3 Services Your Fertility Clinic Will Provide in Surrogacy

One of the most important professionals involved in a surrogacy process is a fertility clinic. While surrogacy agencies like American Surrogacy can complete every other step of the surrogacy process, intended parents and surrogates will need to select and work with a fertility clinic to complete the medical aspect of their surrogacy journey.

Know this: The terms “fertility clinic” and “surrogacy clinic” are interchangeable.  Many surrogacy clinics are also fertility clinics, assisting intended parents with many different assisted reproductive technologies. As surrogacy has become more popular, more general fertility clinics have expanded their services to include gestational surrogacy embryo transfers.

But, what other services do fertility clinics provide in surrogacy journeys? After all, it’s important to know exactly what to expect from a clinic in order to choose the one that is best for your surrogacy goals.

In general, there are three main services fertility clinics provide in surrogacy today:

1. Pre-Surrogacy Screening

Before a surrogate or an intended parent can pursue the surrogacy process, they must be cleared by several professionals. Each surrogacy professional and fertility clinic has its own requirements but, here at American Surrogacy, all surrogacy clients must undergo screening by a mental health professional and a physician to ensure they are mentally and physically ready for the challenges of the surrogacy process.

Most intended parents will have undergone medical screening prior to choosing surrogacy, if they have already created their embryos. If they have not, they will need to undergo this testing to create their embryos. Similarly, their surrogate must undergo medical testing to ensure she can carry a healthy baby to term.

Some fertility clinics also have psychologists on staff that can complete this mental health screening prior to any medical steps taking place. If your fertility clinic does not offer these services, your surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy can help connect you to a trusted professional and coordinate necessary screening before moving forward with your surrogacy journey.

2. Egg Harvesting and Embryo Creation

In most cases, intended parents who choose to pursue surrogacy have already created their embryos for earlier infertility treatments. When it comes time for an embryo transfer to their surrogate, the embryos are ready — only the surrogate must take medical steps to prepare for the transfer.

However, if intended parents have not yet created embryos, they can do so at a fertility clinic of their choosing. Intended parents who are using their own egg and sperm will work closely with their medical professional to undergo the harvesting procedure and in vitro fertilization process. Intended parents who are in need of a donor gamete can work with their fertility clinic to obtain a donation. Many fertility clinics have connections with particular gamete banks or can help coordinate the donation process with a known egg or sperm donor.

Once the gametes are gathered, your fertility clinic will prepare for and complete the in vitro fertilization process. Sperm and egg cells will be combined in a laboratory under medical supervision, and resulting embryos are evaluated for quality through pre-implantation genetic screening. Only the best quality embryos will be used for embryo transfer.

IVF is the most-used assisted reproductive technology out there. For many fertility clinics, it’s the most common technique they offer. While there may be slight changes in the IVF process when surrogacy is involved, you can trust that your fertility clinic will be able to complete this step efficiently.

3. Embryo Transfer and Confirmation of Pregnancy

Once the embryos are ready for transfer (whether they are part of a fresh or frozen cycle), the fertility clinic will prepare the surrogate for the embryo transfer, too. She will usually be required to take certain fertility medications for a few weeks prior to and after transfer to establish and maintain a healthy pregnancy.

The embryo transfer itself is a fairly quick and routine procedure. A surrogate will typically be required to travel to the intended parents’ clinic for the transfer. A catheter will be inserted into her cervix, through which one or two high-quality embryos will be transferred. She may be required to rest for at least 48 hours after transfer to increase the chance of a successful implantation.

A week or two after the embryo transfer is complete, the surrogate will return to the fertility clinic for the pregnancy test. While she may have taken at-home pregnancy tests to monitor her hCG levels, the medical test at the clinic will officially confirm any pregnancy. If a pregnancy is confirmed, the surrogate will be released to her own obstetrician to receive prenatal care. If a pregnancy is not confirmed, the fertility clinic will work with both parties to schedule another embryo transfer, if possible.

Because your fertility clinic will play such a key role in your medical process of surrogacy, it’s critical that you choose a trusted medical professional to guide you through these steps. If you have not yet selected a fertility clinic, our specialists can always provide referrals to local clinics when you contact our agency at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

Remember, every fertility clinic is different, as is every intended parent’s and surrogate’s journey through surrogacy. Your own process may vary from what’s included here, and all surrogacy clients should speak with their doctor for more information about what their process will look like.

10 Thoughts Intended Parents Have During Surrogacy

It’s no secret — surrogacy is a long and complicated journey. If you are pursuing surrogacy to bring a child into your family, you may experience all kinds of emotional highs and lows along the way. Remember, it will all be worth it in the end.

That said, you’re not alone in feeling complicated emotions on your family-building journey. Here, we’ve gathered a few of the common thoughts that all intended parents have during their surrogacy process to help you prepare for the path ahead of you.

1. “Is this really the right path for us?”

