The Gestational Surrogate’s Guide to Taxes

The due dates for taxes are just around the corner, which means that it’s time to start gathering all the essential forms. But before you get started on filling out your important information, you’re probably starting to wonder if surrogate mothers have to pay taxes on any compensation they receive. 

The answer to that question can be a little tricky. After all, figuring out what you need for your taxes can be frustrating even without having to throw gestational surrogacy into the mix. But with the help of this guide, we’re sure that you’ll find the answer you’re looking for.  

Before we get too deep into the article, we want to give a quick word of warning: While we have tried our best to provide most if not all the information you need for this busy season, this article should not be taken as legal or financial advice. We strongly recommend that you speak with a local tax accountant before making any decisions.  

Looking to talk to someone who can offer help right away? We’re here to help! Please call 1-800-875-2229 or fill out our free information form to get information from one of our specialists.  

Do Surrogate Mothers Have to Claim Income?  

If you’ve already received your surrogacy compensation recently, then it’s normal to start wondering about potential taxes on them – especially considering that the typical amount you can receive is around $30,000. Now that April is almost here, figuring out whether or not you have to claim it as income will make a huge difference in how you do your taxes.   

The answer to this question really comes down to whether or not you receive a 1099 — the form commonly used by independent contractors and those who are self-employed. If you receive a 1099-MISC from your intended parents, your surrogacy specialist, or escrow service, then you will definitely need to claim to your compensation as income. And once it is claimed as income, it’s considered taxable.  

But What Happens if I Don’t Receive a 1099? [What You Should Know] 

If you end up receiving a 1099, then a lot of the guesswork is taken out for you because you’ll know you’ll need to claim your compensation as income. But if you don’t receive a 1099, is that money still considered taxable? 

The answer to this question really depends. Ideally, you’ll want to start talking about potential taxes with your attorney way before you receive your actually compensation, which should happen when you draft your surrogacy contract. A good surrogacy attorney will talk with you in depth about what you need to know about what taxes (if any) you’ll need to pay on your compensation and about the legal process.  

Most of the time, a surrogacy attorney will be able to find a reason to prevent a gestational surrogate from needing to pay taxes on their compensation. But it all comes down to how your compensation is addressed in your contract.  

But Can’t Surrogacy Compensation be Considered a Gift? [Other Questions to Ask] 

If you’ve gotten a head start on your research for tax season, then you might have come across different terms that might make it so that you’re exempt from having to pay taxes on surrogacy compensation. These situations vary widely, as some surrogate agencies and sources cite one opinion over the other.  

However, there are a few instances in which your compensation might not be tax-exempt. These are: 

Gift: In some cases, your account can avoid some of the taxes by claiming them as a gift from the intended parents. But it’s important to keep in mind that the amount of compensation that you’ll receive is usually higher than the amount you’ll be exempt from. So, you might end up paying a portion of your taxes from your compensation.  

Pain and Suffering: There are some sources, surrogacy professionals, and accountants that believe that if any compensation was received for pain and suffering, then the income can be considered non-taxable under Sec 104 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). However, surrogacy doesn’t exactly meet the list of excludable injuries listed under the section, such as someone who has experience some form of bodily injury or another type of accident, such as a burglary. So, whether or not surrogacy compensation can actually be claimed for “pain and suffering” and is therefore tax-exempt if a surrogate enters her contract willingly is still pretty divisive.  

Pre-Birth Child Support: Because child-support payments are exempt from taxes, there are some attorneys that word surrogacy compensation as pre-birth child support in order to avoid tax liability. But how well this reason will hold up in court is still debatable.  

Who Should I Talk to Next?  

Getting your taxes done can be frustrating at the best of times. But just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. Before you get started on your taxes, it’s a good idea to speak with a financial advisor, or a surrogacy specialist who can help answer your questions about any potential taxes for your compensation.  

Ranking 6 TV Surrogacy Plots from Least to Most Realistic

Good television is all about escapism, entertainment and surprise. Our favorite TV shows ramp up drama and conflict to give us a more heightened story than occurs in our real, everyday lives. After all, nobody wants to watch a story about something that goes smoothly and uneventfully — it wouldn’t be very exciting! But, this means that real occurrences, like growing a family through surrogacy, are often dramatized and fictionalized beyond recognition in order to make a better TV plot twist. 

The problem? Surrogacy is still a relatively new and misunderstood concept in the eyes of many viewers. So, these fictional and sensationalized portrayals could be inadvertently fueling dangerous misconceptions about what surrogacy is really like. How do these shows measure up to the real surrogacy process

Meet the Contenders 

While surrogacy is no stranger to the small screen, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Roseanne,” “Superstore,” “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” “The Nest,” and “Top of the Lake: China Girl,” have all recently had surrogacy storylines that garnered some buzz. Let’s rank those 6 depictions, from least accurate to most accurate: 

6“The Handmaid’s Tale” 

The winner of the least realistic portrayal of surrogacy, “The Handmaid’s Tale” takes place in a dystopian future, where fertile women are forced into becoming traditional surrogates via rape. Needless to say, it’s devastatingly far from the truth of real and legal gestational surrogacy. Read real stories of gestational carriers and parents here

5. “The Nest” 

A drinking, partying teenage surrogate who lives with the intended parents, a drug-dealing intended father, a swapped embryo, some murder, mystery and general mayhem ensue. This series takes place in the U.K., but this show flies in the face of the requirements of actual surrogacy professionals in the U.S. and the surrogacy contracts that real intended parents and surrogates establish with attorneys.  

