Can You Be a Surrogate if You’ve Smoked Marijuana?

With the recent legalization of marijuana across many states in the U.S., prospective surrogates are increasingly asking: Will a history of marijuana use impact my chances of becoming a surrogate?

It’s certainly a complicated question. Where recreational marijuana is legal, adults over 21 can indulge in this substance in very much the same way they can with alcohol. And women who have drunk alcohol aren’t disqualified from being a surrogate, so is it the same when it comes to using marijuana recreationally?

Not exactly. There is still some unknown when it comes to marijuana’s effect on pregnant women, and many physicians are hesitant to completely clear marijuana use during pregnancy. The previous use of marijuana before surrogacy, however, is a different story.

If you are curious how a history of marijuana use may impact your eligibility to be a surrogate, we encourage you to contact our surrogacy specialists today. We can evaluate your personal situation and help you start your medical screening process — which will be the ultimate decider of whether or not you can continue on your surrogacy journey.

In the meantime, there are some important things we want all prospective surrogates to know about this topic.

How Intended Parents’ Preferences Play a Role

Even if marijuana is legal in a surrogate’s state, that doesn’t mean that potential intended parents will be okay with a historical or current use of the substance. Ultimately, intended parents will have the right to choose what medical and personal history they are comfortable with in a surrogate candidate.

If you are a surrogate who currently uses marijuana, you will likely be hard-pressed to find intended parents who are comfortable with this — even if you plan to stop using during your pregnancy. If someone in your family uses marijuana, this could also disqualify you from the process. Remember that you will need to provide a safe home environment for the intended parents’ baby; marijuana odor or presence could make intended parents uncomfortable, and they can decline to work with you if this is detected during your home visit.

The time and frequency of your marijuana usage will likely be the deciding factor for intended parents. If you used marijuana once as a teenager, you’ll probably be able to proceed with the surrogacy process, no problem. Intended parents know that was a long time ago; as long as you are not using it at the moment, they should be comfortable with a short, distant history.

However, if you used marijuana frequently in the past, it will be the intended parents’ prerogative to decide their comfort. Some will be okay with moving forward with you; others will request another surrogate candidate.

Talking to your surrogacy specialist honestly about your substance use history will give you a better idea of how likely you will be to match with intended parents.

What About Prior Convictions?

During your application to be a surrogate, our surrogacy specialists will complete criminal background screenings. If you have a prior conviction for possession of marijuana, you may be worried that will prevent you from surrogacy.

However, surrogacy professionals and intended parents are increasingly forgiving of these kinds of convictions. With marijuana being legal in so many states now, previous marijuana convictions don’t hold the weight they used to. Some cities and states are even clearing previous convictions in the best interest of their citizens.

The bottom line? If you have a previous marijuana conviction on file, don’t let it dissuade you from applying to be a gestational carrier. In most situations, American Surrogacy will be able to work around this record and help you reach your surrogacy dreams.

Remember: You Will Be Medically Screened for Eligibility

If there’s one thing we want you to learn from this article, it’s that honesty is important. Marijuana can be a complicated subject, whether or not it’s legal in your state, but it should never be something you hide. Surrogacy is an intimate partnership based on trust. Being honest about your history is the first step.

After you have matched with intended parents, you will undergo medical screening at their fertility clinic. Drug tests will be inevitable, either at this step or before. Surrogates must refrain from substance use during this journey, and drug screenings are just a normal part of this process.

If you want to learn more about the process to become a surrogate, we encourage you to contact our surrogacy specialists anytime. We know determining eligibility can be a complicated conversation, especially when marijuana use is involved. We are happy to answer your questions and set you on the path that is right for you.

Call our specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) to learn more.

“Made in Boise” Explores the Ups and Downs of Gestational Surrogacy

Here at American Surrogacy, we know just how incredible gestational surrogacy can be for all involved. Now, thanks to a new documentary from PBS Independent Lens, more people than ever can get a close look into the beauty of this family-building process.

“Made in Boise,” a documentary film by Beth Aala, tells the surrogacy journeys of four gestational carriers and their intended parents. All of the surrogates worked through A Host of Possibilities, a local agency in Idaho run by CEO Nicole Williamson. But Williamson isn’t just the founder and CEO; she’s also a four-time gestational carrier, whose journey is also featured in the film.

The documentary explores the rewards and challenges of the process for all involved, and it’s an intimate look into the journeys of those who desperately want to be parents — and those who are generous enough to help them.

Made In Boise Trailer from beth aala on Vimeo.

“Made in Boise” is an educational film for not only those interested in surrogacy, but also those interested in learning more about the process. You can watch “Made in Boise” online here. In the meantime, we’ve recapped some of the most important lessons learned from this film below.

Why Smaller States like Idaho are Leading the Way

Williamson calls Boise, Idaho, the “unofficial” surrogacy capital of the U.S. While we at American Surrogacy are partial to our headquarters in Kansas City, we are in full agreement that it’s smaller states like ours that are quickly becoming the go-to destinations for safe, ethical gestational surrogacies.

