5 Ways to Help Intended Parents Bond with Their Baby In Utero

As a surrogate, you will be the one carrying the intended parents’ baby for nine months — but, because you will not be taking the baby home after birth, a baby who is used to your sound and smell can easily be shocked by an abrupt transfer to the intended parents.

Fortunately, surrogacy professionals today understand the complexities involved in “attachment,”  or the psychological connection between parent and child. While you will not form the same emotional attachment to your surrogate baby as you did with your own children, the baby you carry won’t know you aren’t their mother, and they may form an attachment to you. That’s why many surrogacy professionals today will emphasize the importance of incorporating intended parents into a surrogate pregnancy from the very beginning to ease this eventual transition.

But, how exactly can you help intended parents connect to their baby if you are the one who is carrying him or her?

Your surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy can always guide you through this process, but here are a few tips that surrogates take today to help intended parents bond to their baby in utero and provide a seamless transition after birth:

1. Allow them to talk to their baby.

Babies have an extremely developed sense of hearing while they are in the womb. Scientists hypothesize that this is a way for a mother and her child to bond even before birth. However, when the baby is not the gestational carrier’s, a baby’s ability to hear can make things a bit complicated.

Work with your intended parents to let them talk to their baby while in the womb, whether it’s in-person or through a recording. There are even particular headphones (called “Belly Buds”) that allow you to play recordings of the intended parents’ voices directly to your abdomen, helping the baby bond to the sound of their parents’ voice. Many surrogates recommend these headphones for this very purpose.

2. Involve them in important moments.

As much as possible, find ways to involve your intended parents in important parts of your pregnancy. When the intended parents are present for appointments like sonograms and gender determinations, it helps them feel as though they are a part of your pregnancy experience. Seeing their baby on the sonogram screen or feeling their baby kick through their fingers can give them a sense of wonder that no emailed pictures or recordings ever could.

If your intended parents are not logistically able to be a part of these moments in person, make sure to follow up with your pictures, descriptions and recordings electronically.

3. Accustom the baby to the intended parents’ environment.

The shock of coming into the world can be abrupt enough but, when babies are placed into environments they aren’t familiar with, it can be even more so. Find out what kind of music the intended parents play, what kind of food they cook, and more, so that you can help the baby experience those sounds and smells from inside the womb in your own home.

4. Confirm the baby’s senses after birth, and then promote as much skin-on-skin contact as possible.

When the baby is first born, you will need to confirm their sense of touch and smell directly, as you are the person they have become accustomed to for the last nine months. However, once appropriate time has passed for the shock of coming into the world to subside, you should encourage intended parents to have as much skin-on-skin contact as possible. An intended mother may even choose to breastfeed her child, whether with her own milk or yours, as a way to further bond with her child after birth.

5. Provide a transitional item after birth.

No matter how much preparation is done, there will always be a difficult transition for a baby born via surrogacy. To aid in that, many surrogacy professionals recommend that surrogates provide a transitional item to send home with the baby, like a stuffed animal. Before the baby is born, sleep with this stuffed animal so it carries your scent. When you give it to the intended parents, the baby will have a familiar scent to go home with them as they adjust to their new environment.

Remember, your surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy will always work with you and the intended parents to provide as positive a bonding experience during your pregnancy as possible, as well as prepare you and them for the transitional period after birth. For more suggestions and to learn more about the surrogacy process, please contact our agency today.

7 Questions Intended Parents Have for Surrogacy Lawyers

For first-time intended parents, the surrogacy process can seem overwhelming and confusing. When you consider the practical, emotional and legal aspects of having a child via surrogacy, it can seem like a completely different world than what you’re used to.

Because surrogacy can still be a controversial family-building process, you may wonder about the legal aspects involved. It’s incredible important to understand the legal process of surrogacy before beginning to determine whether it’s really the right choice for your family.

Below, you’ll find some of the most common questions intended parents have about the legal process of surrogacy. Remember, the best way to answer these is with a local surrogacy attorney, as state surrogacy laws vary greatly and will impact your personal surrogacy journey.

However, to help you start your legal research, we’ve provided some basic answers to these questions below.

1. Is surrogacy legal in the U.S.?

There are no federal surrogacy laws in the United States. Instead, each state has either enacted its own surrogacy legislation or stayed silent on the matter. Therefore, your individual surrogacy situation will depend greatly on the state where your surrogate lives and plans to deliver your baby.

There are varying degrees of legality to surrogacy in the United States. Certain states completely allow the practice and have set laws for protecting surrogates and intended parents, while other states have no surrogacy laws and the practice is one largely regulated by local professionals. There are also certain states — like New York and New Jersey — where surrogacy contracts are unenforceable and a surrogate cannot be compensated for her services.

