How You Can Help #FliptheScript for National Infertility Awareness Week

This week, April 22–28, is National Infertility Awareness Week — a time for all people, regardless of how infertility affects them, to reflect on the current state of infertility in the U.S. and spread awareness about these struggles that do affect so many.

Organized by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, National Infertility Awareness Week has existed since 1989 as a way to “reduce stigma and educate the public about reproductive health and issues that make building a family so difficult for so many.” In fact, 1 in 8 (or 15 percent) of couples in the United States struggle with infertility today.

This year’s theme is “#FliptheScript,” in an effort to clear up the misinformation about infertility that exists and educate the public about the true state of American infertility. It’s more than just numbers; infertility is a deeply personal experience that affects more people than many believe.

You can participate in National Infertility Awareness Week and help #FliptheScript in several ways:

1. Share your story.

For those unaffected by infertility, this difficult struggle can be hard to grasp. To help spread awareness, you can share your own story of infertility, no matter where you are in the journey. RESOLVE is accepting email submissions for posting on its website here.

But you don’t have to formally share your story online to make a difference. Take this chance to open up to friends and family who may not know about your infertility struggles, or simply promise yourself that you’ll be more open about discussing these struggles in the future. Allowing your friends to put a face to infertility — your face — can be scary but can go a long way in helping to spread awareness.

2. Get educated — and educate others.

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about infertility, as well as complicated family-building methods like surrogacy. Sharing your story and other information is only helpful if it’s accurate. That’s the only way we’ll be able to successfully #FliptheScript.

Once you know you have accurate and professional information, help others learn by sharing that on your social media platforms, hosting or joining a local awareness event and doing every little bit you can to help others learn more about infertility in the U.S.

3. Contribute to infertility research.

Infertility can still be a taboo subject in the United States, but there are organizations out there that are trying to change that. RESOLVE and its partners are working to improve the lives of Americans who struggle to build their family, either through infertility research or hosting awareness events like National Infertility Awareness Week. The more funds that goes to infertility research, the more positive solutions there will be — and the less taboo a subject infertility will be.

Even today, infertility struggles do not mean the end of someone’s hopes and dreams of becoming a parent. Increasing the access to affordable family-building options through donations and continuing research is an important part of helping people realize this.

How will you #FliptheScript this National Infertility Awareness Week? Comment below to let us know.

If you are struggling with infertility and interested in learning about surrogacy as a family-building option, please contact our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) today.

7 Lucky Surrogate Traditions for Your Transfer Day

The embryo transfer process can be one of the most exciting moments for you as a surrogate — but it can also be extremely nerve-wracking. All of your intended parents’ hopes and dreams will ride on the success of the embryo implanting, most of which is up to your doctor and your body.

While the likelihood of an embryo implanting is mostly out of your control, surrogates like you have developed a few fun transfer day traditions to bring luck and good vibes to a day that’s equal parts exciting and anxiety-inducing. Whether or not these traditions are proven to increase the chance of a successful embryo transfer, they can be great ways to channel your nervous energy and connect with other surrogates.

1. Lucky Socks

One of the biggest traditions that surrogates have on transfer day is wearing lucky socks during the embryo transfer procedure. Socks are usually the only item of clothing you can keep on during the medical procedure, and there’s an old Chinese saying that warm feet increase the chance of a warm and welcoming uterus.

2. “Sticky Thoughts”

Telling someone “sticky thoughts” is the surrogate’s way of saying good luck. This phrase comes from the idea that the stickier and thicker the uterus lining is, the more likely an embryo is to implant.

3. Pineapple

Before the embryo transfer procedure, many surrogates eat different food designed to increase the likelihood of implantation. One of these is pineapple, whether it’s the core or the surrounding fruit. Pineapple contains bromelain, which has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it can be seen as a benefit for fertility in possibly preventing implantation issues for women.

Natural fertility experts caution against ingesting pineapple too early in your ovulation and after the transfer process. However, many surrogates heartily enjoy pineapple in the days leading up to their medical procedure.

4. French Fries

Many surrogates also eat French fries after transfer. It’s unclear how this tradition came about but, with a fresh transfer, doctors usually recommend an increase in sodium to reduce the chance of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome in egg donors. The word of beneficial salt in French fries has seemed to spread to gestational surrogates, even though they are not subject to OHSS through fresh egg harvesting. But you’ll rarely find a surrogate who will turn down French fries, no matter how much benefit they actually have in the implantation process!

