Surrogate Mother, Surrogate, Gestational Carrier: Which Term is Correct? | EDSI

Surrogate Mother, Surrogate, Gestational Carrier: Which Term is Correct?

For those that want to become a surrogate, there are some common questions we see – mostly about what the proper term for a surrogate is: Surrogate Mother, Surrogate, or Gestational Carrier? There is a lot of misinformation out there about the surrogacy process. When talking to people, it might not seem important to use the correct terminology, but it is. The use of proper language can help to abate some of the fears and prejudices associated with surrogacy. It can help to make people more comfortable and educated on the topic – much of the stigma comes from a lack of education and understanding. 

The conversation really circles around two terms: “Gestational Carrier” and “Surrogate Mother.” While they may sound the same, there is actually quite a bit of meaning behind those different words. Wherever you are within your own surrogacy journey, whether you are considering becoming a surrogate or you want to become a parent through surrogacy, having the right language is important. 

What is the Difference Between A “Gestational Carrier” and A “Surrogate Mother”?

There are a few different terms that you may come across when research surrogacy: gestational carrier, surrogate mother, and surrogate. They all describe the same thing: a woman who carries a child for intended parents. Her journey is protected by the people around her, lawyers, doctors, and, hopefully, a surrogacy agency. She may receive compensation, health care, and supplies to help her through her surrogacy. When people talk about these women, they will typically use one of the terms previously mentioned. There are two ways for a woman to become a surrogate – she can be a traditional surrogate, where she uses her own eggs through a donation process. This method is rarely used anymore. Most commonly, women will be gestational surrogates where they are not genetically related to the baby. Eggs will either come from one of the intended parents or through an egg donor.

However, it is important to note that there is a massive difference between the terms “gestational carrier” and “surrogate mother” and that most professionals will only use one of them. Most professionals will use “gestational carrier” because it clears up any confusion about genetics. A gestational carrier will have no DNA shared with the baby, so calling her a “surrogate mother” seems inappropriate. Most legal and medical documents will utilize this term as well. 

Why Is Terminology So Important?

As mentioned, it is important to use precise vocabulary when talking about surrogacy. Gestational pregnancy explains itself within the term: it helps people understand that the surrogate is not genetically related to the child she is carrying. Surrogate pregnancy, however, or even surrogate mother, is a bit more complicated and cloudy. 

Now, times have changed and we are moving into a future where people don’t immediately think that the surrogate is carrying a baby with her own DNA – at least in the United States. This isn’t as self-explanatory in other countries where surrogacy is not as common.

At the end of the day, the best term to use is whatever is comfortable for the surrogate, the intended parents, and their families. What are you comfortable using? From there, everyone will be able to get on the same page. 

Ready To Start Your Surrogacy Journey? Contact Us Today

Surrogacy is an extremely rewarding experience that will change your life forever. If you are ready to get started on the surrogacy process, make sure to contact us today. We can help you through the process and explain every step of the way so that you never feel lost or alone – we know this is complicated, and we are here to make it easier.


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