Before you begin a surrogacy journey with a certain surrogate, you should speak with a local surrogacy attorney in your state and in your surrogate’s state to determine what the laws are in your area.

2. Do I have to pay a surrogate for her services?

While there are no laws saying a surrogate must be paid, it is certainly recommended by surrogacy professionals and surrogacy attorneys. Surrogacy is a complicated process and will require a great deal of time, energy and sacrifice from a surrogate. If she is not appropriately compensated for her services, she may develop feelings of vulnerability and being taken advantage of. Intended parents may also feel incredibly in debt and feel guilt in never being able to pay her back for what she has done for them.

Regardless of whether you pay a surrogate a base compensation, you will always need to pay for all of her medical and pregnancy expenses. Surrogacy should always be free to a prospective surrogate, and your surrogacy attorney will make sure the proper financial compensation is detailed in your surrogacy contract.

3. How do I know a surrogate won’t take my baby after birth?

If you are completing a gestational surrogacy, your surrogate will not be biologically related to the child she carries — which means she will have no inherent maternal rights to the baby. That being said, the laws regarding a surrogate’s rights to a baby she bears vary by state, and the steps you will need to take to terminate any such rights will be unique to your situation.

If you choose a traditional surrogacy where the surrogate is related to your baby, there will be more legal risk involved. Therefore, the safest path for intended parents asking this question is gestational surrogacy.

Again, your assisted reproductive technology attorney will work with your surrogate, her doctor and the hospital where she delivers to ensure that you are the one who can legally take custody of your child after birth.

4. How do I protect my parental rights and have my name placed on the birth certificate?

There are a few methods used to help intended parents establish parental rights: a pre- or post-birth order, a parentage order after birth, or an adoption. Which one you use will depend upon several factors, like your genetic relationship to your child, your marital status and your state’s laws. A surrogacy attorney will help you determine which path is best for you, complete the legal steps to protect your rights and obtain a new birth certificate with your name on it.

5. Why do my surrogate and I have to have separate lawyers?

Because surrogacy is complicated, each party to a surrogacy contract must have separate legal representation. This way, you can ensure that your rights and interests are being properly protected by someone who has no stake in the other party’s rights. After all, a lawyer who is trying to obtain the best surrogate compensation possible for a prospective surrogate cannot simultaneously try to limit expenses on the intended parents’ part.

Some state laws even require that surrogacy contracts be drafted with two separate lawyers to be finalized, and many surrogacy professionals will not work with intended parents and surrogates who improperly draft their surrogacy contract.

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

You may wonder why you can’t just use an online template to create a surrogacy contract. Because every surrogacy is so different, a “one-size-fits-all” approach will undoubtedly leave you and your surrogate open to legal risks. Only a surrogacy attorney knows all of the potential risks and liabilities of the surrogacy process and can protect you and your surrogate from them.

In addition, because state laws and personal situations vary so greatly and determine what your surrogacy process is like, you cannot trust a generic contract to give you the legal safety you need should something unexpected occur.

7. Can’t a surrogate just use our health insurance?

Unfortunately, because you are not the one who is pregnant, intended parents’ health insurance policies will rarely cover any medical treatment to your surrogate. You may have coverage for IVF and other fertility treatments, but actual pregnancy costs will either be covered by the surrogate’s health insurance or an additional insurance policy that you purchase specifically for the surrogacy.

Your surrogacy specialist and attorney will help review the terms of the surrogate’s insurance to determine whether her policy has surrogacy exclusions and, if so, help you find an appropriate additional policy for your needs. Again, this will be determined in your legal contract.

Have more questions for a surrogacy attorney or questions about the surrogacy process in general? Contact American Surrogacy’s specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) to learn more or be referred to a trusted ART attorney near you.

3 Things to Know About Post-Birth Surrogacy Relationships

The relationship created between intended parents and a surrogate during the surrogacy process is a powerful and intimate one. Both parties are actively working toward the miracle of life — adding a child to a family who so desperately wants one. It’s a complicated and, at times, difficult process in which intended parents and surrogates learn to lean on each other for support.

But, what happens to this relationship after the baby is born? Do intended parents and surrogates go their separate ways, even though they are forever bonded with the knowledge that they brought a life into the world together?

Whether you are an intended parent or a surrogate, you may be curious — and even anxious — about what kind of relationship you will have once your surrogacy journey is complete. Only you and your surrogacy partner will determine what this relationship is but, as you’re considering what you want your relationship to be like, think about these three important facts.

1. Your Relationship Will Change

When a baby is born via surrogacy, intended parents and surrogates have often spent a year or more working closely together — being present for important appointments, sharing stories of pregnancy and excitement and genuinely creating a unique friendship. However, once a baby is born, many of those aspects that bond intended parents and surrogates disappear.

