How Does Surrogate Pregnancy Works

Submitted by Pregnancy and Baby Care team on August 9, 2012

Surrogate pregnancies are an unconventional way for childless couples to have children. This option is different from adoption. In surrogate pregnancy, an agreement is made between a couple (or a single person) and a woman that is willing to carry the child for them.


Although there are very few statistics to indicate that surrogacy is becoming prevalent in the United States, the number of babies born to surrogate mothers has grown by 89 percent from 2004 to 2008.

Why Surrogate Pregnancy?

There are many reasons why couples opt for surrogate pregnancy, but one of the most common ones is female infertility. Adoption is of course one of the options in such cases, however with surrogacy, couples can actually pass on their genes to their children.


However, because of the inherent risks associated with surrogacy, couples are advised to choose this option only in case of serious health risks and infertility, and not for the sake of convenience alone. Surrogacy is also an option for same-sex couples and single people who wish to conceive and is a legal alternative to pregnancy for women who want to avoid pregnancy but still want to "conceive".

Types Of Surrogate Pregnancies

Traditional and gestational methods are the two main surrogacy types. Traditional surrogacy is when a couple comes into a surrogacy agreement with the chosen surrogate mother. In this process, the surrogate mother will be impregnated via artificial insemination or IVF with the sperm of the father or from a sperm bank. The surrogate mother's eggs will be used, meaning that she will be the biological mother. This form of surrogacy is mainly used in cases of female infertility or same sex couples and has the benefit of lower costs. The gestational form of surrogacy however is different; here a chosen woman's womb is ‘rented'. The eggs, sperms and sometimes even embryos are provided to the surrogate mother from the contracted couple; in this case, she will not be the biological mother.

There are risks involved with both types of surrogacy – risks of ethical, medical, social and psychological harm to all parties involved. Most states have hazy laws surrounding surrogate agreements, but there is ongoing work on strengthening the laws around it.

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