Surrogacy is a big commitment to make — not only financially, but also in regards to the time and energy it will require from you as an intended parent. It can be hard to pull the trigger on such a process, especially if you’ve already spent years and a great deal of money on other infertility and IVF treatments. You may be torn between adoption and surrogacy. And, even after you choose surrogacy, there may still be lingering doubt of what’s the right choice for you.

This is all normal — and this is why American Surrogacy has surrogacy specialists available to answer your questions and address your concerns. Whether you are not sure that surrogacy is right for you, or you have normal doubts after committing to this process, let our professionals help.

2. “How are we going to afford this?”

Yes, surrogacy is expensive. It’s actually one of the biggest reasons that hopeful parents choose another family-building path. However, with proper financial planning (and research into grants and loans), you can afford surrogacy. Your surrogacy specialist will always be available to discuss our agency pricing and offer suggestions to help you afford the process of surrogacy.

3. “How will we ever find the perfect surrogate?”

It can be intimidating to find a woman to trust with your hopes and dreams of becoming a parent. After all, surrogacy is an intimate partnership, and it’s important that you are matched with a woman with whom you can create a genuine relationship.

When you work with American Surrogacy, the matching process is mutual, and you can know that every surrogate presented to you has already been pre-screened and approved for the surrogacy process.

4. “All this legal work is such a pain!”

Because surrogacy is a complicated process, there are a lot of legal steps required to protect not only your rights but also the right of your surrogate. Two separate surrogacy lawyers are needed to navigate the intricacies of your surrogacy contract, insurance, parental orders and more. It can seem like a lot at the time, but properly following legal requirements is crucial to making sure you, your surrogate and your baby are safe every step of the way.

5. “Are we bothering our surrogate too much?”

When your surrogate is carrying your baby, it’s completely normal to want to know how every single day is progressing. After all, you will be missing out on pregnancy and the development of your unborn baby, which can be a difficult thing to do. Even if you are present for milestones like ultrasounds and delivery, it’s not the same as being there for every second.

If you are worried about constantly being in contact with your surrogate, remember that she understands your situation. If you are in doubt about your contact frequency, refer to your surrogacy contract or contact your surrogacy specialist.

6. “Stop asking me rude questions!”

Surrogacy is still a new way of building a family. When you choose this path, you will likely receive questions and comments from friends and family — and some of them will be ignorant or insensitive. When you start hearing questions like, “How much are you paying?” and “What happens if the surrogate wants to keep the baby?” over and over again, it can grate on your nerves. However, remember that you will likely be most people’s first experiences with surrogacy, and this is an important opportunity to educate others about the non-traditional ways to build a family.

7. “I wish we could be carrying the baby…”

Pregnancy envy is a common emotion felt during surrogacy. If you are an intended mother, you may wish you could be the one experiencing your baby’s every moment in utero — that you could be the one feeling them move inside your uterus. Remember, these feelings are totally normal. If you are having difficulty moving forward from these feelings, speak with your surrogacy specialist. They can help you cope with the emotions you have and remind you that it will be all worth it in the end.

8. “This baby feels like it’s never going to come!”

When you’ve waited so long to have a positive pregnancy, waiting through the nine months of that pregnancy can seem like torture. You just want your little bundle of joy now! As tough as it can be, take this time to appreciate all of the things that won’t come as easily once you are a parent. Have spontaneous date nights and enjoy your last few months as the just the two of you before baby makes three.

9. “I never thought I’d have such a deep connection with my surrogate.”

Surrogates and intended parents have such a deep, intimate bond and a unique relationship. While it can sometimes surprise the surrogacy partners how close they can get during their surrogacy (and how close they stay after), it’s something that we treasure here at American Surrogacy — because we’ve seen it happen over and over. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself calling your surrogate a best friend by the time your journey is over.

10. “This was totally worth it.”

While you may experience some emotional ups and downs during your surrogacy process, one thing is for sure: You will experience an immense happiness when you finally have the child you’ve been dreaming about for so long. The challenges of your surrogacy journey will fade away the moment you hold your bundle of joy in your arms for the first time. As tough as it may be now, remember what awaits you in the future — and try to appreciate every moment that gets you a little bit closer.

Thinking of all the Intended Fathers on this Father’s Day

When Mother’s Day rolls around each year, much is said in consideration of all the hopeful mothers struggling with infertility. But there’s an equal party of struggling people during the next month’s celebration — hopeful fathers — that doesn’t get as much awareness or support while going through the same thing.

At American Surrogacy, we recognize that intended fathers cope with the same difficult emotions as intended mothers. We also recognize that, due to societal pressures and norms, most of these men suffer in silence — afraid of compromising their “image” as a man by admitting these difficult emotions.

Know that the specialists at American Surrogacy will always be here to offer you support and guidance during these difficult times. We have worked with many men in your situation, whether you are still struggling with infertility, considering surrogacy or in the middle of the surrogacy process.

Entering this Father’s Day weekend, there are three things we want you to know:

You Are Not Alone

Infertility, whether due to medical or social situations, is more common than you may think. Millions of people across the United States struggle to have a child, so there are many people out there sharing the same disappointment and frustration that you likely feel.

