3 Tips for Intended Parents When It Comes to Baby Showers

When you’re an intended parent, you often have to sacrifice some big experiences found in a typical pregnancy journey. But, you don’t have to sacrifice having a baby shower!

As you go through the surrogacy process, you may have friends or family members approach you about throwing you a baby shower. Or, you may want to throw a baby shower yourself. Either way, you may be unsure of how to approach this celebratory event if you’re not actually the one giving birth.

The good news? It won’t matter. Regardless of how you get to parenthood, you are expecting — and you deserve all the love and appreciation that any other parent-to-be would receive from their friends and family.

In many ways, your baby shower will be the same as any other parent’s. However, there are a few things you’ll want to consider ahead of time to have the most positive baby shower possible, for yourself and for your gestational carrier.

Remember, you can always contact our surrogacy specialists for tips and advice anytime at 1-800-875-BABY(2229). In the meantime, we’ve offered a few tips to guide you through your party-planning process.

1. Be Involved in the Planning of Your Shower.

In a traditional pregnancy, many expectant parents leave the planning all up to the friend or family member who offers to host. But, because the family-building process is a bit more complicated for those pursuing surrogacy, it’s important that intended parents play an active role in the planning of their baby shower. That way, they can ensure the process is represented truthfully and positively.

Involving expectant parents in any baby shower is also a good logistic move. Parents-to-be are often busy as can be in the time leading up to their child’s birth (especially so if they are coordinating a gestational surrogacy). If a friend or family member is throwing your baby shower, talk to them about your desires for a party, including:

  • Guest list
  • Time and date
  • Gifts or no gifts
  • Food and game list
  • And more

This is your baby shower, so it makes sense that your loved one will want to create an experience you will enjoy! Don’t be afraid to make your preferences known throughout the planning process.

2. Think About Whether You’ll Include Your Gestational Carrier.

One of the more complicated parts of throwing a baby shower for a gestational surrogacy is the addition of a gestational carrier. While it may make total sense to you to include your surrogate in the festivities, your loved one throwing the event may worry about including her for fear of confusing other guests, hurting your feelings, or taking attention away from you and your spouse during the event.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to invite your gestational carrier (and determining what role she will play) will always be up to you.

If you have a great relationship with your surrogate, it may seem only natural to include her in this important event. Including your surrogate won’t draw attention away from you; she will be excited to simply be a part of your journey, and she’ll make sure to talk to your guests about your journey as parents, not her own as a surrogate. If you want to invite your surrogate, make sure to give her the heads-up on what she can expect and emphasize that she is in no way obligated to bring a gift. After all, she’s already giving you the best gift possible.

What if you’re not sure you want to invite your gestational surrogate? Maybe you’re worried how your loved ones will treat her or that her inclusion might cause a bit of awkwardness. Perhaps you just want your baby shower to be a small gathering of close family and friends. If this is the case, it’s completely your right to exclude her from the list — but it’s a good idea to explain your decision in person, so she doesn’t feel slighted or un-appreciated. Maybe offer to take her out for a nice lunch or dinner (if possible) to celebrate the baby’s impending arrival on your own.

If you’re having trouble with this conversation, don’t hesitate to reach out to your surrogacy specialist for guidance and suggestions.

3. Make Sure Your Guests Understand the Surrogacy Process.

When you’re having a child via gestational surrogacy, you automatically become an ambassador for the surrogacy process. So, expect your guests at your baby shower to be a bit curious about this process and what it entails on your end.

Many intended parents want to enjoy their baby shower with their friends and family, not answer questions about surrogacy throughout the whole thing. And no one wants a loved one discovering you’re going through surrogacy when they first arrive at the baby shower. To avoid this awkwardness, and to help all of your guests have a base knowledge beforehand, make sure your announcements include the fact that guests will be showering the intended parents and a gestational carrier. You can also include some basic information about how surrogacy works to reduce the likelihood that you’ll spend your party answering the same questions over and over again.

Another note: If you’re planning on including your surrogate in the festivities, make sure your guests know who she is, and make it clear whether or not gifts are also expected for her during the gathering.

With a little bit of preparation, you can have the baby shower that you deserve after your long path to becoming a parent. Surrogacy can be complicated, but approaching every step in the process with an open mind and the right information can make all the difference.

Want more tips on hosting the best baby shower for your family? Talk to your surrogacy specialist or to other intended parents for advice and suggestions as you get ready for the big event.

5 Tips for Finding a Pediatrician for Your Child Born via Surrogacy

When you use surrogacy to add a child to your family, there are a lot of medical professionals involved: your reproductive endocrinologist, your surrogate’s personal physician and obstetricians, nurses at the hospital, and more.

But, have you thought about the most important professional you’ll need once your surrogacy is done — your child’s pediatrician?

Finding the right pediatrician for your child will take some time. One bright side of your surrogate carrying your child? You will have the time to research and choose the perfect doctor for your baby once they are born.

Below, find five important tips to keep in mind during this search. Remember: Your surrogacy specialist will always be available to answer your questions about raising a child born via surrogacy, including how your pediatrician can play a role in this journey.

Don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) today for more information.

1. Do thorough research.

One of the best ways to spend the time waiting for your child to be born? Preparing yourself for their arrival — which includes finding the right pediatrician to look after their medical health.