4. “Top of the Lake: China Girl” 

Their portrayal of surrogacy is just one of many wildly inaccurate and dangerously dramatized plots throughout the series. The titular “China Girl,” a murdered sex worker and illegal surrogate for intended parents working outside the law in Australia, is one of many outlandish (and at times, offensive) aspects of the show. 

3. “Roseanne”  

Becky decides to pursue surrogacy purely for money — she’s promised a whopping and unrealistic $50,000. She also lies about her age and is faced with unreasonable demands from the intended parent. In real life, base compensation starts at about $35,000 for a first-time surrogate like Becky, who also would have been carefully screened and background-checked prior to her acceptance into a gestational surrogacy program like American Surrogacy. Additionally, the wishes of intended parents and surrogates are talked about with their American Surrogacy specialist long before the process ever begins, to ensure everyone is on the same page and feels comfortable with how things move forward. 

2. “Superstore”  

Dina volunteers to be Glenn’s surrogate, although she’s never been pregnant or given birth before — a requirement for surrogates in real life. At different points, comedic misunderstandings are inserted into the plot, including disagreements about the contract (which would have been discussed with an attorney beforehand in real life), threats to have unprotected sex in the midst of the surrogacy process, shock over what childbirth is like and more. Unsurprisingly, none of this is a realistic depiction of the careful, legal contract between surrogates and intended parents. 

1. “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 

This is probably the most accurate of these portrayals, although it’s still not realistic by a long shot. After two unsuccessful rounds of IVF, Darryl runs out of the money he’d saved to conceive a child. He is successful once Rebecca donates her egg for free and Heather offers herself as a gestational carrier, also for free.  

But, who is covering the costs of Rebecca’s egg retrieval and Heather’s medical processes? Were the reimbursements of these costs discussed and established in a contract with a licensed attorney? Heather had never given birth before, which is a requirement for surrogates, so she wouldn’t have been a gestational surrogate in the first place.  It’s not a wildly inaccurate portrayal, but it’s not a very clear one, either. 

Red Flags in Fictional Surrogacy 

One common theme in these fictional portrayals: Many of the surrogates had never been pregnant before and they panicked midway through their pregnancies at the thought of childbirth, which they mysteriously had not considered up until that point. In real life, gestational carriers must have given birth at least once before, with no history of complications. Real surrogates have a history of smooth pregnancies and childbirth, and enjoy being pregnant. It’s what draws them to surrogacy in the first place. 

Another fairly common element in TV storylines is the presence of traditional surrogacy, which has been all but fully phased out in favor of gestational surrogacy. In fact, most professionals in the U.S., American Surrogacy included, won’t complete traditional surrogacy journeys. But, traditional surrogacy is more dramatic, so it makes for better television. 

There’s another red flag in most of these stories: Informal agreements without the guidance of a professional. Surrogacy professionals screen and background check the prospective gestational carrier as well as the intended parents. They educate the participants about the highs and lows of the surrogacy process, so everyone knows what to expect — no comedic surprises, unlike TV’s depiction of surrogacy in sitcoms. Professionals help intended parents and surrogate forge supportive, healthy relationships, which often turn into genuine friendships. So, none of the situations in the TV shows mentioned above would have ever happened under the guidance of an actual surrogacy professional. 

Instead of perpetuating myths about real surrogacy experiences, we encourage anyone and everyone to read the stories of our real-life gestational surrogates and families created through surrogacy. Their stories may not be shown on the small screen, but they’re far more meaningful! 

Are Women Getting Rich Off of Surrogacy?

If you want to skip the rest of this article, we’ll give you the answer to the question right now: No. Women aren’t getting rich by becoming surrogates. Here’s why:

Gestational Surrogate Compensation Compared to the Average Annual Income 

The average annual wage in 2019 in the U.S. was $51,916.27, and the average median wage was $34,248.45. Let’s compare that to what a gestational surrogate makes: 

The base compensation for a first-time surrogate usually starts around $35,000. That amount increases based on a surrogate’s experience and other factors. Surrogates then receive additional payments at different points throughout the pregnancy, and they will be reimbursed for all pregnancy- and surrogacy-related expenses. 

That starting rate of surrogate compensation could hardly be called “getting rich,” since it’s less than what many Americans make in a year. 

Is That More or Less Than You Expected? 

If that base compensation seems like a lot, that’s probably because you don’t know much about the effort and sacrifices that gestational carriers take on. Pregnancy and childbirth aren’t exactly easy, and surrogacy adds additional steps to the process. We’ll examine that further below. 

Conversely, was that starting number less than you were expecting? That may be because you’ve heard of surrogacy agencies that claim to pay women up to $63,000. However, their promises are extremely misleading. Not every surrogacy agency is as transparent as American Surrogacy, so we urge you to use caution when researching base compensation for surrogates. 

The payment that surrogates receive isn’t enough to get rich. But, it’s still a reasonable and important way to compensate women for the physical risks they accept and the amount of time and effort they sacrifice. 

Time and Physical Effort Invested 

For most gestational surrogates, the surrogacy process will take about one year from start to finish. It typically takes a couple months for a surrogate to complete the screening and approval processes, and then she may wait a bit to be paired with the right intended parents. Add in the unknown amount of time that it will take for her to become pregnant — it can take a few cycles of IVF before an embryo successfully “sticks,” while some surrogates will have success on the first try. 

All told, surrogates will usually invest roughly a year of their life to help intended parents have a child. 

Let’s look at what a surrogate would be doing during that time: 

  • Completing screening and approval processes, which involve medical tests, interviews with the surrogacy professional, counseling, emotional assessments and more. 
  • Attending regular doctor’s appointments (more than she would for a standard pregnancy) to ensure prenatal health, neonatal checkups, fertility treatments, IVF and embryo transfers, ultrasounds and more. 
  • Self-administering daily fertility medications throughout the IVF process. 
  • Communicating with her American Surrogacy specialist and the intended parents about how she’s feeling and the status of the baby. 
  • Taking care of her own children, attending to her own household and her own work. 
  • Preparing for and experiencing childbirth. 

