When Family Members Don’t Understand Your Surrogacy Decision

Building a family through gestational surrogacy is often a decision made after months or years of difficult fertility treatments and soul-searching. So, when you finally decide to add a child to your household in this way, you probably want to shout the news from the rooftops.

Unfortunately, not everyone may see your surrogacy decision in such an awesome light. Sadly, it’s not uncommon for intended parents to receive harsh questions and criticisms from extended family members when announcing their decision. Whether the response comes from a place of ignorance or personal grief, it can still be difficult for intended parents to hear.

Your specialist at American Surrogacy will always celebrate your surrogacy decision, but we also know it can be hard not to get the support from your family you’ve been expecting. That’s why we’re here to help you prepare for these conversations and help your family understand the journey you’ve chosen. You can always contact your specialist at any time during the journey for advice on these topics and more.

So, what can you do when your family members don’t accept your surrogacy decision?

1. Explain the Basics

Most of the time, a negative reaction about surrogacy comes from a place of ignorance. Many people don’t understand exactly how modern surrogacy works. They may think your surrogate will be the biological mother of the child or that she can, or will, want to “take back” the child once he or she is born. In many cases, when you take the time to explain the basics of gestational surrogacy, those initial fears disappear.

But, before you go into a conversation educating your family members about surrogacy, it’s a good idea to do a little research of your own. Take some notes on exactly what you want to say, and try to anticipate their most likely questions. Make sure they don’t interrupt you until you’re done; that way, you can share everything you want to and give them the best chance to learn.

2. Give Them Time

While it would be great if your loved ones changed their tune right away after hearing your explanation, expect to give them some time and space to process your information. Remember how long it took you to understand the gestational surrogacy process? Your loved ones are in that step right now. While you can express your excitement for their support of your family-building journey, let them know you know it may take some time to get there. In the meantime, communicate that you will not appreciate any negative comments about your chosen way to build a family.

3. Answer Their Questions

Similarly, you shouldn’t expect your loved ones to understand all the ins and outs of gestational surrogacy right away. So, be prepared to answer their questions in an informative way. Be prepared: Some of these questions may be ignorant or insensitive, but try to control your emotions and be as educational as possible when answering them. Even if your loved ones get emotional, stay calm and remember that nothing they can say should influence your decision. After all, it’s already been made.

Be aware that your loved ones may have questions throughout the surrogacy process, so it’s important to make surrogacy an ongoing conversation as you move forward. If you have a spouse, you two should share the responsibilities of answering these questions and educating others about your journey — but only if you’re comfortable doing so.

4. Do What’s Right For You

Sometimes, no matter how much effort we put into educating our loved ones, they simply don’t want to change their minds. It can be tough to not have a loved one involved in your family-building journey, but ultimately you have to do what is right for you — even if it means stepping away from that relationship.

When you choose surrogacy, you are already dealing with a number of practical and emotional challenges. The last thing you need is an unsupportive loved one weighing on you. If your family member can’t say anything nice about your family-building journey or can’t refrain from saying anything at all, don’t feel guilty about putting a pause on that relationship. If they ask why, be honest: “I can’t involve you in this pregnancy if you won’t be supportive of it.”

Hopefully, with time, they will come to recognize the error of their ways and commit to being a supportive loved one for your child. In the meantime, you will have saved yourself a great deal of stress and pain by focusing solely on your surrogacy journey — the only thing that really matters right now.

For more tips on talking about surrogacy with your family members, contact us online or call your specialist at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

7 Types of People You Need On Your Surrogacy Team

Nobody completes a surrogacy journey alone. It takes a lot of people to have this baby — various medical and legal professionals, the intended parents, donors, the surrogate and her family and more!

Accepting the help of your surrogacy “team” can be hard for some people at first, but once you open your heart to that team effort, you won’t regret it.

