Surrogacy language

Jumping into the world of surrogacy can be overwhelming for many reasons, and one of them is all of the new terms you need to learn. Sometimes it can feel like learning a whole new language. We’ve pulled some of the most common surrogacy terms together in this list, which we will update periodically as we learn and grow more in our journey.


Intended Parents (IPs): The parents, biological or not, who will be raising the child.

Surrogate: A woman who carries a pregnancy on behalf of intended parents. She can be either a gestational or traditional surrogate.

Traditional surrogate: A woman who acts as a surrogate using her own donated egg.

Gestational surrogate: A woman who acts as a surrogate and does not use her own egg.

Match: When a surrogate and Intended Parent(s) formally agree to move forward on a surrogacy journey together.

Rematch: A term used to describe a match after an initial match has fallen through.


In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): A process where a medical fertility expert combines the egg and the sperm to create an embryo.

Embryo: A fertilized egg.

Blastocyst: The stage when an embryo is ready to be transferred.

Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy (PGT-A): An elective test of embryos to determine the number of chromosomes it carries. This test is often recommended to decrease risk of transfer failure and miscarriage.

Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Monogenic and Single Gene Defects (PGT-M or PGD): An elective test done on embryos of patients who are at an increased risk for passing down a specific genetic condition. The test identifies which embryos carry the genetic condition.

Transfer: A procedure where a blastocyst is transferred to the surrogate’s uterus.

PUPO: Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise/Pregnant Unless Proven Otherwise. This term is used post-transfer before a pregnancy has been confirmed by a beta hCG test.

Beta hCG test: A quantitative test to measure the level of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) present in the blood.

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Our TWW (Two Week Wait)

Last Friday we had our second FET (frozen embryo transfer)! Our embryo (magnified on the screen in the photo above) was transferred to Ashley at Create Fertility Clinic in Toronto by our amazing doctor, Dr. Glass.

We are now in what’s referred to in the fertility community as the TWW (two week wait). Technically this isn’t necessarily a full two weeks – each doctor makes a decision about when they feel their patient should go for a beta hCG test (blood test to confirm pregnancy, more on that in another post). Our first test date, for example, is at 12 days post transfer. If we’re super impatient maybe we’ll bug the doctor to let us test earlier, but for now 12 days is the plan.

So what happens during the TWW?

Other than excitement and nerves, a lot of things happen in the two weeks directly following an embryo transfer! Below is a rough breakdown of what happens on each day. (Note: this is sourced from a popular infographic I saw on Instagram, but I don’t have the origin of that chart. If you know it, please let me know so I can attribute it to the original creator of this content.)

Day 1: The blastocyst begins to hatch from its shell.

Day 2: The blastocyst continues to hatch out of its shell and begins to attach itself to the uterus.

Day 3: The blastocyst attaches deeper into the uterine lining, beginning implantation.

Day 4: Implantation continues.

Day 5: Implantation is complete. Cells that eventually become the placenta and fetus have begun to develop.

Day 6: Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), the hormone that signals a developing pregnancy, starts to enter the blood stream.

Day 7: Fetal development continues and hCG continues to be secreted.

Day 8: Fetal development continues and hCG continues to be secreted.

Day 9: Levels of hCG are now high enough to detect a pregnancy using a blood test.

Some people say that they can begin to feel early pregnancy symptoms during the TWW, but these symptoms can also be attributed to the medication that Ashley is taking. Once she takes her blood test, we will all be on the edge of our seats waiting for the results. Sometimes this takes a few hours, other times it can take up to a day. It really just depends.

If you have questions about the two week wait, or anything about transfer, feel free to leave them in the comments.


Embryo transfer #2 – the date is set!

For those who don’t know, the pineapple is a symbol adopted by the infertility community.

We have confirmation from our clinic that our second FET (frozen embryo transfer) will be taking place next Friday! I’m excited to have movement in our journey, and also nervous. Today our embryos are tucked away safely in cryopreservation at the fertility clinic. In seven days time, one of them will be thawed and placed in Ashley for some ‘extreme babysitting’.

Unlike our first transfer, we now understand the risks involved with each transfer much more intimately. There are no guarantees in IVF and surrogacy, something that’s often overlooked by people who have never walked the halls of a fertility clinic. We’ve also learned just how physically taxing the medication can be – Ashley is an absolute trooper, and has remained insanely brave in the face of it all, but we are quite literally a huge pain in her butt. Pun intended. (For those who aren’t aware, she’s done so many painful needles in her backside to give us a chance at a baby.)

As for where my head is at moving into this transfer: I’m feeling really good. Our last cycle was cancelled just days beforehand, so I tried to avoid getting too excited until now, but at this point it’s hard not to be. I know that a lot of people have a tendency to guard their hearts when it comes to transfers, but I want to lean into good feelings. These moments can be really scary, but they’re also full of hope, excitement, and wonder.

The little embryo we left at our clinic one year ago could be home with us in nine months, wide-eyed and sleepy, turning our lives upside down in the most perfect way. That is an incredibly magical concept, and it’s what will be fuelling me through the next few weeks.