As you can see, it’s not just sitting around, being pregnant! Gestational surrogates invest a lot of their time, effort and love into the surrogacy process. It’s a major commitment, and it’s one that deserves fair compensation. 

Surrogacy Compensation is a Financial Boost, Not Enough to Be the Sole Source of Income 

Many gestational surrogates are stay-at-home moms, or only work outside of the home part-time. So, although they’re contributing vitally to their families, they aren’t always the sole breadwinner — their spouses usually work outside the home.  

By becoming a surrogate, these women can help provide a financial boost to their family’s normal income. In some ways, it’s not unlike taking on a temporary, part-time job. The compensation they receive as a gestational carrier often goes toward specific financial goals, like a down payment for a home or their child’s college fund. 

These women don’t view surrogacy as a way “get rich quick” (which isn’t accurate, anyway) — they simply see it as a way to help someone else to become a parent while they also provide for their own family. 

Surrogates Are Required to Be Financially Stable 

What’s more, most surrogacy agencies (American Surrogacy included) actually require a prospective gestational surrogate to be financially stable. Meaning, she can support herself and her family without surrogacy compensation. Why? If a woman is only becoming a surrogate for financial reasons, rather than because she genuinely wants to, surrogacy could easily enter a realm where low-income women are exploited or feel financially pressured to become surrogates in order to make ends meet. 

Professionals like American Surrogacy want to make sure that a woman is choosing to carry someone’s child not out of necessity, but because she genuinely wants to help a family, and because she enjoys being pregnant. Then, the payments she receives are a fair compensation for the time, effort and physical risk she is taking on. It’s just the cherry on top. 

Surrogates Experience More Meaningful Rewards 

These women aren’t looking to get rich. They simply have a history of easy, enjoyable pregnancies, and they know they can use that incredible ability to help another couple know the joy of parenthood. Surrogates aren’t in it for the money. They’re carrying someone else’s child because they know it’s the most important gift they can give to someone else. 

That’s not a gift that can ever be repaid. But, the families that a surrogate helps will offer a lifetime of gratitude, all the same. 

Have more questions about American Surrogacy’s compensation for gestational carriers? Interested in becoming a gestational surrogate yourself? Contact us now.  

Should You Get the COVID-19 Vaccine If You’re Pregnant?

On December 16, 2020, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) released a statement for people who are pregnant or who are planning to get pregnant regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. This has significant meaning for gestational surrogates and intended parents, who were previously in a wait-and-see holding pattern.

The statement says that pregnant people, and anyone planning to get pregnant, cango ahead and get vaccinated — as long as your health provider gives you the OK to do so.

Ultimately, you’re free to choose whether or not you get vaccinated. It’s a discussion that intended parents and gestational surrogates should have, along with their American Surrogacy specialist.

If you’re (understandably) nervous about COVID or about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, this guide will help gestational surrogates and intended parents to make a decision on what’s best for them, and for the baby. Please note: You should still talk to your doctor first! They can offer you medical advice based on your individual situation.

COVID-19 Vaccine Basics

Here’s a brief introductory lesson on the COVID-19 vaccine, and some considerations for surrogates and intended parents:

  • As you probably know, pregnant women are at a greater risk for becoming seriously sick as a result of COVID-19.
  • Two different pharmaceutical companies, Moderna and Pfizer, have produced COVID-19 vaccines — both are about 95% effective. You probably won’t be able to choose which one you receive.
  • More vaccines are on the way, and they will also probably be safe for pregnant women.
  • The vaccine requires two doses, administered 21-28 days apart, depending on which vaccine you receive.
  • You will need to receive both doses of the vaccine in order for it to be effective.
  • The first shot is a primer and then the second is a booster shot.
  • The vaccine does not contain the live virus itself, and cannot give you COVID-19.
  • You will need to continue wearing your mask, practicing good hand-washing and hygiene habits and social distancing even after you’ve received both doses of the vaccine.
  • Common side effects include injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle and join pain. A handful of people have experienced fevers or allergic reactions. You may want to consider taking a day off to rest up after receiving the booster dose — some recipients say they feel a bit tired and achy for a day or two.
  • Vaccine side effects are a sign that your immune system is working as it should, not a sign that a vaccine isn’t working or that something is wrong. However, monitor how you feel after receiving the vaccine, and call your doctor if you’re worried.
  • If you’ve had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine in the past, you should check with your doctor before getting the COVID vaccine.
  • Pregnant people were not included in the testing groups for the vaccine, which was why health organizations were initially wary to conclusively state that the vaccine was safe for pregnant women. However, so far there have been no harmful effects for pregnant women or for fetuses, and these organizations have concluded that the likely benefits outweigh the unlikely risks. Because the vaccine does not include the live virus, experts have little reason to believe that the vaccine would be harmful to pregnant women or to unborn babies. But, we understand the lack of data may be too great a worry for you.
  • There are still some unknowns, like how long the vaccine protects you, whether it can protect you against an asymptomatic infection, or if you can transmit the virus if you do become infected and are asymptomatic.

Ultimately, when weighing the potential pros and cons, experts say that it’s fine to get the vaccine when it’s available to you. That being said, you should always consult with your doctor before getting vaccinated, especially if you are pregnant or are planning to get pregnant as a gestational surrogate!

