Although rewarding, the surrogacy process and its vocabulary can be new and confusing at times. Not to worry! This blog defines and explains some of the common surrogacy terms you’ll come across during your journey, from what we mean by intended parents to what a pre birth order is and more.
Want to start with understanding the surrogacy basics? Review the list below and read our “What Is Surrogacy?” page for a surrogacy definition and overview.
- Carrier/Surrogate/Surrogate Mother: We use these terms interchangeably. However, a general surrogate definition is a woman carrying a child for intended parents who are unable to build a family on their own. There are two types of surrogates: traditional surrogates and gestational surrogates. If you’re thinking about applying or have signed a contract with Circle, you’ll be a gestational surrogate.
- Gestational Surrogacy (GS): Pregnancy where the surrogate is genetically unrelated to the baby. The embryos are created using the eggs from the intended mother or an egg donor and sperm from the intended father(s) or a sperm donor. Gestational surrogacy is what the Circle team helps to facilitate.
- Traditional Surrogacy: Pregnancy where the surrogate is genetically related to the baby and becomes pregnant through artificial insemination. While traditional surrogacy used to be more common, most of today’s surrogacy arrangements involve gestational surrogacy.
- Intended Parent (IP): Person or persons who become the legal parent of a child born through surrogacy.
- Intended Mother (IM): Mother who will become the legal parent of the child born through surrogacy.
- Intended Father (IF): Father who will become the legal parent of the child born through surrogacy.
- Egg Donor: A woman who donates eggs, or oocytes, for assisted reproduction via in vitro fertilization (IVF).
- Cycle Schedule: A timeline that lists important local monitoring appointment dates leading up to the transfer. An IVF clinic usually creates this
- Egg Retrieval: The process by which eggs are removed from the egg donor for fertilization.
- Matching: A process in which a surrogate or egg donor is matched with intended parents. At Circle Surrogacy, social workers and lawyers work together to identify surrogates and intended parents who would be good matches based on legal requirements, personality compatibility, and shared expectations.
- Primary Support Person (PSP): The person who will support a surrogate or egg donor through her journey. They will travel with her to her medical screening as well as her transfer/egg retrieval. Every surrogate and egg donor at Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation must have a designated primary support person when they sign on in the program.
- Carrier Agreement/Surrogacy Contract: A legal contract between the surrogate and intended parents. The parties negotiate the terms of the carrier agreement/surrogacy contract through their legal representation. Once the contract is signed, the terms of the contract govern the parties’ interactions. It is vital for both the intended parents and the surrogate to read the contract carefully so that all conditions are understood.
- Blastocyst or “Blast”: The last stage of development an embryo must reach before it is implanted in the uterine wall. About 40 percent of human embryos reach this stage of development in the IVF laboratory after five to six days of incubation.
- In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): A process by which eggs are fertilized by sperm outside the womb in a controlled environment: either a test tube or Petri dish. A reproductive endocrinologist performs the process at an IVF clinic.
- Frozen Embryo Transfer: A process that occurs when a frozen embryo (an already fertilized and frozen egg) is thawed and transferred into a surrogate. Learn more about the process in this Fresh and Frozen Embryo Transfers video from the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology.
- Beta Testing: A blood test used to help indicate whether a woman is pregnant approximately 10 days after an embryo transfer. It measures levels of Estradiol, Progesterone, LH, and HCG (hormones that indicate pregnancy).
- Amniocentesis: A test used to detect any chromosomal problems through the examination of the cells in the amniotic fluid around the baby. This test is done between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy (usually around week 16).
- Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS): A test performed between 10 and 12 weeks to look at cells in the placenta by inserting a thin, flexible tube (catheter) into the uterus through the vagina or by inserting a needle through the belly into the uterus. Similar to an amniocentesis, a CVS procedure can be used to find chromosomal birth defects, such as Down syndrome.
- Pre-Birth Order: A court-issued order that is acquired before the birth of the child. Typically, it will place the names on the birth certificate and allow you access to the child while he/she is in the hospital.
- Post-Birth Order: A court-issued order that is acquired after the birth of the child. Typically, it will replace the surrogate with the intended parents on the newborn’s birth certificate.
Learn more about becoming a surrogate or a parent through surrogacy. If you’re ready to embark on your surrogacy journey at Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation, complete our brief intended parent application or surrogate application or call us at (617) 439-9900.