5. Laughing After Transfer

Here’s an interesting one: A 2012 study in the journal of Fertility and Sterility stated that women who laugh shortly after an embryo transfer showed higher rates of successful implantation. For this reason, some surrogates decide to giggle it up right after transfer, like by watching a comedy when they’re often required to rest anyway. Laughter reduces stress, which can affect your body in many ways. It only makes sense that reducing this stress would increase the likelihood of an embryo implanting into a woman’s uterus.

6. Wearing Green

Green is a color that represents fertility, which is why you’ll see many surrogates wearing green lucky socks, painting their toes green, or just wearing green in general in the days leading up to their transfer day. Other colors like orange and yellow also represent fertility in other cultures.

7. Symbols of Turtles

Similarly, a turtle also represents fertility in many cultures, including Chinese, Polynesian and African cultures. In other cultures, it’s a symbol of good luck. Some surrogates decide to wear a turtle charm or symbol during their embryo transfer process to take advantage of those good vibes.

Whether or not you are superstitious, these traditions can be a fun way to prepare for the embryo transfer process and connect to the larger community of surrogates out there. For more surrogate-specific tips and topics, check out surrogate forums like SurroMoms Online and All About Surrogacy.

Navigating Your Surrogate Pregnancy at Work

One of the potentially complicated aspects of becoming a surrogate is working through — and taking time off for — your surrogate pregnancy. Because the child you’re carrying is not your own, you may worry about how your employer will accept and respond to your decision.

First off, know that your surrogacy is no one’s business but yours and your intended parents. Therefore, you are never obligated to tell your employer more than you feel comfortable with. In fact, some surrogates do not even reveal their surrogacy to their employer; they simply inform him or her of their plans for maternity leave.

A great deal of how you navigate being a surrogate at your office will be up to your workplace environment and your relationship with your boss and coworkers. However, the specialists at American Surrogacy will also be here to provide suggestions and support for this unique part of your surrogacy experience, and may be able to help advocate for the services and employer support you may need. For our assistance, please call 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

Below, we’ve outlined a few typical areas of concern for surrogates who plan to work through their pregnancy and provided some suggestions.

Telling Your Boss

No matter whether you choose to tell your workplace about your surrogacy plans, you will need to speak with your employer about your pregnancy. This way, they will be aware of any maternal leave you need to take and can prepare for your absence accordingly.

However, this conversation can sometimes be a bit complicated. How much do you tell your boss about your surrogacy plans, and when do you tell him or her about them?

When and how this conversation occurs will depend upon your personal relationship, but many surrogates choose to wait until after their pregnancy is confirmed or after their 20-week ultrasound to inform their boss. This way, they can avoid the awkwardness and complication of telling their boss about any miscarriage or failed transfers.

Whether or not you specifically tell your boss that your pregnancy is a surrogate pregnancy will be up to you. Many employers will actually be impressed by an employee’s selfless decision to become a surrogate.

Either way, it’s important that you make sure to specify when you are due, when you plan to take any leave (see below), and any extra accommodations you may require during your pregnancy.

Determining Benefits and Maternal Time Off

Despite the growing popularity of surrogacy, many employers do not have specific benefits for women who choose to become surrogates. You may be the first employee to approach your boss about surrogacy, which means you and your employer may need to work together to create a benefit and leave package that works for you.

While you will need to take maternal leave for your delivery and recovery, the good news is that many surrogates can return to their workplace earlier than if they had delivered their own child. They do not have to care for a newborn, and many return to work within a few weeks, if that. However, you should always pay attention to your body and its needs rather than rush back to work before you are ready.

Whether or not you will receive paid maternal leave will be up to your employer’s company policy. Like you would with any traditional pregnancy, speak in detail with your human resources department to determine what benefits will be available to you — and, if you have told them about your surrogate pregnancy, if and how your surrogacy will affect those benefits. Depending on the size of your company, you may be entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid, protected leave after birth as protected by federal law.

Keep in mind: Your surrogacy contract should list any lost wages you (or your spouse) anticipate from your surrogacy journey. The intended parents should reimburse you for that lost income.

Sharing Information with Your Coworkers

You will always have the right to share as much or as little information about your surrogacy with your coworkers as you feel comfortable with. However, keep in mind that news of your surrogate pregnancy will likely spread, and you may be faced with insensitive or uncomfortable comments and questions. If you do not specifically state that your pregnancy is a surrogacy, you may find yourself offered a baby shower at work or a similar celebration.  It’s important to think about all of these possibilities when weighing how much to share about your personal surrogacy journey.

If you feel comfortable doing so, you can take this as an opportunity to educate and spread awareness about the realities of the surrogacy process. Answer any questions you are comfortable answering and, when you aren’t, simply say something along the lines of, “My contract doesn’t allow me to divulge that information.”