It’s normal for your surrogacy relationship to change once the baby is born — and you should be prepared for these changes. You will likely no longer be in as frequent contact when you aren’t bound by the aspects of the surrogacy process. If you are an intended parent, your focus will go from caring for your surrogate to caring for your newborn baby. If you are a surrogate, you will go from being a key player in the surrogacy process to a spectator of the new family you have created.

These changes can be abrupt and, when you factor in the complicated emotions associated with childbirth, it can be a confusing time. Remember, your surrogacy specialist will always be there to guide you through those feelings and help you adjust to your new relationship, as well as mediate contact to ensure both parties are comfortable with the changes.

2. Closure is a Good Idea

It’s true that surrogates do not become emotionally attached to the children they carry for nine months. They understand that they are just “babysitting” the child and are just as excited as intended parents for the new chapter in their lives.

However, an abrupt break from the intended parents and the baby who they have focused on for the last year can be emotionally challenging for a surrogate. A surrogate is an important part of the surrogacy process, and it’s important that she does not feel like her effort has been overlooked or forgotten as soon as the baby is born.

Closure, even if it’s something as simple as letting the surrogate hold the baby and say goodbye to the new family, can go a long way in helping a woman heal from the physical and emotional complexities of her surrogacy delivery. Likewise, intended parents should find the same sense of closure with the woman who has carried their hopes and dreams for the last nine months. Even if you anticipate continuing your relationship moving forward, this step is crucial in creating a positive surrogacy experience for everyone.

It may be uncomfortable to suggest some kind of closure, but take the steps to reach out — even the smallest gestures go a long way.

3. Every Post-Birth Surrogacy Relationship is Different

Determining your post-surrogacy relationship can be tricky, especially after the baby has been born. Therefore, many intended parents and surrogates create an outline in their surrogacy contract of what kind of post-surrogacy contact they would like moving forward.

However, even with this, it’s natural for relationships to ebb and flow as surrogates and intended parents go through certain periods in their lives. Remember, there is no “right” way to have a relationship with your surrogacy partner after the delivery. Every relationship is different, and it’s up to you to determine what kind you want to have after the birth of the child.

Although creating the perfect post-surrogacy relationship can be complicated, take heart in knowing that most surrogates and intended parents find the perfect balance of contact after birth. One study of surrogates in the United Kingdom and their post-surrogacy relationships shows that 84 percent of surrogates were happy with the level of future contact they had with the child born via surrogacy, whatever kind and frequency of contact it was. They reported that “their level of contact felt natural, was comfortable for the surrogate, the child and his or her parents, and fitted into what were, in most cases, busy family lives.”

If you want to learn more about maintaining a positive surrogacy relationship with your intended parents or surrogate after the baby is born, speak with a surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy today. We can mediate your contact and help you create a relationship that meets both of your needs.

To get started, contact American Surrogacy at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) today.

10 Things to Do While Waiting for Your Baby’s Arrival

If you’re an intended parent, the road to your baby has probably been an especially long one. You may have waited for months or years to become pregnant on your own before deciding to pursue surrogacy — only to find that the waiting continued as you completed screening requirements and searched for the perfect surrogate.

Now, months later, your surrogate is finally pregnant — but you still have to wait the length of her pregnancy before bringing your new baby home.

So, how do you get through those last months and weeks of waiting? Here are 10 things you can do to keep yourself busy:

1. Read.

There is no shortage of reading material for new and expectant parents. While traditional pregnancy books may not be the most useful while you’re waiting for your surrogate to give birth, you might want to pick up a copy of What to Expect the First Year or another book about surrogacy or parenting your newborn.

On the other hand, now is also a great time to read something totally unrelated to babies, surrogacy and parenting. Do some just-for-fun, light reading to help pass the time.

2. Pamper yourself.

Dealing with the loss of control you might feel during your surrogate’s pregnancy isn’t easy. Do something for yourself to help combat those feelings of stress and anxiety, whether that means unwinding with a bubble bath, treating yourself to a pedicure or going out for an evening with friends.

3. Buy baby things.

If you don’t already have them, now is a good time to start gathering the essential items you’ll need when you bring your baby home. Buy a crib and stroller, and start decorating the nursery.

This step isn’t just necessary for you to practically prepare for your new baby; “nesting” also serves an important purpose in mentally preparing you for parenthood.

4. Pack a hospital bag.

On the same note, make sure you’re ready with everything you’ll need for the big day. You never know exactly when your baby will decide to make his or her debut, so start packing a hospital bag now with all of the essentials. Having your things ready to go can be a lifesaver if you end up needing to travel to the hospital at a moment’s notice.

5. Bond with your surrogate.

As delivery day approaches, don’t forget about your surrogate! Check in with her to ask how she’s feeling and if there’s anything you can do to support her during the final weeks of her pregnancy. Consider sending gifts or scheduling some time to spend with her before the baby is born. Bonding with your surrogate is not only essential to a positive surrogacy experience; it also can help you feel more connected and involved in the final stages of the pregnancy.

