7 Ways You Can Make Your Surrogate’s Experience Easier

Surrogacy is a partnership, and you want to make sure your gestational surrogate has the best experience possible. In addition to sticking to your surrogacy contract and following the advice of your surrogacy specialist, what can you do to make her pregnancy and surrogacy journey as easy as possible?

We’re glad you asked. There are plenty of ways you can take some stress off the woman who’s carrying your child. She’s doing an incredible thing, which is why American Surrogacy always encourages intended parents to go the extra mile to make her feel appreciated.

Small and large, here are a few gestures you can make to help your surrogate’s journey be a little bit easier.

1. Stick to Agreed-Upon Contact Schedules

Just as you will be excited to hear from your surrogate, she will be excited to hear from you, too. You’ll want to hear about her pregnancy developments, and she’ll want to know about how you are doing and how you are preparing for your new addition.

Life can get busy, but the best thing you can do during your surrogacy is to make contact when you said you would. Missing or rescheduling calls and meetings over and over again can send a message to your surrogate that she’s not important to you; she may start to worry something is wrong. Unnecessary stress can impact her and the baby, so be mindful of your contact schedule — and stick with it.

2. Respect Her Time

When someone else is carrying your child, it’s normal to wonder about her and the baby’s health every second of the day. It’s hard to give up control and not be involved in every minute of your unborn child’s development. However, reaching out constantly and asking for updates is counterproductive.

While your surrogate has taken on the important task of growing your child, she also has other responsibilities: as a mother, as an employee and more. She’ll need to take care of those responsibilities throughout her pregnancy, and she can’t take the time to update you 24/7 on the baby’s development. She may not be able to meet as frequently as you like or exercise for an hour every day like you would prefer.

The best way to make your surrogate’s journey a little easier is by respecting her time and the boundaries you’ve set. It may be hard to do, but allowing her the space she needs will help her maintain her mental health — an equally important part of her overall health during these nine months.

3. Trust Her

The success of a gestational surrogacy depends on the trust between each party. Surrogacy is an intimate partnership, and you won’t get very far if you’re second-guessing every move your surrogate makes. Again, we know lack of control is hard — but you’ll need to learn to trust that your surrogate is doing what is best for her and the baby she is carrying.

A surrogate can’t turn her life upside down to adhere to her intended parents’ every desire. Of course, your surrogate will follow the recommendations for a healthy pregnancy, but she may do things you wouldn’t do yourself. Remember: American Surrogacy fully screens every gestational carrier and prepares her for the surrogacy process, so she will know how to safely carry your child for these nine months. When you trust her to do so, you can both create a genuine friendship that will make the journey much easier.

4. Send Some Family Gifts

Your surrogate’s choice doesn’t just impact herself; it impacts her family, as well. Her spouse may need to take on additional childcare and household duties while your surrogate takes it easy. Her children may get less one-on-one time with their mother than they have in the past.

You can make it a bit easier by sending little gifts for her family throughout her pregnancy, like:

  • Gift cards to restaurants and movie theaters
  • Personalized gift boxes (like a “pregnancy gift box” full of pillows, a heating pad, chocolate, etc.)
  • Meal kit delivery services
  • Toys and games for her children
  • And personalized gifts expressing your appreciation

Even the smallest gifts will let your surrogate know that you’re thinking about her. They’ll bring a smile to her face even on the busiest of days.

5. Be Organized With Your Finances

A surrogate should never have to pay for surrogacy out of her own pocket. While there are times where she may need to take care of co-pays and other expenses up front, it’s your responsibility to get reimbursements resolved as quickly as possible ( by responding efficiently to any payment notifications the agency sends you). Being organized with your finances — tracking the payments you owe her, confirming her base compensation is paid out of escrow, etc. — can take that stress off of a surrogate’s shoulders.

Organization with finances will not only help your surrogate; it will help your family, as well. If you ever have questions about compensation and other payments, reach out to your surrogacy specialist.

6. Listen to Her Needs and Wants

Remember, surrogacy is a partnership. While a gestational surrogate is carrying your child, she is an active part in the process. Your surrogacy specialist will emphasize this from the start, but don’t forget to treat your surrogate with respect throughout the entire surrogacy journey. Listen to her thoughts and feelings before, during and after her pregnancy, and do what you can to alleviate whatever stressors or concerns she has on her mind.

The best surrogacy relationships are based in friendship first. Take the time to make your surrogate feel as valued and appreciated as she should be.

7. Remember that She’s More than a Surrogate

Your surrogate is her own person, with her own goals and hopes beyond the surrogacy journey. While it’s easy to get wrapped up in the gestational surrogacy process, don’t let all of your conversations focus on the pregnancy and the baby. Take the time to get to know her and her family. Ask them all how they’re doing during your check-ins, and find some things you have in common besides this surrogacy journey. Some intended parents and surrogates go on to have lifelong friendships after the baby is born, and this is the best way to start that relationship.

