Does a surrogate mother share DNA with the baby?
People often want to know if a surrogate mother shares DNA with the baby they carry – the surrogate mother, of course, being the woman carrying the pregnancy for the intended parents. It’s a common and valid question for both intended parents and gestational carriers, as issues surrounding DNA, genetics, and parenthood are very important for all parties in surrogacy.
Both the surrogate and the intended parents typically come to this question with the hope that the surrogate mother does NOT share DNA with the baby. The good news is that most surrogate mothers do NOT, in fact, share DNA with the baby.
While the answer you’re looking for may be as simple as that, we want everyone contemplating surrogacy to have a complete understanding of what this means for you, the baby, and any other involved party.
For the rest of this article, we will explain everything you need to know about the DNA of surrogate babies.
Surrogate Baby DNA
The genetic relation between the baby and the surrogate can be confusing, especially if you are unfamiliar with the modern surrogacy process.
For good reason, many people naively assume that a surrogate baby is always genetically related to the gestational carrier. While this can be true, it is usually not the case in present-day surrogacies in the united states due to IVF technology.
Ultimately, whether or not the surrogate will have any genetic relationship to the child depends on the type of surrogacy.
Gestational Surrogacy vs. Traditional Surrogacy
Broadly speaking, there are two types of surrogacy.
- Gestational surrogacy: A process where one person (the surrogate/gestational carrier), who did not provide the egg used in the creation of the embryo, carries a fetus through pregnancy for another person or couple. In gestational surrogacy, the egg comes from the intended parent’s or donor’s eggs. Surrogate Steps Does This.
- Traditional surrogacy: In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate uses her own eggs and is thus genetically related to the child. Surrogate Steps Does NOT Do This.
What does all this mean this mean for the surrogate baby’s DNA?
In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate and the child do NOT share DNA or a genetic relation because another woman’s eggs are used. In traditional surrogacy, the baby ad surrogate indeed share DNA, because the surrogate’s own egg is used in creating the pregnancy.
While traditional surrogacy may be practiced in other countries, there are few, if any, legitimate surrogacy programs that will provide services for traditional surrogacy. At Surrogate Steps, we only practice gestational surrogacy, and thus none of our surrogates are genetically related to the baby they carry.
Why Gestational Surrogacy is Preferred
As mentioned, Surrogate Steps and all other reputable surrogacy programs in the US only provide gestational surrogacy, and for good reason. There are a number of reasons why this is important, but it all boils down to the fact that the surrogate mother is NOT genetically related to the surrogate baby – and is often (though not always) genetically related to one or more intended parents.
This complete separation of surrogate-baby DNA is an important point because it protects everyone involved in the process. Gestational surrogacy protects the involved parties in two main ways.
If you are contemplating becoming a carrier or a parent through surrogacy, it’s worth considering how important these points are in providing you with the necessary emotional and legal protection.
Carrying a child for someone else can be an emotional experience that benefits greatly from the genetic separation provided in gestational surrogacy.
Surrogacy with a genetic tie between the surrogate and the baby can make giving up the child after the delivery emotionally and physically challenging.
Because there is a genetic separation between the surrogate mother and surrogate baby in gestational surrogates, the surrogate go through the entire pregnancy knowing that the fetus they carry is not genetically related to them and generally find it very easy to give the baby over to the parents.
Less Legal Risk
In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother shares DNA with the baby. This genetic bond between the baby and surrogate has a number of legal hoops that must be jumped through in order to recognize the intended parents as the legal parents. In most cases, it simply introduces too many challenges and risks to the process in the United States.
Because of this, reproductive attornies, surrogacy agencies, and intended parents prefer the much more straightforward legal aspect of gestational surrogacy.
Frequently Asked Questions About Surrogate Baby DNA and Genetics
As discussed above, a surrogate baby from a gestational surrogacy arrangement does not come from the surrogate mother’s eggs. That said, there are some additional questions some people have regarding the DNA of a surrogate baby.
1. Does a surrogate mother pass DNA to the child?
Fortunately, there is no scientific evidence that DNA can be passed to a fetus from the person carrying the pregnancy, so no, a surrogate does not pass DNA to the child during pregnancy.
2. Who’s DNA Does a Surrogate Baby Have?
The surrogate baby’s DNA depends on the sperm and egg source used to create the embryo/fetus the surrogate carries. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate baby has DNA from the surrogate (because her egg is used) and DNA from the father or sperm donor. In a gestational surrogacy arrangement, the baby shares DNA with the intended parents and/or a sperm/egg donor.
3. Does the Surrogate Baby Have DNA from the Intended Parents?
In most cases, a surrogate baby has DNA from one or more intended parent. However, there are circumstances in which the surrogate baby shares no DNA with the intended parents. For example, if donor egg and sperm are used to create the embryo that is implanted into the surrogate’s uterus, then the surrogate baby would NOT have DNA from the intended parents.
As discussed in this article, whether or not a surrogate shares DNA with the surrogate baby depends primarily on if the surrogacy arrangement is a Traditional Surrogacy arrangement or a Gestational Surrogacy arrangement.
In a traditional surrogacy arrangement, a surrogate mother passes DNA to the child because the surrogate’s own eggs are used in the conception/creation of the embryo/fetus.
In a gestational surrogacy arrangement, an embryo is created with another woman’s eggs using IVF technology before being transferred to the gestational carrier’s uterus. And since DNA can not be transferred during pregnancy, there is no way for a surrogate mother to pass DNA to the surrogate child.
Like most professional surrogacy programs Surrogate Steps only provides services for gestational surrogacy. So, if you’re ready to start your gestational surrogacy journey, feel free to request a free parent consultation or fill out our surrogate application.