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Surrogacy Terms Decoded: 17 Definitions You Should Know

Although rewarding, the surrogacy process and its lingo can be confusing at times. Not to worry as our surrogacy agency, Shared Conception, has defined common terms you’ll come across during your surrogacy  journey to make the experience as seamless as possible. 

1. 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.

2. Gestational Surrogacy: 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.

3. Traditional Surrogacy: Pregnancy where the surrogate is genetically related to the baby and becomes pregnant through artificial insemination. While it used to be common, most surrogacy arrangements today involve gestational surrogacy.

4. Intended Parent: Person or persons who become the legal parent of a child born through surrogacy.

5. Matching: A process in which a surrogate or egg donor is matched with intended parents. At our surrogacy, Shared Conception, our team works together to identify surrogates and intended parents who would be good matches based on legal requirements, personality compatibility and shared expectations.

6. 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. The process is performed by a reproductive endocrinologist at an IVF clinic.

7. Frozen Embryo Transfer: A process that occurs when a frozen embryo (an already fertilized and frozen egg) is thawed and transferred into a surrogate.

8. 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 (which indicate pregnancy).

9. 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).

10. 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 though 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.

11. 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.

12. Carrier Agreement/Surrogacy Contract: A legal contract between the surrogate and intended parents. The terms of the contract are negotiated by the parties through their legal representation. Once the contract is signed, the terms of the contract govern the parties’ interactions. It is very important for both the intended parents and the surrogate to read the contract carefully so that all conditions are understood.

13. Cycle Schedule: A timeline that lists important local monitoring appointment dates leading up to the transfer. This is usually created by an IVF clinic.

14. Egg Retrieval: The process by which eggs are removed from the egg donor for fertilization.

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. Egg Donor: A woman who donates eggs, or oocytes, for assisted reproduction via IVF.

Need further explanations or have questions? Call us here at Shared Conception. We can answer your questions and address any concerns. 

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