Appreciate your surrogate for who she is, and she will appreciate you for doing so!

For more suggestions on making your surrogate’s journey easier, reach out to your American Surrogacy specialist anytime.

7 Simple Ways to Save for Surrogacy

It’s no secret: Gestational surrogacy is expensive. If you’re considering this path to bring a child into your family, you’ll need to do a bit of financial research. You can’t jump into surrogacy without understanding exactly how much it will cost you — and how you will afford the expenses along the way.

While American Surrogacy does not provide any financing options for our intended parents, we are always willing to point intended parents toward resources that will make this journey a little more affordable. Ultimately, it will be up to you to decide which paths are best for you. When you’re ready to get started, we’ll be there to help.

In the meantime, we’ve offered some tips that other intended parents have found helpful while preparing for the financial requirements of surrogacy. Check them out to see if they’ll work for you!

7 Ideas to Help You Save for Gestational Surrogacy

1. Talk With a Financial Advisor

Before doing anything else, intended parents should always speak with a professional about their finances. Surrogacy requires a large lump sum paid within a few short months, and you’ll need to have that money ready to go when the time comes. A professional is the best way to prepare for that.

A financial advisor can look at your current income, savings and financial requirements to determine which steps will be the most effective and quickest way to gather the funds you need.

2. Set Up a Designated Savings Account

When most intended parents decide surrogacy is in their future, they set up a designated savings account. They allocate a certain amount of their income to it through direct deposit and slowly watch the savings build up over time.

When you set up a savings account, make a budget for your household, as well. What expenses — eating out, shopping, traveling — can you cut down on? Allocate that extra money to your account directly. It may hurt to see your initial paycheck after the changes, but you will quickly adjust to your new normal.

You can also add tax refunds, bonuses and any other extra income to this savings account right away, rather than use it as “disposable” income.

3. Explore Grants and Loans

Many organizations offer help to intended parents pursuing alternative family-building options.

Certain companies — including Prosper Healthcare Lending, CapexMD and New Life Fertility Finance — offer fertility-specific financing loans that can be used for gestational surrogacy. You might also talk to your financial advisor about borrowing from your 401(k) plans or taking out personal loans to pay for surrogacy.

Other organizations offer grants to would-be parents. Take a look at some below, learn more about their eligibility requirements and apply to them, if they’re right for you:

4. Host a Fundraiser

Many of your friends and family may be willing to help you fund your family-building journey, so let them participate with a fundraiser! It could be something as simple as setting up a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe, or you could clear out your house for a garage sale or host a bake-a-thon. Get creative, and don’t afraid to ask your community for help. You may be surprised at just how much they step up.

5. Look to Your Real Estate

If you’re fortunate enough to own real estate, consider the opportunities it presents to you. You may want to refinance your mortgage so you are paying less every month (and can save more for surrogacy), or take out a home equity loan. If you have investment properties, you might sell them and use that lump sum as a base payment for your surrogacy expenses.

As always, talk to a financial advisor before making any major changes to your real estate payments and incomes.

6. Consider Consulting or Freelance Work

Do you have any special skills, or can you expand your work schedule from the typical 9-5? If you are handy with tools, consider listing your services to help people complete their home improvement projects. If you are an accountant at your job, consider offering your services to balance books and file taxes.

While it will lead to extra work and less free time, it can be a great way to quickly make some money by doing something you already love.

7. Add to Your HSA or FSA Accounts

Many employers offer Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) or Flex Spending Accounts (FSAs). You can allocate a certain percentage of your income to these accounts, tax-free, to pay for medical costs.

While an FSA expires at the end of the year, you can carryover the money from your HSA year to year. Start putting money in it now, and you may be surprised at the amount you have when you’re ready to start the embryo transfer process.

Contact us online anytime to learn more about our agency fee schedule and how other intended parents have saved up for their surrogacy expenses.

When an Embryo Splits: A Surrogate’s Guide

When you go in for your first ultrasound post-embryo transfer, you and your intended parents will simply be hoping for a healthy, strong heartbeat. It will probably come as a shock to both of you if the doctor picks up two — it means you’re carrying twins!

Even though reproductive endocrinologists often do all they can to ensure a healthy singleton pregnancy with little risks, sometimes nature has other plans. You may not have seen yourself carrying twins for someone else for nine months. But, now that you’re in this situation, what can you do?

We know getting news of a multiples pregnancy can be shocking. Remember, your American Surrogacy specialist will always be there to answer your questions and support you moving forward.

While identical twins are rare, they can happen. Here’s what you should do if you find yourself in this situation:

1. First, Talk with Your Intended Parents

An identical twin pregnancy can bring up a lot of complicated emotions, and that’s especially true in a gestational surrogacy. You and the intended parents may need some time to process this news and what it means for your journey, but it’s crucial that you’re all on the same page moving forward.