Gestational surrogates and intended parents should also talk about the choice to get vaccinated with their American Surrogacy specialist. It’s important for you all to be on the same page.

What the ASRM Says About Pregnancy and the Vaccine

In the statement released December 16 of 2020, the American Society for Reproductive had this to say to anyone who is pregnant (or plans to become pregnant):

  • “The Task Force does not recommend withholding the vaccine from patients who are planning to conceive, who are currently pregnant, or who are lactating. These recommendations are in line with those of the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM).”

What that means for you: The general consensus among professionals who are responsible for the health of pregnant women and fetuses is that the vaccine can be administered to surrogates.

  • “Patients undergoing fertility treatment and pregnant patients should be encouraged to receive vaccination based on eligibility criteria. Since the vaccine is not a live virus, there is no reason to delay pregnancy attempts because of vaccination administration or to defer treatment until the second dose has been administered.”

What that means for you: Getting vaccinated is still likely safe for surrogates who are currently undergoing, or are planning to undergo fertility treatments, IVF, embryo transfers and pregnancy. It’s also probably safe for intended parents planning to harvest their gametes for the surrogacy journey. Wherever you’re at in your surrogacy journey, that journey will not be affected or delayed if you choose to receive a COVID vaccine.

  • “Recent studies have suggested that pregnancy is a risk factor for severe COVID-19 disease. Furthermore, many women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy have additional risk factors such as obesity, hypertension or diabetes which may further increase the chance of severe disease from COVID-19 infection. These considerations should be included in decisions regarding vaccination.”

What that means for you: As you probably know, pregnant women have a higher risk of experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms. This will be a factor in the conversation with your doctor about getting vaccinated.

  • “Because COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are not composed of live virus, they are not thought to cause an increased risk of infertility, first or second trimester loss, stillbirth, or congenital anomalies. It should be noted that pregnant and lactating women were excluded from the initial phase III trials of these two vaccines, so specific safety data in these populations are not yet available and further studies are planned. However, the mechanism of action of mRNA vaccines and existing safety data provide reassurance regarding the safety of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines during pregnancy. The FDA EUA letter permits the vaccination of pregnant and breastfeeding individuals with a requirement that the company engage in post-authorization observational studies in pregnancy.”

What that means for you: Even though pregnant women weren’t included in the original trials of the vaccine, this type of vaccine has been extensively studied and is generally considered safe for pregnant women and for the pregnancy itself. However, we understand the lack of data may give you pause.

  • “While COVID-19 vaccination can cause fever in some patients (up to 16% of those vaccinated and mostly after the second dose), this risk should not be a concern when deciding whether to vaccinate a pregnant individual or a patient desiring pregnancy. While fever in pregnancy (particularly the 1st trimester) has been associated with an increased risk of neural tube defects, a recent study demonstrated the association no longer remained significant if the patient is taking >400 mcg of folic acid daily. Another large Danish cohort study did not demonstrate any increased risk of congenital anomalies of those who reported fever in the first trimester. Additionally, the most common symptom of COVID-19 infection itself is fever (83-99% of affected patients). Patients who experience fever following vaccination should take an antipyretic medication, like acetaminophen.”

What that means for you: Even if a gestational surrogate experiences vaccine side effects like a fever, it shouldn’t harm the surrogate or the pregnancy, especially if you’re taking your recommended folic acid.

  • “Patients who conceive in the window between the first and second dose of the vaccine should be offered the second dose of the vaccine at the appropriate interval.”

What that means for you: It’s OK if you become pregnant in between your first and second dose. Go ahead and get your second vaccine dose as scheduled.

  • “Physicians should promote vaccination to patients, their communities, and to the public. Preliminary data suggests that those populations at greatest risk of severe disease from COVID-19 may also be the most hesitant to be vaccinated, and specific efforts to increase vaccine uptake in these communities should be undertaken.”

What that means for you: We know you’re worried about the health and safety of this pregnancy, as well as your own safety. But, after checking in with your doctor, you’re free to schedule your COVID vaccine as soon as it’s available to you. The benefits may outweigh the risks.

What American Surrogacy Recommends

We know that if you’re a gestational surrogate or an intended parent, or if you’re thinking about starting your surrogacy journey as a surrogate or parent, you’re probably worried about how COVID-19 affects your surrogacy journey. During a surrogacy journey, the gestational surrogate and intended parents worry about everything that goes into the surrogate’s body — everyone’s priority is the health and safety of the surrogate and baby.

With that top priority in mind, and with the recommendations of trusted health organizations, American Surrogacy joins in recommending that gestational surrogates can receive the COVID-19 vaccine, as long as the surrogate, the intended parents and the surrogate’s doctor are all comfortable with this. However, a COVID-19 vaccine is not currently required for our surrogates — the decision to receive the vaccine is still at the discretion of the surrogate, the intended parents and the surrogate’s doctor.

Wherever you’re currently at in your surrogacy journey, we suggest speaking to your doctor about getting vaccinated. Ask your doctor when a COVID-19 vaccine might be available to you, and ask if they think you might have any health conditions or risk factors that would make the vaccine inadvisable in your situation.

As long as your doctor and your surrogacy partners agree with this choice, you’re free to get the vaccine when it’s available to you. But, when in doubt, consult your American Surrogacy specialist!

A Year in Review: The Biggest Surrogacy News from 2020

Surrogacy is an ever-changing field. Each year, legislation is changed, laws are fine-tuned and most important, families are made. However, more than ever, this year shook the surrogacy world. 