Surrogates and intended parents alike will need key support from certain types of people. Here are seven people you’ll definitely want on your surrogacy team:

1. The Veteran

This is a former intended parent or surrogate who has been there and done that. Every person’s experience with surrogacy is going to be unique. After all, there are many types of surrogacy journeys, and no two partnerships are alike. However, the veteran on your team can often offer valuable insight on “do”s and “don’t”s, even if you listen to their stories with a proverbial grain of salt. They may have helpful suggestions regarding insurance, professionals and more.

Most veterans are happy to help, even if you don’t personally know them. They’ve been in your position, too. A good way to connect with former and current intended parents and surrogates is through support groups, or through your primary professional.

2. The Counselor

We mean this literally. Many agencies, including American Surrogacy, require prospective surrogates and parents to meet with a counselor before the surrogacy process even begins. This is done to ensure that you’re 100% emotionally prepared for this step. It’s also helpful for surrogates and intended parents to have access to a counselor who is familiar with surrogacy.

Maybe you never need to talk to your counselor again, maybe you check in with them sometime during your surrogacy journey, or maybe you need post-surrogacy support from him or her. It’s always good to have a licensed and experienced counselor on your team for ready access to support, should you need it now or in the future.

3. The Expert

Your American Surrogacy specialist will be your primary point of contact throughout your journey. They’re also the best all-around expert on surrogacy at your disposal. We’re always here if you need us for support or if you have questions!

You can look to the expert for anything, from help finding the best possible insurance coverage for all of you to managing communication. Even if we don’t offer a specific service ourselves, we’ll be able to put you in touch with the right people and help you to find the best providers in your area. Everybody needs an expert on their team.

4. The Doctor

The medical processes of surrogacy are complex and high-stakes. It’s understandable if everyone involved is nervous about what’s going on and whether or not things are working! However, it can be easy to over-worry and overwork yourself, especially for intended parents who have never experienced pregnancy before.

It’s good to have someone on your fertility team who is available to answer those nervous questions, present options honestly and soothe unnecessary anxiety. Someone you connect with at your clinic or your OBGYN may be able to be that go-to person for medical questions in between appointments.

5. The Shoulder to Cry On

Someone who can listen without trying to fix the situation will be your best shoulder to cry on. Because, sometimes, we all just need to vent, talk it out or even cry it out! Choose someone who won’t fly into a panic if you need to come over and be upset for a while. Mourning losses or frustrations in a surrogacy journey doesn’t mean that it’s going badly or that you want to quit. Ups and downs are natural.

Surrogates and intended parents alike will need someone they can talk to about the emotions of surrogacy. This is an emotional time, and you’ll need a comforting presence on your team.

6. The Reinforcements

These are the friends, family and neighbors that you can count on to call for practical help at any time. They’re ready and willing to drop everything to babysit your kids for a couple of days if labor begins suddenly. They know that you’ll need a casserole in the fridge when you don’t have time to cook after the baby is born.

Surrogates will need an extra hand around the house as they juggle pregnancy and their normal responsibilities, plus they’ll need a little help during postnatal recovery. Intended parents will likely need to travel at the drop of a hat, and when the baby comes home, they’ll be busy with their new addition. Everyone needs to be able to call for their reinforcements!

7. The Teammate

Your surrogacy partner — the intended parents or surrogate — will be your ultimate teammate. You’re both in pursuit of the same goal, and you’re both there to cheer each other on. Your losses and successes are shared. This often extends to one another’s immediate families — spouses and children. Include them as part of the team! You’re all in this together, so go ahead and look to each other for support.

Who’s on your surrogacy team? Let us know in the comments!

5 Tips for Extended Family to Get to Know a Surrogate

You’re just received the good news from someone special in your family — they’re about to start the surrogacy process as an intended parent! Although it’s probably a shock at first, we bet you’re over the moon and can’t wait to meet the newest addition to your beautiful family.

You already know your family member pretty well (we hope!) But how exactly are you supposed to get to know their surrogate? And how will you involve and include them in your own family?

Whether you’re an aunt-to-be, a close cousin, or soon-to-be grandparents for the first time, below are some tips for doing just that.