Make sure that you are open about your thoughts and emotions during this time. Fortunately, you’ll have a roadmap for the next nine months (see below about your contract), but there will always be opportunities to update that plan as you figure out what works best for you. Having an open conversation and building a solid team dynamic from the beginning will make the challenges ahead much easier.

Remember: You have as much of a say in this gestational surrogacy as the intended parents, so don’t be afraid to share your feelings about this unexpected situation.

2. Look to Your Contract

The first decision you’ll make together is whether or not to continue this pregnancy. Because identical twins share a placenta, it’s nearly impossible to safely reduce the pregnancy to one fetus. Instead, you will be faced with an “all-or-none” decision: to continue with the twin pregnancy or terminate in hopes of a healthy singleton pregnancy during your next transfer.

Your path forward will be laid out in your surrogacy contract. Making this important decision in the heat of emotions is incredibly difficult; that’s why we require all intended parents to discuss these complex situations ahead of time with a lawyer. Your contract will likely inform your next steps.

Your contract will also address the additional compensation you are entitled to during a multiples pregnancy: the additional payment for carrying twins, bedrest compensation, wages for missed work and additional compensation for invasive procedures (such as a Cesarean-section). If you ever have any questions about your surrogate compensation, talk with your surrogacy specialist or attorney.

3. Remember the Risks

There’s a reason why reproductive endocrinologists take steps to ensure singleton pregnancies in IVF and gestational surrogacies. Carrying more than one baby increases the health risks for both carrier and babies.

If you and your intended parents will move forward with an identical twin pregnancy, you’ll need to be comfortable with the additional risks this can create, including:

  • Preterm labor and delivery
  • Low birth weight
  • Preeclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Cesarean-section
  • Placental abruption
  • Fetal death

You will need to be extremely careful and take certain precautions to keep yourself and the intended parents’ babies safe. This may mean you undergo a planned c-section before your due date or spend the last few weeks of your pregnancy on bedrest or limited in the activity you can do.

Your surrogacy contract will address the worst-case scenario (disability compensation and life insurance), but you must be comfortable with these risks before you agree to continuing a multiples pregnancy.

4. Create a Plan for Your Family

Because a multiples pregnancy comes with the risks mentioned above, you’ll need to work with your spouse and immediate family members to create a plan. This will come in handy, should you be placed on bedrest, have to take maternity leave early or have an extended recovery from a c-section.

Your family should have a plan for:

  • Who will watch your children and pets while you are unable to
  • Who will put together meals for your family while you’re incapacitated
  • Who will bring you supplies when you’re at the hospital
  • And more

Your surrogacy specialist can give you suggestions of things to plan for, based on her experience with other surrogates.

This is where having a great support system of family and friends can come in handy. Reach out to your support system; see if someone would be willing to prep some ready-made meals for your family, or take some of your laundry to the laundromat after delivery. You may be surprised at just how much help you’ll get!

5. Take it One Day at a Time

In many ways, a multiples gestational pregnancy is no different from a singleton gestational pregnancy. Yes, there are some added risks but, by taking things slow and keeping yourself safe, you can still have a successful, memorable surrogacy experience.

The last thing you’ll want to do is stress yourself out with all the “what-ifs.” You and your intended parents should instead focus on all the things you can control: your birth plan, your relationship during surrogacy and the beautiful experience you’re having together. A positive outlook can make all the difference during the uncertainty of a multiples pregnancy.

Remember, if you are ever in need of additional support or guidance, American Surrogacy will always be there for you.

When An Embryo Splits: An Intended Parent’s Guide

In most IVF and surrogacy journeys, creating one healthy pregnancy can be hard enough. But, what happens when the embryo you’ve transferred to your gestational surrogate splits — and you now have identical twins on the way?

This surprise is enough to make even the most level-headed hopeful parents’ heads spin. But you’re not the first parents to experience this shock, and you won’t be the last. What’s important is moving forward with a clear head and a clear set of steps and responsibilities.

Remember, your American Surrogacy specialist will always be there for you in unexpected situations, including identical twins. You can always reach out to them for support and guidance moving forward.

There are usually a few tips we recommend to intended parents in this position:

1. First, Take Stock of Your Situation

Getting the news you’re having twins can be a huge shock. It’s normal to need some time to process this change in your family-building journey. Don’t be afraid to take a beat to accept this news.

Talk with your spouse, if applicable. Talk with your gestational surrogate, too. There is often a great deal of complicated emotions that come with this exciting news, and you are all in this gestational surrogacy journey together. Wherever you go from here, you will need to be on the same page.

However, don’t take too long for this step. Your reproductive endocrinologist will likely present a few paths moving forward (we’ll talk more about those below).