6. Prepare your other kids, if applicable.

If you have children already, it’s important to take time to prepare them for the arrival of their brother or sister. Make sure your children understand surrogacy (at an age-appropriate level), and involve them in the preparations for the new baby. Ask them to draw pictures or choose special gifts to give to the baby when he or she arrives. Depending on the relationship you have with your surrogate, you may even introduce your children to her to help them better understand the surrogacy process.

7. Plan ahead.

Life with a new baby will be hectic, so try to think ahead if you can. Consider buying gifts or cards now for any important birthdays or holidays happening within the first few weeks after your baby’s due date. Take care of important errands that will be easier to complete without a newborn in tow. Make some meals that you can pop in the freezer and reheat for a quick dinner once you bring your baby home. You’ll thank yourself later.

8. Start a baby book.

Many expectant parents start a pregnancy journal or baby book before their baby arrives, and there’s no reason why intended parents can’t do this, too. Consider how you’ll incorporate your child’s surrogacy story into his or her baby book. Depending on your relationship with the surrogate, you might ask if she would be comfortable sharing pictures of her pregnancy or a letter about her experience in the baby book, too.

This memory book will be a priceless keepsake for years to come, and it can even help you talk to your child about surrogacy as he or she gets older.

9. Meet up with friends.

Friends can be a great source of comfort and support throughout your surrogacy journey and can keep you busy while you’re anxiously awaiting your baby’s arrival. Spend some time with your friends whenever you need a shoulder to cry on or a fun distraction from the surrogacy process — it might not be as easy to meet up for drinks or coffee once your new baby arrives!

10. Spend time with your partner.

Go on a romantic date, see a movie or spend some quiet time at home, just the two of you. Enjoy each other’s company and, if you don’t already have other children, your last moments as a family of two! Once your baby arrives, date nights will require a sitter, and quiet moments alone will be harder to come by. Parenthood will be an exciting new chapter for both of you, but you should also soak up this special time with each other before welcoming your new arrival.

Waiting for your baby to get here can be challenging at times. Try to be patient, enjoy the process and think about how far you’ve come in your family-building journey. Your baby will be here when he or she is ready, and it will happen before you know it.

If you are struggling with the wait to become parents through surrogacy, know that your surrogacy specialist is always available to offer the support you need. Feel free to reach out at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) for more tips and support throughout your surrogacy process.

27 Questions to Ask a Prospective Surrogate

Finding the perfect surrogate to carry your child can be a difficult decision. How do you select the woman who will hold your hopes and dreams in her uterus for nine long months?

While the surrogacy specialists at American Surrogacy can help you find a surrogate who shares your surrogacy goals and preferences, the ultimate decision will be up to you. Before you commit to a prospective surrogate, however, you will have the chance to share a conversation with her to ensure she is the right choice for your family.

You may wonder: “What questions do I ask a surrogate to make sure she’s perfect for my family?”

Know that you and your surrogacy specialist will create a list of questions prior to your conversation with potential surrogates, and your specialist will always mediate your upcoming conversation. While you’ll want to ask the questions that you are most interested in learning more about, we’ve listed a few potential questions below to help you start your list.

About a Surrogate

  • What are your interests?
  • What kind of things do you like to do?
  • How would you describe your personality?
  • What are your values? What is important to you?
  • What is your family like? Are they supportive of your surrogacy plans?

About Her Surrogacy Goals

  • Why did you decide to become a surrogate?
  • Why do you think you’d be a great surrogate?
  • Have you been a surrogate before? If so, what were your journeys like?
  • What were your previous pregnancies like?
  • When did you start your surrogacy process?
  • How committed are you to the surrogacy process?
  • Are you able to travel for surrogacy-related procedures and appointments?
  • What are you looking for in a relationship with intended parents before, during and after the surrogacy process?
  • What do you want to know about us as intended parents?
  • How many embryo transfers are you comfortable with, and how many embryos are you comfortable with in a single transfer?
  • How do you want your family involved in your surrogacy journey?
  • What are your husband’s or partner’s thoughts on your surrogacy decision?
  • How are you going to tell your children about your surrogacy? What kind of involvement do you want from me as an intended parent?
  • What are your thoughts on selective reduction and termination?
  • Do you have certain surrogacy, legal or medical professionals in mind?
  • What would you like us to tell our child about you as they grow up?
  • What are your expectations from us as intended parents?
  • What are you most looking forward to about being a surrogate?

Something to note: Questions about surrogate compensation should not be discussed in your initial conversation with a surrogate. Your surrogacy specialist will have already matched you with a prospective surrogate who meets your surrogacy budget, and the details of her surrogate compensation will be decided by your lawyers during the legal contract phase.