Tips for Getting to Know a Surrogate

1. Try to Put Her Needs First

For our first tip, we want to remind you that getting to know a surrogate should be based around her comfort level. We know that you’re understandably excited and that you have plenty of questions that you can’t wait for her to answer. But, she might not be ready for that right away.

The surrogacy process is a big change for intended parents, but it can also be equally overwhelming (if not more so) for a surrogate. We know that rejection is hard for everyone, but try not to take it personally when you’re feeling left out. It’s not because of you or anything you did.

After giving a surrogate enough space, she may come around — and be just as excited to get to know you, too!

2. Enjoy a Family Meal

Good food brings good people together! Sitting down for a meal is a great way to ease some of the first-meeting jitters.

Start by asking the intended parents what their surrogate’s favorite meal is. You can also share some of your own favorite recipes with her.

If she’s comfortable with the idea, you can invite more of your family and friends over for the gathering. Of course, don’t forget to look up what foods are safe for pregnant women to eat if you need a reminder!

3. Do an Activity Together

There are plenty of fun ways to get to know each other. Take a day off and explore some of her favorite places in town. You can plan a nice day out at one of her favorite restaurants. You can also take this opportunity to spend some time with the surrogate’s family as well.

Any activity you plan together will mean more to her than you know, so don’t be afraid to get creative! Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s something that you think she would find fun.

4. Use Social Media

Social media is one of the best ways to stay connected with a surrogate’s life (and pregnancy). If a surrogate is comfortable with the idea, you can always add her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You might also talk to each other about tagging each other in some of your favorite photos. Don’t forget that there’s also video chatting if you can’t meet in person right away.

Things to Keep in Mind

Everyone wants to make a good first impression. Before you get to know your family member’s surrogate, there are some questions that you should and probably shouldn’t ask. Here are just a few of them:

What to Ask

  • What is it like to be a surrogate?
  • What are some of your favorite hobbies?
  • Is there anything you’d like to know about us?
  • How did you feel when you first became a surrogate?
  • How many times have you been a surrogate?

What Not to Ask

  • How much money do you make as a surrogate?
  • Won’t it be hard to give the baby to their parents?
  • Isn’t it hard to be a surrogate?
  • Why do you want to be carry someone else’s baby?

Learning the right things to say and do when getting to know someone can be stressful. If you’ve just started and you’re anxious about your new relationship, know that it’s okay to you make mistakes — everyone says the wrong thing at some point. The most important thing is that you get back up and try again.

If you have any more questions on what to and what not to say when getting to know a surrogate, or if you’re looking for some additional tips, please call a specialist today.

How Surrogacy May Change Your Friendships — and 5 Ways to Cope

Becoming a parent or helping someone else build their family though surrogacy is an exciting, joyful opportunity. But, as with every new adventure in your life, there are some changes that you won’t see coming until they happen. As you start to move further into an alternative family-building method, it can place some serious and unexpected stress on some of the closest relationships in your life: those with your friends.

If you start to feel like you’ve hit a wall with some of your favorite people, you’re probably unsure of what to do next. After all, these are connections that you’ve nurtured, some of them for many years, and you might not know how to turn the page of the next chapter of your life while still including them.

We want to reassure you that it’s normal to be scared of growing apart. But, the good news is that there are ways that you can cope with a changing friendship — and even ways that you can preserve it as you move forward in your surrogacy journey.

Below are five things to keep in mind if your friendship is evolving in a new way.

1. Expand Your Circle

It’s normal to gravitate toward people who share your own interests. Building a new support system — one filled with individuals who know exactly what you’re feeling — is the best way to cope with changes in your current relationships.

There are plenty of intended parents and surrogates who have been in your shoes and are looking for a new connection. No matter where you live, you can always reach out to other families online or through a local support group. A network of supportive friends can make all the difference during your surrogacy journey, so don’t hesitate to start making new connections. If you’re looking for the best place to start, contact our agency.