2. Recognize How This Changes Your Financial Situation

It’s no secret that having one baby is expensive. When you have two babies at once, those costs will often more than double.

Being a parent of twins means spending more on:

  • Baby supplies (clothing, diapers, formula, etc.)
  • Childcare
  • Extracurricular activities
  • School and college tuition
  • And more

You should also consider the unique costs associated with a multiples gestational pregnancy. You will need to pay your surrogate an additional retainer for carrying more than one embryo, and you should be prepared for the extra costs associated with bedrest, invasive procedures or more time off work. These costs can quickly add up, so make sure you talk about them in depth with your surrogacy specialist.

Remember that a multiples pregnancy is much riskier than a singleton pregnancy. In the worst-case scenario, a gestational surrogate’s health could be permanently affected, and you could pay additional disability and even death compensation. While these situations are rare, they are always a possibility you should consider.

3. Remember the Risks of a Multiples Pregnancy

There’s a reason why most medical professionals no longer complete multiple-embryo transfers. The risks of a multiples pregnancy are just too great, to both the surrogate and the babies she carries. A multiples pregnancy can increase the possibility of:

  • Preterm labor and delivery
  • Low birth weight
  • Preeclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Cesarean-section
  • Placental abruption
  • Fetal death

Your gestational surrogate will always be at risk in a multiples pregnancy, no matter how careful she is. This is why intended parents must talk at length with their surrogate before transfer and determine what both parties are comfortable with. If you choose to move forward with a twin pregnancy, your surrogate will have to accept this increased risk, and you will need to pay additional retainers, as mentioned above.

Unlike with multiple embryo transfers, twins that result from a single split embryo transfer often cannot be reduced. Identical twins will most likely share a placenta, making it impossible to remove one fetus to give the other the best chance of a healthy birth. Most reproductive endocrinologists will offer an “all-or-none” option: Either the surrogate must carry both fetuses to term, or the pregnancy will be terminated in hopes of a successful singleton pregnancy next time.

These are complicated conversations to have, made more difficult in the emotions of the moment. That’s why surrogacy contracts are so important — they will address situations like this ahead of time and lay out a clear path forward, should they occur.

4. Prepare for Parenting Two Newborns at Once

There’s a lot more to preparing for twins than getting your bank account in order. You’ll have twice as many responsibilities as caring for a single baby, and you’ll need to take a few steps to make that as easy as possible.

If you can, put these measures in place prior to even coming home with your new additions:

  • Recruit some family members or friends to stay with you the first few weeks after the babies are born.
  • Talk to and get advice from other parents raising multiple babies at once.
  • Create a schedule for when your babies come home — who will feed the babies during the day and night, who will change diapers, who will put together your family’s meals, etc.
  • Set up your first pediatrician’s appointment.

While you can’t prepare for all of the unknowns that come with raising children, taking a few steps ahead of time will save you a great deal of stress in the long run.

5. Finally, Take a Deep Breath

Becoming a parent is stressful. When you’re unexpectedly becoming a parent to two little babies, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Remember that every emotion you’re feeling — excitement, worry, sadness, guilt and terror — is all completely normal. You will never be a “bad” parent, as long as you take the steps now to prepare your family for this new journey. That means taking care of your mental health, too.

Don’t forget that your surrogate is likely feeling all kinds of complicated emotions, too. Take the time to reach out to her and remind her of your support. While the journey ahead may be unexpected, you can get through it together.

And, if you ever need any additional help or support, American Surrogacy will always be there for you.

5 Tips for Bedrest During Surrogacy

When you became a surrogate, you probably had a vision in your head of how your pregnancy would go. You’d be able to carry the intended parents’ baby nine months without a hitch, simultaneously focusing on your job and your family with only minimal adjustments.

But we all know life doesn’t go according to plan — and pregnancy can be especially surprising. If you’ve found yourself facing down the remainder of your pregnancy on bedrest, you’re not alone.

While bedrest is important for your physical health, it can also seem like a death sentence for your mental and social health. But there are some steps you can take to make your bedrest as easy as possible for you, your family and your intended parents.

1. Prepare as Much as You Can

The success of your bedrest will depend upon what steps you take to prepare yourself. Bedrest certainly isn’t easy, despite its name, and you’ll need to actively prepare for how this will affect your life moving forward.

Your surrogacy specialist and doctor will always give you suggestions, but here are just a few things to think about:

  • Preparing yourself: A routine can make all the difference as you pass days with limited activity and interaction. Plan what you’ll do each day, and make sure you have everything (phone charger, laptop, fluids, snacks, etc.) close at hand. Talk to your employer to see if you can work remotely or if you’ll need to take personal leave.
  • Preparing your family: You won’t be able to take care of your normal responsibilities, so work with your spouse to create a plan. Who will manage childcare while your spouse works? How will you ensure your family has well-balanced, healthy meals to eat? How will you explain your bedrest to your children?
  • Preparing your intended parents: Your intended parents will be understandably worried about you if you develop a high-risk pregnancy, but try to reassure them as much as possible. Set expectations for how often you’ll update them on your well-being, and give them ideas for helping you and your family during this time.

