The Difference Between ‘Surrogate’ and ‘Gestational Carrier’

Is there a difference between “surrogacy” and “gestational carrier”?

If you’re a woman considering the surrogacy process, this is probably a question you’ve found yourself asking. In your research, you have most likely found the terms “surrogate,” “surrogate mother,” and “gestational carrier” used interchangeably.

So, which is it?

We’re here to clear things up. This is, more than anything, a matter of terminology. But, as you’ll see, the words we use do matter, especially if you are considering the surrogacy process for yourself. Keep reading to find out why.

Gestational Carrier vs. Surrogacy

The surrogacy process has been around for a while, but it is still a relatively new way to start or grow a family. Plus, the process has experienced a noticeable surge in popularity in recent years. Because of this, there’s still a lot of confusion out there about the process.

This confusion includes the terms involved, like the difference between “surrogate” and “gestational carrier.” The two may sound the same, and they are often used interchangeably. But, as you’ll see, your choice of words matters.

Using the correct term can help others understand the process and empower women who choose to become gestational carriers.

What’s the Difference Between ‘Surrogate’ and ‘Gestational Carrier?’

In order to explain the difference between “surrogate” and “gestational carrier,” there’s something else you need to understand: the two different types of surrogacy.

First, there’s traditional surrogacy. In this process, the surrogate’s own egg is used in the fertilization process, which makes her the biological mother of the baby.

Then, there’s gestational surrogacy. In the gestational surrogacy process, an intended parent’s or donor’s egg is used for an embryo transfer. This means that the gestational carrier is not biologically related to the child in any way.

When most people think of surrogacy, they probably think of traditional surrogacy. That’s totally understandable, because most people are not all that familiar with how the embryo transfer process actually works. However, the truth is that most professionals today, including Southern Surrogacy, will only provide services for a gestational surrogacy process.

Gestational surrogacy poses less legal and emotional risk for the gestational carrier and for the intended parents, and it is the primary type of surrogacy that women considering becoming a carrier are interested in.

This brings us back to the big difference between “surrogate” and “gestational carrier.” When you call someone a “surrogate mother,” you are implying the type of biological connection that would exist in traditional surrogacy. But, since most women are actually taking part in gestational surrogacies, it is much more accurate to use the term “gestational carrier.”

Why Does the Difference Between ‘Surrogate’ and ‘Gestational Carrier’ Matter?

It might seem like splitting hairs, but the difference between “surrogate” and “gestational carrier” does matter. The biggest reason for this is that the DNA of the baby is, often, very important to both intended parents and gestational carriers. In gestational surrogacy, there is no DNA connection between the carrier and the baby. Since “surrogate” is typically used to refer to traditional surrogacy, it implies a DNA connection.

However, most people will not mind it if you use the term “surrogate.” What really bothers people is the term “surrogate mother.” A gestational carrier is doing something brave, beautiful and life changing. But, she is not a mother.

“Surrogate mother” mixes up the roles in a complex, emotional and delicate process. That’s why it is best to avoid using the term “surrogate mother,” instead opting simply for “surrogate,” or, even better, “gestational carrier.”

The words we use carry weight, and, now that you know the difference, you can choose to use words to speak accurately and encouragingly about the surrogacy process.

Why Southern Surrogacy Uses Both Terms

After spending all the time going over the details of terms like gestational carrier vs. surrogacy, you may wonder why you see the term “surrogate” show up on our website, alongside “gestational carrier.”

Simply put: We want this process to be accessible to anyone who believes it could be right for their life. In an effort to make the gestational surrogacy process approachable, we sometimes have to meet people where they are with language.

While “gestational carrier” is the better term, we also know that it sounds a bit like complicated medical jargon to someone who is interested in, but unfamiliar with, the surrogacy process. For this reason, we may use the terms interchangeably. 

Learn More About Our Program

Surrogacy, as you can see, can be complicated. That’s why it is so important to have the best information available if you are considering the process. Our team can help.

Our surrogacy program is designed to ensure that you feel safe, confident and supported throughout your process. We place a high value on personalized services, and the experience of our team means you can trust that you are in good hands.

If you think that becoming a gestational carrier could be the right thing for you, then the first thing to do is check on our surrogacy requirements. These include:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have a previous healthy pregnancy
  • Be raising your own child in your home
  • Be smoke- and drug-free
  • Have a healthy BMI
  • Be able to travel for surrogacy appointments
  • Live in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee or Alabama
  • And more

Once these initial screening requirements are met, we’ll conduct a more in-depth medical and psychological screening. All of this is meant to ensure that you are prepared for a successful process. Our goal is always to put you in the best situation, which includes thorough screening, a personal approach to finding a match, support at every step, and more.

If you’d like to learn more about the process, or inquire about beginning your own surrogacy journey today, please contact us online at any time.