Key Facts on Gestational Surrogacy

Gestational surrogacy refers to a process where an embryo, created through in vitro fertilization (IVF), is implanted in a surrogate mother. The surrogate then carries and delivers the baby for someone else – typically termed ‘intended parents’. In this arrangement, the surrogate mother has no genetic connection to the child since the egg and sperm used to create the embryo can either come from the intended parents or donors. It’s important to mention that surrogacy laws vary by state, which could potentially influence the process and surrounding legal considerations.

2. The Historical Context of Gestational Surrogacy

The first successful gestational surrogacy took place in 1985. Prior to this breakthrough, traditional (full) surrogacy was the common method, where the surrogate mother was also the biological mother of the child. Since then, gestational surrogacy has gained popularity and is preferred due to its ethical advantages – it eliminates potential legal disputes related to parental rights since the surrogate is not biologically related to the child.

3. Participants in Gestational Surrogacy

In gestational surrogacy, the key participants include intended parents, surrogate mothers, egg and/or sperm donors (if any), and medical professionals who facilitate IVF. The surrogate mother carries and gives birth to a child for the intended parents who may be unable to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term due to various reasons spanning from medical conditions to lifestyle choices.

4. The Role of Fertility Clinics

Fertility clinics play a significant role in gestational surrogacy. They provide medical facilities needed for IVF procedures from egg retrieval to the fertilization process and embryo transfer into the surrogate’s womb. Genetic testing can also be done at some advanced fertility clinics on the embryos before transferring them to the surrogate mother.

5. Legal Aspects of Gestational Surrogacy

The legalities of gestational surrogacy differ worldwide. Some countries, like Canada and the UK, allow for altruistic surrogacy where surrogates receive compensation only for their expenses. In contrast, commercial surrogacy is legal and regulated in countries like the US and Ukraine. Regardless of the jurisdiction, a thorough legal agreement should be made covering payment terms, health insurance, parental rights, and potential complications during pregnancy.

6. Psychological Impacts on Surrogate Mothers

Research shows that gestational surrogacy can have psychological impacts on surrogate mothers. They may experience a range of emotions from satisfaction in helping others to negative feelings associated with handing over the baby post-delivery. Postpartum depression is also a risk. Professional counselling and a strong support system can help manage these emotions effectively.

7. Ethical Considerations in Gestational Surrogacy

A myriad of ethical issues arises in connection with gestational surrogacy, which raises concerns about the potential commodification of women’s bodies and exploitation of economically vulnerable women as surrogates. It is crucial that surrogacy agreements respect the autonomy, dignity, and well-being of all parties, especially surrogate mothers.

8. Costs Associated with Gestational Surrogacy

Costs of gestational surrogacy vary depending on several factors including legal fees, agency fees, medical expenses for IVF procedures, and surrogate compensation. For instance, in the United States, it can range from around $100,000 to $150,000. In countries like Ukraine, however, it can be significantly less.

9. Success Rates of Gestational Surrogacy

Success rates of gestational surrogacy depend on several factors including the age and health of the egg donor, quality of the sperm, and the overall health and age of the surrogate mother. On average, gestational surrogacy has a relatively high success rate compared to traditional surrogacy and other assisted reproductive technologies.

10. Alternatives to Gestational Surrogacy

There are several alternatives to gestational surrogacy for those struggling to conceive. These include traditional surrogacy, adoption, foster care, and assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF with own eggs, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and egg or sperm donation.


Gestational surrogacy makes parenthood possible for many who are unable to carry a pregnancy naturally. However, it is not a decision to be taken lightly. It comes with complex moral, physiological, legal, financial and emotional considerations. As each surrogacy journey is unique, personalized counselling and careful consideration for all parties involved are key to a successful and ethical experience.

Griffin Kilmeade