2. Find Out What is and isn’t Allowed

Bedrest may conjure images of you stuck under the covers for weeks, with your only exercise being your walk to the bathroom. But that’s not always the case.

Like most medical prescriptions, bedrest isn’t one-size-fits-all. It’s important that you get all the important details from your doctor: Can you get out of bed to stretch and do gentle exercises? Can you still do easy chores around the house?

Bedrest in its traditional form is rarely prescribed today, but your doctor may use this term to mean a reduced amount of activity and work in your daily routine. While it’s important to play it safe for your health and for the baby’s, don’t be afraid to advocate for your needs and understand exactly what your doctor means when they use this term.

3. Get Creative with Entertainment

When we’re busy in our everyday lives, a day full of Netflix and the couch can seem like heaven. But, when it becomes the only thing you can do for weeks on end, it can quickly get old.

Women who are on bedrest should think of alternative entertainment options. You might consider:

  • Buying an old gaming system to re-live the video games of your youth
  • Filling out crossword puzzles and coloring books
  • Finding a new hobby, like learning a new language or taking an online class
  • Finally reading the stack of books on your bookshelf

As you evaluate what entertainment option is right for you in the moment, don’t forget to evaluate your mental health, too. It’s easy to get into the habit of letting the TV drone on for hours, but taking the steps to challenge yourself mentally during this time is important. You could even include your family in a family game night, hosted from your bedroom!

4. Maintain Your Social Relationships

You will likely feel stir-crazy with only your family to talk to, so don’t forget your friends! While you may not be able to do much out of bed, you could always invite your friends over for a “happy hour.” Or, you can always do the tried-and-true phone call. Talking about something other than your pregnancy can give you a good mental break.

Your friends can also be a great source of support during this time. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, even if it’s something as simple as a pre-made casserole or a babysitter if your usual caregiver needs a break.

5. Keep Your Intended Parents Updated

While bedrest may be more of an inconvenience for you than anything else, a high-risk pregnancy can be extremely frightening for intended parents. There’s nothing they can do to ensure a healthy delivery at this point; they’re just relying on you, so it’s important to reassure them however you can.

Take the time to update them a few times a week on your well-being, if you’re comfortable doing so. Pass along any information from your medical providers, and try to still send happy pregnancy updates (“the baby is kicking!”). While you should only do what you are comfortable doing, remember that your intended parents are putting their whole future in your hands — and they are here to help you, too.

If you need more guidance or support during your bedrest, be sure to let your surrogacy specialist know. We are always here to help.

5 Tips for Announcing Your Baby’s Birth Via Surrogacy

When your surrogate finally gives birth to a healthy baby girl or boy, you’ll want to shout the news from the rooftops. With baby announcements already drawn up and birth and newborn photos already taken, you’re ready to send those papers out to family, friends and even the slightest of acquaintances.

But hold on one second — announcements of children born via surrogacy deserve a little extra attention. While surrogacy doesn’t make you any less of a parent than if you had carried your baby yourself, it is a special process that you should celebrate in your announcements. But how?

You may have never seen a baby-born-via-surrogacy announcement. Knowing what to and what not to include can be confusing.

Don’t worry — American Surrogacy is here to help. Below, find a few tips we offer intended parents when it’s time to announce their baby’s arrival into the world.

Tip #1: First, Decide When You’ll Send an Announcement

Before we get into the details of sending baby announcements, we know that you might be interested in sending surrogacy and pregnancy announcements, as well. Ultimately, it will be up to you and your spouse to decide what time is best to announce your new addition — but there are a few things to consider.

Many parents are so excited to finally begin their surrogacy journey that they announce their news right at the start. Or, they may be so thrilled at their surrogate’s positive pregnancy test that they can’t keep their news to themselves. It’s totally understandable to want to share your surrogacy journey with the world, but we encourage intended parents to be patient.

If you want to send a pre-birth announcement, doctors often recommend waiting until 12 weeks of pregnancy. At that point, the risks of miscarriage decrease greatly, and there is a higher chance that your surrogate will deliver a healthy, happy baby.

Because of the potential risks of surrogacy, many intended parents wait until their baby is born to share their parenthood news with the world. While we encourage intended parents to tell their close family and friends about their journey early on, it might be best to wait until your little one is home before telling every person in your network. 

But, again, this decision is always up to you.

Tip #2: Don’t Forget to Honor Your Gestational Carrier

You know birth announcements typically include a cute photo and the birth details. But, when your child is born via surrogacy, don’t forget one important detail: your gestational carrier.