Your initial conversation with a prospective surrogate can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Remember that when you work with American Surrogacy, your surrogacy specialist will be there for you throughout your preparation for and during this important conversation. We will always work with you to help you find the perfect surrogate for your family.

To start finding a surrogate with American Surrogacy today, please call 1-800-875-2229(BABY) or contact us online.

5 Tips for Having a Successful Hospital Stay as a Surrogate

When it’s time to deliver your intended parents’ baby, you may be filled with many different emotions: excitement, anticipation and even nervousness. All of these are completely normal. Giving birth is a life-changing experience in and of itself; when you are giving birth to make someone’s parenthood dreams come true, it will be like nothing else you’ve ever experienced.

Because of the involvement of the intended parents, your delivery will be slightly different than your previous deliveries of your own children. Fortunately, your surrogacy specialist will be there to guide you through this process from beginning to end. With the proper preparation and discussion with your intended parents, any nerves or confusion you have about what will happen in the hospital will be relieved — and you can focus on the positive experience you’re about to have.

Your surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy will help you prepare for this hospital stay. To help you ready yourself for your delivery experience, consider these five tips for surrogates like you who are about to give birth.

1. Make a hospital plan early on with your intended parents and your surrogacy specialist.

The most important step in ensuring a positive hospital stay is creating a surrogate birth plan with your surrogacy professional and your intended parents. When you are first matched with intended parents, your preferences for your delivery will be considered, but your actual hospital birth plan will not be created until sometime in your second or third trimester.

To create your hospital plan, your surrogacy specialist will mediate the conversation between you and the intended parents to determine what each of your preferences are for this important time. Based on this conversation and the policies of the hospital you will deliver at, you will determine:

  • Who will be present in the delivery room
  • Whether you will include a doula in your delivery experience
  • Where the baby will stay after delivery
  • Whether the intended parents will get their own hospital room
  • What kind of immediate, skin-on-skin contact you or the intended parents will share with the baby
  • How much time you and the intended parents will share after delivery
  • Whether you and the intended parents will leave the hospital together or separate

These are just some of the choices included in your hospital plan. Any additional aspects will be determined by your local hospital’s policies. Your surrogacy specialist will work with your medical professional to ensure your hospital plan preferences are implemented.

2. Be flexible as your hospital stay progresses.

While your hospital plan will hopefully reduce the amount of unknown associated with your hospital stay, it’s important to be flexible as you are admitted to the hospital. Your surrogacy specialist and your medical professional will do their best to prepare the hospital professionals for your surrogate delivery, but be patient in case things do not go as planned. Becoming upset will not be beneficial for you, the intended parents or the baby. Remember that things will work themselves out and you will have your surrogacy specialist as your advocate during this time.

3. Invite your loved ones to spend time with you at the hospital.

Usually, the intended parents and baby will get their own recovery room after your delivery. Your own recovery from childbirth will be difficult, especially with potential confusing emotions, and going through this process alone can be tough. Consider asking your spouse and your children to spend time with you while you recover. While the intended parents will likely spend time with you after birth, their focus will be on bonding with their baby. Therefore, having loved ones nearby during this physical and emotional recovery can be invaluable.

4. Have a backup plan in case things happen quickly.

In an ideal world, every surrogate birth would go accordingly to plan. However, you may find your water breaking unexpectedly or being ushered into the maternity ward earlier than planned.

In case this occurs, you and your intended parents should have a backup plan. In your last couple of months of pregnancy, put together a hospital bag that will be ready to go whenever you are. Make sure that you can always contact your surrogacy specialist on short notice, who will be able to inform the intended parents of your impending delivery. Being flexible and patient during an unexpected delivery will also be incredibly helpful to your mental state.

5. Enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

When you give birth as someone’s surrogate, you will be participating in a beautiful moment that you all will remember forever. You can never anticipate the feeling of handing a child to their parents for the first time ever so, instead of focusing on the little details, try to focus on the amazing experience you are having and the partnership you are a part of. At the end of the day, it won’t really matter whether you had all of the ice chips and cool towels that you wanted — just that you will have changed the world for one eternally grateful family.

To learn more about becoming a surrogate with American Surrogacy and the hospital experience you can expect, please contact our agency today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

10 Things Not to Say to Someone Struggling with Infertility

If you have a loved one who is struggling with infertility, it can be difficult to know what to say when talking about this emotional issue. While you know that not expressing these emotions can be devastating for intended parents, it can seem equally difficult to bring up these topics and emotions without seeming pushy or nosy.

Determining what to say to someone struggling with infertility can be difficult, but knowing what not to say to someone struggling with infertility is easier. To help you in this regard, we’ve gathered some of the most insensitive (purposefully or not) comments and questions that our intended parents have been asked — so you know exactly what not to say to someone coping with infertility.