Finding a pediatrician involves more than just choosing the closest doctor to you. Your child’s pediatrician will provide preventative care to your child throughout their childhood, and they will play an integral part in your child’s physical and mental development. They will also be a great resource to you by providing education about child development, safety and more.

When you first start researching options for pediatricians, you’ll want to consider:

  • Location, hours and after-hour care
  • Insurance coverage
  • Whether the doctor is accepting new patients
  • The doctor’s certifications and awards
  • The doctor’s experience and any areas of specialization
  • And more

2. Ask for references and recommendations.

If this is your first child, you may be unsure of what you are looking for in a pediatrician. Talking to those who have been through this process before can be helpful.

One of the best ways to find a good local pediatrician is by asking your friends and family members with children. They can let you know who they are seeing, what they like about them, and what they wished they had known about pediatricians before starting. Their experience can serve you well in your personal search.

You might also reach out to your (or your surrogate’s) obstetrician. They may have advice for finding a good pediatrician based on your and your surrogate’s health background, and they might even recommend a few physicians to start with.

3. Interview potential pediatricians.

Once you have a list of prospective pediatricians, you will need to interview the ones you are seriously interested in. Your first time meeting your baby’s pediatrician shouldn’t be at your baby’s first visit; you should establish a relationship with the doctor prior to your baby even being born.

There are a lot of great doctors out there, and many of them may work as your personal pediatrician. To determine your best fit, you’ll need to meet the doctor in person. This will give you a chance to ask any questions you may have about their practice and their medical opinions, as well as determine whether you two “click” and have a good relationship.

This can be the lengthiest part of finding a pediatrician, so make sure to start your interviews early! The more doctors you talk to, the better idea you’ll have of what you’re looking for in a pediatrician for your child.

4. Keep your surrogacy experience in mind.

In many ways, the process of finding a pediatrician for a child born via surrogacy will be very similar to that of a child born in a traditional manner. However, there are a few things you should consider.

If you are matched with an out-of-state surrogate, the first pediatrician to see your child will likely be in the city where your gestational carrier gives birth. You’ll want to talk with your surrogate’s obstetrician for local recommendations, and you’ll want to keep your own pediatrician up-to-date on pregnancy and delivery news as it occurs. You’ll also want to ask your local pediatrician when they would like to see the baby after you return home and make sure that the hospital at which your child is born sends the proper paperwork to your local doctor.

If your child has been conceived with a gamete donation, you’ll need to inform your pediatrician, as well. This may play a role in your decision — is your pediatrician familiar with the ins-and-outs of sperm and egg donation, and do they have experience tackling this issue with current patients? How will they navigate the issue of social and medical history from a donor when caring for your child?

You’ll need to work with a pediatrician who is comfortable with your child’s surrogacy background — and is willing to do more research whenever necessary. So, make sure your surrogacy experience is an important topic of your initial conversation with a prospective doctor.

5. Don’t be afraid to change your mind.

The pediatrician that you choose for your child will most likely be there throughout the years (and even decades!) to come. It’s a big decision — and it’s completely normal if your needs and wants end up changing over the years to come. Fortunately, there are many pediatricians out there, and you will find the one that is best for your child.

Say you choose one pediatrician to start with. But, on your first visit with the doctor and your baby, you’re not satisfied with the level of care you receive. Alternatively, your child may develop a condition during childhood that your pediatrician may not be able to adequately care for. Changing doctors is totally acceptable — it’s not a comment on your ability as a parent or even the doctor’s ability to do their job!

You are never obligated to remain with a certain medical professional just because you started with that person. As a parent, you must always do what is right for your child!

Want more tips and hints for life as a parent after surrogacy? Reach out to your surrogacy specialist anytime at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

6 Ways to Help Those Going through Surrogacy

Things You Can Do and Say to Help Surrogates or Intended Parents

If you’re friends with a surrogate or an intended parent, you’re likely wondering how you can help them. Surrogacy journeys are full of joys and excitements, but they can also be tough and tiring for everyone involved.

Here’s how you can lend your support if your loved one is in the midst of the surrogacy process, whether they’re a surrogate or an intended parent:

1. Offer practical support whenever you can.

The business of pregnancy and waiting for a baby can be hectic, time-consuming and physically draining. This is true for any expectant parent, and it’s also true for gestational surrogates and intended parents.

Surrogates are raising children of their own at home in addition to growing another family’s baby, so they would probably welcome an extra hand with everyday tasks as their pregnancy progresses! Offer to watch your friend’s kids while she’s at her obstetrician appointments or bring over a casserole for dinner so she can have some leftovers.

Although the intended parents aren’t handling the physical strains of the pregnancy, they’re still busy and stressed about their upcoming baby. They may be called for their surrogate’s delivery last-minute, so offer to housesit or watch their other children for them while they’re away. Even offering to take them out to lunch to get their mind off of things can be helpful.

2. Listen.

The surrogacy process can be incredibly emotional for both gestational surrogates and intended parents. There will likely be some ups and downs, and they’ll need someone to talk to about it.

Sometimes, the best way to show your support for someone you love is to just be there and listen. No need to fix anything for them — just hear them out so they can work through their feelings.

