Your Guide to Different Types of Surrogacy By The Egg Donor & Surrogacy Program on August 18, 2019

The idea of using a surrogate has become more and more common that past few years. You may even know of some celebrities who use surrogate carriers. But did you know there are different kinds of surrogacy?

Surrogacy is not a one-size-fits-all method, so let’s talk about all the different options out there.

Different Kinds of Surrogacy

When it comes to creating an embryo, there are two types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational. 


Traditional surrogacy is when you use the surrogate's biological egg. In this scenario, the surrogate would be genetically related to the baby.

Historically, a traditional arrangement was once the only way to complete a surrogacy. Before modern technology provided IVF, the surrogate’s egg was combined with the intended father’s sperm; then she would carry the baby full-term. This type of arrangement led to many legal and emotional struggles when it came time for the surrogate to give up the baby to the intended parents.

This type of surrogacy is much rarer now, and is, in fact, illegal in some states. 


Now that donor eggs and IVF can be used, gestational surrogates are much more common. Gestational surrogacy is medically more involved and more expensive than traditional surrogacy. But because the surrogate is not genetically related to the baby, there are fewer legal issues involved.

This type of surrogacy happens in 3 steps:

  1. Egg donation: The intended couple finds an egg donor or the intended mom cyles to  have her own eggs retrieved. The egg donor or mom then takes a series of medications to stimulate her ovaries. The eggs are retrieved during a short 30-minute procedure. 
  2. Fertilization: After the eggs are retrieved, they are fertilized with the intended father’s sperm. From here the embryos can either be frozen or immediately transferred to the surrogate
  3. Transfer: The transfer happens when the eggs placed into the surrogate's uterus. Because an egg donor was used, the surrogate has no genetic relation to the child. 

Payment for Surrogacy

There are two different types of compensation when it comes to surrogacy: compensated and altruistic.

The intended parents will always have the responsibility to cover all medical costs associated with the pregnancy. If the surrogate does not receive any additional payments beyond the medical care, this is known as altruistic surrogacy. 

In some countries such as Canada and Australia, an altruistic arrangement is the only type of surrogacy that is legal when the surrogate resides in those locations.

In other cases, the surrogate will be paid additional compensation on top of covering the medical expenses for inconvenience, risk and discomfort. This usually happens if the intended parents use an agency to find a surrogate carrier. 

Agency vs. Independent Surrogacy

Independent surrogacy is when a carrier is working without the support and expertise of an agency. This is most common when the intended parents know the surrogate personally; such as a relative or friend.

While it may be tempting to take the agency out of the equation, it is risky working without the support and knowledge of a third party. A third-party agency offers a layer of support and protections for everyone involved.

The Right Type of Surrogacy for You

If you’re looking into using a surrogate or gestational carrier, don’t get overwhelmed at the different kinds of surrogacy. We’re here to help you every step of the way. We can walk you through all your options until you find the perfect arrangement that will meet all your needs.

So, don’t wait any longer; let’s get your surrogacy journey started today. 



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