In the United States, 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. That’s not including all of the single men and women — LGBT or heterosexual individuals — who must use assisted reproductive technology methods to have a biological child.

About 1/3 of infertility issues are attributed to male factor infertility, another 1/3 are due to female factor infertility, and the last 1/3 is a combination of both partners or unexplainable. Whether you are struggling with infertility due to your own situation or because of your partner’s complications, know that you are not the only one in your situation. Just because infertility remains a taboo subject not discussed by many does not mean it ceases to exist.

At American Surrogacy, we know your situation exists — and we are here for you.

Don’t Be Afraid to Share Your Feelings

Unfortunately, it can be harder for men struggling with infertility to open up about their emotions, whether to their loved ones or to mental health professionals. If they have a partner, they are often expected to be “the strong one,” especially if their spouse is the one diagnosed with infertility. If they are single, it can be even harder to open up with no partner to turn to.

However, on days like Father’s Day — when these emotions can be triggered and stronger than ever — opening up is important to coping with the struggles of infertility. Keeping harmful emotions bottled up inside is not healthy; it can even lead to physical manifestations of your feelings.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to loved ones and share your thoughts while coping with infertility. They will not think any less of you for doing so; in fact, asking for help and sharing deep emotions is a sign of strength. It can also create a stronger relationship with your loved ones.

An infertility counselor may be helpful if you are still determining where to go from here. If you are in the middle of your surrogacy process, your surrogacy specialist can always provide professional support and counseling to help you move forward from these difficult times.

Even if you don’t feel comfortable sharing your feelings aloud on Father’s Day, find a healthy way to express them. Write in a journal, throw yourself into a project, or work out to release your pent-up emotions. Healthy expression of your feelings can help you to enjoy the day with any father figures in your life, rather than dwell on the sadness of another year without a child.

You Can Still Become a Father

Finally, remember that just because you are childless on this Father’s Day doesn’t mean you have to be next Father’s Day. There are many different ways for hopeful fathers to bring a child into their lives, whether through assisted reproductive technology or adoption. Each path has many different processes within it, so you can find the one that works best for your personal hopes and dreams.

If you are considering surrogacy, you can always contact our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) for more information about this process. We can answer whatever questions you have and provide the information you need to make the best choice for you. If you are interested in adoption, we can also refer you to our sister agency, American Adoptions.

On this Father’s Day, it may be difficult to put on a happy face and celebrate your father like everyone else when you so desperately wish to be one yourself. More than anything else, remember that you always have the right to do what makes you happy on this day — and that there are options to make your fatherhood dreams come true.

7 Questions Surrogates Have for Surrogacy Lawyers

Surrogacy can be complicated and confusing. It can also raise many legal questions for first-time surrogates who want to protect themselves, their families and their intended parents before jumping into this life-changing process.

If you are considering carrying a baby for someone else, there are several legal complexities involved. A surrogacy lawyer is necessary to protect the rights of all involved, not to mention fully understanding the legal process of surrogacy before even beginning.

So, where do you start as a prospective surrogate? The first thing to do is to contact a local surrogacy attorney, who can answer your questions based on your personal situation and state laws. However, in the meantime, find some general answers to a few of your legal questions below:

1. Can I be a surrogate in my state?

In most states in the U.S., surrogacy is legal. However, each state has different legislation regarding who can be a surrogate or intended parent, whether a surrogate can be related to the baby she carries, how much compensation can be paid and more. Before deciding to become a surrogate, it’s important that you understand the laws in your state, as they are the laws that will shape your intended parents’ surrogacy journey, too. If you live in a state (like New York or New Jersey) where surrogacy contracts are unenforceable, most intended parents will not be comfortable working with you.

Always contact a local surrogacy attorney for more information about surrogacy in your state. Most professionals will provide a free consultation, and your legal costs will always be covered by the intended parents you choose to work with.

2. Can I get paid for being a surrogate?

The answer to this question will depend upon the laws of your state. Some states completely outlaw surrogate compensation, while others allow for a surrogate to receive payment for her services.

If the laws of your state allow for it, you can receive compensation to be a surrogate. This compensation is usually paid out monthly once a pregnancy is confirmed and averages around $25,000 total. Keep in mind that your intended parents will also cover any of your medical or pregnancy expenses. Surrogacy will always be completely free for women like you.

3. How do I make sure I’m not responsible for the baby after birth?

When you are the one giving birth to a baby, you may think you are automatically deemed the mother of the child. However, surrogacy professionals across the country have created a legal process that ensures you will not be held responsible for a child you give birth to via surrogacy.

Most surrogacies today are gestational, which means a surrogate is not genetically related to the baby she carries. Instead, the child is genetically related to the intended parents (or a gamete donor, if necessary). A surrogacy attorney documents this relationship in a pre-birth parentage order, which a court enforces to give the intended parents automatic parental rights to their child.

The availability of a pre- or post-birth parentage order will depend upon the laws of your state, but one thing is for sure: You will not be responsible for the baby after you give birth.