3. Encourage them.

The end result of surrogacy — a brand-new baby — makes all struggles worthwhile. But, your loved one will likely need continued encouragement from you to remind them why they started their surrogacy journey in the first place.

The surrogacy process takes at least a year once it’s underway, and that doesn’t include the time that it takes an intended parent to decide that this family-building path is the right one for them. Your loved one will need your encouragement as they continue pursuing something so important, especially when their journey feels difficult.

4. Celebrate their joys.

There are a lot of moments to be celebrated throughout the surrogacy process, both big and small. But because surrogacy is still a relatively misunderstood way to build a family, many people don’t recognize these joys for surrogates and parents.

Your loved one will feel more appreciated and part of a “normal,” celebrated experience if you take the time to acknowledge these joys. If you’re not sure what’s appropriate, ask!

Offer to throw a baby shower for the intended parents and ask how to appropriately honor the surrogate and surrogacy process. Congratulate your surrogate friend on the pregnancy, and let her know to extend your congratulations to the baby’s parents. Surrogates, intended parents and children born via surrogacy all deserve to be celebrated like anyone else, while you also acknowledge their unique journey to get where they are now.

5. Educate others.

Your loved one probably gets a little tired of answering questions about their surrogacy process. They’ve likely talked to you about their experiences, so you already have some knowledge of how surrogacy works.

A great way to show your support for those who have been touched by surrogacy is to educate others about the process and to dispel misconceptions. Continue to learn about surrogacy, and then share your newfound information with others. If you notice someone spreading inaccurate information about surrogacy, set the record straight with some facts!

Just be sure to avoid sharing information from your friend’s personal surrogacy story with others.

6. Be ready to help after their surrogacy journey is over.

Gestational surrogates will be recovering postpartum, and new parents will be right in the middle of baby craziness.

Sending a card or flowers to either party is a nice gesture. Even better, bring over a meal to help save them some time as everyone gets back to their lives post-surrogacy, or offer to babysit their older children so that they can have a quick break.

Remember that gestational surrogates will want some time to rest and recuperate, and new parents will want plenty of alone-time to bond with their child and settle in with the newest family member, so give your loved one some space.

However you help and support your loved one throughout their surrogacy journey, they’ll appreciate that you took the time to make the effort. If you need advice on supporting a gestational surrogate or an intended parent, you can always reach out to an American Surrogacy specialist at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

7 Things People Still Get Wrong About Surrogacy — and the Truth Behind Them

At one point, we’ve all probably believed some pretty ridiculous things. Then, you listen, you learn, and your worldview opens up a little more.

It’s time to stop believing (and spreading) a few ridiculous things about surrogacy. Now is your opportunity to learn something new or to share your information with someone else!

Here are 7 things people still get wrong about surrogacy:

1. Women get rich by becoming surrogates.

At American Surrogacy, base compensation for surrogates starts at $30,000 for an approximately year-long journey. Does that seem like a lot? Consider what a surrogate goes through:

She’s expected to submit to a series of tests and screening processes, take an intense regimen of fertility medications, complete more tests and medical procedures, carry a pregnancy and have a relationship with the intended parents. That’s all in addition to caring for her own children and managing her career, if she works outside the home.

The surrogacy process usually takes more than a year of a woman’s time, effort, dedication and physical work. She takes on risks and responsibility. Accepting some amount of compensation for that is reasonable.

That’s all after one important fact: Surrogates aren’t in this for any money they receive. Time and again, women say that the reason they became surrogates is because they wanted to help intended parents.

2. Surrogacy is illegal.

Well, yes and no.

Each state sets its own regulations for the surrogacy process. They often fall under one of these categories:

  • Prohibit surrogacy
  • Have no laws on surrogacy, which makes the process legal — but the process must be completed with experienced professionals to do so safely
  • Outlaw certain types of surrogacy and are very welcoming of other types
  • Have detailed surrogacy regulations, which keeps the process safer for everyone involved and makes the legal steps involved easier and more streamlined

The misconception lies in the belief that there is a blanket ban on surrogacy in the U.S., which simply isn’t true. While there are some states that are more surrogacy-friendly than others, experienced national agencies like American Surrogacy work to guide intended parents and gestational surrogates throughout the country safely through this process.

It’s always important to work with a surrogacy professional that’s able to navigate the variations in state laws. American Surrogacy can help.

3. Surrogates might keep the baby.

A gestational surrogate can’t legally keep the baby she carries — and she wouldn’t want to in the first place! The baby isn’t hers, in more ways than one.

In most states, a gestational surrogate doesn’t have legal parental rights, because the baby isn’t biologically hers. Laws vary by state, but in states where the woman who gives birth to the baby is presumed to be the mother, intended parents can often officially confirm their legal parental rights with documentation before the baby is even born. Additionally, in every surrogacy contract, intended parents legally agree that they must assume all parental rights and responsibilities of the baby after he or she is born, no matter what. So, before a surrogate is even pregnant, custody is usually locked in.

On to the second point: A surrogate isn’t interested in keeping the baby. She has her own children to care for, so she isn’t “after” the intended parents’! She understands what surrogacy is, and she’s only interested in “babysitting” the intended parents’ child in order to help them have the family they’ve been longing for. Remember: Every surrogate is psychologically screened beforehand to confirm that she shares this mindset.