Like your boss, many of your coworkers may end up being excited about your journey and congratulating you on your wonderful, selfless decision to help another person.

Navigating your surrogate pregnancy at your workplace can be complicated, but preparation is a key part of making it a positive experience for you and your boss. If you have any questions about this situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to your surrogacy specialist today.

7 Tips for Making a Surrogacy Memory Book

Many parents-to-be love creating a memory book documenting their child’s journey into the world — and just because your child is being carried by a surrogate doesn’t mean that you can’t also create a memento for this important time in your life.

But, how exactly do you create a surrogacy memory book? Won’t it be complicated when a surrogate is involved?

Absolutely not! When you have a positive, genuine relationship with your surrogate, making a surrogacy memory book will be easier than you think. While it’s true that your child’s memory book will be slightly different because of the way they were brought into the world, a surrogacy memory book doesn’t need to be incredibly different from a memory book for those born traditionally and those brought into a family through adoption.

Here, find a few tips to help you if you are considering creating a surrogacy memory book:

1. Design it chronologically.

If you’ve never made a surrogacy memory book, it can be intimidating to start. However, when you decide to frame your book chronologically, this will give you an easy beginning, middle and end to work around.

When starting your surrogacy memory book, remember that this should be a happy document, so it may not be best to dwell upon the infertility struggles and other challenges that made you choose surrogacy. Instead, simply mention that you decided on surrogacy at a certain point in time, and then move forward with the rest of your book from there. You can use the important dates in your surrogacy journey as a starting point, and then include any other fun moments or mementos as fillers.

2. Include a table of contents.

Children often grow to love the memory books of how they came to be, and they may enjoy reading it over and over. They will usually fixate on different aspects of your surrogacy journey at different times in their life, so you may consider a table of contents to aide that. This way, your child (and anyone viewing the surrogacy memory book) can quickly flip to the section that they want to read about most.

3. Include the surrogate.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are many ways you can choose to include your surrogate in your child’s surrogacy memory book. In addition to including a page about who she is and how she was involved throughout the journey, you may also wish to let a surrogate add to the memory book, as well. You might suggest that she write a letter to your child about her experience, any fun moments she had, and why she chose to be a surrogate. Your surrogate can be instrumental in providing photos and other mementos that you can use in the memory book. For this reason, it can be a good idea to inform the surrogate of your plans to make a memory book as early as possible. Many surrogates are excited at this opportunity to document their experience!

4. Include other important people in your surrogacy journey.

Your surrogate isn’t the only one who was involved in bringing your child into the world, so consider including people like your surrogacy specialist, fertility professional and the doctor who delivered your baby. You can include photos and names and, depending on your relationship with these professionals, ask them if they also want to contribute to the memory book.

5. Make sure to explain certain aspects of the surrogacy experience.

Remember that the people who will eventually read your child’s surrogacy memory book may not understand how surrogacy works. Therefore, when you include important parts of the surrogacy process (like finding a surrogate or the embryo transfer), you should consider explaining them, as well. Not only will this help your child understand their surrogacy journey from an early age, it will also help spread awareness about the beauty — and truth — of surrogacy.

6. Leave room for future pages.

Surrogacy is not just a one-time process; your child’s surrogacy story will impact the rest of his or her life. Therefore, leave blank pages or pages with certain prompts for different times in your child’s life. For example, if you anticipate your child meeting your surrogate one day, create a page for that, leaving open spots for photos and other mementos.

7. Protect your surrogacy memory book.

Often, a surrogacy memory book can become a treasured item for a child. But, knowing how messy (and forgetful) children can be, take the steps early on to protect this book from future damage. Consider laminating any homemade scrapbook pages or placing them in protective sleeves, or work with a professional bookbinding and creation company like Shutterfly to include scanned documents, rather than precious, sentimental originals.

More than anything else, when you’re creating your child’s surrogacy memory book, don’t forget to make it your own! There is no “right” way to make a memory book; instead, just focus on including what is important in your surrogacy story and what you want your child to know growing up. The best surrogacy memory books aren’t always the most creative ones; they are the ones in which intended parents have taken the time and effort to create something special.

You can always contact our surrogacy specialists at American Surrogacy for more tips and suggestions when creating your surrogacy memory book. To learn more today, please call 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

40 Questions All Intended Parents Should Ask Surrogacy Agencies

First-time intended parents often choose to work with a surrogacy agency when they decide to pursue this family-building process. After all, a surrogacy agency like American Surrogacy can provide all of the services they need to safely and efficiently add a child to their family, allowing intended parents to focus on creating a bond with their surrogate and preparing for the arrival of their little bundle of joy.

