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When considering surrogacy as your path to parenthood, you may wonder which option would be best for you and your future family: gestational surrogacy or traditional surrogacy. For both methods, intended parents rely on a surrogate to carry and deliver the baby. However, there are marked distinctions between each. To help you choose the right option that best aligns with your comfort level and goals, you will need to understand the key differences between traditional vs. gestational surrogacy.


Gestational surrogacy is the process where a surrogate carries and delivers a baby for the intended parents. The gestational surrogate does not have genetic ties to the baby she is carrying. The embryo is created in the lab through in vitro fertilization (IVF) using the intended mother’s or donor’s egg and the intended father’s or donor’s sperm. It is then transferred to the surrogate’s uterus at the fertility clinic. This is the most-practiced option utilized by most surrogate agencies.


Before modern science allowed for the creation of embryos outside of the womb, traditional surrogacy was the only way to conceive with a surrogate mother. This type of surrogacy has been practiced the longest. In traditional surrogacy, also referred to as “full” or “genetic” surrogacy, the surrogate is the egg donor and is genetically related to the baby she is carrying. The surrogate becomes pregnant, utilizing sperm from the intended father or donor through a process called intrauterine insemination (IUI). The surrogate carries the baby to term, and since she is the biological mother of the baby, she signs her parental rights away right after the baby's delivery to the intended parents, who become the legal guardians.


When considering which type of surrogacy to choose, there are always potential pros and cons to both gestational and traditional surrogacy.

Traditional Surrogacy: Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Traditional surrogacy costs less than gestational surrogacy because the IVF process is not necessary. Besides the injection of the intended father’s sperm, the surrogate does not undergo an in-depth medical procedure. This offers a viable alternative to adoption where one parent is related to the child.

  • Cons: Traditional surrogacy poses some possible emotional and legal challenges. Since the surrogate is biologically related to the child, this holds an additional emotional component for both the surrogate and the intended parents. Most traditional surrogacies have been completed without complication. However, most states lack legal protections for intended parents in instances where a traditional surrogate changes her mind and refuses to give up the child after delivery. Though certain state laws require the surrogate to surrender parental rights after the child’s birth, there is the potential for a surrogate with a biological connection to the baby to challenge the intended parents’ legal rights to the child.

Gestational Surrogacy: Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Aside from a high success rate, intended parents can choose to work with a surrogacy agency that will take care of them through the entire process, from choosing egg donors (if needed) to surrogate matching and handling all legal and medical aspects of the surrogacy. Parents will have peace of mind working with professionals at every step of the process.

  • Cons: Gestational surrogacy may cost more. The increased surrogacy cost includes agency fees, choosing an egg donor (if required), covering surrogate costs and expenses, and the IVF process.


Embarking on the journey of parenthood is a deeply personal and fulfilling experience. For some, however, the path to parenthood may present unexpected challenges—from medical conditions to factors that make conceiving or carrying a child to term difficult or impossible.

The path of taking traditional surrogacy or gestational surrogacy remains a personal choice for intended parents. The biggest considerations are costs, time, and personal values.

Traditional surrogacy offers a more affordable option because the IVF process is not necessary. However, there are some legal considerations, such as the potential for a surrogate with a biological connection with the child to challenge the intended parents’ legal rights to the child.

On the other hand, gestational surrogacy offers intended parents the peace of mind of working with a surrogacy agency. Clear contractual agreements are established, outlining the rights and responsibilities of all involved. This prevents potential disputes and ensures a smoother transition of parental rights after the child is born.


The main difference between traditional and gestational surrogacy is the surrogate’s biological connection (or lack of) to the child. However, this difference impacts several factors in the surrogacy process: medical procedures, legal process, wait time, costs, and risks. It is up to intended parents to consider their own goals and priorities when choosing the right type of surrogacy for them.

Surrogacy, in general, can be a complex process with many moving components. Navigating it can be daunting. However, working with a knowledgeable, experienced team of professionals can simplify your journey to parenthood.

At Growing Generations, we have been dedicated to making parenthood a reality since 1996, practicing only gestational surrogacy. Understanding the importance of personalized care and support, we tailor our services to your unique needs. Contact us today and let us help you build your legacy today, or complete an application to get started.

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