As all of us navigated the COVID-19 crisis, we watched as every aspect of our lives was impacted, including surrogacy. Here are some of the biggest developments that 2020 brought to the world of surrogacy:

IVF Procedures Were Temporarily Halted

This spring, fertility treatments and IVF procedures were temporarily suspended in response to the worsening outbreak of COVID-19. This was devastating news to the intended parents and surrogates who were about to undertake this next step in their journey.

Since then, fertility clinics have reopened with additional health and safety measures. Intended parents and surrogates have been able to resume the process and move forward.

Families Created through Surrogacy Faced Uncertainty and Separation

One of the scariest parts of the year for intended parents and surrogates was the inability to travel. As countries around the world instituted travel bans and in-country quarantines, surrogates and intended parents who were pursuing international surrogacy were separated.

Intended parents and surrogates who were pursuing domestic surrogacy were largely unaffected, but some international matches are still struggling with COVID-related travel bans.

International Surrogacy Became Too Great a Risk

In many ways, 2020 signaled the end of international surrogacy. While this type of surrogacy has always held greater risk than domestic surrogacy, the tragic separation of international intended parents and surrogates forced the world to reexamine this common path to parenthood.

Now, more than ever, intended parents and surrogates are urged to complete their surrogacy journeys domestically with agencies like American Surrogacy.

Gestational Carriers Stepped Up Even Further

In the worst-case-scenarios that many international surrogacy matches had to face this year, gestational carriers once again proved themselves to be fearlessly compassionate and giving. 

Devastated international intended parents were unable to be with their surrogate for her delivery and the arrival of their child. But many of these gestational surrogates bravely took on the task of caring for the intended parents child until they could be reunited. They adapted to the challenges at hand and rose above and beyond what they were originally asked to do.

As a result, international intended parents have since been able to reunite with their babies with peace of mind, knowing that their child was cared for in their absence.

American Surrogacy Keeps Making Families

Through this rollercoaster of a year, American Surrogacy has continued to help create families. We’re so proud of our specialists, who expertly navigated our intended parents and gestational surrogates through the unknowns of 2020. 

As we move into 2021, American Surrogacy will continue to be a safe and supportive place to grow your family. Intended parents and gestational surrogates who were originally considering an international agency have now turned to domestic agencies like American Surrogacy to help them pursue their surrogacy dreams. 

Despite all the challenges and uncertainties of 2020, American Surrogacy continued to grow families through the gift of surrogacy. We’ll continue to do the same in the coming year, and we’re honored to be a part of your surrogacy journey in 2021!

7 Ways Gestational Surrogacy is a Gift

The holiday season encourages us to reflect on the gifts we give and are given. And we’re not just talking about presents under the tree!

There are gifts in the world that are truly special, and can never be repaid. Gestational surrogacy is such a gift. Here are 7 ways gestational surrogacy reminds us of these special gifts:

1. The ability to carry and deliver a baby is a gift.

So many people assume this ability is a given — until they learn that they don’t possess this gift. Gestational surrogates recognize that their ability to carry and deliver a baby is a gift that can be shared with others. 

It takes an incredible person to be willing to share this gift with someone else. Gestational surrogates honor and celebrate the gift that their bodies can give in the most amazing way possible.

One of the most beautiful aspects of surrogacy is that none of the people involved will ever take this gift for granted again.

2. Gamete donors give families a gift, too.

The men and women who choose to donate their genetics and help families in their IVF journeys are contributing more than just the building blocks of a life. They’re giving an important gift.

These donors understand that they have something that so many others desperately wish for: The ability to help create a life. They choose to give this gift to hopeful parents (who are sometimes complete strangers) and in doing so, they give the gift of life. 

3. Surrogates give their time, effort and love.

Beyond the natural gift that their bodies possess, gestational surrogates give so much. Carrying and caring for someone else’s child requires an intense amount of physical effort, time, patience and love.

They endure uncomfortable medical procedures, stick themselves with needles, take medications, keep themselves in top health and ultimately, go through childbirth. All while still caring for their own family and handling their personal and career responsibilities. Gestational carriers give all of this to the intended family because they know how much parenthood means to them.

4. Intended parents give their surrogate their trust, love and a place in their family.

In turn, the intended parents give back to their surrogate. They give her the gift of their complete trust — trusting someone else to carry and care for your child is no small gift, and surrogates understand this.

Intended parents welcome their gestational surrogate as an important part of their lives and in their child’s story. They give her the gift of their love and gratitude, forever.

5. The families of the surrogate and intended parents give them their love and support.

While they may seem “behind the scenes,” there are so many people who are giving the surrogate and intended parents any gifts they can. Without them, no surrogacy journey would be possible.

The friends, families and loved ones of the gestational carrier and the intended parents are there to give their love, encouragement and support. Whether through a kind word, a hand around the house or a hug, these people give everything that surrogates and intended parents need throughout their surrogacy journey.

6. Modern science gives the gift of parenthood to so many.

None of this would be possible without the gift of modern science. The medical professionals involved in every surrogacy journey give the gift of their knowledge and talent.

The IVF process, fertility specialists, lab technicians and everyone whose research contributed to these advancements all give an amazing gift to the world. Thanks to the gift of science, families can be created where they would otherwise not be able to have children.

7. This child will be a gift to so many people throughout his or her life.

Most of all, surrogacy gives the gift of a new life to the entire world. It’s humbling to think of all the people whose lives will be better by knowing the person who is being created.

This child will have family, friends, coworkers, peers and more who can all benefit from knowing him or her. The ripple effect that surrogacy creates is truly a gift.


How are you grateful for surrogacy this year? Let us know in the comments!

Should You Pursue Surrogacy in 2021?

2020 affected us all — including gestational surrogates and intended parents. As a result of all this uncertainty, many people are now asking themselves, “Should I still move forward with surrogacy in 2021?”

