and international.

If you live in the United States, your best option will likely be to complete a domestic surrogacy because of its thorough legal regulations (other countries may be more ambiguous or restrictive in their laws). If you live in another country, it’s important that you explore  different countries’ laws regarding surrogacy before deciding to pursue an international surrogacy.

Here are some reasons why people choose between these types of surrogacy:

Domestic Surrogacy:

International Surrogacy:

Who You Work with: Agency vs. Independent Surrogacy

Another factor that will play a role in your decision between the different types of surrogacy is which professional you choose to help you complete your process — if you work with a professional at all. Generally, there are two types of surrogacy when it comes to working with a professional: an agency surrogacy and an independent surrogacy.

In an agency surrogacy, intended parents and surrogates work with a surrogacy service or agency from the beginning to the end of their surrogacy process — from the initial screening and matching to mediation of contact to the finalization of compensation and parentage. In an independent surrogacy, intended parents and surrogates usually only work with a surrogacy lawyer and a fertility clinic to complete their surrogacy process.

Typically, surrogates and intended parents will choose between these types of surrogacy for certain reasons:

Agency Surrogacy:

Independent Surrogacy:

Deciding Which Type of Surrogacy is Right for You

These are only a few of the types of surrogacy available to you as an intended parent or prospective surrogate. For example, if you’re an intended parent, your surrogacy process may also fall underneath the categories of single parent surrogacy or LGBT surrogacy.

Remember, your surrogacy will be tailored to you and your individual situation — and you’ll need to decide what’s best for you and your family as you move forward. It’s recommended that you speak in detail with a surrogacy professional or your fertility clinic to find out what types of surrogacy are available to you and the pros and cons of each to determine what the perfect fit is for you.

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