But, with so many surrogacy agencies out there, how do you decide which one is best for you?

Different surrogacy agencies have different focuses, and not all surrogacy agencies will work for every intended parent’s surrogacy goals and preferences. That’s okay — what’s important is finding the one that works best for you. If you are trying to decide which surrogacy agency is right for you, we encourage you to start by listing your personal goals and preferences. This list will inform the rest of your decision.

When you have identified a few surrogacy agencies you are interested in, you should always take the time to speak with their professionals and ask any questions you may have. Choosing a surrogacy agency is a commitment that will guide the rest of your surrogacy experience, and it should only be done when you are 100 percent confident that a given professional is right for you.

Here, we’ve gathered some of the important questions you should consider asking a surrogacy agency if you are an intended parent:

About the Agency

  1. What is your agency’s history?
  2. How many successful surrogacies have you completed?
  3. What do you define as a “successful” surrogacy?
  4. How are your staff members trained or certified?
  5. How many staff members do you have?
  6. How many intended parents are you currently working with?
  7. What kind of support do you offer intended parents and surrogates?
  8. Is your support available outside business hours?

About Their Services

  1. What services do you offer intended parents and prospective surrogates?
  2. What is your screening process for intended parents and prospective surrogates?
  3. What are your requirements for intended parents to work with your agency?
  4. What are your agency costs for surrogacy?
  5. How are payments broken down throughout our surrogacy process?
  6. Do you provide escrow services for our surrogate’s compensation and medical expenses?
  7. How long will your services be available to us after our surrogacy is complete?

About Finding a Surrogate

  1. How many surrogates do you have waiting to be matched?
  2. How do you match intended parents and prospective surrogates?
  3. How many experienced surrogates and/or repeat surrogates work with your agency?
  4. What if we have already identified a surrogate to use in our surrogacy?
  5. How do you identify and advertise for prospective surrogates?
  6. Will you help us create an intended parent profile?
  7. What characteristics can we choose when selecting a surrogate?
  8. How long does it typically take for intended parents to find their surrogate with your agency?

About Contact Mediation

  1. How will you prepare us for our initial conversation with the surrogate?
  2. Will this conversation take place in person or over the phone?
  3. Once we have found a surrogate, will you provide contact mediation during our surrogacy?
  4. If so, what kind?
  5. How will you resolve difficult situations between us and our surrogate, should they arise?

About Other Professionals

  1. What kind of legal assistance do you provide?
  2. What other surrogacy professionals will we need to hire separately if we work with your agency?
  3. Will you provide references to trusted professionals for this decision?
  4. Or will we be required to work with a professional of your choosing?

About The Hospital Stay

  1. How will you help us prepare for our hospital stay?
  2. Which professionals will be present when our child is born?
  3. How will you help us obtain appropriate insurance for our surrogate?
  4. What are your policies on doulas or nontraditional births with our surrogate?

Other Important Questions

  1. What will be my responsibilities during the surrogacy process?
  2. Why exactly should we work with your surrogacy agency?
  3. Do you think we are a good fit for your surrogacy program?
  4. How do we begin the application process for your agency?

When you contact our surrogacy specialists at American Surrogacy, we can answer all of these questions and more to help you determine whether our agency is a good fit for you. To learn more today, please call 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

5 Ways to Help Intended Parents Bond with Their Baby In Utero

As a surrogate, you will be the one carrying the intended parents’ baby for nine months — but, because you will not be taking the baby home after birth, a baby who is used to your sound and smell can easily be shocked by an abrupt transfer to the intended parents.

Fortunately, surrogacy professionals today understand the complexities involved in “attachment,”  or the psychological connection between parent and child. While you will not form the same emotional attachment to your surrogate baby as you did with your own children, the baby you carry won’t know you aren’t their mother, and they may form an attachment to you. That’s why many surrogacy professionals today will emphasize the importance of incorporating intended parents into a surrogate pregnancy from the very beginning to ease this eventual transition.

But, how exactly can you help intended parents connect to their baby if you are the one who is carrying him or her?

Your surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy can always guide you through this process, but here are a few tips that surrogates take today to help intended parents bond to their baby in utero and provide a seamless transition after birth:

1. Allow them to talk to their baby.

Babies have an extremely developed sense of hearing while they are in the womb. Scientists hypothesize that this is a way for a mother and her child to bond even before birth. However, when the baby is not the gestational carrier’s, a baby’s ability to hear can make things a bit complicated.

