Surrogacy can be a complex area full of medical, legal and all sorts of other jargon. With so much to think about, we don’t believe you should spend time trying to decipher tricky terminology. That’s why we’ve put together this handy glossary to help you understand all of the unfamiliar surrogacy terms and concepts out there.
AI (artificial insemination) Sperm is medically introduced into the reproductive tract of a female through non-sexual means. ICI and ICU (see below) are two forms of artificial insemination which may be used during this process.
Commercial surrogacy – This form of surrogacy is illegal in the UK. In this type of surrogacy, the surrogate mother is paid to carry the foetus. In the UK all surrogacy procedures must be unpaid, with only essential costs covered.
Egg-donation – When a woman is unable to produce viable eggs for conception, an egg donor can supply eggs which will then be fertilised and introduced to the infertile party’suterus allowing her to carry a foetus to term.
Ethics Committee – Surrogacy is a legal procedure but, if performed through official channels, there are often strict regulations to prevent abuse and other issues. Many clinics have an ethics committee of some form to help monitor surrogacy procedures and ensure they are conducted in a responsible and moral way.
Full surrogacy – This form of surrogacy is also referred to as host surrogacy or gestational surrogacy. It is the most common type of surrogacy where a surrogate mother is implanted with the embryo created by the intended parents (either using donor eggs and sperm of their own or a combination of the two).
Gay surrogacy – When homosexual male couples want to start a family, gay surrogacy is one of the best options. A surrogate mother will be implanted with an embryo created by the two fathers using a donated egg. Alternatively the surrogate mother can be directly fertilised using artificial insemination.
ICI (intracervical insemination) Intracervical insemination is a version of artificial insemination where semen is introduced onto the neck of the host mother’s cervix.
IUI (intrauterine insemination) In an intrauterine artificial insemination process, ‘washed semen’ (semen which has had all non-fertilizing elements removed from it) is injected directly into the uterus.
Partial surrogacy – Also known as ‘straight’ or ‘traditional’ surrogacy. This type of surrogacy uses the egg of the surrogate mother and the sperm of the intended father which is usually implanted via artificial insemination or IVF.
Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985 – This is a legal act which was passed by UK parliament to prohibit commercial surrogacy. It was passed after the birth of Britain’s first commercial surrogate child and the public outcry which followed it.