It’s important to note that international surrogacy should not be attempted in 2021, due to the continued travel restrictions related to COVID-19. Below, we’ll only cover domestic surrogacy (surrogacy within the U.S.).

You may not want to wait to complete your family, or to achieve your dream of helping others experience parenthood. We completely understand. Even though things feel less certain, you still have an overwhelming desire to pursue surrogacy. If you’re ready, we’ll help you do it.

How can you know if you’re ready to begin a surrogacy journey in the coming year? Here are 5 questions that you should ask yourself before pursuing surrogacy in 2021:

1. Are you financially stable enough for surrogacy?

Did your savings take a hit as a result of the economic fallout of the ongoing pandemic? If so, you may want to revisit surrogacy once you’ve built your emergency reserves back up. But, if you feel that you’re still financially able to pursue surrogacy, 2021 may be your year.

Talking with an American Surrogacy specialist can help you to assess whether or not you’re financially ready to begin a surrogacy journey. We may be able to offer some advice to help intended parents to afford their surrogacy expenses.

2. Are you emotionally ready for surrogacy?

2020 has been an emotional year for us all. Are you feeling up to the emotions of surrogacy right now?

The surrogacy process is often very emotional, for both the gestational carrier and the intended parents. Again, talk to an American Surrogacy specialist about what to expect. That way, you’ll be ready to face the ups and downs ahead. Remember that we’re always here to support you!

3. Are you physically ready for surrogacy?

Women who are considering becoming a gestational surrogate have to meet a series of important physical health requirements to ensure that surrogacy is safe for them. Intended parents also need to be physically ready for surrogacy, but in a different way. They need to have a home and family that is truly ready for a new addition.

On top of these requirements, COVID-19 is going to continue to be a physical concern for surrogates and intended parents in 2021. We’ll touch more on that later.

But for now, if you’re unsure about the physical requirements of surrogacy, reach out to an American Surrogacy specialist. They’ll be able to provide you with more information and talk to you about the preliminary screening processes.

4. Do you have a support system?

This year, we’ve all been separated from friends and family — the people we usually lean on for support. Now, more than ever, it’s important for you to have a strong support system. Even if they’re cheering you on from a distance!

Intended parents: Do you have people you can turn to for emotional support and encouragement as you begin the surrogacy process in 2021? When you need to be with your surrogate, or when it’s time to welcome your baby, do you have someone who can house-sit/pet-sit/babysit?

Surrogates: Likewise, do you have people you can rely on for emotional support and encouragement? When you need to attend doctor appointments, when you advance in your pregnancy and when it’s time to deliver, do you have someone who can watch your kids and help you around the home?

Remember that your American Surrogacy specialist will always be here to support you in any way she can!

5. Would you feel more comfortable waiting until there’s a vaccine?

This is something that every prospective surrogate and intended parent will need to decide for themselves. We all hoped that there would be an effective and widely-available COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2020. But as we go into 2021, you’ll have to decide if you’re willing to put your surrogacy journey on hold until that vaccine is globally distributed, or if you’re going to move forward.

Pregnant women and newborns are in the “high-risk” category for COVID-related health complications. This is a scary thought for surrogates and intended parents. And while many people have had successful surrogacy journeys in the midst of the pandemic, you’ll have to decide for yourself if you feel comfortable moving forward.

It’s also worth noting that the early stages of surrogacy take some time — there wouldn’t be a pregnancy right away! First, you’ll need to complete the screening processes. Perhaps you feel comfortable starting those preliminary processes right now, knowing that it’ll be some time before you’re ready to move forward with an actual pregnancy. Again, that’s all up to you and your individual comfort level.


American Surrogacy has been successfully guiding our gestational surrogates and intended parents through the COVID-19 crisis, just like we’ve helped every family who has partnered with our agency. We’re committed to your safety, and to the safety of the children at the heart of surrogacy. So, if you’re ready, we’ll be here to help you safely pursue surrogacy in 2021!

Want to take the first steps toward this dream? Contact us now, and we’ll help you to achieve your surrogacy goals in the coming year.

How to Stay Safe While Celebrating the Holidays

With the holiday season in full swing, everyone is concerned about limiting the spread of COVID-19 while still finding ways to gather and celebrate with loved ones. Intended parents and gestational carriers have to be even more cautious — pregnant women and infants are considered are at high-risk for serious health complications caused by COVID-19.

Can intended parents and gestational surrogates still honor their holiday traditions in the midst of this ongoing pandemic? With some reasonable precautions, modifications and common sense — yes!

Here are 3 tips to help intended parents and surrogates celebrate safely this holiday season:

1. Know When to Say “No”

This has been tough for all of us this year. But for the health and safety of everyone, sometimes it’s best to say, “Sorry, we can’t come,” when invited to that gathering or event.

Any time you and your family are considering being around others this holiday season, whether you’re thinking about visiting family or hosting people in your own home, you’ll need to ask yourself some important questions:

  • Is this worth the risk of contracting COVID-19, or of accidentally exposing someone else?
  • Have you or anyone in attendance felt sick or experienced COVID symptoms?
  • Can it be done virtually?
  • Can we all practice social distancing and wear masks?
  • Can it be rescheduled?
  • Can we all quarantine before and after?

Nobody wants to be that person who turns down an invitation. But right now, for the safety of your family, it might be necessary. Someone else’s temporary disappointment is not worth the risking the lives of yourself, your family and potentially, an unborn baby.