If you are a traditional surrogate (meaning your eggs were used in the IVF process), you may need to take additional legal steps to relinquish your maternal rights. A pre-birth order may not be possible; you may instead need to sign relinquishment papers after the baby is born. In some states, this process is treated like an adoption, which can come with other legal considerations.

Remember, your surrogacy attorney will work with you and your intended parents to ensure the proper parental rights are established at the time of birth.

4. How can I protect my family in case something goes wrong?

Like any big medical commitment, surrogacy is not a decision to make lightly. When you become a surrogate, you will be giving your time, energy and body to help another family for a year or more — and you will be subjecting yourself to certain medical risks along the way. It’s important that you protect yourself and your family in case you are incapacitated in one way or another.

This is where your surrogacy contract comes in. Your surrogacy attorney will make sure that your rights are protected, and he or she will also take into account any potential liabilities of the process. Your contract will address those risks and liabilities and set out the steps to take if they do occur. You will have a say in making sure that the proper financial protections are in place if something unexpected occurs.

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

In addition to laying out potential risks and liabilities, a surrogacy contract is essentially a list of all the legal guidelines, expectations and responsibilities involved in your surrogacy journey. Without a proper surrogacy contract, there is a great deal of legal risk in being a surrogate. You must work with a surrogacy attorney to create a surrogacy contract.

Only surrogacy attorneys understand all of the nuances involved in surrogacy, and only they can properly list and address those aspects in a legal contract. While you can find surrogacy contracts online, these contracts cannot address all of the personal circumstances of your own surrogacy — leaving you and your intended parents vulnerable. There is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to such an important legal document, especially when surrogacy laws in the U.S. vary so widely by state.

6. Why do the intended parents and I have to have separate lawyers?

Your personal surrogacy goals and dreams are likely different from your intended parents’, so it’s important that you both have separate legal representation. This way, you can ensure that your needs and wants are being properly protected, without interference from those of the intended parents.

For example, your surrogacy attorney will help you advocate for the best surrogate compensation for your situation — without also trying to reduce the expenses of the intended parents, as he or she would if representing them simultaneously. Remember, your legal services will always be free to you when you become a surrogate.

7. Whose health insurance will I use for the surrogate pregnancy?

The answer to this question will depend upon your personal health insurance policy. Some insurance carriers will cover surrogate’s medical expenses, while others have a “surrogacy exclusion” written into the policy.

If your health insurance does not cover or is not conducive to the coverage of surrogacy, the intended parents will purchase an additional insurance policy to cover your medical expenses. You will not be required to pay for this insurance or for your medical expenses, and the details of your insurance coverage will be determined long before you begin. At American Surrogacy, surrogacy specialists will evaluate your insurance upon your application to our agency. If you need an additional insurance policy, this will be obtained as part of the surrogacy contract phase.

Have more questions for a surrogacy attorney or questions about the surrogacy process in general? Contact our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) to learn more or receive a referral to a trusted lawyer in your area.

The Truth About the Medication You’ll Take as a Surrogate

When women are considering becoming surrogates, there are many questions in their minds. However, two of the biggest often are, “What medication will I need to take? Do I have to give myself shots?”

Like women undergoing fertility treatments, all surrogates must take certain medications to prepare themselves for the in vitro fertilization process. However, not all women have the same medication experience. Some women can breeze through their medication schedule, while others experience side effects that interfere with their everyday life.

If you’re thinking about becoming a surrogate, you might have heard horror stories about these negative side effects and the shots you have to take. It’s important you learn the truth about surrogacy medication before beginning this process, as it may or may not affect your final decision.

Every Surrogate’s Medication Schedule is Different

First, know this: Every surrogacy journey is unique, and so is every surrogate’s prescribed medication schedule. What you hear from others may not apply to your own surrogacy. Only your surrogacy and medical professionals will know what your surrogacy journey will involve.

To answer one of your biggest questions, yes, you likely will need to take self-injected medication. Most commonly, these shots are Lupron shots. Lupron is a medication that inhibits the secretion of hormones that control your menstrual cycle. It is critical to allowing your reproductive endocrinologist complete control over your cycle in order to prepare it for the embryo transfer. Lupron is usually taken about 14 days after you start taking birth control, and you will discontinue the shots in the days before your embryo transfer.

Some of the worst shots you may have heard about are progesterone in oil injections, which are administered via a large needle and in lots of liquid. However, many surrogates have developed ways to alleviate any discomfort from these shots. You may consider icing the site before injection, massaging the area after injection, and using a heating pad. As scary as the needle can be, the pain afterwards is more like that of a bruise than anything else. You may also take progesterone through gels or pills; your medical professional will determine which process is best for you.

Other medications you may take include doxycycline, baby aspirin, prenatal vitamins, estrogen and more. Again, only your reproductive endocrinologist can inform you of what medication you will actually take to prepare for your embryo transfer. Your medical professional will discuss this schedule in detail with you and make sure you have the tools in place to maintain the correct doses at the correct time of day.