Your surrogate will have sacrificed a great deal of time and energy to help you become a parent. And, while she will be fairly compensated and receive a great deal of satisfaction in her choice, you should also honor that journey. 

How exactly you do this is up to you. But a simple line like “Thank you to our gestational carrier Sarah for bringing our little joy into the world!” can recognize her unique role and show your appreciation.

Tip #3: But Don’t Overshare Info

Remember that your surrogate is her own person — and she has the right to tell her surrogacy story in her own way and on her own time. Don’t use your birth announcement to describe every step of your surrogacy journey (unless you’ve cleared it with her ahead of time). Details like the surrogate’s last name, location, age and family members should stay off the announcement. A simple shout-out will be enough.

Remember: If you post your birth announcement to social media, it can easily be seen by those not in your network, even with privacy settings.

Tip #4: Look to Other Examples for Ideas

While surrogacy is becoming more common, you may not have anyone in your community who has gone through this process. If you’ve never seen a surrogacy birth announcement, how do you know what yours should look like?

The good news is that you can use templates from traditional birth announcements for your surrogacy birth announcements. You may need to tweak a few details, but most of the basics will remain the same.

We’ve gathered a few examples here for you to check out. Hop on Pinterest for some more ideas.

Tip #5: Do What’s Right for You

Like most aspects of your surrogacy journey, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to announce your baby’s birth. If you’re a more private person, you may not send an announcement at all. Maybe you keep your announcements to a smaller group of people and don’t even mention your surrogate on them — because, by then, your gestational surrogacy is common knowledge.

Every one of these options (and the many more available to you) are perfectly okay. Gestational surrogacy is a long journey, and you’ll have to make a lot of compromises along the way. If you want to do birth announcements completely your way, that’s totally understandable.

If you ever need guidance on when and how to announce your gestational surrogacy journey, don’t be afraid to reach out to your American Surrogacy specialist anytime.

3 Essential Qualities to Look for in a Surrogate

Finding the right gestational surrogate is a big deal. After all, this is the woman you’ll be trusting to carry your most precious cargo: your baby. As such, we’re sure you’ve spent a lot time imagining what it will be like to finally meet her.

You’re probably more than a little excited to get this process started. But there are a few things that you should look for before you choose a surrogacy partner. Finding a surrogate that’s in the right location and age range, and meets your goals and desires is great — but for this post we’d like to go a bit deeper.

If you’re searching for the perfect surrogate who checks all of your boxes, here are a few more things to add to that list.

1. She Wants to Get to Know You

Once you think you’ve found the perfect surrogate, it’s time to start getting to know her. Like in any new relationship, you can get to know each other through phone calls, emails and in-person visits. When you talk to a prospective surrogate, keep an eye out for a few things:

  • Does she seem excited and interested in meeting you?
  • Does she look forward to talking to you?
  • Is she just as excited for the process as you are?
  • Does she ask about your hobbies, interests and dreams for this baby?
  • Does she answer all the right questions?

Any good relationship should be a two-way street. If you think you’ve found the perfect surrogate, but she doesn’t seem as excited to get to know you as you are, don’t be afraid to move on. And if you’re worried about breaking the ice, don’t forget that your surrogacy specialist can mediate the initial contact.

2. She Knows that it’s Not About the Money

It’s not easy being a surrogate. Numerous fertility treatments, a potentially challenging pregnancy and childbirth are all things a surrogate has to ask herself if she’s ready for before taking on this journey. This means that many surrogates are well-compensated for their time and energy.

But with that being said, it shouldn’t just be about the money. The women who choose to become gestational surrogates are compassionate, family-oriented and selfless. Helping someone else finally build the family of their dreams is something a surrogate is  truly passionate about. And most importantly, it’s her calling.

When you speak with a surrogate, you should feel like they’re doing this because they want to, not because of how well they’re being paid. Financial compensation is great, but it’s not the only thing that they should be thinking about. If you have a feeling that a prospective surrogate is only doing this for the money, it might be time to look elsewhere.

You don’t have to pick the first gestational surrogate you talk to. If it’s not the right match, your surrogacy specialist will give you some pointers for what to do next.

3. She Just Gets You

Many intended parents feel it in their heart when they’ve met the right gestational surrogate. When you know, you know.

If you can feel it in your gut when you talk for the first time, there’s a pretty good chance that your instincts are right. The right gestational surrogate will have all the qualities you’re looking for and more. You won’t have to worry that your future is in the wrong hands. While there’s really no such thing as a “perfect” surrogate, you can find one who’s perfect for you.

No matter how long it takes, you will find your match. We know that this process is hectic and that you probably want to move as quickly as possible, but you don’t have to rush. Don’t be afraid to take your time. Remember that you can ask your surrogacy specialist for tips and suggestions as you’re getting started.