2. Give Your Relationship Room to Breathe

If you feel stressed and overwhelmed trying to talk to your friend about your decision, it could be a sign that the two of you need some space. It’s unlikely that your friend will be able to support you 24/7, but this doesn’t mean they don’t care about you anymore. It probably just means that they need room to grow, too. The surrogacy process is a big change, and your friend is probably trying to make sense of everything while still trying to be supportive. After you’ve given them some time to adjust, we’re sure they’ll come around.

3. Teach Them About Surrogacy

Education is one of the best ways to bring the two of you together. This method of family-building is still new enough that many people, including your friends, might have a hard time wrapping their heads around it. Your friends will probably have a lot of questions they aren’t sure of how to ask, and they’re probably worried about coming across as rude or insensitive. Let them know that it’s okay to come to you with any concerns or questions they might have.

4. Cherish Your Supportive Friends

Big life changes — like college, marriage, or parenting — are really when the strength of a friendship is tested. As you progress further into the surrogacy process, you might start to realize that not everyone is as ready for the next step as you are. While we hope that you’ll have the unwavering support of your friends, it doesn’t always pan out that way.

With plenty of big changes coming your way, you’ll find out pretty quickly who your real friends are. We know that it’s hard, but keep in mind that if someone pulls back from your relationship, it is not a reflection of you. Everyone you meet is on their own journey. That’s why it’s even more important to cherish the special people who make an effort to continue to be a part of your life.

5. Stay Positive

The truth is that changing friendships are a normal part of life. Some friendships are meant to last a lifetime, while others are only here for a season. But, that doesn’t make their impact in your life any less special or meaningful. We know that it’s hard, but try to take care of yourself. Exercising, eating well, and finding new hobbies can help take your mind off the stress of your relationship. Staying optimistic during this difficult transition is one of the best things you can do for your mental health.

When some of the most important relationships in your life are changing, don’t forget that you always have people in your corner. No matter how hard it seems, there will always be people who love and support you and your new journey. If you ever need someone to talk to, don’t forget that you can reach out to a surrogacy specialist today.

How to Support Your Child as They Go Through the Surrogacy Process

Your child approaching you with the news that they’re pursuing surrogacy may be a bit of a shock at first, especially if you didn’t previously know much about this family-building process. But, now that you’ve learned more about the process for gestational surrogates and intended parents, you’re likely getting more and more excited for your child’s upcoming journey.

As a parent, you always worry about your child, no matter how old he or she may be. You’ll want to support and help them however you can in this upcoming journey. Here are some ways to do that, whether your child is an intended parent or a gestational surrogate:

Parents of Intended Parents

If your child has decided to pursue surrogacy as a way to grow his or her family, you may have already endured a long and emotional journey already. Your child may have struggled with infertility, perhaps for years. You’re likely very excited to welcome a grandchild at this point, and your child is even more excited to have a baby!

Throughout the surrogacy process and beyond, here are some ways you can support your child and their spouse, just like you always have:

Supporting Your Children

Surrogacy, like many alternative paths to parenthood, comes with some unknowns and ups and downs. Often, your child may just need you to listen while they vent. No need to fix anything — listening is enough. Offering encouragement and being a calm voice when emotions run high can be invaluable to your son or daughter.

The process can also become very costly, which can be difficult if your child spent a lot of money pursuing fertility treatments prior to surrogacy. Helping your child to fundraise is a great practical way to make a difference.

This is still a relatively new and often-misunderstood family-building method. Take the initiative to educate yourself thoroughly about surrogacy! It’ll save your kids from having to constantly answer questions about the process they’re experiencing, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s happening, and you’ll also be able to serve as their advocate to the rest of the world.

Your family and friends may be curious about your future grandchild, so know how to answer their questions and clear up any myths they may still believe about surrogacy. Your children (and grandchild) will thank you!

Supporting Your Grandchildren

If the intended parents (your children) already have older kids, continuing to shower them with love and support will be even more important during the surrogacy process. Their parents will likely be a little preoccupied with their surrogate and baby, so stepping in to help out and even just remind them how much they’re loved will mean a lot.