1. “Are you pregnant yet?”

Trust us — intended parents have asked themselves this question countless times during their infertility struggles. For them, pregnancy is a delicate topic to discuss, and having someone ask them this question only reminds them that they are not yet pregnant. If they were pregnant, you can guarantee they would share their good news as soon as they felt it was possible.

Instead of asking this question, focus on asking them about other aspects of their life. When they are ready to announce their pregnancy (or their decision to pursue another family-building process), they will let you know.

2. “If you stop stressing and thinking about it, it will happen.”

For those for whom pregnancy was easy, it can be tempting to just say “it will just happen.” Unfortunately, for many intended parents dealing with infertility, pregnancy will not naturally occur. In fact, the topic of pregnancy likely consumes most of their thoughts. Telling them to “forget about it” and “relax” is counterproductive and can cause more harm than good.

3. “You should try (insert home remedy here).”

Intended parents struggling with infertility are usually already working with doctors to address their fertility needs. They don’t need a loved one offering up home remedy and medical advice, as well. What may have worked for you in your own journey to conceive likely won’t work for intended parents, especially if it is an unscientific, unproven suggestion. Intended parents are doing everything they can to become pregnant and, as well-meaning as your advice is, it should be kept to yourself.

4. “Really? It was so easy for me to get pregnant!”

While this is great for you, mentioning this fact to those struggling with infertility is just another reminder of the more difficult path they are on to becoming parents. You may think that knowledge of how many people successfully become pregnant would raise their spirits, but it’s actually incredibly hard for intended parents to hear.  It won’t be easy for them to get pregnant, and hearing how easy it was for you won’t help them feel better.

5. “Why don’t you just adopt instead?”

Adoption is not as easy as those who are unfamiliar with the process think it will be — and it’s not right for everyone struggling with infertility. It’s easy to quickly suggest alternative family-building processes if you have never struggled with infertility, as you won’t understand how difficult it will be for intended parents to grieve dreams of a genetically related child. Wherever someone is at in their infertility journey, it is not your place to suggest what steps they should take next — just their doctor’s.

6. “You don’t know how lucky you are! Kids are so expensive and a handful to deal with.”

Intended parents would give everything to have a child, and belittling the joys of parenthood will do nothing to help them feel better about their situation. It’s common to try to deflect difficult emotions with jokes, but what may seem like no big deal to you is another reminder to intended parents of what they are missing.

7. “I know exactly how you are feeling.”

Unless you have struggled with the same infertility issues to the same degree as the intended parents you’re speaking to, you do not understand what they are feeling. Taking a couple of months to conceive naturally is nowhere near the same as struggling through a year of infertility treatments with no success. Always offer your support and empathy but do not pretend that you are in the same situation that those intended parents are in right now.

8. “You have one/two children. Isn’t that enough?”

Everyone has the right to have as large or as small a family as they want. Just because parents are dealing with infertility issues does not mean that they lose that right. As always, be empathetic, not judgmental, when it comes to someone struggling with infertility. While it’s normal to try to point out the blessings parents already have, remember that people often have a desired family makeup, and asking why the children they have aren’t “enough” can put intended parents in a difficult emotional spot.

9. “You can have my children if you want!”

Again, while you may intend this as a well-meaning joke, it’s not appreciated by intended parents. Joking about the importance of your children will not make them feel better but remind them that other people in the world are lucky enough to have as many children as they want naturally.

10. “Maybe it’s a sign that you’re not meant to be a parent.”

Everyone has the right to be a parent, no matter their fertility situation. When intended parents hear this phrase, it’s an embodiment of their deepest fear — that they may never have the child they’ve dreamed of for so long. Even if intended parents can’t conceive naturally, there are many family-building options available to them to bring a child into their lives — and you should always support them in whatever path they choose, rather than make them question their dreams and desires.

If your loved one is struggling with infertility and you don’t know what to say, make sure to support them and be empathetic above all else. If you are unsure of how to provide the empathy your loved one needs, consider reaching out to a local infertility support group and inviting your loved one to join you.

The surrogacy specialists at American Surrogacy are always available to provide counseling for intended parents struggling with infertility, whether it’s emotional or a discussion of their options. To learn more today, please call 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

Failure of Frozen Embryo Storage — What’s the Next Step?

Like many in the assisted reproductive technology world, American Surrogacy was extremely shocked and saddened to hear about the recent failure of two embryo cryopreservation and fertility clinics this week — putting more than 500 families’ dreams of having biological children at risk.

The Associated Press reported that a clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, and a clinic in San Francisco — both of which were storing thousands of frozen embryos — experienced failures in their storage tanks on March 4. Low amounts of liquid nitrogen in certain tanks may have damaged the cryopreserved embryos and eggs inside, and officials from the clinics are still investigating. It’s being reported as a “bad, bad, bad coincidence.”

