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What’s the difference between traditional and gestational surrogacy

gestational surrogacy

Even though the concept of surrogacy may be relatively new to some people, the history of surrogacy dates back to biblical times, when the traditional surrogacy agreement was made between Abraham, Sarah, and her servant/surrogate, Hagar in The Book of Genesis. Many centuries have passed since then, and the accomplishments of medicine have advanced thus far. Nowadays, there are two types of surrogacy – traditional and gestational. If you’re new to this topic you may have questions about the difference between traditional and gestational surrogacy, and we’re here to guide you through this matter!

What is Traditional Surrogacy? 

Traditional also called genetically, surrogacy refers to the method of family building in which a surrogate mother agrees to carry a pregnancy for intended parents and use her own eggs, which makes her a genetic parent of the baby. During traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is artificially inseminated with the sperm of the intended father or a donor. After this procedure, her egg is fertilized and the surrogate mother is genetically connected to the child. The surrogate carries the pregnancy and delivers the baby, but because she is the child’s biological mother, she must sign a legal document relinquishing her parental rights to avoid future complications with the intended parents. 

Today, traditional surrogacy is not as common as gestational surrogacy, because traditional surrogacy comes with natural legal and emotional hardships. Traditional surrogacy is a viable option for single men, same-sex male couples, and intended mothers who can not produce healthy eggs. 

Traditional Surrogacy Cost

The cost of traditional surrogacy depends on several factors, including the team of professionals you work with, the many services you use throughout the process, and the needs of your surrogate. Usually, intended parents will be required to pay these expenses:

  • Surrogate medical expenses, including IUI
  • Attorney and agency fees
  • Counseling costs
  • Surrogate monthly allowance
  • Surrogate compensation
  • Other surrogate-related fees

Some of these expenses, such as the surrogate’s monthly allowance, are variable, so it’s hard to come up with an exact sum of fees intended parents will have to cover, but the aforementioned expenses are everything they will need to pay for. 

Pros and Cons of Traditional Surrogacy

Traditional surrogacy comes with advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of them: 


  • Traditional surrogacy is usually less expensive than gestational surrogacy.
  • Intended mothers do not need to undergo medical procedures because their eggs will not be harvested to create the embryo.


  • Traditional surrogacy is banned in many countries worldwide, so it’s harder to find a surrogacy agency to go through with it.
  • A traditional surrogate is the biological mother of her child, meaning she has parental rights and the power to change her mind and keep the baby. The intended parents would then need to go to court to gain custody of the child.
  • There have been cases where intended parents needed to complete a stepparent adoption to both have been recognized as the child’s legal parents.
  • Many surrogacy professionals do not offer traditional surrogacy programs, and many surrogates are more comfortable with gestational surrogacy than traditional surrogacy.
  • Intended mothers do not have the option of being biologically related to their children in traditional surrogacy.

Based on this list and many other factors to keep in mind, Be Parent Surrogacy does not offer traditional surrogacy options for intended parents. 

What is Gestational Surrogacy?

Gestational surrogacy refers to the method of family building in which the surrogate is not genetically related to the baby and acts as only the carrier of the child. In this case, the child is conceived using an embryo created in vitro, using the intended parent’s or parents’ genetic material (eggs and/or sperm) and/or the genetic material of a donor or donors. The fertilized embryo is transferred into the uterus of the surrogate, who then carries the pregnancy and delivers the baby. The surrogate mother is only responsible for the healthy development and delivery of the baby. 

Gestational surrogacy is the most common form of surrogacy used today. Even though it’s pricier than traditional surrogacy, all legal procedures are comparatively easier to carry out, which makes the exit process smooth and uncomplicated. 

Gestational Surrogacy Cost

The cost of gestational surrogacy, just like the traditional alternative, depends on many variable factors. In general, the final sum covers all necessary medical expenses, attorney fees, counseling costs, agency fees, and surrogate living expenses and compensation. Many of these expenses are variable; for example, the surrogate mother’s monthly allowance may vary based on where she lives, and attorney fees may differ depending on state laws and legal processes.

Pros and Cons of Gestational Surrogacy

Knowing all the pros and cons of gestational surrogacy before deciding which option is right for you is important. Even though it is the most popular family-building option for many couples around the world, gestational surrogacy may not be the ideal alternative for you. 


  • Gestational surrogacy gives infertile couples, single parents, and members of the LGBT community a chance of expanding their families.
  • Intended parents maintain genetic ties with the baby using gestational surrogacy.
  • Surrogacy gives intended parents the opportunity to create a nurturing and deep relationship with their surrogate.
  • Gestational surrogacy is the least legally complicated form of surrogacy because the baby is not related to the gestational carrier.


  • Gestational surrogacy requires intended parents to relinquish some control as someone else carries the pregnancy for them (if you’re using the help of a surrogacy agency, this matter is thoroughly taken care of.)
  • If the intended mother is using her own eggs in the surrogacy process, she will have to undergo fertility treatments and other medical procedures.

The Difference between Traditional and Gestational Surrogacy

The main difference between traditional and gestational surrogacy is clear – in traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is genetically related to the baby, while in the case of gestational surrogacy, she’s just a gestational carrier. In gestational surrogacy, an egg donor may be used to create the embryo the surrogate carries for 9 months. Egg donation is not required in traditional surrogacy because the surrogate uses her own eggs, essentially acting as both the egg donor and the carrier. 

These two types of surrogacy often involve different medical procedures. In gestational surrogacy, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is used to create an embryo using the intended mother’s (or donor’s) egg and intended father’s (or donor’s) sperm, which is then transferred to the surrogate. IVF can be used in traditional surrogacy as well, but more commonly, traditional surrogacy involves artificial insemination using intrauterine insemination (IUI). The difference between necessary medical procedures makes traditional surrogacy more affordable altogether. 

In traditional surrogacy, the risks are higher – since the surrogate mother is genetically linked with the baby, it’s possible that she develops an emotional bond with the child and refuses to give up her parental rights. If this scenario happens, the intended parents would then have to try to win custody in court, which could lead to a lengthy legal battle.

Even though traditional and gestational surrogacies are different from one another, they both are a way of making one’s dreams of parenthood come true. If you wish to learn more about traditional and gestational surrogacy and other options for expanding your family, you can contact our consultation team, and we’ll answer all of your questions!


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