According to the documentary, there are a few reasons why Boise is so popular for both gestational surrogates and intended parents:

  • A relatively healthy population and lifestyle, thanks to proximity to outdoor activities
  • A high population of Mormons and Catholics, who value large families
  • Surrogacy-friendly laws that allow for compensated surrogacy
  • Cheaper costs due to lower cost of living

And guess what? Our Kansas City headquarters provide many of the same advantages!

While most of the conversation about surrogacy revolves around large states like California and Florida, there are just as many intended parents and prospective surrogates in the smaller states in between the coasts. They may not be the first thought for those interested in this process but, with a little bit of research, you’ll find that these locations offer advantages that states with long-established, huge surrogacy agencies can’t match.

American Surrogacy is a prime example of this. Although we may be small, our size offers advantages you won’t find elsewhere. We rarely work with international intended parents, which means all of our clients are within the U.S. — and can easily create genuine relationships with each other through the pregnancy and after birth.

Many of the same advantages highlighted in Boise, Idaho, can be find right here in the heartland of the Midwest. And, if you’re interested in this journey, our specialists will be happy to help you out, wherever you’re from.

Why So Many Surrogates Choose to Do Second Journeys

Of the women highlighted in “Made in Boise,” the majority of them are repeat surrogates (and the one first-time surrogate reveals at the end that she plans to do another journey with her intended parents).

As we follow their stories through the documentary, it’s clear there’s one reason surrogates choose to do this again and again: their relationships with the intended parents.

Williamson and her staff take a great deal of time to match intended parents and surrogates who share the same preferences and goals. She takes it so seriously, in fact, that she chose to become a surrogate for one intended mother who had four previous matches fail. Even though A Host of Possibilities works with international intended parents, their surrogates are still able to create solid, genuine relationships with the intended parents they carry for, wherever they may be. These intended parents are shown attending doctor’s appointments, being a part of the birth, and visiting with the intended parents and their children as the months and years pass.

Good relationships between intended parents and gestational surrogates are just as important here at American Surrogacy. That’s why our team works hard to find the perfect partner for your journey and will support you through every step of the process. For the same reason, we find a great deal of our gestational carriers come back to do second journeys with our agency — and we welcome them back with open arms.

Whether you’re hoping to build a family through surrogacy or help someone else bring a child into the world, “Made in Boise” is a great way to learn more about all the ups and downs of the gestational surrogacy process. An even better way? Contacting our specialists at American Surrogacy. We will always be happy to answer any questions you have and get you the information you need to make the best decision for you.

Contact us online today or call us at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) to start making your surrogacy dreams come true.

5 Tips for Choosing a Gamete Donation Bank

For various reasons, you may find yourself needing a sperm, egg or embryo donation for your gestational surrogacy journey. It can be hard enough to choose a surrogacy professional for your journey; how can you choose a sperm or egg donor for your future child?

It all starts with choosing the right gamete donation bank. There are a lot of options out there, but it’s important that you find the one that is best for your family’s needs.

Your surrogacy specialist will always be here to help. Whether you’ve found yourself needing a gamete donation in the middle of your surrogacy journey, or you’re just exploring your family-building options, our team will be happy to provide references to local gamete banks. When your embryos are ready to go, we will be ready to start you on your journey.

In the meantime, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you search for the right gamete donation bank:

1. Start With Your Fertility Clinic.

If you’ve been working with a fertility clinic for previous treatments, start by reaching out to them. Many fertility clinics have partnerships with certain gamete donation banks. You may receive a discount for using that bank, or it can make the back-and-forth process between the donation bank and your fertility clinic easier. Your fertility clinic may even have recommendations on what kind of donor you should be looking for, based on your previous fertility treatment results.

2. Look for Banks that Offer Identified Donations.

There are a lot of things you’ll consider as you decide which sperm or egg gamete to choose, but we recommend one thing, no matter what – that you choose an identified donor. While anonymous gamete donors were popular in the past (and are still an option today), research has shown that choosing an identified donor is the best choice for all involved.

As your child grows up, he or she will naturally have questions about the donor who gave them half of their genetics. These inquiries won’t be a reflection on you as a parent; it’s a natural curiosity that many children brought to families in non-traditional ways experience. It’s important that they can get the answers they need. Whether it is simple information about where they come from or more critical information in response to a health scare, it’s important to have that contact connection with a donor.

That’s not even mentioning how an identified donor can help your child connect with their biological half-siblings in the future, thanks to programs such as the Donor Sibling Registry.

3. Ask What Information a Bank Retains on its Donors.

The truth? Some donor banks are more thorough than others. As a parent, you want your child to have all the information they need as they grow up. That starts with ensuring a donor bank gathers detailed information on its donors – and updates it as time goes on.

Ask a potential donor bank these kinds of questions:

  • Do you keep a medical history on the donor?
  • How long do you keep these records?
  • Do you do genetic testing on donors?
  • Do you require donors to update their medical information on a regular basis?

4. Ask About Donor Medical Screening.

On the other hand, it’s important that a donor bank does its due diligence in protecting recipients’ interests. That means screening every donor properly before their samples can be released for public use.