For the families affected by these damages, it’s more than just a loss of the thousands of dollars they’ve spent on the in vitro fertilization process — it’s the loss of their opportunities to have a biological child. Knowing their loss will implement new backup measures and safety procedures for other couples may not be much of a comfort.

So, what is left for these families after their frozen embryo storage fails, and all the work they’ve put into freezing their embryos or eggs is for naught?

Fortunately, there are a few alternative family-building options still available.

Surrogacy with a Donated Gamete

Infertility is a tricky issue. While two-thirds of cases can be traced to reproductive issues from either the man or the woman in a couple, one-third of cases are either a combination of factors or un-diagnosable.

Intended parents who go through IVF and freeze embryos due to one partner’s reproductive problems could conceivably still have a biological child if their frozen embryos are compromised. They can create fresh embryos with a donated gamete. If an intended mother cannot carry a pregnancy safely to term (or if there is no intended mother), an intended parent can pursue surrogacy with that fresh embryo.

While surrogacy with fresh embryos is rarer than surrogacy with frozen embryos, medical professionals can still complete this process for those in need — such as intended parents whose plans of pursuing IVF with frozen embryos are compromised. If an egg or sperm donor is needed, a fertility clinic or donor bank can be used, and medical professionals will guide intended parents through this process.

So, why should those moving forward from the failure of freezing embryos choose surrogacy with a donated gamete?

  • It allows one intended parent to be genetically related to the baby.
  • It allows LGBT intended parents to have a genetically related child.
  • It protects an intended mother who cannot carry a pregnancy to term safely.
  • It allows intended parents to be involved with the development of their unborn baby, such as being there for ultrasounds and the birth of their child.

If you are interested in pursuing a fresh cycle transfer surrogacy with an inability to use your cryopreserved embryos, please contact American Surrogacy today. Our surrogacy specialists can discuss your situation and your options in depth to help you find the path that is right for you. Recovering from losses due to improper embryo freezing can be a difficult emotional and financial time, but our specialists are here to support you through it.


Surrogacy is not the right family-building option for everyone, especially for intended parents who have spent thousands of dollars previously freezing embryos and are cautious about spending more on assisted reproductive technologies. It’s a valid concern. While our surrogacy program guarantees you will have a baby, there is unfortunately no guarantee as to how many rounds this at-times-tricky process can take before success is found.

However, failed freezing of embryos does not mean a couple cannot become parents. After all, parenting is less about biological connection than it is about genuine care and proper raising of a child. This is why so many great potential parents turn to adoption — knowing that love is what truly makes a family, not genetics.

Hopeful parents can either choose a foster care adoption, an international adoption, or a private domestic infant adoption to add to their family. Many who desire to adopt a baby end up choosing the last path, and our sister agency American Adoptions can guide them through this process.

Adoption involves a pregnant woman choosing an adoptive family for her baby and, typically, maintaining some kind of open adoption contact as the baby grows up.

So, why do hopeful parents choose adoption after failed embryo cryopreservation?

  • They are comfortable having no genetic connection to their child.
  • They do not wish to spend thousands more dollars on assisted reproductive technologies.
  • They want to give a child in need a loving home with their family.
  • They are comfortable with and excited to have a relationship with their baby’s birth mother.

Many adoptive families have gone through infertility struggles before deciding on adoption, and adoption specialists are trained to counsel these families through the grief of the infertility process. To talk to a specialist about whether adoption is right for you, call 1-800-ADOPTION today.

Moving forward from a loss of frozen embryos — such as in the two notable clinic failures listed above— can be an emotionally difficult thing to do. Remember, just because you don’t have any frozen embryos does not mean you can’t be a parent.

There is a family-building path out there for you. Let us help you find it.

Get to Know Program Director Angie for National Social Work Month

For those who don’t know, March is National Social Work Month, and we’re taking this chance to highlight the amazing work that our social workers do within American Surrogacy. Surrogacy is a practically and emotionally challenging process, and we are proud to count trained and certified social workers as some of the critical professionals that guide our intended parents and surrogates through this family-building process.

One of our most important social workers here at American Surrogacy is Angie Newkirk, who works with surrogates and intended parents through every step of their surrogacy journey. As program director, she oversees every surrogate and intended parent that comes through our agency and makes sure that their surrogacy process meets their personal surrogacy goals and needs.

Learn a little bit more about Angie below! And, to speak with her about American Surrogacy’s program, please call 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

Angie Newkirk, American Surrogacy Program Director

Professional Background:

LBSW-Licensed Bachelor of Social Work.

“I worked with American Surrogacy’s sister agency American Adoptions since 2000 and moved over to American Surrogacy in 2014.”

