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Surrogacy Overview

Types of Surrogacy
Arlette Schweitzer (L) acted as her daughter's surrogate and bore her own grandchildren.
Arlette Schweitzer (L) acted as her daughter's surrogate and bore her own grandchildren.
Taro Yamasaki/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

There are two types of surrogacy options: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. A traditional surrogate is a woman who donates her own egg and then carries the pregnancy. The surrogate's egg is fertilized through artificial insemination with the sperm of the father or a sperm donor. Traditional surrogates are genetically related to the child because their own eggs are used in the process.

A gestational surrogate -- known as a gestational carrier -- isn't biologically or genetically related to the child she carries. Gestational carriers become pregnant through the process of in vitro fertilization, where an embryo or embryos created from the eggs and sperm of the intended parents (or donor egg and donor sperm selected by the intended parents) are implanted in the uterus for the gestational period of 40 weeks.

Intended parents and surrogates must also consider what type of surrogacy arrangement they're most comfortable with. There are two common types of arrangements: commercial and altruistic.

In commercial surrogacy arrangements, the surrogate is compensated for her time and effort, any travel involved and related medical expenses not covered by insurance. The chosen surrogate and the intended parents usually don't know each other before the arrangement.

In altruistic surrogacy arrangements, the carrier sees no financial gain, and the arrangements are commonly made with relatives or friends of the intended parents.

What are the requirements for surrogate mothers, and how are surrogacies arranged? Read on to find out.