Before you can trust your donor bank, you will probably want to ask these questions:

  • What kind of screening does each donor go through before being approved?
  • Do you screen for (sickle cell anemia, hepatitis B and C, HIV and AIDS, other sexually transmitted infections and genetic conditions)?
  • How often are screening tests repeated?
  • Do you follow ASRM recommendations for donor gamete screening?

Your reproductive endocrinologist and personal physician might provide a full list of medical questions to help you through this interview.

5. Go With Your Gut.

While every intended parent should do diligent research when choosing professionals to help them build their family, they must also pay attention to how a professional makes them feel. A gamete bank can answer all of your questions right, but if you are not comfortable with their specialists, it’s not the right fit for you. Choosing a gamete bank – and, therefore, a gamete donor – is a big deal. It’s a highly personal choice.

More than anything else, you must be satisfied with your choice. It’s one that will impact the rest of your life.

If you’re ready to start your search, here are a few professionals to choose from:

Want more information on how surrogacy works with an egg or sperm donation? Contact our specialists anytime at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) to learn more.

Why Doulas Aren’t Just for Surrogates

It makes sense that your gestational surrogate might be interested in working with a doula. After all, she’ll be the one going through the childbirth experience.

But, did you know that you, as an intended parent, can also benefit from a doula’s services?

Keep reading for more information on how a doula can help you, even if you’re not the one giving birth.

1. What Does a Doula Do?

A doula is not a nurse or midwife but rather a birth companion who has some level of training and experience in supporting women, babies and families through childbirth. That support is practical and physical, but it is frequently also emotional and mental.

Services that doulas provide include:

  • Pre-birth planning, coaching and support
  • Labor and delivery support (emotional and physical)
  • Postpartum care for everyone involved, including the new baby

Whether they’re massaging a woman to ease contraction pains or explaining the next steps to family members, doulas offer a wide range of services, with different types of doulas specializing in certain roles.

2. How Does a Doula Help a Woman Who is Giving Birth?

You probably have some knowledge of doulas — how they can coach, comfort, encourage and guide pregnant women and babies during pregnancy, labor and delivery. These are some of their more common and popular services.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of a birth doula’s role:

Doulas and similar birth professionals may start working with a woman (and often her spouse) during her second or third trimester. During that time, the doula may help the woman create a birth plan, offer pain management strategies to practice and give general advice on how to prepare for what’s ahead — physically, practically and emotionally.

During labor and delivery, birth doulas provide support and encouragement.

After delivery, postpartum doulas continue to offer support to the woman and her family and make sure everyone is recovering well, physically and emotionally.

Gestational surrogates — like all women experiencing pregnancy, labor and birth — can benefit from these services, if they feel it would be beneficial for their journey.

3. So, How Can a Doula Help Someone Who Isn’t Giving Birth?

It’s obvious why a pregnant woman might be interested in a doula, but why would anyone else?

Doulas are birth coaches, not nurses, so their services extend beyond physically helping your surrogate. They’re there to encourage you emotionally, too. Becoming a parent, no matter how you do it, requires plenty of emotional support and practical advice.

Just as a doula works with a woman giving birth, doulas can work with intended parents in surrogacy situations (and other family members) to prepare for this journey. With surrogacy, intended parents can talk to a doula about:

  • How you can help your gestational surrogate during her labor
  • What happens if there are unexpected medical issues
  • Who holds the baby and when, who cuts the cord and when, and other early-life decisions
  • Feeding plans for your baby
  • And more

Doulas emotionally and physically support gestational surrogates during birth, but they can also provide support to you as an intended parent. You will be going through a lot as you become a new parent; it can be helpful to have professional encouragement during an extremely emotional time.

After the baby is born, you can look to a postpartum doula for advice and continued support as you and your child settle in.

4. Where Can You Find a Doula, Birth Coach, or Similar Professional?

Your gestational surrogate’s doctor or preferred hospital may have a doula that they work with, so always ask for a referral.

You can also use these resources to find the type of birth assistance that you desire, whether that’s a birth doula, postpartum doula, or other professional:

Take your time when researching, interviewing and selecting a doula. This person will be your guide and source of support, so it’s important that you all feel comfortable with one another.

If you need help preparing for your surrogate’s upcoming due date, including deciding whether or not you’d like to work with a doula, you can always reach out to your American Surrogacy specialist at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) for advice.

5 Things to Consider About Being a Surrogate as a Stay-at-Home Mom

Our gestational surrogates come from all kinds of backgrounds. Whether you work a 9-5 career job or you stay at home caring for your children, you may be a candidate for surrogacy.

However, there are some things to consider about each path. In this blog post, we’ll tackle being a surrogate when you’re also a stay-at-home mom. It’s certainly a possibility, and many of our gestational carriers have successfully followed this journey. That’s not to say there aren’t certain things to consider before getting started.

If you are interested in being a surrogate, we encourage you to speak with a surrogacy specialist for free anytime at 1-800-875-BABY(2229). Our staff is always willing to answer your questions and help you make the best decision for your family.

In the meantime, if you are considering surrogacy as a stay-at-home mom, we’d like you to think about these things first:

1. Childcare

As a mom, you are likely used to providing all the childcare in your home. Any errands that need to get done, your kids come with you. Unless you’re going on a date night with your spouse, you probably don’t have the need for additional childcare.