4. Women should carry babies for their friends or family members.

When friends or family members enter into a surrogacy arrangement together, this is called “identified surrogacy.” This type of surrogacy can work out great in many situations, but it can also pose unique emotional challenges that are less likely to occur in a matched partnership.

As long as everyone involved is fully aware of potential hurdles before they begin, and each party has separate legal representation for the creation of their surrogacy contract — an absolute must, no matter how much you love and trust one another — then identified surrogacy can be a mutually positive experience.

However, identified surrogacy is not necessarily the preferred method over a matched partnership. It all depends on the preferences of the surrogate and the intended parents involved.

5. Surrogacy involves intercourse between the surrogate and the intended father.

Ok, here’s how this works:

An embryo is created through IVF in a lab using egg and sperm from the intended parents or donors. That embryo will eventually be transferred to the gestational carrier’s uterus in a fertility clinic with a doctor.

That’s how surrogates become pregnant — not in the “traditional” way.

6. Intended parents choose surrogacy to avoid being pregnant.

Most intended parents would give anything to be able to carry their child themselves. Choosing surrogacy often comes after a long grieving process, letting go of some old dreams and experiencing a lot of pain ­— sometimes physical as well as emotional.

Don’t ever believe that intended parents are just “getting out” of pregnancy. You don’t know what they’ve gone through to get where they are now.

7. Parents can’t bond with children born via surrogacy.

If parents need to give birth to their children in order to love and bond with them, then do you believe that families formed through adoption are also unable to establish these bonds? This is an absurd assumption that people make because they’ve never experienced anything other than traditional, genetic family connections.

Forming bonds with babies born via surrogacy, like adopted infants, can take some time and special care for some families. For others, the connection is instant. Either way, those bonds will form — no less strong or “real” than those of any other family.

You can learn more about the surrogacy process and receive information about becoming a gestational surrogate or intended parent by contacting American Surrogacy online or at 1-800-875-BABY
(2229).

What are Surrogacy’s Effects on Children Born via this Method?

While assisted reproduction methods have been around for decades, gestational surrogacy is still the relatively new kid on the block. Because of its novelty, surrogacy can be a controversial topic of discussion — especially when it comes to the long-term effects on those involved.

While intended parents and gestational carriers enter into this process fully aware of the risks and rewards of doing so, the children who are born via surrogacy have no choice in the matter. Therefore, it’s normal for many people to ask, “What are the effects on children born via surrogacy?”

Researchers have been studying the families created through gestational surrogacy for years now. While there are no definite and conclusive answers to this question, a fair amount of reports have been released over the past few years that shed some light on this topic. We’ve summarized them for you below.

Remember: If you ever have questions about the surrogacy process, our specialists are here to help. Contact us anytime online or by calling 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

Physical Effects on Children Born via Surrogacy

For many people, there’s been a long-standing question about children conceived through in vitro fertilization: How does it affect them in the long run?

The good news is that researchers have not found any solid evidence to show that children conceived via IVF are any less healthy than those conceived in the traditional manner.

One of the most recent and most extensive studies on this topic comes out of Israel. In a 2017 study, Israeli researchers evaluated the health of young adults enlisting in the military, all of whom were born via IVF from 1982—1993. The physicians looked at all medical and psychiatric diagnoses recorded, as well as cognitive function. Overall, there were no major differences between the adults conceived and born via IVF than adults conceived and born in the traditional way.

Studies on children born via surrogacy tend to have the same results. While the rate of multiple births and low birth weight are higher among those pursuing gestational surrogacy, long-term results have not indicated that the entire classification of children born via surrogacy is any less healthy than their traditionally born counterparts.

For more information on how IVF plays a role in a child’s health, we encourage intended parents to speak with an experienced reproductive endocrinologist at a surrogacy or fertility clinic.

Emotional Effects on Children Born via Surrogacy

The lack of a negative physical effect is all good and well — but is there a possibility that a child is psychologically affected by the fact that they were born via surrogacy?

The answer is yes — and no. As with any other child brought into a family in a non-traditional way, the psychological health of a child born via surrogacy will depend upon how their parents celebrate their surrogacy story. If there’s anything family-building professionals have learned from adoption and gamete donations, it’s that honesty and openness are always the best policies.

The psychological health of people involved in the surrogacy process has always been of interest to researchers. There are many studies out there that evaluate the psychological health of a child born via surrogacy, the relationships between intended mothers and their children, the emotional effects of surrogacy on gestational carriers, and more.

For this article, we’ll focus on the emotional health of children born via surrogacy. The vast majority of studies today show no major differences in emotional health of children born via surrogacy and those children conceived naturally. One extensive 2011 study showed that surrogacy children grew up well-adjusted throughout their childhood, with no noticeable differences in maternal positivity, maternal negativity, and child adjustment. In fact, mothers and fathers of children born via surrogacy were shown to have more positive parent-child relationships and less stress (respectively) than those who had a child naturally.

Of course, there are studies out there that claim children born via surrogacy are more likely to be depressed and experience identity issues as they grow up. But, that makes sense; if intended parents don’t take the time to fully and positively explain a child’s surrogacy story as they grow up, it will be a great shock to a child when they eventually find out. That’s why we at American Surrogacy encourage all intended parents to normalize their child’s surrogacy story from the moment they are brought home from the hospital.