This is probably your first grandchild born via surrogate. You might have fears about not loving the baby as much as you would if he or she were born the “traditional” way. Remember: Grandparents via adoption are the perfect example that neither genetics, nor who gives birth to a child, has any effect on how much that child is loved. If you’ve experienced those concerns, they’ll disappear when you meet your grandbaby.

Parents of Surrogates

If your child has made the beautiful decision to become a surrogate for someone, you may be proud of her, but you might also be a little worried. Is this safe? Will your grandchildren be confused by her pregnancy? As her parent, you want to support her and you also want her to be healthy, happy and safe.

Here’s how you can help:

Supporting Your Children

The process of getting pregnant for gestational surrogates is often long, complex, time-consuming and frustrating. She’ll go through fertility treatments, attend a lot of doctor’s appointments, medical screenings and more — all before she even becomes pregnant. Encourage your child, be there to listen if she needs to talk, and let her know how much you admire her for doing something so amazing for another family!

Even though your child’s pregnancy won’t result in a new grandchild for you, she (and her whole family) will still need your help and support. Just like you have with her previous pregnancies, pitching in with tasks around the house like cooking, cleaning or babysitting will mean the world to your daughter and family.

You’ve probably been one of your child’s biggest cheerleaders her whole life. She’ll need you to keep that up, including when she’s not around! Educating yourself about surrogacy so that you can answer other peoples’ questions about the process will ensure they don’t have any misconceptions about the incredible thing your daughter is doing for another family. Speak about her surrogacy journey with pride, and she’ll know how much you love her.

Supporting Your Grandchildren

Your grandkids’ parents will be spending time with the intended parents and attending appointments, and will likely appreciate your babysitting services. And, like during any pregnancy, sometimes kids can feel a little jealous or sad that their parents’ focus is split during surrogacy. Spending some extra time with grandparents can be reassuring for them.

Having your support and encouragement will be so important to your child throughout the surrogacy process. When in doubt, you can always ask your child’s American Surrogacy specialist for advice by calling 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

10 Holiday Gift Ideas for Surrogates

The holiday season is a wonderful time to show your loved ones that you care. If you have a friend or family member who is or has been a surrogate, you may be wondering what unique present you can get her this year. If you’re the intended parent, the pressure to find the perfect gift can be even more pressing.

Remember: Gifts aren’t the point of the holiday season, so don’t stress out too much. The surrogate in your life will probably be just as happy to simply spend time with you. Taking the time to catch up with her may be one of the best gifts she can receive.

But, if you’re still looking for that perfect gift for your friend who is a surrogate, American Surrogacy is here to help. Our specialists can always offer appropriate suggestions based on your relationship with the surrogate in your life.

Whether you are the intended parents working with a surrogate or simply a friend or family member of a surrogate, keep these gift suggestions in mind this holiday season:

1. A Personalized Care Package

You know your friend best — which means you likely know exactly what they most enjoy. Are they a stay-at-home, movie-and-popcorn kind of person? Or do they like to have a high-spirited sports night with their friends and family?

Whatever their hobbies, consider making them a personalized care package. If they’re currently pregnant, you can include self-care items like bath bubbles and cozy socks to keep them comfortable. If they’re not, you could send them a basket of their favorite goodies and wine for a lazy night at home. The good part about this kind of gift? It’s all up to you!

2. A Spa Visit

Whether she’s pregnant or not, any surrogate will appreciate the calm of a free spa day. Surrogacy can be an emotionally draining process, and many surrogates handle the responsibilities of their surrogacy and their everyday life. Allowing someone else to care for them can be a big relief.

3. A Ready-Made Meal or Restaurant Gift Card

On the same note, many surrogates split household responsibilities with their spouse — but it can get harder to put their full 50 percent in when they’re also dealing with the responsibilities of surrogacy. Take one responsibility off of your surrogate’s plate, literally. Services like Send a Meal allow you to gift the surrogate and her family a prepared meal at home, or you can send her a gift card to take her family out to dinner for the night.

