Infertility looks different for everyone, and maybe your journey has led you to consider embryo adoption and using a gestational carrier.

Many do not think that the two can go hand-in-hand, but using a gestational carrier for your adopted embryos is a valid option! Many couples automatically refer to their gestational carrier as a “surrogate,” but they are not in fact the same thing, and there are key differences between the two:

  • A traditional surrogate is a woman who is artificially inseminated with the intended father’s sperm. This means the surrogate is the genetic mother of the child she is carrying, though not the intended mother via surrogacy contract. The woman may be a friend, relative, or hired through an agency.
  • A gestational carrier is a woman who undergoes a fresh or frozen embryo transfer (FET) with embryos created by or donated to the intended parents. Like a surrogate, she may be a friend, family member, or someone hired through an agency. The gestational carrier is not biologically related to the child she is carrying (unless she is the biological aunt, cousin, etc.)

Gestational carriers may be used when a couple has completed in vitro fertilization or—you guessed it—have adopted an embryo!

Both the use of surrogates and gestational carriers are heavily regulated in each of the 50 states. Many couples who struggle with infertility love the idea of embryo adoption, but may be unable to carry a pregnancy. Gestational carriers are a very viable option for these couples, as long as the couple understands the state laws and the legal details of the gestational carrier contract. Usually, the contract between gestational carrier and intended parents must be finalized prior to the completion of your embryo adoption.

To learn more about embryo adoption or embryo donation, visit