Things will change when you become a surrogate. As a gestational carrier, you will be responsible for attending all kinds of medical appointments. Your children won’t be able to come along. You’ll need to focus solely on your pregnancy at these appointments — not on corralling your children in the waiting room.

For many stay-at-home moms, the childcare that being a surrogate provides can be a nice break from their everyday responsibilities. However, it can also be complicated, especially if you’ve never had anyone care for your kids but you. Your surrogacy compensation will always cover the costs of childcare, but it will be up to you to find an appropriate childcare professional and ensure your children are under their care when you have to be somewhere for appointments.

2. Travel Requirements

You won’t just have to attend prenatal appointments at your local OBGYN. You will also need to travel to complete medical screening and the embryo transfer process of surrogacy.

Whether you are matched with a local intended parent or someone who lives in another state, there’s a high likelihood that their fertility clinic will be located far away from you. So, you will need to take time away from your children and home life for early medical appointments. Depending on the clinic’s location, your medical screening and embryo transfer may require overnight stays.

You will need to coordinate with your spouse and your childcare provider to ensure all of your everyday responsibilities are handled. Remember, your travel expenses will always be covered — but you must be organized enough to take care of your family well before you leave for these appointments.

3. Everyday Responsibilities

Speaking of everyday responsibilities involved in raising children, you will need to consider how your pregnancy might affect your ability to handle these tasks. If you have more than one child, you probably know what it’s like to be pregnant while also maintaining your child-raising duties. But, it’s a bit different when you’re a surrogate.

When you are carrying a baby for someone else, there is an added responsibility. Not only will you be expected to attend all of your medical appointments, you will need to maintain a relationship with your intended parents and follow whatever preferences they set in your surrogacy contract. This can sometimes start to interfere with your daily responsibilities, especially as you get further along in your pregnancy.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help with activities such as cooking and cleaning. You should talk with your spouse and other loved ones in your support system to create a schedule that works for all of you.

4. Bed Rest

Similarly, your everyday responsibilities will get much harder if you are put on bed rest during your pregnancy. While your surrogacy contract will always cover extra costs incurred during a bed rest requirement, there will be some extra emotional and practical stress in this situation.

Ask yourself: How will you and your spouse manage if you are on bed rest during the end of your pregnancy? How will you prepare your children?

Remember, your surrogacy specialist will always be there to support you during the hard parts of your surrogacy journey. Call her anytime at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) for more information on bed rest policies and how other surrogates have managed this development.

5. Your Family’s Feelings

Finally, if you are thinking about adding surrogacy to your stay-at-home-mom journey, you must always talk with your immediate family. While you will be the one carrying the intended parents’ baby, your entire family will be affected by your decision — and they must be prepared for the changes to come.

Before you even start the surrogacy journey, we encourage you to sit down with your spouse and your children. Ask them what they think of your interest in surrogacy. Explain what you might expect of them should you choose this path, and give them a chance to ask any questions they may have. Their cooperation and support will be crucial as you choose this journey, so you should have them on your side from the very beginning.

Need some guidance for this conversation? Your surrogacy specialist will always be there to help.

Being a surrogate as a stay-at-home mom can offer the best of both worlds. You’re spending time with your family like you always do, but you’re also helping to create another family and bringing in some extra income with your surrogate compensation.

Want to learn more about the journey of being a surrogate? Contact our specialists today to get started.

One Embryo Left: Is Surrogacy Right for You?

There are a lot of questions intended parents have to ask themselves when they’re considering gestational surrogacy. If you’ve spent months or years on other fertility treatments, you may have already exhausted a great store of your family-building savings along the way.

You might also have depleted another store — that of your previously created embryos.

If other infertility treatments have not worked for you and you have one embryo left, you may be considering surrogacy as your best chance of success. Transferring a healthy embryo into a woman who has proven her ability to carry pregnancies to term may be the last opportunity you have for a biological child.

However, there are a few things to consider before starting the surrogacy process. It’s a long journey, and it will require a great deal from you, your spouse (if applicable) and the surrogate you work with.

While gestational surrogacy with one embryo is certainly possible, certain aspects can also make it more difficult. We encourage any intended parent considering this path to call our specialists for free at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) for answers to all of your questions.

In the meantime, it’s a good idea to think about the following:

The Time (and Expense) That Pre-Surrogacy Screening Takes

Surrogacy is not an easy process. It requires a long application journey, filled with background screening, medical and psychological screening, and matching with the perfect surrogacy candidate. It can take several months to get all of this done — and that’s before you even start the surrogacy medical process.

When most intended parents begin gestational surrogacy, they are committed to more than one embryo transfer. But, when you only have one embryo remaining, you may be limited to one transfer. This can make your surrogacy experience less economical; you will pay the same amount of fees and expenses as other intended parents but your journey may be a great deal shorter.

Here at American Surrogacy, a certain amount of our agency fees last as long as our partnership. You won’t need to pay those expenses again if your first embryo transfer fails; we will honor your payments until you are able to bring a healthy child home. It’s part of our commitment to an affordable surrogacy process.