What’s Next?

If you think you’re ready to start the surrogacy process, we’d be happy to help. Please call one of our surrogacy specialists today at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) for more information about finding a gestational surrogate through our agency.

What to Expect After Bringing Baby Home: Intended Parents

The feeling of bringing your little one home for the very first time is indescribable. All those months of careful planning, hard word and patience have finally paid off — and your family-building dreams have come true.

But for parents who built their family through surrogacy, you’re probably worried about what to expect when you bring your baby home for the first time. Here, we’ll talk about some of the emotions that you might experience after meeting your little one.

Your First Week at Home

It’s common for new parents to have mixed emotions when they bring their baby home for the first time — so you’re not alone if you feel this way. Naturally, you’ll be nervous, just like any new parent would. And that’s okay. It’s possible to feel thrilled and uncertain at the same time.

You and your baby are going to go through a lot of changes during the first few months as you get to know one another. Even with all the parenting tips and books at your disposal, you might feel unsure of what to expect.

Here are just a few things that you should know during the first week:

  • It’s okay to ask for help from friends and family.
  • You’re going to need more diapers than you thought!
  • You’ll probably feel overwhelmed and stressed with a new person to take care, so don’t forget to rest.
  • After a bit, you’ll start to learn what your baby’s cries mean.
  • It might take longer than you thought to get your bearings.
  • You should take this time to build a support system.

If you need any other tips for bringing your baby home, remember that you can always reach out to your surrogacy specialist.

Bonding with Your Baby

Bonding is something that every new parent worries about  — so you’re not alone. While this process may be more difficult as an intended parent, it’s not impossible. Remember: There are even some biological parents who have a hard time bonding with their baby, so please don’t be too hard on yourself. Bonding with your baby is already difficult enough, so try to be patient.

Difficulty bonding with your baby doesn’t mean that you’re a bad parent or that you messed up at some point during the surrogacy process. It just means that adjusting may take you a little bit more time than you had hoped.

Many adoptive and intended parents worry that their child won’t take to them or won’t recognize them as their parent. Because you did not carry them yourself, these fears might be even more pronounced. All of these feelings and emotions  are understandable. But, with a lot of time, patience, and care, you and your baby will build a strong relationship in no time.

There are many ways for you to bond with your baby, even though you didn’t carry them — so if you need any tips, you can always ask your specialist.

The Difficult Emotions of Parenthood

Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs out there. If you feel stressed, overwhelmed or exhausted, know that you’re not alone. Many parents have been in your shoes, and know exactly what you’re going through.

It’s common knowledge that many new moms experience “the baby blues,” which can sometimes develop into postpartum depression. But did you know that the same can be said for intended parents?

The truth is that any new parent, no matter how they chose to build their family, can experience different forms of postpartum depression. In some cases, it can be just as severe or even worse  for intended parents.

The factors of post-surrogacy depression can vary. You might be having trouble bonding with your child, or you might be emotionally exhausted and overworked. When you bring your baby home for the first time, you might feel emotionally exhausted and drained. Those feelings of excitement will likely take a lot out of you — and may make you more susceptible to serious mood disorders.

Some of the most common symptoms of postpartum depression include:

  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or the baby
  • Avoiding the baby
  • Difficulty bonding with baby
  • Frequent crying

If you experience any of these symptoms, please don’t hesitate to reach out for support. Post-surrogacy depression can be painful, but help is always available.

No matter what you’re feeling, we want you to know that you’re never alone. Your surrogacy specialist will always be here to support you. You can call us anytime, anywhere.

If you’re struggling with the emotions of being a new parent, please reach out to a specialist or a counselor for help.

How Your OBGYN Visits Will Be Different as a Surrogate

The journey to become a surrogate takes careful planning, timing and, most importantly, patience. With so many steps involved in the process, it’s so important to make sure that the baby you’re carrying receives only the best care.

But going to the OBGYN as a surrogate is a bit different than your average doctor’s visit. As you can imagine, things will be a little different when it’s not your baby you’re carrying. Because this process is so unique, you may have a hard time imagining what your visits will look like.

To help answer some of your pressing questions, we’ve created a guide to prenatal appointments for surrogates below:

Your First Visit

Initially, you and the intended parents will be working with a fertility clinic. But after that, you’ll likely be working with your OBGYN.

For many women, surrogate or not, the first visit with an OB can be a little stressful. But the good news is that this visit won’t differ much from one for a traditional pregnancy. It normally takes place between 8 to 12 weeks of pregnancy, and your doctor will likely ask you some general questions about the surrogacy process and how you’re doing as well.

Because there’s so much to do during the initial visit, it’s often  one of the longest.