Work with your intended parents to let them talk to their baby while in the womb, whether it’s in-person or through a recording. There are even particular headphones (called “Belly Buds”) that allow you to play recordings of the intended parents’ voices directly to your abdomen, helping the baby bond to the sound of their parents’ voice. Many surrogates recommend these headphones for this very purpose.

2. Involve them in important moments.

As much as possible, find ways to involve your intended parents in important parts of your pregnancy. When the intended parents are present for appointments like sonograms and gender determinations, it helps them feel as though they are a part of your pregnancy experience. Seeing their baby on the sonogram screen or feeling their baby kick through their fingers can give them a sense of wonder that no emailed pictures or recordings ever could.

If your intended parents are not logistically able to be a part of these moments in person, make sure to follow up with your pictures, descriptions and recordings electronically.

3. Accustom the baby to the intended parents’ environment.

The shock of coming into the world can be abrupt enough but, when babies are placed into environments they aren’t familiar with, it can be even more so. Find out what kind of music the intended parents play, what kind of food they cook, and more, so that you can help the baby experience those sounds and smells from inside the womb in your own home.

4. Confirm the baby’s senses after birth, and then promote as much skin-on-skin contact as possible.

When the baby is first born, you will need to confirm their sense of touch and smell directly, as you are the person they have become accustomed to for the last nine months. However, once appropriate time has passed for the shock of coming into the world to subside, you should encourage intended parents to have as much skin-on-skin contact as possible. An intended mother may even choose to breastfeed her child, whether with her own milk or yours, as a way to further bond with her child after birth.

5. Provide a transitional item after birth.

No matter how much preparation is done, there will always be a difficult transition for a baby born via surrogacy. To aid in that, many surrogacy professionals recommend that surrogates provide a transitional item to send home with the baby, like a stuffed animal. Before the baby is born, sleep with this stuffed animal so it carries your scent. When you give it to the intended parents, the baby will have a familiar scent to go home with them as they adjust to their new environment.

Remember, your surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy will always work with you and the intended parents to provide as positive a bonding experience during your pregnancy as possible, as well as prepare you and them for the transitional period after birth. For more suggestions and to learn more about the surrogacy process, please contact our agency today.

7 Questions Intended Parents Have for Surrogacy Lawyers

For first-time intended parents, the surrogacy process can seem overwhelming and confusing. When you consider the practical, emotional and legal aspects of having a child via surrogacy, it can seem like a completely different world than what you’re used to.

Because surrogacy can still be a controversial family-building process, you may wonder about the legal aspects involved. It’s incredible important to understand the legal process of surrogacy before beginning to determine whether it’s really the right choice for your family.

Below, you’ll find some of the most common questions intended parents have about the legal process of surrogacy. Remember, the best way to answer these is with a local surrogacy attorney, as state surrogacy laws vary greatly and will impact your personal surrogacy journey.

However, to help you start your legal research, we’ve provided some basic answers to these questions below.

1. Is surrogacy legal in the U.S.?

There are no federal surrogacy laws in the United States. Instead, each state has either enacted its own surrogacy legislation or stayed silent on the matter. Therefore, your individual surrogacy situation will depend greatly on the state where your surrogate lives and plans to deliver your baby.

There are varying degrees of legality to surrogacy in the United States. Certain states completely allow the practice and have set laws for protecting surrogates and intended parents, while other states have no surrogacy laws and the practice is one largely regulated by local professionals. There are also certain states — like New York and New Jersey — where surrogacy contracts are unenforceable and a surrogate cannot be compensated for her services.

Before you begin a surrogacy journey with a certain surrogate, you should speak with a local surrogacy attorney in your state and in your surrogate’s state to determine what the laws are in your area.

2. Do I have to pay a surrogate for her services?

While there are no laws saying a surrogate must be paid, it is certainly recommended by surrogacy professionals and surrogacy attorneys. Surrogacy is a complicated process and will require a great deal of time, energy and sacrifice from a surrogate. If she is not appropriately compensated for her services, she may develop feelings of vulnerability and being taken advantage of. Intended parents may also feel incredibly in debt and feel guilt in never being able to pay her back for what she has done for them.

Regardless of whether you pay a surrogate a base compensation, you will always need to pay for all of her medical and pregnancy expenses. Surrogacy should always be free to a prospective surrogate, and your surrogacy attorney will make sure the proper financial compensation is detailed in your surrogacy contract.

3. How do I know a surrogate won’t take my baby after birth?

If you are completing a gestational surrogacy, your surrogate will not be biologically related to the child she carries — which means she will have no inherent maternal rights to the baby. That being said, the laws regarding a surrogate’s rights to a baby she bears vary by state, and the steps you will need to take to terminate any such rights will be unique to your situation.