If you are an intended parent with only one embryo, however, you will need to evaluate whether these expenses (and the pre-surrogacy time commitment) are worth it for you. If you only plan to complete one embryo transfer process, are you prepared for the commitment this process requires?

What happens if the embryo transfer fails? That will be time and money you cannot get back.

Wait Time for Appropriate Surrogates

Intended parents aren’t the only ones that go through a long approval process to start surrogacy; gestational carriers must undergo screening, too.

The women who choose to become surrogates are dedicated to helping someone else become a parent, whatever it takes. They want to create a genuine relationship with the intended parents they carry for, and they are committed to a long journey with those intended parents. Just like you, they want to make sure all the pre-screening and matching steps they go through are worth their time and effort.

That’s why many surrogates will only work with intended parents who are willing to complete two or more embryo transfers. If a surrogate partners with someone who only wants one embryo transfer, and that transfer fails, she will need to go through the screening and matching process all over again.

For this reason, you might expect a longer wait for a match if you are only interested in one embryo transfer. Your surrogacy specialist will do all she can to find you the perfect surrogate, but it must be a candidate who is comfortable with your anticipated timeline.

Your Plan if the Transfer Fails

Optimism is important in any fertility treatment. When you start the surrogacy process, you have to believe that your last embryo will take, and your surrogate will have a successful pregnancy.

But, what if this isn’t the case? What are your next steps?

Before you begin surrogacy with one embryo, you and your spouse (if applicable) need to think long and hard about your next steps. For women under 35, the success rate of an embryo transfer is only 53.9 percent. That means your transfer is just as likely to fail as it is to succeed — and you need to plan for what happens if a pregnancy does not occur.

You have a few options:

  • Create more embryos: If you wish to continue with surrogacy, you will need more embryos. You can either create these from donated egg and sperm, or complete the in vitro fertilization process with your own gametes. Both of these paths can take some time, so you may have to pause your surrogacy journey and eventually find another surrogate once your embryos are complete. Talk to your surrogacy specialist before starting to see what how this choice may impact your journey.
  • Pursue adoption: If your last embryo transfer fails, and you don’t want to create any more, you can always become a parent through adoption. There are several types of adoption to choose from, and you will need to research each to determine which is right for you. Our team can always connect you to our sister agency, American Adoptions, for more information on this process.

Having a set plan in case of a failed embryo transfer is crucial. That way, you won’t waste precious time trying to figure out your next steps when you could be actively working toward bringing a child into your family.

If you’re unsure of how to proceed with only one embryo, you can always contact a surrogacy specialist at 1-800-875-BABY(2229). They can talk to you about your options for gestational surrogacy with our agency and help you make the best decision for your family, whatever it might be.

Are Women Choosing Surrogacy to Avoid Pregnancy? The Truth Behind the Myth

When it comes to discussions of the surrogacy process, we’ve heard it all before:

“Intended mothers pay someone else to carry their child for them because they don’t want to mess up their body. They’re so vain and materialistic.”

As all surrogacy professionals know, surrogacy is often a last resort for intended mothers who want a biological child. Yes, pregnancy is hard, and it can have dire effects on your body — but ask any intended mother, and she’ll be the first to tell you she would give anything to carry her child herself.

So, we’re here to clear the myth of intended mothers who use surrogacy to avoid pregnancy. Intended mothers aren’t celebrities paying someone for pregnancy so they can keep their own bodies in good shape; they are everyday people like you who, for one reason or another, cannot carry a biological child on their own.

What are those reasons? We’re glad you asked.

Fertility Struggles

The majority of intended mothers have attempted their own pregnancies before turning to surrogacy. In fact, many couples go through months and years of fertility treatments after unsuccessfully conceiving on their own. They may go through surgeries and other invasive treatments and procedures, all to no avail.

Some intended mothers receive a diagnosis explaining their fertility struggles. They may have a condition such as uterine fibroids or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Other women don’t even receive an answer; they go through many medical tests and treatments only to have unexplained infertility.

After experiencing so many miscarriages and failed transfers, an intended mother just wants a fertility treatment that can bring her a biological child. But, that’s not to say she completely forgets her desire to carry her own child. All intended mothers need to grieve the loss of the pregnancy experience before they can proceed with gestational surrogacy.

Dangerous Medical Conditions

Other intended mothers don’t even attempt pregnancy before choosing gestational surrogacy — but it’s not because they are lazy or want to avoid pregnancy for vanity reasons. Instead, they must avoid pregnancy to protect their health.

There are many chronic conditions that can be exacerbated by pregnancy and even put a woman in serious danger. For example, women who have type 1 diabetes put themselves at risk for preeclampsia, insulin resistance, hypoglycemia and other life-threatening conditions. Being pregnant can also exacerbate their diabetes complications for the rest of their life, not just during their pregnancy.

Many times, intended mothers with chronic conditions would love to carry their own children, but their doctors often recommend against it. It can be heartbreaking to give up this dream of pregnancy, but it’s more important for a child to have a healthy mother who can care for them throughout their life.

In other cases, women develop conditions during pregnancy that make carrying another child impossible. Take, for example, Kim Kardashian. After giving birth to two of her children, she developed placenta accreta, which made future labor and delivery difficult — and life-threatening. She was in the same position as many other intended mothers who choose surrogacy to protect their health and ensure they are around for their child’s future.