2. Try Something Different This Year

Instead of trying to go about the holidays as usual, adapt to the current situation! Get creative. Skip the in-person get-togethers and consider:

  • Sending each of your friends or family members a handwritten letter. List all the reasons you’re thankful for them.
  • Swapping gifts long-distance through the mail.
  • Scheduling a regular virtual event throughout the season, like marathoning your way through cheesy Christmas movies together using a multi-viewer platform.
  • Skipping the huge, time-consuming holiday dinner this year and do something more fun. Make tacos, spaghetti, pizzas, or challenge each other to a bake-off.
  • Finding a way to make the holidays feel special when you can’t participate in your regular traditions, like having a Nutcracker dance-along in your living room instead of seeing it performed live.

3. Travel Safely

Although traveling is not recommended, if you do decide to travel for the holidays, make sure you’re traveling as safely as possible. That means:

  • Not traveling if you feel sick!
  • Driving instead of flying.
  • Taking the area’s number of COVID cases into account.
  • Wearing your mask — always!
  • Social distancing from other travelers.
  • Keeping hand sanitizer close by.
  • Quarantining before you leave and after you return (and encourage the people you’ll be around to do the same).
  • Keeping your get-together as small as possible.

Again, if you can, don’t travel at all! This year is the perfect excuse to cuddle up with your household family members, bake some cookies and binge your way through a TV series.

We know that not being able to participate in some of our favorite holiday traditions is disappointing. But, it’s more important for intended parents and surrogates to stay safe and healthy right now. Your family will understand. Hopefully, by this time next year you’ll be able to have a huge reunion. And, by next year, there will hopefully be a new baby celebrating the holidays with the intended family!

10 Answers to Nosy Questions and Comments: Intended Parents

The holidays are coming up. Although we’re still in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we’re all trying to find ways to safely come together to observe family traditions, whether that’s virtually or in-person. On top of that, if you’re an intended parent in the middle of a gestational surrogacy journey you’re about to be on the receiving end of a slew of questions and comments from well-meaning (but sometimes insensitive) loved ones.

So, to help you handle the holiday season (and the resulting inquiries) as an intended parent, here are 10 things you might hear and some ways in which you can respond:

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

You wouldn’t casually ask each other how much someone makes in a year, or what their home cost. So why would it be appropriate to ask about financials now?

It can also be frustrating that so many people focus on the compensation aspect of surrogacy, when it’s such a small part of your experience. Gestational surrogates do this because they want to help a family, not because they’re making it rich (which they’re not).

Keep it simple with:

  • “That’s confidential, as per our surrogacy contract.”
  • “Surrogates aren’t in it for the money.”
  • “That’s not your business.” 

2. “Why didn’t you just adopt?”

This person clearly doesn’t know much about the intricacies of the adoption process. Plus, this kind of question is often asked because the person believes that adoption is “saving” a child, which is a problematic attitude.

 Stand your ground:

  • “Adoption is a lot more complex than you might realize.”
  • “Why don’t you adopt? Everyone has their reasons.”
  • “That’s not your business.” 

3. “How do you know the baby is yours?”

They don’t know the steps that are taken to avoid this situation. If you’re feeling especially patient, you can elaborate.

Or, close the case by saying:

  • “There are rules that gestational surrogates have to follow, which ensures that the baby she carries is not biologically related to her.”
  • “Our surrogate is working closely with our doctor. The baby is ours.”
  • “That’s not your business.” 

4. “It must be nice not to have to be the one who’s pregnant and giving birth!”

…Ouch.

Here are some gentle-but-firm answers:

  • “I would give anything to be able to carry and deliver this baby.”
  • “Pregnancy and childbirth is tough, but not being able to have a child is harder.”
  • “That’s not your business.” 

5. “What if the surrogate decides to keep the baby?”

Nope. Defend your surrogate with all you’re worth, and just tell them it’s not even possible.

  • “That’s not legally an option.”
  • “Even if she technically could, she wouldn’t want to. She has her own children. She doesn’t want to raise ours.”
  • “That’s not your business.” 

6. “I don’t know how you can let someone else carry your baby. I’d be a nervous wreck.”

Of course you’d like to be the one carrying your baby. So, thanks a lot for the “encouragement?”

Big sigh. Tell them:

  • “We are nervous, but this is how we’re going to become parents.”
  • “This was the best option in front of us.”
  • “That’s not your business.” 

7. “So, who is the baby biologically related to?”

This. Is. Your. Baby.

Feel free to let them know they’re being awkward:

  • “Does it matter?”
  • “This baby is ours, regardless of genetics.”
  • “That’s not your business.” 

8. “How are you going to explain this to your kids someday?”

I don’t know, Janet, how did you explain where babies come from to little Bobby over there?

Tell them that you’ve got it handled, and that surrogacy is nothing to be ashamed of:

  • “We plan on talking about it together from day one, and we’re prepared to do so.”
  • “Everyone talks to their kids about their birth and coming into the family. This will be no different.”
  • “That’s not your business.” 

9. “Is it awkward? Don’t you get jealous?”

OK, sure. Maybe you’ve felt a little jealous or awkward at times. But 99.9% of the time you’re just really amped to be a parent.

Once again, it’s time to come to your surrogate’s defense:

  • “Our surrogate is our partner, not our rival.”
  • “We’re just excited to be parents, and our surrogate is helping us achieve that.”
  • “That’s not your business.” 

10. “I heard this story about a surrogate who…”

And I heard that you finally learned how to behave in social situations, Deborah, but clearly that was just a rumor.

  • “Cool story, bro.”
  • “Horror-story situations are the ultra-rare exception to the rule, and most occurred in situations of traditional surrogacy and usually happened before surrogacy contracts and agencies were a thing. This isn’t like that. At all.”
  • “That’s not your business.” 

One More Time, with Feeling: “That’s. Not. Your. Business.”