For many children, the idea of being carried in another woman’s womb is more disruptive than the idea of not being genetically related to their parents. This is likely because surrogacy is still uncommon in comparison to other family-building methods like adoption. So, proper explanation and honesty is key to helping a child develop their identity as a surrogacy baby.

Whatever your interest in surrogacy, we know that it can be scary to think of the future when you’re so focused on the present. That’s why our surrogacy specialists are always here to answer all of your questions about gestational surrogacy before you begin.

To learn more today, give us a call at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

What is Colostrum, and Should I Consider it for My Baby Born via Surrogacy?

When you hire a surrogate to carry your baby, there are a lot of decisions you’ll have to make. But, have you given thought to breastfeeding once your child is born?

It may surprise you to know that many intended mothers (and adoptive mothers) are able to breastfeed their children after birth, even though they weren’t pregnant themselves. The decision of whether or not to breastfeed — or whether or not your surrogate pumps for your baby — will always be up to your preferences.

Whether you’re considering breastfeeding your child, or you are interested in having your gestational carrier pump breastmilk for you, there’s an important thing you should know about first: colostrum. It may very well make a difference in what path you eventually choose.

For this year’s National Breastfeeding Month, find some basic information below about this medical marvel.

Remember: The information presented in this article is not intended to be and should not be taken as medical advice. We encourage you to always speak with your doctor for advice on what will be best for your newborn baby.

What is Colostrum, and Why is it so Special?

Colostrum is a special kind of breastmilk that is only produced right after a woman gives birth. It’s a sticky, yellow fluid that has everything a baby needs to transition to life outside the womb. All infants can benefit from colostrum, but studies have shown that colostrum has an immense benefit for preterm babies.

So, what are the advantages of colostrum?

  • It contains antibodies and white blood cells that help a baby build its immune system.
  • It creates a tough coating on a baby’s stomach and intestines to protect from germs.
  • It acts as a laxative to help a baby pass its first poop.
  • It helps prevent jaundice.
  • It provides the right nutrients to help the brain, eyes and heart grow.
  • It’s an easy first food for babies to digest, containing high levels of protein, salts, fats and vitamins.

Colostrum is usually produced within the first few days of birth. Women typically stop producing colostrum about two to five days after delivery. Then, “transitional milk” (a mixture of colostrum and more mature milk) comes in. By this time, a baby’s stomach will be ready to digest larger amounts of more mature milk.

Should Your Surrogate Pump Her Colostrum for Your Baby?

Because of colostrum’s benefits, many new mothers who don’t plan to breastfeed extensively still ensure their baby receives colostrum directly after birth.

But, if you’re having a child via surrogacy, getting colostrum to your baby isn’t as simple as it is in a traditional birth. Even if you plan to induce lactation to feed your baby, you will not produce colostrum (which is related to the production of human placental lactogen). If you want your baby to receive the benefits of colostrum, you will need to have your surrogate pump after birth.

Asking your gestational carrier to pump breastmilk for you is not a question to bring up for the first time in the delivery room. It should be a conversation that you have long before she delivers — possibly even during the drafting of your surrogacy contract. It’s important to iron out the details, such as how long she will pump, how the milk will be delivered to your baby, and whether she’ll receive any extra compensation for doing so. Remember: Pumping breastmilk is a big commitment, so your surrogate needs to be actively involved in this decision.

If you decide to have your surrogate provide colostrum to your baby after birth, you’ll need to talk to your surrogate about the details of this experience, as part of your overall hospital plan. Will your surrogate need to pump directly after delivery? Will you have her breastfeed your child instead? Your surrogacy specialist can also help mediate this conversation.

Remember: You are in Charge of Your Breastmilk Preferences

When you’re an intended parent, you always get to decide what the best medical decisions for your child are. If you want to induce lactation and feed them yourself, great! If you choose to bottle-feed instead, that’s okay, too! It’s all up to what your doctor recommends and what will work best for your own schedule.

No matter what you decide, you are still a good parent. Unfortunately, there is a lot of debate out there about breastfeeding vs. bottle-feeding, but one is not inherently better than the other. As long as you do your research and talk to your surrogate about your plans for breastfeeding colostrum and mature milk, you will be able to make the decision that is right for your family.

Want to learn more about how breastfeeding works with surrogacy? Talk to our surrogacy specialists today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) or contact us online.

Utah Supreme Court Protects LGBT Parents’ Right to Surrogacy

A ruling by the Utah Supreme Court will now allow same-sex couples to enter into gestational agreements to add to their families. Now, “same-sex couples must be afforded all of the benefits the State has linked to marriage and freely grants to opposite-sex couples.”

The big takeaway? LGBT married couples in Utah can now pursue gestational surrogacy without legal barriers!

Before we get into the details of this ruling, a little history: American LGBT individuals were granted the right to marry across the country thanks to the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. While the ruling protected LGBT parents’ rights to adopt as a couple, it didn’t extend to surrogacy law. Because surrogacy legislation varies greatly from state to state, individual states (including Utah) were able to write in conditions that prevented LGBT couples from pursuing this family-building process.