Tokophobia, or Fear of Pregnancy

It’s no secret that pregnancy and childbirth are strenuous and dangerous conditions. In fact, the majority of women in the world experience some degree of fear and anxiety about this experience, even when they are already pregnant.

Tokophobia, however, is the pathological fear of pregnancy and childbirth. Research indicates that 14 percent of women experience this fear, and it’s a rate that has been increasing in the last few decades.

Tokophobia can have serious effects on women. Like any phobia, it can be debilitating, and it can severely impact a woman’s mental health during a period where she should be as mentally and emotionally stable as possible. Tokophobia often involves feelings of dread, anxiety and depression, and it can cause women to have difficulty bonding with their children (both in utero and once they are born).

Some intended mothers experience this phobia, and it can actually be the reason they seek out surrogacy. They may be excited to become mothers but are not confident in their ability to safely and responsibly carry a child to term. Mental conditions such as phobias are not to be taken lightly, and an intended mother may pursue surrogacy to give herself the best chance at being the mother she wants to be.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s nothing to judge. Every person has the right to create their family in the way that is best for them. The only ones this decision should concern are the parents involved.

Here at American Surrogacy, we know intended mothers come to our program for many reasons. We never judge them. We are dedicated to helping parents build their family in their desired way, whatever their motivations for doing so. We are happy to work with intended parents — fathers and mothers — from many different circumstances, and we can help you, too.

If you are considering surrogacy for any reason, give our specialists a call at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) or contact us online. We will be happy to answer your questions and help you get started with the process ahead.

What Happens if a Surrogate Changes Jobs During Her Pregnancy?

A surrogacy journey can take a year or more to complete — and a lot can happen in that time. Surrogates are some of the hardest-working women in the world, so it’s no wonder that many of them advance quickly in their chosen career fields.

But, what happens if a woman gets a promotion or changes jobs during her surrogacy journey?

In most cases, this change can be accommodated easily. There’s usually no reason for a woman to have to quit her surrogacy journey halfway because of her job — but there are some smaller aspects of the journey that may need to be adjusted in the best interest of all involved.

Remember: If you’re a surrogate, you will need to keep your surrogacy specialist updated on all major changes in your life during the journey. They will help ensure you receive the support and protection you need during this time. Don’t be afraid to reach out anytime by calling 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

In the meantime, learn a bit more about the steps to take when you change jobs or careers during your surrogacy journey.

What Will Need to Be Considered:

When you first apply to be a surrogate, your job will be an important consideration in your eligibility. You will often need to work in a career where you are guaranteed maternity leave (if unpaid, your intended parents will cover these losses) and where you can guarantee the safety of yourself and the child that you are carrying.

In fact, your career will be worked into your legal surrogacy contract. Your attorney will calculate what lost wages you may need covered (as well as additional expenses such as childcare), taking into account your work policies and your intended parents’ expectations for the last trimester of your pregnancy.

While your surrogacy contract will be finalized before you start the medical process of surrogacy, when you change careers or job positions, everyone involved will need to revisit this. There will be a few aspects that must be reevaluated:

1. Lost Wages

There is always the potential for lost wages when a surrogate starts this journey. She may have to take time off work to attend appointments, including the embryo transfer process (which may require a few days of travel and rest). She will have to take time off work to deliver the intended parents’ child, and she will likely need a few weeks of rest and recovery after giving birth.

While a surrogate is protected from losing her job due to pregnancy, she is not always entitled to paid parental leave. United States law protects a pregnant woman’s right to up to 12 weeks of maternity leave, but it does not mandate that leave has to be paid. So, intended parents will cover any wages that a surrogate loses during her maternity leave.

But, these wages are initially calculated based on her salary at the start of the process. If she receives a wage increase, the surrogacy contract may have to be amended — or an agreement must be sorted out between her and her intended parents. Many surrogacy attorneys will write a certain wage increase into the initial surrogacy contract, but it’s a good idea to reevaluate this policy if you receive a promotion or raise during your surrogate pregnancy.

2. Bedrest Situations

Similarly, any discussion of bedrest in your surrogacy contract should be revisited. Some jobs allow you to work from home, and you may not lose out on wages if you are able to work remotely while on bedrest. But, if you change to a position where remote work isn’t possible, you’ll need to ensure your finances are protected in case of this situation.

Your surrogacy contract will always include an expenses schedule for any bedrest, intended to cover your childcare and housekeeping costs. Your initial contract may cover a certain number of weeks of bedrest, but this may need to be amended if your job situation changes.

Even if nothing needs to change regarding your bedrest policies, it’s still a good idea to revisit this aspect of your contract — just in case.

3. Physical Requirements of Her Position

Finally, it’s important that you always keep your health and the health of the baby in mind. Whatever your job position, you should refrain from excessive physical activity that may stress your body or the baby you’re carrying.

When you first became a surrogate, you were in a job position or career where physical activity wasn’t an issue. But, what if your new position requires a lot more physical activity? The path ahead of you would depend on where you are at in the journey.