Here are some additional things that might happen during your first visit:

  • You might have your first ultrasound.
  • You should expect a urine test, blood work and a pap smear.
  • Your health and vitals will be checked, and your doctor will ask questions about your first trimester.
  • You’ll likely receive a thorough physical, which will include a pelvic and breast exam (after the intended parents have left the room).
  • You’ll be asked to fill out some important paperwork.

Involving the Intended Parents

The first obstetrician visit is usually an exciting time for both intended parents and surrogates. After all, this is an experience they’ve been waiting for for a very long time.

Both parties will have the opportunity to ask plenty of questions, if they have any. And, more than likely, you’ll be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the very first time!

If the intended parents aren’t able to attend the first visit, that’s okay. You can share how it went with them at a later point. And if you do receive an ultrasound, you can send them some exciting pictures in the mail.

How to Handle the Unexpected

As you can imagine, surrogacy is new for a lot of people — even doctors. You may run into some awkward situations.

During your initial visit, you’re going to be asked a lot of questions that may not be applicable to the surrogacy process (like questions about your partner’s health). Some surrogates get called “mom” during their appointments. And sometimes, doctors may ask the intended parents to leave the room during your appointment. When something like this happens, you might be unsure of what to do.

The best thing that you can do is to provide as much information about the surrogacy process as you can — as early on as you can. Although your OB might not understand the uniqueness of your pregnancy or your relationship to the intended parents, they should be someone you already know and trust. Even if they’re new to the process, your doctor should have a clear understanding of how to treat everyone in this journey.

If you have any trouble during your visits, or if you have an OB who isn’t understanding of surrogacy, don’t be afraid to look for a different doctor. You deserve to receive the care that you need and feel comfortable doing so.

We’re sure you have plenty of other questions about your first OBGYN visit as a surrogate, the medical process for surrogacy, and much more. For answers, reach out to your surrogacy specialist at any time.

10 Mother’s Day Gifts for an Intended Mom-to-Be

Mother’s Day is just around the corner! And that means it’s time to start thinking about the perfect gift. But, if you’re buying for an intended parent, you’re probably worried about accidentally purchasing the wrong thing — , gifts are related to breastfeeding that might not be as well-received by an intended mother.

If you’re worried about what to pick, we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 gift ideas that are perfect for the soon-to-be mom in your life.

1. Something handmade

There’s something special about a handmade gift on Mother’s Day. You don’t have to spend a lot of money if you’re making it yourself, which might ease some of your worries. Any gift will be much appreciated. If you’re making it yourself, you might choose a painting, a card, a knitted or crocheted blanket, baked goods, and more. As long as it’s from the heart, that’s what counts.

2. A self-care package

The most thoughtful gifts are ones with the most detail — and nothing says “thinking of you” like a self-care package. You can use this opportunity to fill it with all of her favorite things: candles, an eye mask, her favorite books, bath bombs, a weighted blanket and more. However much you plan on including, personalizing your gift will only make it that much more special.

3. A journal

Some moms like to chronicle their journey through motherhood. There’s so much that can happen in a year, and every mom wants to remember all those special moments. You can either send her a journal with prompts that she can fill out, or you can gift her a bullet journal so that she can stretch her creative muscles.

4. Baby supplies

Much-needed essentials for the baby are some of the best gifts. You can buy items like clothing, blankets, baby slings, strollers and more.

5. Diapers

Ask any parent and they’ll tell you there’s no such thing as too many diapers. Giving some is a great way to help them stock up before the baby gets here or after they’ve already been born. Some moms have a preferred brand they like to stick with, so double-check with them before making any purchases.

6. A spa day

What better way to relax than with a spa day? This is one of the best ways to get some quality “me time” in. If you’d like, you can send a gift card for a manicure, pedicure, or a facial. If you don’t want to spend too much, you can always make her a DIY spa kit.

7. Flowers

Nothing says Mother’s Day quite like a bouquet. It’s tradition to send carnations, but you can always send some of her favorites, like: lilies, tulips, and roses.

8. A gift card to one of her favorite places

If you know that an intended mom really wants to treat herself to her favorite store, a gift card is the best way to help her do that. You could get her a Visa gift card that can be used just about anywhere, or you get one that’s for a specific location — like a movie theatre or her favorite restaurant. No matter what you pick, we’re sure she’ll love it!

9. A meal-delivery service

Not everyone has time to cook — especially new moms. Why not send her a ready-made meal? Blue Apron, HelloFresh and Sun Basket are some of the most popular options, but there are other options available. Each one varies in price, so you should be able to find one that fits your budget, too.

10. Something to help her get ready

If Mother’s Day falls during the middle of the surrogacy process, you might want to gift her something that will make her feel more prepared:  a set of parenting classes, baby-proofing devices or a first-time-parent kit.

We know that surrogacy is new for many people, and it can be hard to pick out the right gift or know what’s appropriate. That’s why American Surrogacy is always here to help. Contact us online for more suggestions on appropriate surrogacy gifts.