If you choose a traditional surrogacy where the surrogate is related to your baby, there will be more legal risk involved. Therefore, the safest path for intended parents asking this question is gestational surrogacy.

Again, your assisted reproductive technology attorney will work with your surrogate, her doctor and the hospital where she delivers to ensure that you are the one who can legally take custody of your child after birth.

4. How do I protect my parental rights and have my name placed on the birth certificate?

There are a few methods used to help intended parents establish parental rights: a pre- or post-birth order, a parentage order after birth, or an adoption. Which one you use will depend upon several factors, like your genetic relationship to your child, your marital status and your state’s laws. A surrogacy attorney will help you determine which path is best for you, complete the legal steps to protect your rights and obtain a new birth certificate with your name on it.

5. Why do my surrogate and I have to have separate lawyers?

Because surrogacy is complicated, each party to a surrogacy contract must have separate legal representation. This way, you can ensure that your rights and interests are being properly protected by someone who has no stake in the other party’s rights. After all, a lawyer who is trying to obtain the best surrogate compensation possible for a prospective surrogate cannot simultaneously try to limit expenses on the intended parents’ part.

Some state laws even require that surrogacy contracts be drafted with two separate lawyers to be finalized, and many surrogacy professionals will not work with intended parents and surrogates who improperly draft their surrogacy contract.

6. Why do we need a lawyer to draft a surrogacy contract?

You may wonder why you can’t just use an online template to create a surrogacy contract. Because every surrogacy is so different, a “one-size-fits-all” approach will undoubtedly leave you and your surrogate open to legal risks. Only a surrogacy attorney knows all of the potential risks and liabilities of the surrogacy process and can protect you and your surrogate from them.

In addition, because state laws and personal situations vary so greatly and determine what your surrogacy process is like, you cannot trust a generic contract to give you the legal safety you need should something unexpected occur.

7. Can’t a surrogate just use our health insurance?

Unfortunately, because you are not the one who is pregnant, intended parents’ health insurance policies will rarely cover any medical treatment to your surrogate. You may have coverage for IVF and other fertility treatments, but actual pregnancy costs will either be covered by the surrogate’s health insurance or an additional insurance policy that you purchase specifically for the surrogacy.

Your surrogacy specialist and attorney will help review the terms of the surrogate’s insurance to determine whether her policy has surrogacy exclusions and, if so, help you find an appropriate additional policy for your needs. Again, this will be determined in your legal contract.

Have more questions for a surrogacy attorney or questions about the surrogacy process in general? Contact American Surrogacy’s specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) to learn more or be referred to a trusted ART attorney near you.

3 Things to Know About Post-Birth Surrogacy Relationships

The relationship created between intended parents and a surrogate during the surrogacy process is a powerful and intimate one. Both parties are actively working toward the miracle of life — adding a child to a family who so desperately wants one. It’s a complicated and, at times, difficult process in which intended parents and surrogates learn to lean on each other for support.

But, what happens to this relationship after the baby is born? Do intended parents and surrogates go their separate ways, even though they are forever bonded with the knowledge that they brought a life into the world together?

Whether you are an intended parent or a surrogate, you may be curious — and even anxious — about what kind of relationship you will have once your surrogacy journey is complete. Only you and your surrogacy partner will determine what this relationship is but, as you’re considering what you want your relationship to be like, think about these three important facts.

1. Your Relationship Will Change

When a baby is born via surrogacy, intended parents and surrogates have often spent a year or more working closely together — being present for important appointments, sharing stories of pregnancy and excitement and genuinely creating a unique friendship. However, once a baby is born, many of those aspects that bond intended parents and surrogates disappear.

It’s normal for your surrogacy relationship to change once the baby is born — and you should be prepared for these changes. You will likely no longer be in as frequent contact when you aren’t bound by the aspects of the surrogacy process. If you are an intended parent, your focus will go from caring for your surrogate to caring for your newborn baby. If you are a surrogate, you will go from being a key player in the surrogacy process to a spectator of the new family you have created.

These changes can be abrupt and, when you factor in the complicated emotions associated with childbirth, it can be a confusing time. Remember, your surrogacy specialist will always be there to guide you through those feelings and help you adjust to your new relationship, as well as mediate contact to ensure both parties are comfortable with the changes.

2. Closure is a Good Idea

It’s true that surrogates do not become emotionally attached to the children they carry for nine months. They understand that they are just “babysitting” the child and are just as excited as intended parents for the new chapter in their lives.