If you haven’t yet become a surrogate, and you’ve taken on a physically demanding job, continuing your journey may or may not be possible. The intended parents only want what is best for their child, and that includes a stress-free pregnancy. If your new position will put undue stress on your body during pregnancy, you may not be able to continue. You may need to postpone your journey until you are in a better position to do so.

If you are already pregnant, but being changed to a more physically demanding job position, it’s likely you’ve talked to your surrogacy specialist before accepting this new position. You will probably need to talk with your employer about their modifications for pregnant women, including how you can keep yourself safe during the last few months of your pregnancy. After all, you signed a contract with the intended parents before you got this career raise, and you must honor that first and foremost.

If you’re unsure of how to address a potential promotion or a newly accepted job change, don’t be afraid to reach out to your surrogacy specialist. She will always be there to support you and answer your questions.

Interested in starting the surrogacy process? Give us a call at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) or contact us online today.

How Could Abortion Restrictions and Bans Affect Surrogacy?

New restrictions and bans on abortion may do more than affect women facing unplanned pregnancies — they could soon have a drastic effect on intended parents using gestational surrogacy to add to their families.

While American Surrogacy won’t dive into the ethics and morality of abortion as an unplanned pregnancy option, we see it as our duty to keep intended parents and gestational carriers informed of all aspects of the medical surrogacy process. And, in some situations, selective reduction and termination (another name for abortion) are integral parts of a safe surrogacy journey.

If you’re unsure how new abortion bills may affect your ability to pursue surrogacy, we encourage you to contact our surrogacy specialists or speak with your personal reproductive endocrinologist. In the meantime, read below to learn more about this important new development in gestational surrogacy.

Why is Selective Reduction and Termination Used in Surrogacy?

Before we get into the details of new abortion laws across the country, you must first understand why they might even apply to surrogacy in the first place.

Selective reduction and termination are relatively common in the medical process of surrogacy, although these procedures are used less frequently thanks to advances in pre-genetic screening. Intended parents and gestational carriers only want to proceed with pregnancies that have the best chances of success, and that all starts with the embryo transfer process.

During in vitro fertilization, it’s common for intended parents to create several embryos. Their reproductive endocrinologist screens these embryos to determine which are the most viable, with the highest chances of success. The doctor will then transfer those embryos to the surrogate’s uterus.

Sometimes, however, a doctor will transfer more than one embryo to a surrogate. This may be done when several embryos are of lower quality; the more that are transferred, the increased likelihood that one or more may implant. But, when two or more do implant, intended parents are left with a choice: to continue with the increased risks of a multiples pregnancy or reduce to a singleton pregnancy.

If they choose a singleton pregnancy, the doctor will inject any extra implanted embryo with medication to stop its heart. That way, a surrogate can continue to carry one embryo, without the added risks of carrying twins or triplets.

In other situations, an embryo may start developing abnormally once it has implanted in the surrogate’s uterus. It may develop genetic or chromosomal abnormalities undetectable in prior genetic screening. Intended parents may make the heartbreaking decision to end this pregnancy before it gets further along, especially if the fetus is not expected to survive outside of the womb. To save themselves and their surrogate from the stress and emotional turmoil of that later on, they may choose to terminate.

Keep in mind: The decision to use selective reduction or termination is not one made lightly. Both intended parents and their gestational carrier will agree on the situations in which each of these is used before they even begin the medical process. The surrogacy contract will always detail the situations in which these procedures are (and are not) acceptable.

While no intended parent or gestational carrier wants to experience a selective reduction or termination, these procedures are still important parts of the surrogacy medical process — but may be put in jeopardy with new abortion restrictions and bans across the country.

How Could Abortion Bans Affect the Surrogacy Process?

New legal challenges to abortion have popped up over the last few years — the most noticeable being “heartbeat” and “personhood” bills, which prevent abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy and assign human rights to embryos, respectively. While pregnant women considering abortion are undoubtedly the targets of these bills, they can also have a dire effect on those using assisted reproductive technology.

“Heartbeat” Bills

First, let’s tackle the so-called “heartbeat” bills:

A reproductive endocrinologist is involved throughout the beginning of the surrogacy process. This doctor will monitor the embryo transfer and the surrogate’s early pregnancy, confirming the success of the transfer and completing the first ultrasound. If an abnormality occurs in the fetus, they will be the first to know — and often the professional to recommend selective reduction or termination.

They will typically also complete the six-week ultrasound, which will check for a heartbeat. If a heartbeat is not heard, the doctor will usually induce a miscarriage.

But, in a state where abortions after six weeks of pregnancy are banned, this might not always be possible. Perhaps a heartbeat was heard at the six-week appointment but not at the 12-week appointment. Maybe the heartbeat stops a day after the six-week appointment. What would usually be the normal course of action — termination — would be impossible, forcing intended parents and gestational carriers to wait for nature to take its course, however stressful and emotional that would be. It could be medically risky, as well.

Surrogates in states such as Alabama and Louisiana may find themselves unable to match with intended parents or even complete the surrogacy process at all. Many intended parents may not wish to start the process with a surrogate who cannot terminate or selectively reduce in the future, just in case. And, for surrogates in Alabama, traveling to another state for a pregnancy termination won’t be possible; a surrogate, her doctor and her intended parents will be criminally liable.