Because, honestly — it bears repeating. As long as you’re honoring your surrogacy contract and you’re respecting the privacy of your surrogate, it’s entirely up to you how much (or little) you choose to disclose. These types of questions and comments are always a great teaching moment when talking with your loved ones. But, nobody would blame you if you just respond with a plain old, “That’s not your business.”


Not sure how to navigate conversations with family during the holiday season? Reach out to your American Surrogacy specialist for information and support at any time.

10 Answers to Nosy Questions and Comments: Surrogates

Even in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, friends and families will be finding ways to come together this holiday season, whether virtually or in-person. And, if you’re a woman in the middle of a gestational surrogacy journey, that means you’ll likely be on the receiving end of a slew of questions and comments from the family members you haven’t seen in a while. Unfortunately, their curiosity and opinion on your status as a gestational surrogate can get a little grating, or can even be downright insensitive.

So, help you handle the holiday season (and the resulting inquiries) as a gestational surrogate, here are 10 things you might hear and some ways in which you can respond:

1.    “How much are you getting paid?”

It’s not considered polite to discuss financials in most situations. Most people wouldn’t casually ask each other how much they make in a year, or what their home cost.

It can also be frustrating that so many people focus on the compensation aspect of surrogacy, when it’s such a small part of your experience. Your motivations were altruistic and you want people to recognize that you’re doing this because you want to help a family.

Here are a few go-to responses:

  • “That’s confidential, per my surrogacy agreement.”
  • “I’m not actually doing it for the money.”
  • “That’s not your business.”

2.    “Who’s baby is it?”

People are often curious about who the baby is biologically related to. Whether the intended parents are both biologically related to the baby or gamete donation was involved, it’s against your surrogacy agreement to breach their privacy. That question is also just something you wouldn’t ask people, normally, so it’s a bit annoying.

End the discussion with:

  • “Does it matter?”
  • “It’s the intended parents’ baby, regardless of genetics.”
  • “That’s not your business.”

3.    “I could never carry a baby for 9 months and then give it up.”

This comment comes across as a little judgemental, self-centered and ignorant: All at once.

Feel free to answer with a firm:

  • “I’m just babysitting. Do you find it hard to give someone else’s kids back after babysitting?”
  • “Well, then, I guess that’s why you’re not a gestational surrogate and I am.”
  • “That’s not your business.”

4.    “So, do you breastfeed the baby?”

People always want to know about how some of the more intimate aspects of childbirth play out in surrogacy situations. And then, they sometimes want to place their own opinions on these matters, even though it doesn’t concern them in any way.

You can just succinctly say:

  • “The intended parents have a nutrition plan set in place.”
  • “No. I may decide to pump for a while if they ask me to, but that’s our decision.”
  • “That’s not your business.”

5.    “Can you keep the baby if you wanted to?”

Oh, boy.

Make sure you’re clear when you say:

  • “It’s not my baby. I’m giving it back, not ‘giving it away.’”
  • “No. It’s illegal and I wouldn’t want to, anyway.”
  • “That’s not your business.”

6.    “Isn’t it hard on your kids and husband? Do they understand?”

If your family wasn’t on board with your decision to be a gestational surrogate, you wouldn’t even be answering these questions. But, most people don’t know that the support of a surrogate’s children and spouse are required to even start the gestational surrogacy process.

So, briefly explain:

  • “They understand perfectly well, and support me.”
  • “Their support was required and given before I even signed on to become a surrogate.”
  • “That’s not your business.”

7.    “Why didn’t they just adopt?”

This question always betrays the person’s ignorance about the intricacies of the adoption process. Not to mention the fact that it seems to equate adoption with “saving” a child, which is a problematic attitude.

Break it down for them with a quick:

  • “It’s not as easy as ‘just adopting.’ Adoptive parents must meet a series of strict requirements before they can be approved to adopt a child.”
  • “Why don’t you ‘just adopt?’ Everyone has their reasons.”
  • “That’s not your business.

8.    “How did you get pregnant?”

Either they don’t understand how the science works, or they (horrifyingly) believe that gestational surrogates need to conceive the baby with the intended father in “the old fashioned way.”

Give them the short version with:

  • “Go research the IVF process.”
  • “Embryos are implanted with a lot of careful planning and the help of doctors.”
  • “That’s not your business.”

9.    “I don’t know why you’d want to go through pregnancy and childbirth if it’s not your kid.”

…Ok.

Shrug off that unsolicited opinion with:

  • “Good thing you’re not a gestational surrogate, then, huh?”
  • “I’m fine with being pregnant and giving birth if it helps someone else become a family.”
  • “That’s not your business.”

10. “I heard about this surrogate who….”

Honestly, a good eye-roll is probably enough to express how you feel about this type of comment.

Or, you can use your grown-up words, like:

  • “Cool story, bro.”
  • “Horror-story situations are the ultra-rare exception to the rule, and most occurred in situations of traditional surrogacy and usually happened before surrogacy contracts and agencies were a thing. This isn’t like that. At all.”
  • “That’s not your business.”

One More Time, with Feeling: “That’s. Not. Your. Business.”

As long as you’re respecting your surrogacy contract and the privacy of the intended parents, how much (or little) you disclose about your gestational surrogacy process is entirely up to you. If you’re feeling particularly patient, you can use these types of questions and comments as a teaching moment for your loved ones. But, if you don’t feel like being the ambassador to all-things-surrogate, there’s nothing wrong with telling them the tried-and-true, “That’s not your business.”


Not sure how to navigate the holiday season as a surrogate? Worried about staying safe and healthy? Reach out to your American Surrogacy specialist for information and support at any time.