Common terms

Agent – See Surrogacy Facilitator

Anonymous donors

are donors to whom you or your child will have no right to identifying information. Some information on the donor may be available. Since April 2005 UK donors all have to agree to be identifiable.  Most donors abroad are anonymous.

Compensated/Commercial surrogacy

 when the surrogate receives payment for carrying the child and commonly involves a contractual agreement.

Double donation

egg and sperm are both donated and then fertilized for implantation.


offered at some clinics where women under 35 needing fertility treatment may offer half the eggs collected for donation in exchange for free or discounted treatment. Many women having fertility treatment are happy to help other women going through similar difficulties.

Embryo donation

where surplus embryos are frozen after fertilisation, and their owners later decide not to use them.  The donors may be a couple undergoing fertility treatment with their own gametes or using donated gametes. Abroad embryos may be created specifically for couples or single women who need both male and female gametes.

EPU – Egg Pick Up

Intended mothers eggs ‘harvested’ for later embryo creation


this  refers to either sperm or eggs. Although not strictly gametes, embryos are commonly included in the term.

Gestational surrogacy (GS)

can involve the egg of the intending mother, the sperm of the intending father and in the case of infertility or in gay couple or single parent arrangements eggs or sperm from a gamete provider. The resulting child is genetically related to at least one of its intended parents while the surrogate mother has no genetic relation.

IP – Intended Parent

A person considering or on a surrogacy journey. Many may have one or more children already, sol the more accurate term used in much literature is ‘commissioning’ parent/ couple.

IVF Provider

A medical service which will typically include embryologist(s), laboratory technician(s) and reproductive medicine specialists. This team is responsble for egg and sperm extraction, embryo creation, surrogate and donor preparation and embryo transfer procedures

ID release donors

are donors whose identity will be made available at a specified time to the recipient and / or the offspring.

Known donors

are donors whose identity you know at the time of donation.  They may be a friend or family member and may donate at a licensed clinic or privately, outside the licensed clinic system.

Known gamete provider with parenting intent

a person who provides their own eggs or sperm has a written agreement stating parental intent of any child(ren) that result. Such an agreement may make allowances for full parental custody – for example in cases of surrogacy  – or partial custody – for example in co-parenting arrangements.

Known gamete provider without parenting intent

a person who provides their own eggs or sperm for the purposes of creating a child, has agreed to provide their identifying details for the purposed of later contact by the child(ren) but has no intention of any parenting role (eg a sperm or egg provider).

Private donors

are donors who donate outside the regulated system (either anonymously or identifiably), maybe through another organisation, or who are recruited from friends, family or otherwise privately.

SM – Surrogate Mother


single mum by choice, i.e. single women who choose to become mothers.

Surrogacy Facilitator

A third-party company or person who are often the first point of contact for commissioning parents using overseas surrogacy arrangements. Facilitators are usually not based in the country in which the surrogate and IVF processes take place. Most commissioning parents will communicate with facilitators via email and Skype. Contracts entered into for overseas surrogacy may be with a facilitator company, who then pays third-party suppliers.

Surrogacy Agency

An organisation responsible for recruiting, screening, matching, paying and supporting surrogates. In the US, such agencies are plentiful and may be small home-based businesses through to much larger organisations.

Traditional surrogacy (TS)

involves artificially inseminating a surrogate mother with the intended father’s sperm via IUI, IVF or home insemination. With this method, the child is genetically related to its father and the surrogate.

Uncompensated/Altruistic surrogacy

when the surrogate receives no payment for carrying the child, except for re-imbursement of costs and loss of income.

Unknown gamete provider

a person who provides their own eggs or sperm to assist a single or couple create a child, but does not want to be identified to any child born thereof and hence has no intention to parent.