surrogate mother


: a woman who becomes pregnant by artificial insemination or by implantation of a fertilized egg created by in vitro fertilization for the purpose of carrying the fetus to term for another person or persons
Live births by surrogate mothers were up more than 160 percent from 2004 to 2013, to 1,939, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.Michael Ollove
A surrogate mother has given birth to quadruplets, who will be raised by their natural father and his male domestic partner.Associated Press
Evidence suggests that US military wives are increasingly targeted as desirable surrogate mothers; they are generally low to-middle-income, stay-at-home mothers with high-quality, government-sponsored health care and few employment options of their own …Natalie Fixmer-Oraiz
: a female animal that is impregnated (as by embryo transfer or artificial insemination) in order to bear young in place of another animal
Farmers administer fertility drugs to prize cows and then artificially inseminate them. A week later, experts flush out fertilized embryos and freeze them until they're sold for implantation in surrogate mothers.Janet Raloff
The mare was only a surrogate mother; the zebra embryo, fertilized normally a year ago Wednesday, was implanted in the mare's womb last May by Dr. Bill Foster …. This was the first known instance of a horse giving birth to a full-blooded zebra, according to zoo officials.The New York Times
: one who acts or serves as a substitute mother
In Gimme a Break! in the early 1980s, Nell Carter played a live-in housekeeper to a widowed white police officer (Dolph Sweet), and became essentially a surrogate mother to his children.John McWhorter
Typically, Nick managed to attract the sympathy of a surrogate mother—albeit a crusty one. When he showed up on the Solution set an hour late, [Katherine] Hepburn … gave him a lecture.Michelle Green
Part of the credit for their success goes to a large stuffed Snoopy dog, which became the young chick's surrogate mother, says Frank Todd, corporate curator of birds at Sea World. Emperor chicks in the wild nestle on the feet of their mothers, and researchers had reasoned that the toy animal would provide similar security.National Wildlife
surrogate motherhood noun
Advocates of surrogate motherhood say that private arrangements between individuals are part of a guaranteed right to bear children without interference from the state. Curtis J. Sitomer

Examples of surrogate mother in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Stuart spent the first five nights squeezed in the RV owned by another woman from Opportunity Street who’s become a surrogate mother to her. Ariane Lange, Sacramento Bee, 2 Feb. 2024 Only three survived thanks to an unlikely surrogate mother. Caitlin O'Kane, CBS News, 20 Dec. 2023 Debbie was the one, though, who became like a surrogate mother. Sarah Viren, New York Times, 5 Dec. 2023 The Vatican also said that the children of gay couples, including ones who are adopted or born to surrogate mothers, may be baptized, and that such couples may serve as godparents. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, 9 Nov. 2023 Fu had a child last year with the help of a surrogate mother in the US, according to one unnamed source cited in the FT report, which did not reveal the identity of the father. Yong Xiong, CNN, 27 Sep. 2023 In Igbo-Nigerian culture, new moms receive exquisite care from their own mothers, mothers-in-law, or surrogate mothers for the first few months postpartum. Jennifer Adaeze Okwerekwu, STAT, 24 Aug. 2023 In many ways the case was most interesting for what CFC was not charged for: arranging the services of surrogate mothers. Hazlitt, 30 Aug. 2023 For her performance as Anna, a 20-something who offers to be a surrogate mother for father-to-be Matt (Ed Helms), she’s nominated for best lead actress at the Independent Spirit Awards, her first time recognized as an actress at a major awards ceremony. Hilton Dresden, The Hollywood Reporter, 5 Mar. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'surrogate mother.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1912, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of surrogate mother was in 1912

Dictionary Entries Near surrogate mother

Cite this Entry

“Surrogate mother.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Medical Definition

surrogate mother

: a woman who becomes pregnant by artificial insemination or by implantation of a fertilized egg created by in vitro fertilization for the purpose of carrying the fetus to term for another person or persons
surrogate motherhood noun

Legal Definition

surrogate mother

surrogate moth·​er
: a woman who becomes pregnant usually by artificial insemination or surgical implantation of a fertilized egg for the purpose of carrying the fetus to term for another woman
surrogate motherhood noun

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