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Surrogate vs. Gestational Carrier- A Clarification

On the Oprah show that aired October 9 2007 describing “A Womb for Rent”, the term Surrogacy was used to describe the practice of using another woman’s uterus (womb) to carry an unrelated couple’s pregnancy.  Today, the term Gestational Carrier is the more appropriate term to describe this arrangement.  Because of the invention of in vitro fertilization (IVF), an embryo from one couple can be implanted and carried to term by an unrelated woman, the Gestational Carrier.   In this arrangement, the carrier is not genetically related to the child.   A physician usually recommends the use of a Gestational Carrier if the genetic mother has normal ovaries but lacks a uterus, has a congenital abnormality of the uterus, has a history of pregnancy losses or a medical contraindication to pregnancy (pregnancy would be life threatening). 

The term surrogate is used less often, because it implies traditional surrogacy in which a woman is inseminated with the sperm of a man who is not her partner to conceive and carry a child for this man and his partner.  In this form of surrogacy, the woman is giving up her own genetic child to the other couple.  The biologic father and partner then adopt the child after birth.