Every Surrogate Has Different Reactions and Side Effects

You may have also heard about the side effects of surrogate medication. Like all medication, the medicines you take to become a surrogate may have some side effects — but, again, their severity will depend upon your own body and your tolerance for those medications.

Some surrogates only experience minor side effects (like bloating and soreness), while others experience much more intense effects. Whatever the extent of your personal side effects, remember that your reproductive endocrinologist will always answer any questions you have and adjust your medication schedule to what is best for you.

There are many medications involved in surrogacy, so don’t be surprised if you experience side effects pre-transfer. In the grand scheme of things, these side effects often aren’t a deal-breaker (very comparable to PMS symptoms), and what you are doing will help bring a child into the world. When they look back on it, many surrogates consider any discomfort well worth it to help reach their surrogacy goals.

You May Need the Help of Others

Surrogate medication protocols can be complicated — and you aren’t expected to embark on this journey on your own. It’s obvious that your surrogacy professional and your reproductive endocrinologist will be intimately involved in your medication schedule, but you should also be open to including other people to make the journey a bit easier.

During your medication protocol, you will be required to take certain medications at certain times. It can be incredibly helpful to include your partner or another loved one in your schedule. They can give you any shots you feel uncomfortable doing yourself, or they can provide childcare and other practical assistance during times when your side effects are particularly bad.

It is a good idea to include your partner (if applicable) in your discussions with your reproductive endocrinologist. That way, they can understand your medication protocol, how to administer it and what serious side effects to look out for.

It’s normal to have questions about what kind of medication you’ll need to take as a surrogate. To learn more about this process (and the general process of surrogacy), please reach out to our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

Creating Three-Parent Babies: The Facts About This Controversial Procedure

It’s a well-known fact that assisted reproductive technology is advancing at a rate faster than anyone could have imagined. In one way, these advances are providing new opportunities to families facing infertility around the world. On the other hand, the rapid changes raise concerns for professionals and others. Are these changes too much too quickly?

A new report out of Kiev, Ukraine, highlights those worries. In an effort to create the healthiest embryo possible for transfer to a woman’s uterus, doctors have done the previously impossible — created an embryo with the DNA of three people, or a “three-parent baby.”

An NPR investigation describes how it works: Two eggs are fertilized, one with the egg and sperm of the intended parents, and the other with the sperm of the intended father and the egg of a donor. When the embryos are ready, a doctor extracts the DNA from the intended parents’ embryo. They also remove the DNA from the donor-egg embryo, except the mitochondrial DNA. Then, the intended parents’ DNA is inserted into the donor-egg embryo, creating a three-person embryo that contains genetic material from the intended father, the intended mother and the egg donor.

Often, using three genetic parents provides an opportunity for a healthier embryo, if the defect in the intended mother’s mitochondrial DNA has been preventing her from getting pregnant. In Kiev, out of 21 attempted procedures, 14 have failed — but the other seven women have either had “three-parent” babies or are currently pregnant.

It’s a stunning advance in reproductive technology. Foreign intended parents can complete this procedure for about $15,000. However, it is unregulated and untested, and other professionals warn against the risks of creating “three-parent” babies. They say there is no way to know how these genetic manipulations will affect children as they grow older. In other words, the cheaper cost of the procedure is not worth the medical and legal unknowns and risks.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration prohibits this kind of genetic editing in the United States. Therefore, American Surrogacy stands with those professionals against this procedure. Until more standardized testing and screening has been done, this kind of assisted reproductive technology is simply too risky — both for the intended parents completing this procedure and the baby with three parents born from it.

We understand the appeal of “three-parent babies,” especially to give an intended mother the chance to be related to her child. However, if a woman cannot become pregnant on her own, she always has the option of gestational surrogacy — in which she can potentially be genetically related to her child, carried to term by a healthy and fertile gestational surrogate.

Unlike creating embryos with three parents, the gestational surrogacy process is a safe and legal one. Every intended parent and surrogate goes through rigorous screening to ensure this is the best path for their situation, and they are protected with an extensive, detailed surrogacy contract. Working with an agency like American Surrogacy provides more security with an experienced specialist’s guidance every step of the way.

As always, if you are interested in gestational surrogacy, you can contact our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) today. Intended parents can also contact a fertility clinic for more guidance on which assisted reproductive technologies are possible and suggested in their situation. One thing is for sure: Until the FDA approves the process of creating “three-parent babies,” it is one that all American intended parents should make sure to avoid.

Can an Intended Father with HIV Have a Child Via Surrogacy?

Everyone has the right to become a parent, if they so desire. But, if you are an intended father living with HIV, you may not think it’s a possibility for you. In concern about passing along the virus to your child, you may have assumed that you could never have a biological child naturally or through assisted reproduction.

You couldn’t be more wrong. Today, advances have made it possible for many HIV-positive intended fathers like you to make their parenthood dreams come true — and bring a healthy biological child into the world. HIV is not the death sentence it once was, either for yourself or for your parenting dreams.