However, an abrupt break from the intended parents and the baby who they have focused on for the last year can be emotionally challenging for a surrogate. A surrogate is an important part of the surrogacy process, and it’s important that she does not feel like her effort has been overlooked or forgotten as soon as the baby is born.

Closure, even if it’s something as simple as letting the surrogate hold the baby and say goodbye to the new family, can go a long way in helping a woman heal from the physical and emotional complexities of her surrogacy delivery. Likewise, intended parents should find the same sense of closure with the woman who has carried their hopes and dreams for the last nine months. Even if you anticipate continuing your relationship moving forward, this step is crucial in creating a positive surrogacy experience for everyone.

It may be uncomfortable to suggest some kind of closure, but take the steps to reach out — even the smallest gestures go a long way.

3. Every Post-Birth Surrogacy Relationship is Different

Determining your post-surrogacy relationship can be tricky, especially after the baby has been born. Therefore, many intended parents and surrogates create an outline in their surrogacy contract of what kind of post-surrogacy contact they would like moving forward.

However, even with this, it’s natural for relationships to ebb and flow as surrogates and intended parents go through certain periods in their lives. Remember, there is no “right” way to have a relationship with your surrogacy partner after the delivery. Every relationship is different, and it’s up to you to determine what kind you want to have after the birth of the child.

Although creating the perfect post-surrogacy relationship can be complicated, take heart in knowing that most surrogates and intended parents find the perfect balance of contact after birth. One study of surrogates in the United Kingdom and their post-surrogacy relationships shows that 84 percent of surrogates were happy with the level of future contact they had with the child born via surrogacy, whatever kind and frequency of contact it was. They reported that “their level of contact felt natural, was comfortable for the surrogate, the child and his or her parents, and fitted into what were, in most cases, busy family lives.”

If you want to learn more about maintaining a positive surrogacy relationship with your intended parents or surrogate after the baby is born, speak with a surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy today. We can mediate your contact and help you create a relationship that meets both of your needs.

To get started, contact American Surrogacy at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) today.

10 Things to Do While Waiting for Your Baby’s Arrival

If you’re an intended parent, the road to your baby has probably been an especially long one. You may have waited for months or years to become pregnant on your own before deciding to pursue surrogacy — only to find that the waiting continued as you completed screening requirements and searched for the perfect surrogate.

Now, months later, your surrogate is finally pregnant — but you still have to wait the length of her pregnancy before bringing your new baby home.

So, how do you get through those last months and weeks of waiting? Here are 10 things you can do to keep yourself busy:

1. Read.

There is no shortage of reading material for new and expectant parents. While traditional pregnancy books may not be the most useful while you’re waiting for your surrogate to give birth, you might want to pick up a copy of What to Expect the First Year or another book about surrogacy or parenting your newborn.

On the other hand, now is also a great time to read something totally unrelated to babies, surrogacy and parenting. Do some just-for-fun, light reading to help pass the time.

2. Pamper yourself.

Dealing with the loss of control you might feel during your surrogate’s pregnancy isn’t easy. Do something for yourself to help combat those feelings of stress and anxiety, whether that means unwinding with a bubble bath, treating yourself to a pedicure or going out for an evening with friends.

3. Buy baby things.

If you don’t already have them, now is a good time to start gathering the essential items you’ll need when you bring your baby home. Buy a crib and stroller, and start decorating the nursery.

This step isn’t just necessary for you to practically prepare for your new baby; “nesting” also serves an important purpose in mentally preparing you for parenthood.

4. Pack a hospital bag.

On the same note, make sure you’re ready with everything you’ll need for the big day. You never know exactly when your baby will decide to make his or her debut, so start packing a hospital bag now with all of the essentials. Having your things ready to go can be a lifesaver if you end up needing to travel to the hospital at a moment’s notice.

5. Bond with your surrogate.

As delivery day approaches, don’t forget about your surrogate! Check in with her to ask how she’s feeling and if there’s anything you can do to support her during the final weeks of her pregnancy. Consider sending gifts or scheduling some time to spend with her before the baby is born. Bonding with your surrogate is not only essential to a positive surrogacy experience; it also can help you feel more connected and involved in the final stages of the pregnancy.

6. Prepare your other kids, if applicable.

If you have children already, it’s important to take time to prepare them for the arrival of their brother or sister. Make sure your children understand surrogacy (at an age-appropriate level), and involve them in the preparations for the new baby. Ask them to draw pictures or choose special gifts to give to the baby when he or she arrives. Depending on the relationship you have with your surrogate, you may even introduce your children to her to help them better understand the surrogacy process.

