The word surrogate literally means to substitute. A Gestational surrogate is a woman who functions as a host or a gestational carrier for a child who is not genetically her own. Her pregnancy is a result of a transfer of a genetically unrelated embryo using In Vitro Fertilization techniques. After birth, the baby is reunited with the intended parents.

The intended parent may be single or married, male or female and may or may not be biologically related to the baby:

  • The intended mother may be the genetic parent who is unable to carry the pregnancy herself because of medical conditions which make pregnancy and delivery very risky to the health of the mother and/or the baby. Such conditions include unexplained recurrent miscarriages, heart disease, diabetes or hypertension. In other cases the intended mother may have had a hysterectomy or may have been born without a uterus.
  • The intended parent may not be genetically related to the child who is conceived via In Vitro Fertilization  utilizing donor egg   or donor sperm.
  • The intended parent can be a single male using donor eggs with In Vitro Fertilization  techniques.

Who can be a gestational surrogate (carrier)?

  • A gestational carrier may be recruited through an agency for a fee.
  • The gestational carrier can be a relative or a friend. In some cases, the gestational carrier or host receives no fee, other than medical expenses, for carrying the pregnancy for the intended parents.  This arrangement is called altruistic surrogacy.   

What treatment is involved in gestational surrogacy?

  • The intended mother or egg donor will undergo In Vitro Fertilization   procedure to obtain the eggs. This involves taking daily injections to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs.

  • The eggs are then fertilized in the laboratory with sperm from the intended father or sperm donor.
  • The gestational carrier will be treated first with estrogen skin patches and then progesterone to prepare her uterine lining to receive the embryos. The surrogate will have several blood tests and ultrasounds to make sure that her uterine lining is developing properly.
  • Typically one or two good quality embryos are transferred into the surrogate uterus 3-5 days after fertilization.

The Embryo Transfer


A speculum will be placed in the vagina. The cervix will be cleansed with culture media and the embryos will be gently transferred into a predetermined site within the womb using a very soft catheter. The transfer of the embryos is not painful and takes only a moment to accomplish. We do our transfers with your bladder empty to make it more comfortable for you. For those interested in acupuncture, arrangements can be made ahead of transfer. Following the transfer, the gestational carrier will rest for 15-30 minutes before leaving the office. We recommend that the carrier continue to take it easy at home for the next 24 hours.

After the Embryo Transfer

The pregnancy test (beta HCG) will be scheduled two weeks after the retrieval and the carrier will be notified of the result within 1-2 hours. A positive result means that an embryo implanted. The carrier will be instructed to continue with progesterone treatment (injections, vaginal tablets or vaginal suppositories) until the 12th week of pregnancy.  

The HCG level should double every 48 hours or so early in early pregnancy. A less than ideal rise in HCG level may sometimes indicate a possible miscarriage or tubal pregnancy. So, the doctor may order the test every 2-3 days to make sure that the level rises appropriately.

An ultrasound will be scheduled about 4 weeks after the embryo transfer. The ultrasound will show how many embryos implanted, and display the baby’s heart rate pattern.


At this point the gestational carrier will be referred to an obstetrician for the remainder of the pregnancy.


To learn more about becoming a parent through gestational surrogacy call us at Toll Free 1.844.207.0044