So, when two men from southern Utah found their gestational surrogacy agreement denied by a district court, they took action with an appeal. The language in the original surrogacy legislation dictated that surrogacy could only take place when an “intended mother is unable to bear a child or is unable to do so without unreasonable risk to her physical and mental health or to the unborn child.”

While the Utah Attorney General’s Office told the Court the statute should be interpreted as gender-neutral, the justices chose to strike down that specific language in the law. Because the couple was afforded the same protection under marital law as any heterosexual couple, their petition was approved — and the state surrogacy law was changed.

“This is a positive step to protect children, intended parents and strengthens families,” said Troy Williams, the director of the LGBTQ rights group Equality Utah, in a statement Friday.

American Surrogacy applauds this legal change to Utah surrogacy legislation and stands ready to help any intended parents — LGBT or heterosexual — reach their surrogacy dreams. For more information about working with our agency, please call 1-800-875-BABY(2229) or contact us online.

What to Say — and What Not to Say — to the Intended Parent in Your Life

So, your friend or family member has told you they’re pursuing surrogacy to add a child to their family — how exciting!

But, what if you’ve never had any experience with surrogacy before? How do you know what to say — and what not to say — when you receive this news? How do you express your excitement without offending the intended parents?

Surrogacy can be a tricky conversation, but American Surrogacy is here to help. In this blog post, we’ll run through some of the biggest things not to say when talking to intended parents and offer some alternatives instead. Remember, our team is always available to explain more about surrogacy when you call us at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

In the meantime, find some tips for this conversation below:

5 Things Not to Say to an Intended Parent

There are a few common things that people say when their loved ones first share their surrogacy news. As well-meaning as they are, they can actually be quite intrusive and hurtful for intended parents to hear. Here are a few phrases you’ll want to avoid:

1. “How much are you paying your surrogate?”

Surrogate compensation is a hot topic among those who are unfamiliar with the surrogacy process — but it’s not a topic up for discussion with intended parents. Refrain from any comments on money or how the intended parents must be “rich” for pursuing this path. The fact is that many intended parents are often in debt or have spent much of their life savings trying to have a child.

Any compensation they are paying their surrogate is between them and her. Rest assured that it’s a number the two parties have both agreed is fair.

2. “Why don’t you just adopt?”

Adoption is a lot harder than many people think it is. It’s a process that takes a great deal of time and money, just like surrogacy. It also comes with some unknowns that surrogacy doesn’t.

Asking intended parents this question comes across as judgmental. Odds are, they considered adoption when deciding on their next step in their family-building process, and they decided it wasn’t right for them. It’s not your business why they chose surrogacy over adoption; it’s your job to support them through their family-building journey.

3. “Who’s the baby’s real mother?”

Most surrogacies today are gestational surrogacies, in which the surrogate is not genetically related to the child she carries. Instead, the intended parents’ embryo is implanted in her uterus for her to carry to term. Some intended parents use donor gametes to create this embryo.

Using the word “real” in reference to non-traditional family-building processes only perpetrates the idea that pregnancy is the only way to be a parent. Pregnancy and genetic relationship does not make a family; instead, it’s love and dedication.

4. “Whose sperm are you using?”

Similarly, when a male gay couple pursues surrogacy, people often ask who the “real” dad will be. This is an incredibly rude and intrusive question. A parent’s genetic connection to their child is only the business of the parent, the child, and the spouse.

Both men in a gay couple will be great parents to their child, regardless of genetics. Focus on that in your conversation, not their biological relationship.

5. “Can I meet your surrogate?”

This question may come from a place of interest; after all, you want to meet the woman who will be carrying your loved one’s baby! However, a surrogate isn’t someone to be put on display. She’s her own person with her own life, not subject to whims of intended parents and their friends and family.

Intended parents should be the one bringing up this idea, not you. Their relationship with their surrogate and their personal preferences will determine whether they are comfortable with this sort of thing.

6. “Wow, you’re lucky you don’t have to get fat/have morning sickness!”

You may be trying to find a silver lining in your loved one’s journey to surrogacy, but remember that many intended mothers would much rather carry their child on their own — regardless of side effects or risks. It may have taken an intended mother a long time to grieve her dreams of pregnancy, and this flippant response can bring up her negative experiences and feelings all over again.

7. “Don’t you feel jealous of your surrogate?”

Of course an intended mother has some feelings of jealousy toward her surrogate! On the same note as the comment above, don’t mention these kinds of things to intended mothers. Infertility grief is strong and can last a long time, and your loved one should be looking forward to the positives of the future — not the bad experiences of the past.

3 Things to Say to an Intended Parent

While there are many things you should not say to an intended parent, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t talk about their surrogacy at all! Here are a few more positive phrases you should make sure to use in your conversations with intended parents:

1. “How can I help?”

Even though intended parents aren’t the ones physically going through pregnancy, their journey through gestational surrogacy will still be hard. Not only do they have to stay organized and pay for all of the expenses of pregnancy, there will be tough emotional journey ahead as their surrogate gets pregnant and they watch their baby grow within her over the next nine months.

As their friend or family member, you can play a huge role in making this journey a little easier. Offer to take them out for dinner or do something else to take their mind off of surrogacy. Throw them a baby shower or help them decorate their nursery for their future child. Find ways to help them out just as you would anyone else who is expecting a child in the traditional way.

