What are IPs? Learn 24 Surrogacy Terms

Updated: Mar 3, 2020


PrimeSurro's surrogate mother in a white shirt, smiling and holding up her ultrasound of her surrogacy baby.

The process of surrogacy can seem intimidating. From the qualifications to delivery, there are many new terms and medical procedures involved. Once someone has successfully been cleared to become a surrogate it is important they understand what is happening. This glossary will help clear up some of the confusion behind common terms used while someone is a surrogate.



1. IP – Intended parents. The person or persons who will be needing the help of a surrogate to grow their family.


2. Gestational surrogate – The surrogate is not genetically related to the baby.


3. Traditional surrogacy – The surrogate is genetically related to the baby.


4. Matching – This is when the intended parents look through profiles of the surrogate or egg donors and chose the person they want to work with. This is a two-way street however, the surrogate can also speak with the intended parents and decide if she wants to work with them as well.


5. Surrogacy agency – The agency backing the entire journey plays a massive role in the process. They will guide the intended parents and surrogate through the process, including legal, medical and emotional support.


6. Estrogen – This is a hormone that is naturally produced by the ovaries to help thicken the uterine lining to support pregnancy. It will be taken in the form of birth control in conjunction with the intended mother’s or donor’s cycle.


7. Egg donation – When a fertile woman donates an egg, also known as an oocyte, to help another woman conceive.


8. IVF – In Vitro fertilization is when an egg is removed from the intended mother and mixed with a sperm removed from the intended father with the intend of fertilization. The embryos are then directly transferred to the uterus. If any of the embryos implant themselves within the lining of the uterus, that is when pregnancy occurs.


9. Mock cycle – This is when the potential surrogate will be put on full or partial medications so her doctors can monitor her as if she was planning on transfer to monitor her body’s reaction to the medication. There is no intent for embryo transfer during this cycle.


10. Dropped cycle – A surrogate may be taking all medications and planning on transferring an embryo at the conclusion of the cycle, but the transfer is canceled. This may happen for a variety of reasons. The egg donor or intended mother could be having an adverse reaction to the medication, a mistake in the protocol or the quality of eggs is not high enough. Changes may be made to the original course of action and try again in about a month.


11. Pre-birth order – This document establishes that the intended parents will be the legal parents of the baby once it is born. It also requires the hospital to list the intended parents on the birth certificate and allows the child to be discharged to the intended parents.