At American Surrogacy, we can help you reach those dreams whenever you are ready. In the meantime, learn more about the logistics of being an HIV-positive intended parent below.

Your Surrogate Cannot Be Infected Because of Your Sperm

You know that HIV is transmitted through unprotected sex and contact with other bodily fluids. Therefore, you would think any natural conception would be impossible from the moment that a man is diagnosed with HIV (although advances in medicine have now made this path possible).

However, surrogacy does not involve unprotected sex — it doesn’t involve sexual intercourse at all. During both gestational and traditional surrogacy, an embryo is created through harvesting of gametes and in vitro fertilization. Then, the embryo is transferred to the surrogate’s uterus, after which she carries the baby to term. Therefore, the main risk of transmitting HIV through seminal fluid is eliminated.

But, you may wonder: Can’t my baby catch the virus from my genetics? To answer this, you must understand the details of how HIV is transmitted.

In more than 4,000 cases of HIV-positive parents using ART methods to conceive a baby, not one case has resulted in the transmission of the virus to a surrogate or to the baby. This is because of a technique called “sperm washing.”

Using this technique, sperm is collected from an HIV-positive man. Medical professionals then separate sperm from infected cells in seminal fluid, using solely the sperm cells for the IVF process. HIV is transmitted through the seminal fluid, not the sperm itself. Researchers have reported that washed sperm is 92 to 99 percent free of the virus’s RNA.

For extra precaution, your fertility clinic may require your surrogate to be given antiviral medication before embryo transfer, although her chances of catching HIV — and transmitting it to your baby — are extremely low.

Therefore, you can pursue parenthood through surrogacy if you are an HIV-positive intended father — and American Surrogacy is happy to help you through this journey.

What Will Be Required From You

In order to protect yourself, the surrogate and your baby born via surrogacy, you must be considered noninfectious. These means you must:

  • Be following your HIV treatment protocols
  • Be taking medication as directed
  • Have an undetectable viral load for a minimum number of months, as determined by your fertility clinic (usually six months or more)
  • Undergo testing for sexually transmitted diseases

It’s important to talk with your fertility clinic to determine what steps you need to take to result in a healthy pregnancy and child. Your clinic, along with your primary HIV care physician, should be in close contact to create the best medical plan moving forward.

To create your embryo for IVF, you will usually provide two or three semen samples for washing. If you need a donated egg, you can work with your fertility clinic or a gamete bank to select a donor. If you are married to the intended mother and she plans to use her own egg, she will need to undergo egg harvesting to safely create an embryo for implantation.

If you choose to work with American Surrogacy, you must also meet the requirements for intended parents set forth by our agency. To learn more about these requirements, you can always call our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

HIV-Positive Parenting: It is Possible

Thanks to the advances in medical technologies, it is possible for you to have a child that is HIV-free. More and more HIV-positive parents are raising children today, and you can, too.

However, there are some things to consider about being an HIV-positive parent. For instance, it’s important that you focus on the importance of understanding exactly how HIV is transmitted (and how it is not) and what steps you should take to keep you and your kids healthy. Studies have shown that HIV-positive parents fear catching opportunistic infections from their children or transmitting HIV to their children through physical contact. For these reasons, more than a quarter of parents say they avoid physical interaction with their child. For example, many avoid kissing on the lips or sharing utensils, even though HIV is not transmitted through saliva. Understandably, this fear and avoidance is easily picked up on by children, creating a tense parent-child relationship.

If you choose to become an HIV-positive parent, proper education (for yourself and your child) is key. You may need to set certain hygiene rules that other families don’t have to avoid contact with blood and transmitting opportunistic infections. You will also need to make sure your child’s peers understand the realities of the disease; ill-informed children can be cruel and even dangerous in teaching the wrong ideas to others. You must also be prepared for prejudice or discrimination from other adults who are aware of your HIV-positive status.

Before you choose to pursue surrogacy as an HIV-positive intended father, take the time to research being an HIV-positive parent. Consider reaching out to HIV support groups for parents. Always speak in depth with your medical professionals to understand what different steps you may need to take as an HIV-positive parent. With the proper preparation, you can become the parent you’ve dreamed about for so long — and American Surrogacy is here to help.

To learn more about our surrogacy program and to discuss your personal situation with a surrogacy specialist, please contact our agency today.

5 Things to Know About the Updated New Jersey Surrogacy Laws

As the home of the notorious “Baby M.” case, New Jersey has always had a complicated relationship with surrogacy. For many years, both traditional and gestational surrogacy contracts in this state were unenforceable — but recent developments in New Jersey surrogacy laws have now opened up this family-building process to many more intended parents and surrogates.

The amended New Jersey law introduces several new aspects. Let’s break them down:

1. Gestational surrogacy is now enforceable in New Jersey.

Before these amendments, neither traditional nor gestational surrogacy contracts were expressly permitted and enforceable by state laws. Now, if a gestational surrogacy meets certain requirements, it is enforceable by New Jersey laws.