In effect, these “heartbeat” bills will make gestational surrogacy in these states all but impossible. For many, the risks of the process won’t be worth it — and they’ll choose another state to pursue their family-building journey.

“Personhood” Bills

On the other hand, intended parents may not even get so far as the gestational surrogacy process. New “personhood” bills may make it difficult for them to even complete in vitro fertilization in certain states.

In essence, “personhood” bills assign all the rights of a living human to an embryo. This means that hopeful parents would be unable to donate extra embryos to research or discard of them. They would be forced to store them indefinitely or donate them to another couple, which is an extremely personal decision to make.

An intended parent should have the right to choose what they wish to do with extra embryos, but “personhood” bills could effectively take that right away from them — if IVF is even an option. As infertility psychologist Angela Lawson theorizes:

“In short, as legislation regarding at what week of pregnancy an abortion can be performed potentially changes, such laws affect IVF. The assignment of personhood to embryos will mean that IVF clinics will no longer be able to create, freeze, or dispose of them. It would also prevent the retrieval of eggs for fertility preservation because those eggs would be used in the future to create embryos, thus creating ‘life’ in the lab.”

Intended parents who live in states with these laws would be forced to go out of state to complete their fertility treatments — adding more costs to an already expensive process.

Here at American Surrogacy, we advocate for every intended parent’s right to choose the path that’s best for them. We also believe in defending the right to gestational surrogacy across the country, even when new laws and regulations make that difficult.

That’s why, when you work with us, we will work for your interests every step of the way. That means matching you with a surrogacy partner in a surrogacy-friendly state and helping you find the medical professionals you need to complete your journey. For more information on surrogacy with our program, please contact our specialists online or call them at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

Can You Be a Surrogate if You Don’t Have Insurance?

So, you’re ready to help create a family by serving as a gestational carrier. Congratulations — by coming to this page, you are one step closer to making your dreams (and the intended parents’ dreams) come true!

In your research on the medical process of surrogacy, you may have found conflicting information out there about surrogacy insurance. It’s a complicated topic, to be sure; both intended parents and their gestational carrier often have to coordinate with each other, their surrogacy specialists and their insurance providers to ensure all parties are sufficiently covered in the months to come.

The first thing you should know: If you decide to become a gestational carrier, you will never be responsible for the medical costs of your surrogacy.

The second thing you should know? It is possible to become a surrogate without preexisting insurance — but it can make your journey a bit more complicated.

Is Being a Surrogate Possible if You Don’t Have Insurance?

There are many reasons a woman may not have health insurance. She may be in transition from one job to the next, she may have had insurance with her spouse but be going through a divorce, or she may be experiencing a special circumstance that allows for new enrollment — but hasn’t gotten around to applying quite yet.

Surrogacy specialists understand that life is complicated, and you may find yourself without health insurance at some point. As long as you meet the requirements to be a surrogate, your specialist can help you move forward with the surrogacy process. Along the way, she will help you get the insurance you need.

However, there is one reason why women without insurance may be disqualified from surrogacy. If you do not have insurance because of a low or unstable income, or you are on Medicaid, you will be disqualified from surrogacy. Every woman who takes this path must be financially stable, for the protection of everyone involved.

You can call a surrogacy specialist at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) today to determine your eligibility.

How Surrogacy Works if You Have No Insurance

If you are interested in being a gestational carrier but don’t have insurance, your first step should always be contacting a specialist at American Surrogacy. Our specialists can answer all of your questions and determine whether you are eligible to be a surrogate in your situation.

If you are eligible, your specialist will help you find the perfect intended parents for your journey. Your insurance situation will play a role in which intended parents you can work with; they will need to be comfortable with the extra costs of your upcoming journey.

You see, when you become a surrogate with no insurance (or a surrogate whose insurance doesn’t cover her surrogate pregnancy), your intended parents are responsible for the extra medical costs. They will need to pay extra for a special insurance policy during your pregnancy. This may cause some changes to the surrogacy budget they previously set.

Therefore, you may be asked to reduce your desired compensation rate. Your specialist will always discuss this in detail with you before matching, but it’s an important thing to think about. After all, you’re not choosing surrogacy for the money; instead, you want to help someone else become a parent. Many surrogates without health insurance are happy to reduce their desired compensation to help those intended parents reach their dreams through a more affordable path.

Ultimately, the decision will always be yours. That’s why it’s important to be honest with your surrogacy specialist from the very beginning. She will also be honest with you — including whether or not your insurance situation will make you wait longer for an intended parent match. She will also tell you if your situation will make it impossible to find intended parents to carry for.

Surrogacy is a partnership, and it’s important that you and your intended parents are on the same page about every aspect. That includes surrogacy insurance, as well. Put yourself in your intended parents’ shoes and think about how much this family-building process is costing them. Flexibility is an important part of the surrogacy process — for both you and your intended parents.

We encourage any prospective surrogate with no insurance to contact American Surrogacy today. Our specialists will be happy to discuss what surrogacy will be like for you, should you decide to move forward.