Become a Gay Dad

Surrogacy Glossary: Terms Every Gay Dad Needs to Know

Researching surrogacy but feel like it's all Ancient Greek to you? You're not alone! The surrogacy process is filled with jargon, so we've started this surrogacy glossary of commonly used terms every gay dad should know as he embarks on the surrogacy journey.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

Surrogacy Glossary

Altruistic Surrogacy: A type of surrogacy during which the surrogate volunteers to carry a child for intended parents, and receives no compensation. Also known as Compassionate Surrogacy.

Anonymous Egg Donor: A situation where intended parents, and/or any resulting child born through a surrogacy process, are unaware of the identity of an egg donor.

Artificial (or Assisted) Insemination: The medical procedure during which sperm from the intended biological father is inserted into a woman's cervix, fallopian tubes, or uterus. Also known as Intrauterine Insemination (IUI).

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART): Umbrella term for technologies used to achieve pregnancy in procedures such as Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Surrogacy.

Carrier: A woman who carries a child for separate intended parents. A (gestational) carrier is also sometimes referred to as a Surrogate.

Carrier Contract: See Surrogacy Contract.

Contract: Also known as a Surrogacy Contract or Carrier Contract, this is a legal agreement contract between the intended parents and a surrogate, which will be created through terms negotiated by lawyers. It's important to research the surrogacy laws in your state to make sure that contracts are always legal or enforceable in a court of law.

Compassionate Surrogacy: A type of surrogacy during which the surrogate volunteers to carry a child for intended parents, and receives no compensation. Also known as Altruistic Surrogacy.

Commercial Surrogacy: See Compensated Surrogacy.

Compensated Surrogacy: Also sometimes known as Commercial Surrogacy, this is a type of surrogacy during which a surrogate is compensated for carrying a child for intended parents. Typically, the terms of a compensated surrogacy are negotiated in a contract. Compensated surrogacy is not legal or enforceable everywhere, so it's important to research the laws in your state prior to entering into a contract.

Cryopreservation: A process that allows fertilized eggs to be frozen (cryopreserved) for use in later embryo transfers.

Egg Donor: A woman who donates a number of her eggs to intended parents for use in an IVF procedure.

Egg Retrieval: A medical procedure during which eggs are removed from the egg donor for fertilization.

Embryo: The resulting organism after a female egg is fertilized by male sperm. See also Fetus.

Embryo Transfer: The process of transferring a fertilized embryo into a surrogate's uterus.

Fertilization: The process by which sperm from an intended father fertilizes an egg to produce an embryo.

Fertility Clinic: A medical clinic where medical procedures associated with the surrogacy process are performed.

Fetus: An unborn child, from the eighth week to birth; before the eighth week the term Embryo is used.

Frozen Embryo: A process that allows fertilized eggs to be frozen (cryopreserved) for use in later embryo transfers.

Gestational Carrier: A woman who carries a child for separate intended parents. A (gestational) carrier is also sometimes referred to as a Surrogate.

Gestational Surrogacy: In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate carries an embryo created with eggs that are not her own but from a donor, for intended parents. Therefore, she is not genetically related to the baby. This is contrasted with Traditional Surrogacy, in which the carrier also serves as the egg donor, and thus is the biological mother of the resulting child.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): is an assisted reproductive technology used to enhance the fertilization phase of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) by injecting a single sperm into a mature egg.

Intended Parent(s): a single person or couple who will become the legal parent of a child born through surrogacy.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): See Artificial (or Assisted) Insemination.

In Vitro Fertilization: More commonly known by its acronym IVF, this is a medical process during which eggs are fertilized by sperm outside of the womb.

IUI or Intrauterine Insemination: See Artificial (or Assisted) Insemination.

IVF: See In Vitro Fertilization.

Known Egg Donor: A situation where intended parents, and potentially any resulting child born through a surrogacy process, are aware of the identity of an egg donor.

Matching: The process intended parents undergo to find a surrogate and/or egg donor.

Multiples: A term that refers to the heightened potential in an IVF procedure of conceiving two or more children when more than one embryo is transferred.

Multifetal Pregnancy Reduction or (MFPR): Also known as Selective Reduction, it is the practice of reducing the number of fetuses in a multifetal pregnancy, say quadruplets, to a twin or singleton pregnancy. Selective reduction is done for both medical and non-medical reasons.

Pre-Birth Order: A court order, obtained prior to the birth of a child, that will place all parental rights and responsibilities with the intended parents, rather than the surrogate. This order typically allows intended parents to place both names on the birth certificate after birth.

Post-Birth Order: A court order, obtained after the birth of a child, that will place all parental rights and responsibilities with the intended parents, rather than the surrogate. Typically, this order will remove the surrogate's name from the birth certificate and replace it with the name(s) of the intended parents.

Selective reduction: Also known as Multifetal Pregnancy Reduction or (MFPR), it is the practice of reducing the number of fetuses in a multifetal pregnancy, say quadruplets, to a twin or singleton pregnancy. Selective reduction is done for both medical and non-medical reasons.

Surrogacy Contract: Also known as a Carrier Contract, this is a legal agreement contract between the intended parents and a surrogate, which will be created through terms negotiated by lawyers. It's important to research the surrogacy laws in your state to make sure that contracts are always legal or enforceable in a court of law.

Surrogate: A woman who carries a child for separate intended parents. A surrogate is also sometimes referred to as a (Gestational) Carrier.

Traditional Surrogacy: In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is both the egg donor and carrier of a child for intended intended parents. Therefore, she will be the biological mother of the resulting child. This is contrasted with Gestational Surrogacy, in which the carrier does not serve as the egg donor, and thus will not be the biological mother of the resulting child.

If you're considering adoption, read ourAdoption Glossary: Terms Every Adoptive Gay Dad Needs to Know."

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