How I Got to Be with American Surrogacy:

“I live in Kansas City and, while with American Adoptions, worked with birth mothers placing their children for adoption. After five years of this, I began to work with adoptive families.  In 2014 I was asked to help build American Surrogacy. I was so excited for the opportunity to offer another way to create families.”

Why I Love Working with American Surrogacy:

“In this profession of adoption and surrogacy, you hear a lot of heartbreaking stories from people and their journey to become parents.  It astonishes me how far science has come and the opportunity available to families who choose to use a gestational carrier — whether with their own embryo or the use of an egg or sperm donor. By the time they get to me, they have had a long journey and just want to become parents; they don’t care how. While I have never experienced infertility, I have been in this field for over 15 years so I have seen and understand the struggle many people go through to become biological parents.

“Surrogates, like birth mothers, are completely unselfish. Each one I talk to loves being pregnant and almost always has a story of a family or friend who struggled to get pregnant. They want to be able to help people become parents or add to their family. I adore working with surrogates!”

A Little More About Me:

I have two kids who are 9 and 12.  Most of my time is spent watching their activities such as baseball, basketball and soccer. I am a huge Royals fan and enjoy watching them play! In my spare time I enjoy binge watching a good drama on HBO or Netflix or curling up with a good book. In 2015, we rescued a 6-year-old dog who was abused and dumped, and I have been an avid dog lover ever since. I am very passionate about animal rescue, and as my kids get older and take up less of my time, I will volunteer for local rescue organizations.”

We would like to thank Angie and all other social workers around the country, no matter what their field, for all of their hard work in helping people through difficult points in their lives and advocating for those who may not otherwise have a voice. American Surrogacy and our sister agency American Adoptions could not be possible without the loving assistance of these professionals.

5 Tips for Dealing with Unsupportive Family and Friends as a Surrogate

Hopefully, everyone you tell about your decision to become a surrogate responds with warmth and excitement. But, because surrogacy is still a relatively new and commonly misunderstood practice, that’s not always a realistic expectation.

Instead, you may find that certain friends and family members respond with blank stares, hesitation or even ignorant or insensitive questions and comments: “Why would you want to do that? Won’t you get attached to the baby? Are you sure you’ve thought this through?”

Dealing with a lack of support from friends and family members can be disheartening for a hopeful surrogate. After all, your surrogacy support system will be integral to a positive surrogacy experience. So, with that in mind, here are five tips for getting unsupportive friends and family members on board with your surrogacy plan:

1. Break the news gently.

If you haven’t already told your family about your surrogacy decision, there are some tips you might consider before having the talk. For example, you might try slowly introducing the topic of surrogacy in casual conversation before announcing your news, or write out what you want to say and practice the conversation ahead of time. Your surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy can always help you navigate that first conversation and anticipate common questions and concerns that friends or family members might raise.

2. Educate them.

Surrogacy is a complicated process, and if the concept of surrogacy is new to your family, it’s one they probably haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about. Oftentimes, a friend’s or relative’s lack of support for your surrogacy decision actually stems from a lack of understanding.

Take the time to explain how surrogacy actually works and address any concerns your friends or family might have about your safety, your relationship to the baby or other aspects of the surrogacy process. Share helpful articles and resources that address common misconceptions about surrogacy. The more your friends and family members know about the journey you’re taking, the more comfortable they will be with the idea.

3. Give them your reasons.

If you’re serious about making the big commitments required of a surrogate, you probably have some pretty compelling reasons why. Maybe you’ve dreamed for years of helping a couple who has struggled with infertility finally add to their family. Maybe you really want to experience pregnancy one last time, even though your own family is already complete — and, on top of that, maybe you know that your surrogate compensation would be a big step toward that down payment you’ve been saving for.

Whatever surrogacy means to you, make sure to let your friends and family members know. Once they better understand the benefits of surrogacy and how important this experience is to you, they’ll be more likely to support and respect your surrogacy decision.

4. Ask for their support.

It sounds simple, but letting your friends and family members know how much their support will mean to you can make a big difference. Be specific: Ask your mom if she would be willing to babysit during doctor’s appointments or if you can count on your siblings for a lunch date when you’re having a hard day. By proactively asking for support and involving them in the process, you can help friends and family members feel more a part of your surrogacy team.

5. Focus on what matters.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, there will be certain friends and family members who just won’t understand or accept your surrogacy decision — and that’s okay. Your spouse’s support is critical to the surrogacy process, but in most cases, involving other friends and family members is optional.

If surrogacy is truly important to you, you may decide to move forward with the process even if there are a handful of people in your life who don’t love the idea. Who knows? Once they see the baby you help bring into the world and the difference you make in the lives of intended parents, they might just come around.

If you’re struggling with unsupportive friends or family members as a surrogate, you can always contact American Surrogacy at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) for additional support and advice.