2. “You must be excited to be parents!”

Intended parents often have conflicting feelings about surrogacy. It’s one step closer to them finally having a child, but it also requires them to give up their dreams of pregnancy and a great deal of control over their child’s development in utero. Because of the emotions involved, it may be difficult for them to share their excitement.

So, give them an opportunity to talk about it! Instead of focusing on the details and asking lots of questions, accept their news with excitement and reflect what they are likely feeling. Ask them about their plans for the nursery and what will happen after the baby is born; don’t focus too much on their choice of surrogacy in getting there.

3. “I know you’ve waited a long time for this. I’m happy for you!”

Similarly, express your excitement about their news, too! Remember that intended parents have often gone through a lot before choosing surrogacy, and it can be reassuring for someone to notice and validate their struggles. This is the kind of response they are looking for when they announce their surrogacy journey. You can’t go wrong with mentioning this in your conversation.

More than anything else, pay close attention to the intended parents’ language and responses during this kind of conversation. You should be able to detect fairly easily what topics they are comfortable with and which they are not. Use that to guide your conversation.

Want more tips on supporting those going through the surrogacy process? Talk to our surrogacy specialists anytime by calling 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

What to Say — And What Not to Say — to the Surrogate in Your Life

Talking about surrogacy can be tough — especially if you’re still learning about the ins and outs of the process. If a loved one tells you about her plans to become a surrogate, you may not be sure of how to respond. What should you say to be as supportive as possible?

We know surrogacy can be a tricky conversation for some people. That’s why we’ve gathered this helpful guide to what to say — and what not to say — when someone tells you they’re becoming a surrogate. Proper language is so important in the surrogacy process, and it’s a good idea to have a base knowledge of surrogacy before your loved one begins their journey.

Below, check out some important things to know for talking about surrogacy with your loved one. Remember: American Surrogacy’s team of surrogacy specialists is always here to answer any of the questions you may have about the surrogacy process.

5 Things Not to Say to a Surrogate

First, let’s start with the things not to say to a gestational carrier. There are a lot of misconceptions about the surrogacy process, and a lot of them emerge as ignorant or insensitive questions to a gestational carrier.

Before you have a conversation with your loved one about her surrogacy journey, scratch these ones from your vocabulary:

1. “Aren’t you afraid that you’ll ‘get attached’ to the baby?”

Many people assume “surrogacy” still means “traditional surrogacy” — that the carrier is related to the baby. But, that’s not the truth. More than likely, your loved one is a gestational carrier, meaning she is just “the oven” for the intended parents’ baby.  It’s silly to ask her if she’ll get attached; she knows she’s just “babysitting,” and she will likely be excited to hand over the baby once he or she is born!

2. “How much are you getting paid?”

This is an absolute hands-off topic when you’re talking with gestational carriers. How much a woman is paid for her surrogacy services is her family’s and the intended parent’s business alone.

Know that if your loved one is receiving compensation for her services, it is a number that she and her intended parents agreed is fair to all parties. Avoid any conversation about money when talking to your friend or family member about her surrogacy journey.

3. “Why don’t the intended parents just adopt?”

This is one of the most common questions that intended parents get — and their surrogate will likely get the query, too. The fact is that adoption is not right for everyone. Every parent has the right to choose the family-building path that is right for them, and it’s no one’s business to question it.

Intended parents choose surrogacy for many reasons: They have remaining embryos, they want a genetic connection, or adoption may not be possible for them. Their reasons are not your surrogate’s story to tell, so stop asking!

4. “How will you tell your kids?”

While this question itself can be a well-meaning one, it can come off in another way. Often, the people who ask this question are implying that the surrogate’s children won’t be able to understand the surrogacy process, or that they will take it personally when their mother “gives away” the baby she is carrying.

Children understand more than adults give them credit for. It’s highly likely that your friend has already started to explain the surrogacy process to her children in a positive way — maybe even in a way not much different than how she explained surrogacy to you.

5. “Pregnancy is dangerous — are you sure about this?”

Most likely, by the time your friend is telling you about her plans to become a surrogate, she has already begun the process. She may have already matched with intended parents, she may be taking fertility medication, or she may even be pregnant!

Whatever stage she is at, she’s already made up her mind about this journey. Expressions of concern from her loved ones are not what she is looking for. A woman has to be fully informed of all the risks well before she starts the surrogacy process. So, she’s already evaluated those risks, and she won’t like to be reminded of them.

3 Things to Say to a Surrogate

While there are certain things that surrogates are tired of hearing, there are also some things that surrogates don’t hear often enough. If you’re discussing your friend’s surrogacy journey with her, here are some positive things that you can say:

1. “The intended parents must be so grateful!”

A surrogate knows that what she’s doing will help her intended parents reach their dreams of having a family. But, to hear someone else acknowledge her impact is a big deal.

Rather than focusing on what she gets out of the surrogacy process (ie. surrogate compensation), focus on what her decision will give to other people. It shows that you truly understand why she chose this path and, in turn, that you appreciate her, too.

2. “You are such a wonderful person for doing this!”

But, don’t just assume that your loved one knows you respect her decision — tell her to her face!

