Surrogacy 101

You Asked: Who's Involved in the Surrogacy Process?

Written by Caroline Shannon

February 7, 2023

When it comes to surrogacy, there are a few key players you'll meet along the way.

Welcome to surrogacy, the journey where you will learn an entirely new lexicon. Whether it’s getting the scoop on mock cycles and fertility-specific terms or learning who’s involved in the surrogacy process, surrogacy should come with a dictionary. 

And because we like to help you navigate all of the above (and then some), we’re here to help. That’s why today we’re serving up the deets on gestational carriers, intended parents, egg and sperm donors, IVF clinics, and more.

What is surrogacy? 

Before we learn some new terms, let’s talk about surrogacy. Surrogacy is a form of third-party reproduction in which a person consents, often by a legal agreement, to carry a pregnancy for someone else). Upon birth, parental rights are assigned to the intended parent(s).

Related: What Disqualifies You From Being A Surrogate?

Who is involved in the surrogacy process? 

Now for the good stuff: Who are the key players in a surrogacy journey? Keep reading to learn more about a few faces you might meet along the way:

Gestational carrier

This person is the one carrying the baby, aka the surrogate or gestational carrier (GC). The GC is the person who consents to carry a pregnancy for the intended parent(s). 

Intended Parent(s) 

Speaking of the intended parent(s), or IP(s): These individuals are the people who choose surrogacy to achieve the process of creating a family. IPs are the legal parents of a child born through surrogacy. Not all surrogate journeys have two intended parents — remember, family building happens in myriad ways — and in that case, we would refer to the intended parent. 

Egg and sperm donors

The intended parent(s) may work with these individuals if they are in need of donated gametes — reproductive cells that are known as eggs and sperm — to create an embryo. 

Related: What Is an Embryo?


Fertility and IVF clinics

Is it cliche to say this is where the magic happens? Ah, well, we already did. Anyway, fertility and in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics are where medical professionals assist people who want to become parents. These individuals are people who have been unable to carry a pregnancy for a variety of reasons, including infertility or a single person who wants to have children. 


Surrogacy agency

If you are considering surrogacy, you may work with an agency, which is a business or organization established to help coordinate a surrogacy journey and mediate a relationship between IPs and GCs.

The bottom line: Surrogacy terminology may seem like a lot, but learning some key terms in small doses can be a great way to make the process more manageable!

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