2. Only certain expenses can be paid to a surrogate.

While this is not a “new” law, per se, it is laid out in a way that it had not been prior to this legal update. Gestational surrogacy agreements are only enforceable if a surrogacy is altruistic. Intended parents can pay for certain “reasonable” expenses of the surrogate, including legal costs and reasonable living expenses. However, gestational surrogates in New Jersey cannot be paid a base compensation.

This addition to the law reflects the standing tradition of treating surrogacy expenses as similar to those of an adoption, a practice which continues to apply to traditional surrogacy, as well.

3. Intended parents and gestational surrogates must meet certain eligibility requirements.

In order for intended parents and gestational surrogates to enter into a legal surrogacy agreement in New Jersey, they must meet new requirements:

  • Surrogate
    • Be at least 21 years of age
    • Has given birth to at least one child
    • Has completed a medical and psychological examination
    • Has retained an independent attorney for the agreement drafting process
  • Intended Parent(s)
    • Has completed a psychological examination
    • Has retained an independent attorney for the agreement drafting process

4. Gestational surrogacy agreements must follow certain steps to be deemed legal and enforceable.

New Jersey laws now have specific requirements for the way gestational surrogacy agreements must be created. First, the agreement must always be executed in writing by the gestational carrier, her spouse (if applicable), and each intended parent. Both parties (surrogate and intended parents) must be represented by separate attorneys during this process.

Before an agreement can be drafted, the surrogate and the intended parents must have completed their required screenings (see above) and be deemed fit for the challenges and rewards of the surrogacy process.

The contract must expressly state:

  • A surrogate’s intention to:
    • Undergo pre-embryo transfer and attempt to carry and give birth to a child
    • Surrender custody of the child after the child is born
    • Have the right to medical care of her choosing after she notifies the intended parent(s) in writing
  • The surrogate’s spouse’s agreement to those terms
  • An intended parent’s intention to:
    • Accept custody of the child after the child’s birth
    • Assume sole responsibility for the support of the child after birth

If an agreement meets all of these specifications, surrogacy officials will deem it enforceable and provide a safe path for the parties moving forward.

5. Intended parents can obtain a pre-birth order in a gestational surrogacy.

If a gestational surrogacy contract is enforceable, it also protects the rights of the intended parents to receive a pre-birth parentage order — regardless of their marital status or genetic connection to their child. A petition for a parentage order must include affidavits from both parties and their attorneys, as well as the medical facility that performed the embryo transfer.

After the birth of the child, the State Registrar will grant a birth certificate naming the intended parent(s) as the parent(s) of the child.

While these are the basics of the updated New Jersey surrogacy laws, the legal process of every surrogacy is unique and can hold certain considerations. The information in this article is in no way intended as legal advice; intended parents and surrogates in New Jersey should always speak with a local surrogacy attorney for more guidance on the new laws and what they mean for their surrogacy journey.

The specialists at American Surrogacy can always provide references to trusted surrogacy attorneys in New Jersey, as well as provide counseling and information if you are interested in surrogacy in New Jersey. For more information, please contact our agency today at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

10 Intended Parents Surrogacy Blogs to Read Today

While surrogacy is a family-building process that continues to grow in popularity and visibility, you may still be the only intended parents you know pursuing this route. But, how can you know what to expect from the path ahead of you if you don’t have fellow parents to learn from?

Your surrogacy specialist will always be there to support you and can always connect you to other intended parents if you wish to speak with some. However, some of the best ways to learn more about the surrogacy process is from someone who has been through it — and documented it in detail. This is where intended parent surrogacy blogs can be so beneficial.

With the rise of the internet and social media, more and more people are journaling through the difficult and exciting times in their life. It’s not a surprise that many surrogacy journeys have been detailed on intended parents’ blogs. It provides a way for these intended parents to not only work through their own emotions but also to connect with other intended parents like you, whether they are still exploring the process, in the middle of it, or have had a baby via surrogacy.

Here, we’ve provided a list of intended parent surrogacy blogs, surrogacy forums for intended parents and other online intended parents support groups to help you learn more about surrogacy from those who have been in your shoes.

1. American Surrogacy Blog

We know that there are a million little questions you may have about becoming an intended parent in the surrogacy process. We aim to tackle those in our blog, where you’ll find new content posted twice a week. While our blog does focus on all members of the surrogacy journey, you will also find specific intended parents’ blogs for some of these questions you might have. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Comment with suggestions of topics we should tackle next!

2. Our Misconception

Two intended parents blog through their infertility struggles, including their choice to pursue gestational surrogacy after six years of trying to conceive on their own. In 2013, they welcomed a baby girl via gestational surrogate.

3. Fox in the Hen House

Although the author of this blog has taken a break, it can be helpful to look back on her journey through infertility treatments, a failed surrogacy process and her adoption journey. Not every family-building process is right for everyone, and this can help you understand the realities of the different paths available to you.

4. Whitney and Erick

These intended parents brought a baby into their life through gestational surrogacy in 2014, and the intended mother documented her surrogacy journey after years of infertility.