A surrogate may not always receive positive comments from all of her friends and family. It can be disheartening to be so excited about being a surrogate, only to have someone respond with judgement or disapproval (see comments above). Make it obvious that you respect her decision by congratulating her on it and clearly showing your pride in what she has chosen to do. After all, surrogacy is something that affects the whole world, not just her intended parents.

3. “How can I help?”

When your loved one becomes a surrogate, she gives up a great deal of her time and energy to grow a baby for someone else. She may be just as tired and overwhelmed as during her previous pregnancies, but she may not be receiving the same support from her friends and family because the baby isn’t hers.

So, when your friend tells you she’s being a surrogate, take the opportunity to offer your assistance. Tell her you’ll make dinner on a busy night or watch her kids when she has doctor’s appointments. She will certainly appreciate it in the next year or so to come.

Want more advice on talking to a surrogate about her journey? Contact our surrogacy team at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) for our tips and advice.

5 Tips for Parents via Surrogacy on this Parents’ Day

After celebrating mothers in May and fathers in June, American Surrogacy brings them both together to celebrate National Parents’ Day this Sunday, July 28. We know that becoming parents is a tag-team effort for many intended parents, and we want to recognize the hard work that went into their surrogacy journey — and continues every day as they raise the next generation.

That’s why our team of surrogacy specialists is always here for our intended parents, even long after their children are born. Surrogacy is something that will affect your life forever, and we are here to provide advice and guidance whenever you need it. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your surrogacy specialist anytime at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

In the meantime, we’ve gathered some of the biggest tips we have for the parents who’ve used surrogacy to bring their children into the world. Check them out below:

Tip #1: Always be honest with your child about their birth story.

In order to be the best parent possible, those who have used gestational surrogacy should always make sure their child knows their birth story — and is proud of it. Surrogacy is a beautiful way to build a family, and it’s important that your child knows their story from the moment they are brought home.

Many times, parents who have brought children into their family in a non-traditional process (such as surrogacy or adoption) think they are doing their children a favor by waiting until they are “old enough” to understand. However, when they eventually get around to telling their child about their surrogacy or adoption story, they cause a great deal of emotional harm. After all, this child has grown up believing one thing, only to discover that their identity is a lie.

Your surrogacy specialist can always provide tips for explaining surrogacy to your child as they grow up. Start with these surrogacy books to aid you in an age-appropriate conversation.

Tip #2: Always be open to questions from your child and your family.

Surrogacy shouldn’t just be a topic of discussion during the conversations mentioned above. It should be a constant part of your life.

This means being open to answer questions from your child whenever they have them. By putting off their questions instead of answering them right away, your child unconsciously picks up on the idea that you are uncomfortable about the topic. That can manifest into your child being embarrassed of their surrogacy story.

Similarly, be open to conversations about surrogacy with your extended family, as well. Even if you took time to explain surrogacy to them when you were first going through the process, be ready for questions and comments to pop up every now and then.

Tip #3: Be a positive role model during insensitive comments or questions.

When you’re open about your surrogacy journey, it’s highly likely that you’ll receive comments and questions from friends and strangers. Not all of them will be positive. Surrogacy is still a fairly misunderstood process, and you should be prepared for ignorant and insensitive comments at times.

Remember: Your child sees everything you do. So, when you receive these questions and comments, instead of brushing them off, take them as an opportunity to educate others about surrogacy. If your child sees you aren’t embarrassed about their surrogacy story, they will mimic that behavior.

A great deal of parenting is setting a positive role model for your child — and that’s even more important if you brought a child into your family in a non-traditional manner. Stand strong against negative comments about your family-building journey, and give your child ways to respond when they get similar questions and comments from their peers.

Tip #4: Celebrate the unique way that your family came to be.

Addressing questions and concerns from your child does more than educate them about their past. It also shows that you are proud of the way they came into your family.

Being a parent to a child born via surrogacy is a lifelong journey. Your surrogacy decision will impact your day-to-day long after your child is born. You shouldn’t pretend it didn’t happen; instead, you should celebrate your decision.

Perhaps this means including your gestational surrogate in certain family events. Maybe it means displaying maternity photos of your gestational surrogate in a visible spot. How you celebrate your story will always be up to you. But, make sure you do it — it will teach your child that they have nothing to be ashamed of in regards to how they were brought into this world.

Tip #5: Remember that you are a parent as much as any other parent out there.

There are a lot of practical aspects of being a good parent, but the emotional aspects can be one of the biggest factors in just how “good” of a parent you will be. Anyone can feed, shelter and raise a child, but it takes a wonderful parent to provide the emotional support a son or daughter needs as they grow up. This is even more important for children who are born via surrogacy.

Children can pick up on a lot more than adults tend to give them credit for. If you are harboring feelings of guilt or sadness over your path to surrogacy, even after your child is born, they will know. Your child should only know happiness and pride when it comes to them being your child. That’s why it’s so important that you have properly grieved your dreams of pregnancy before becoming a parent via surrogacy.

Choosing surrogacy doesn’t make you any less of a parent, just as having a child via gamete donation or adopting a child doesn’t lessen your parental “claim.” In order to be the best parent possible, you must be confident in your role.

If you have concerns about the surrogacy process, or you have questions about raising a child born from surrogacy, American Surrogacy is here to help. Contact our surrogacy specialists anytime for more information.