How Do Surrogate Mothers Get Pregnant: How Does It Work?

Olga Pysana
December 11 2022

It is important to figure out how do surrogate mothers get pregnant. But before going into the details of pregnancy for surrogates, let’s start with the basics.There are two different types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational. Both are equally safe for surrogate mother (the woman who carries a baby to term on behalf of other people) and the resulting child but there is a significant difference between them.

Traditional surrogacy

Traditional surrogacy entails a woman serving as both egg donor and surrogate—so that she is genetically related to the baby.In this form of surrogacy, a doctor takes sperm from the intended father and inserts it into the surrogate's uterus through intrauterine insemination (IUI). Then, natural fertilization of the egg takes place. Because of advances in medical science, gestational surrogacy is becoming far more common than traditional surrogacy.


Gestational surrogacy

The most common form of surrogacy is gestational, in which an embryo created by the intended parents' sperm and egg is implanted into the surrogate's uterus. Though the procedure varies depending on who provides the egg and who provides sperm, in all forms of gestational surrogacy an embryo made from either donor eggs or intended father's sperm is transferred to a surrogate.


Gestational surrogacy provides a way for people who are unable to conceive on their own to have children. The process is slightly different for LGBTQ+ intended parents, as they must decide which (if either) partner will be genetically related to the child, and whether they will use a known or anonymous egg or sperm donor.

How Does A Surrogate Get Pregnant: What Is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)? 

How does a surrogate get pregnant? Before we describe the process, let’s take a moment to define in vitro fertilization (IVF), as it plays a central role in the gestational surrogacy process. 

IVF is a complex series of procedures in which eggs and sperm are combined in a laboratory to create an embryo (or embryos). During these procedures, mature eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and sperm is added to the egg. Then, the fertilized egg(s), now an embryo (or embryos), is transferred to a uterus. Pregnancy occurs if any of the embryos implant into the wall of the uterus.  

How To Do Surrogacy: Detailed Process Description

How to do surrogacy? Now let's try to explain how surrogate mothers get pregnant. Here is how IVF is used in gestational surrogacy:

First, the biological mother (or an anonymous donor) takes fertility medications to produce multiple mature eggs that are ready for fertilization.

The next step is egg retrieval. In this procedure, the doctor collects the mature eggs from the woman, often through a process called transvaginal ultrasound aspiration. First, the woman is sedated and given pain medication. An ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina to identify follicles; then, the doctor inserts a thin needle into an ultrasound guide, which goes into the follicles and retrieves the eggs. This process takes about 15–20 minutes.

Sperm is collected from the partner (or a donor) and the eggs are fertilized in a lab. To fertilize the egg, the sperm is either injected into the egg or mixed with the egg in a petri dish.

The embryo grows in the lab for two to five days, and then the embryo or embryos are transferred back to a surrogate mother at a doctor’s office or fertility clinic. During egg transfer, the doctor inserts a catheter into the vagina, which then goes through the cervix and into the uterus. There is a syringe at the end of the catheter which contains one or more embryos in a small amount of fluid. Using the syringe, the doctor inserts the embryo or embryos into the uterus.

If this process was successful, an embryo will implant in the lining of the surrogate’s uterus, and she is officially pregnant. Nine months later, the intended parents get to meet the newest member of their family! So, now we understand how surrogate mothers get pregnant.

Let's Consolidate The Knowledge: Whose Eggs Are Used In Surrogacy 

Whose eggs are used in surrogacy? During a traditional surrogacy, the surrogate uses her own egg for the conception process. This makes the surrogate the baby’s biological mother. Typically, the intended father’s sperm is used to conceive the child through a process called artificial insemination. The intended father’s sperm is inserted into the surrogate to fertilize her egg.


Let's fix the question - whose eggs are used in surrogacy? For gestational surrogacy, eggs and sperm are collected from the intended parents and used to conceive embryos in a laboratory through a process called in vitro fertilization (IVF). Afterwards, the embryos are placed inside the gestational carrier in the hopes that at least one will implant. If the intended parents are unable to provide the eggs or sperm for the IVF, they can use a donor or sperm bank. Either way, the gestational carrier’s egg isn’t used, so she has no biological connection to the child.

So, now we understand how do surrogate mothers get pregnant. Let's start your journey towards the family of your dream.

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