5. Jason and Kerri

These intended parents completed their surrogacy journey in 2015 and welcomed a little baby boy. They created their website just for blogging about their surrogacy experience.

6. Mark and Teri

This intended parents’ blog explains how one couple tried three different surrogacy journeys — one international, two domestic — before they finally brought home a baby. Their surrogate ended up being a family member.

7. Our Journey to a Forever Family

One intended mother blogs about her journey through being diagnosed with endometriosis, undergoing fertility treatments, and eventually pursuing traditional surrogacy. After having one child through surrogacy, she and her husband adopted a daughter, as well.

8. Bake My Babies

Although an older intended parents blog, this blog follows a Mormon intended mother who pursued surrogacy to bring a child into her and her husband’s life.

9. Intended Parents Forum

Here, intended parents can read blogs and participate in forums about the surrogacy process from their perspective.

10. BabyCenter Community – Intended Parent Support

As one of the online surrogacy forums for intended parents, this website allows intended parents to share their stories, ask questions and learn from others who are considering, in the middle of, or have completed surrogacy.

Remember, you can always contact your surrogacy specialist to be connected with current and former intended parents like you. A sense of community and support is critically important in the surrogacy process, and we are happy to help you find the guidance and advice you may need.

Benefits for Baby: Delayed Cord Clamping and Skin-to-Skin Contact

How a baby is delivered is one of the most important choices a woman can make for her pregnancy. When both a surrogate and an intended parent are involved, these conversations are even more important. You’ll want to make sure the delivery process is one that both parties are comfortable with and does what is best for the baby.

One of the growing trends in modern deliveries is delayed cord clamping, in which the umbilical cord continues to provide blood and nutrients to a baby up to five minutes after he or she is born. But, when skin-to-skin contact between the baby, the surrogate and the intended parents is so important, this choice may initially seem to complicate things a bit.

Whether you are considering delayed cord clamping or want to learn more, you can find some useful information below.

Why Do Parents Choose to Delay Cord Clamping?

In the majority of births, medical professionals cut the umbilical cord shortly after the baby is delivered. This is often done to allow easier access to the baby for immediate cleaning, medical care and other services.

However, there’s a growing awareness about the potential risks of immediate cord clamping — and the benefits of delaying cord clamping.

The umbilical cord connects the baby to the placenta, the vital organ that provides nutrients while the baby is in the womb. When the baby is born, the placenta is still functioning as a blood circulatory organ. This means that about 1/3 of the baby’s blood is still in the placenta at the time of his or her birth. When the umbilical cord is immediately cut, that blood remains in the placenta (which is why people can donate or store placentas after birth). However, when medical professionals choose to delay cord clamping, all of that blood is able to return to the baby.

During this transfer — called “placental transfusion” — the umbilical cord provides the baby oxygen, nutrients, red blood cells, stem cells, immune cells and blood volume. If a cord is cut before these nutrients can be delivered, the baby is at greater risk for iron deficiency during the first six months of their life. This deficiency is in turn linked with neurodevelopmental delay.

To minimize these risks, and to provide the most benefits possible to their baby, more parents today are choosing to delay cord clamping upon the delivery of their child. If you are interested in this process, we encourage you to speak with your OBGYN to learn more.

How Will Delayed Cord Clamping Affect a Surrogacy Birth?

When delayed cord clamping first was studied, it was believed that a baby needed to be held at the height of the placenta in order for blood to continue being pumped and for maximum benefits to be had. Understandably, this put off some parents from this path, as it prevented the important skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby after birth — not to mention the logistical issues of trying to hold a slippery newborn baby at placenta height after birth.

However, a new study reveals that there is no difference in what position a baby is held at during delayed cord clamping. This means that integral skin-to-skin contact is still possible during this process, which many parents should be thrilled to hear.

Skin-to-skin contact can be a bit complicated in surrogacy births. A baby must first confirm their senses by being placed on the surrogate’s skin, and then be physically transferred to the intended parents. One can see where the logistics of traditional delayed cord clamping might make that impossible. But, due to the new knowledge that a baby does not have to be held at placental height, these steps are still achievable in a surrogacy birth.

How Do I Decide Whether This is Right for Me?

As with any medical decision surrounding a baby’s birth, it’s important to speak with the obstetrician and the hospital staff overseeing the delivery. But, when you pursue delayed cord clamping with surrogacy, there is another party that must be involved: your surrogacy partner.

Both intended parents and their surrogate should be on the same page about the decision to delay cord clamping. Although there are very few risks associated with delayed cord clamping, it is still a decision regarding the surrogate’s body — so she should have just as much input as an intended parent does. Proper understanding of the pros and cons of this process is crucial before any decisions should be made.

If you are unsure of how to bring up the idea of delayed cord clamping to your surrogacy partner, remember that our surrogacy specialists can help. Your specialist can mediate this conversation and help you create a surrogacy birth plan that meets the needs of both surrogate and intended parents. Contact us today for more assistance.