Understanding Surrogacy Terminology

According to a quick Google search, the following are the most used acronyms in the English language:

  • ROFL: Rolling on the floor laughing.

  • ICYMI: In case you missed it.

  • LMK: Let me know.

  • NVM: Nevermind.

  • TGIF: Thank goodness it’s Friday.

  • TBH: To be honest.

It’s no secret that we live in a world full of acronyms and abbreviations. The world of surrogacy is no different. We have specific terminology we use, and we’re here to make sure you understand everything you need to.

So please read on for our guide to understanding surrogacy terminology.

General Terms

ED or Egg Donor

An egg donor is a woman who gives her eggs to another couple so they can have a baby. Egg donors have to meet strict requirements to be able to donate their eggs. 

EDs are compensated for their donor eggs, but it is much more about helping a family dealing with infertility than about being paid. They usually have a generous attitude and find joy and fulfillment in assisting others to become parents. 

Egg donors have to be committed as it may take time to be matched with intended parents. 

GC or Gestational Carrier

The gestational carrier is the woman who will carry the baby. GCs are also called surrogates. A gestational carrier must meet specific requirements and go through a rigorous evaluation process. We make sure all our surrogates are healthy, both mentally, and physically.

Like egg donors, GCs are compensated, but most feel the desire to fulfill a unique role in helping build a family. Surrogates often form a special bond with their intended parents and create lifelong, meaningful relationships.

IP or Intended parents

IP, or intended parents, refers to the couples who have decided to use egg donation and surrogacy to build their family. There are several different reasons why they have to seek help. Some are gay couples, some are couples dealing with infertility, and some are single individuals who are ready to become a parent without a partner. 

You may also see the abbreviation IF – intended father, or IM – intended mother. 

Medical Terms

ART or Assisted Reproductive Technology

Assisted Reproductive Technology refers to any procedure which removes the eggs surgically and fertilizes them with sperm. The embryo is then transferred to a carrier for the remainder of the pregnancy. 

ART usually involves the intended parents, the egg donor, and the surrogate.

ET or Embryo Transfer

The embryo transfer if the final step in IVF. This is when the fertilized egg, also known as an embryo, is transferred into the surrogate. The embryos are placed into the uterus for implantation.

It is the most straightforward part of the ICF process and has very few risks. Likely, the surrogate will need to take specific medications around this time to increase the chances of conception.  


IVF or In Vitro Fertilization

In Vitro Fertilization is the term used to describe the process of extracting eggs, fertilizing them, then implanting them into a surrogate. IVF provides an alternate way for couples or individuals to become parents. 

Selective Reduction

Often multiple embryos are transferred into a surrogate. This increases the chances of having a positive pregnancy test. 

Selective reduction is the practice of reducing the number of fetuses in a pregnancy. Having multiple babies during pregnancy is considered high risk, and there are always risks involved. Selective reduction is a complex issue that needs to be discussed before implantation. 

Legal Terms

Escrow Account

For the egg donation process and a surrogacy agreement, an escrow account must be set up. This is to ensure all funds are appropriately used. Money from the intended parents is put into the account at the beginning of the process. 

The money is used for:

  • Egg donor and surrogate compensation

  • Travel costs

  • Clinical visits

  • Agency fees


The parentage process consists of paperwork required to assign the intended parents as the child’s legal parents and guardians. This process relieves the egg donor and surrogate of all parental responsibilities to the child.

Egg Donor Direct Agreement

This agreement is between the egg donor and the intended parents. It outlines all the terms regarding your match and the relationship between the donor, the parents, and the child. 

GSA or Gestational Surrogacy Agreement

This is the agreement between the surrogate and the intended parents. It will outline all the terms that are specific to the surrogate contract. 

Legal Clearance

Legal clearance is a status granted when all legal documents are in place. The agency requires it before any procedures can be done. 

Now That You're Fluent

Now that you’re fluent in surrogacy terminology, let’s get started on your journey! And don’t worry, if you still have questions we’re here to answer them. We will help you every step of the way.


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