7. Plan ahead.

Life with a new baby will be hectic, so try to think ahead if you can. Consider buying gifts or cards now for any important birthdays or holidays happening within the first few weeks after your baby’s due date. Take care of important errands that will be easier to complete without a newborn in tow. Make some meals that you can pop in the freezer and reheat for a quick dinner once you bring your baby home. You’ll thank yourself later.

8. Start a baby book.

Many expectant parents start a pregnancy journal or baby book before their baby arrives, and there’s no reason why intended parents can’t do this, too. Consider how you’ll incorporate your child’s surrogacy story into his or her baby book. Depending on your relationship with the surrogate, you might ask if she would be comfortable sharing pictures of her pregnancy or a letter about her experience in the baby book, too.

This memory book will be a priceless keepsake for years to come, and it can even help you talk to your child about surrogacy as he or she gets older.

9. Meet up with friends.

Friends can be a great source of comfort and support throughout your surrogacy journey and can keep you busy while you’re anxiously awaiting your baby’s arrival. Spend some time with your friends whenever you need a shoulder to cry on or a fun distraction from the surrogacy process — it might not be as easy to meet up for drinks or coffee once your new baby arrives!

10. Spend time with your partner.

Go on a romantic date, see a movie or spend some quiet time at home, just the two of you. Enjoy each other’s company and, if you don’t already have other children, your last moments as a family of two! Once your baby arrives, date nights will require a sitter, and quiet moments alone will be harder to come by. Parenthood will be an exciting new chapter for both of you, but you should also soak up this special time with each other before welcoming your new arrival.

Waiting for your baby to get here can be challenging at times. Try to be patient, enjoy the process and think about how far you’ve come in your family-building journey. Your baby will be here when he or she is ready, and it will happen before you know it.

If you are struggling with the wait to become parents through surrogacy, know that your surrogacy specialist is always available to offer the support you need. Feel free to reach out at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) for more tips and support throughout your surrogacy process.

27 Questions to Ask a Prospective Surrogate

Finding the perfect surrogate to carry your child can be a difficult decision. How do you select the woman who will hold your hopes and dreams in her uterus for nine long months?

While the surrogacy specialists at American Surrogacy can help you find a surrogate who shares your surrogacy goals and preferences, the ultimate decision will be up to you. Before you commit to a prospective surrogate, however, you will have the chance to share a conversation with her to ensure she is the right choice for your family.

You may wonder: “What questions do I ask a surrogate to make sure she’s perfect for my family?”

Know that you and your surrogacy specialist will create a list of questions prior to your conversation with potential surrogates, and your specialist will always mediate your upcoming conversation. While you’ll want to ask the questions that you are most interested in learning more about, we’ve listed a few potential questions below to help you start your list.

About a Surrogate

  • What are your interests?
  • What kind of things do you like to do?
  • How would you describe your personality?
  • What are your values? What is important to you?
  • What is your family like? Are they supportive of your surrogacy plans?

About Her Surrogacy Goals

  • Why did you decide to become a surrogate?
  • Why do you think you’d be a great surrogate?
  • Have you been a surrogate before? If so, what were your journeys like?
  • What were your previous pregnancies like?
  • When did you start your surrogacy process?
  • How committed are you to the surrogacy process?
  • Are you able to travel for surrogacy-related procedures and appointments?
  • What are you looking for in a relationship with intended parents before, during and after the surrogacy process?
  • What do you want to know about us as intended parents?
  • How many embryo transfers are you comfortable with, and how many embryos are you comfortable with in a single transfer?
  • How do you want your family involved in your surrogacy journey?
  • What are your husband’s or partner’s thoughts on your surrogacy decision?
  • How are you going to tell your children about your surrogacy? What kind of involvement do you want from me as an intended parent?
  • What are your thoughts on selective reduction and termination?
  • Do you have certain surrogacy, legal or medical professionals in mind?
  • What would you like us to tell our child about you as they grow up?
  • What are your expectations from us as intended parents?
  • What are you most looking forward to about being a surrogate?

Something to note: Questions about surrogate compensation should not be discussed in your initial conversation with a surrogate. Your surrogacy specialist will have already matched you with a prospective surrogate who meets your surrogacy budget, and the details of her surrogate compensation will be decided by your lawyers during the legal contract phase.

Your initial conversation with a prospective surrogate can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Remember that when you work with American Surrogacy, your surrogacy specialist will be there for you throughout your preparation for and during this important conversation. We will always work with you to help you find the perfect surrogate for your family.

To start finding a surrogate with American Surrogacy today, please call 1-800-875-2229(BABY) or contact us online.