4. Something for Her Kids

Sometimes, surrogates don’t need anything for themselves, but they’ll greatly appreciate you giving their children a thought during the holiday season. Remember, their mother’s surrogacy journey affects them, too. They may not have as much time with her as usual, and she may not be able to serve the roles she usually does in their lives when she is pregnant. Consider giving them a new movie or video game to keep them entertained — and to give Mom some “me time.”

5. A Sentimental Accessory

Surrogacy is a journey that will affect a surrogate’s life forever, so you can always get her a gift that will keep those memories close to her heart. Something as simple as a necklace with the baby’s birthstone or a locket with the baby’s birthdate engraved can be a beautiful way to honor her decision.

Any kind of sentimental accessory like this should come from her intended parents only. If you are considering this gift, make sure to speak with your surrogacy specialist to determine which kinds of jewelry and accessories are appropriate.

6. Flower or Edible Fruit Arrangements

Everyone likes a good arrangement — whether it’s made of beautiful flowers or delicious fruits and candies. These are an easy way to show you care and are thinking of a surrogate during the holidays without putting too much time and effort into the choice. Just don’t forget a personalized note!

7. Surrogacy-Specific Gifts

Despite its growing popularity, surrogacy is still an uncommon way for people to build their families. As proud as she may be of her own journey, a surrogate may not have an easy way to celebrate it daily. So, help her out with something that shows your own pride in her! There are plenty of gifts that allude to a woman’s “superpower” as a surrogate; Etsy is a good place to start. These gifts can help her show her pride in her surrogacy journey.

8. A Night on the Town

A surrogate has a lot of responsibility in her life, both during and after the surrogacy process. Give her a break with a night out for her and her spouse. Send them a movie-and-restaurant gift card package, or buy two tickets to a local show. Odds are, she’s dying for a night away from her responsibilities but just needs the right motivation to make that decision!

9. A Memory from Your Journey

If you are the intended parents a surrogate is carrying for, you will go through a lot together. If you plan far enough ahead, you can find a way to save these memories forever.

Consider putting together a surrogacy memory book with photos of the surrogate during her pregnancy and photos of you and the baby after he or she is born. It can be a great way for a surrogate to catch up on your life since your surrogacy journey ended and allow her to show off her surrogacy experience in an easy way to friends and family members.

Something even simpler — such as a framed photo from delivery — can be just as heartfelt.

10. A Holiday Card and Family Update

Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you have to go overboard.  Depending on your relationship with a surrogate and how long it’s been since she completed her surrogacy journey, a holiday card and family update can be enough to say you’re thinking about her and hope she’s doing well.  Whether you’re her intended parent or just a loved one, she’ll smile when she sees that you care.

Want more suggestions on appropriate holiday gifts for gestational carriers? Contact our surrogacy specialists anytime.

10 Holiday Gift Ideas for Intended Parents

When the holiday time rolls around, it’s a period full of family, fun and festivities — not to mention gifts.

Finding the perfect gift for anyone can be a challenge. When there are intended parents in your life, you may be unsure of what to give them during their surrogacy journey. Despite its growing popularity, gestational surrogacy is still new to many people. And, if you’re in that boat, you may be unsure of what is even an appropriate gift to give intended parents during the holidays.

Don’t worry — American Surrogacy is here to help. We’ve gathered 10 great gift ideas for intended parents here. Our specialists are always happy to give you more advice when you call us at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

In the meantime, get started with these suggestions:

1. A Personalized Care Package

The best presents aren’t the most extravagant — they are the ones with the most heart. So, instead of rushing out to buy the fancy new coat or pair of shoes for your friend, go a little more personalized. Create a care package with all of the small goodies they like. Maybe throw together a movie-night basket with popcorn, wine and the biggest new flick, or add some Gatorade and new headphones for the exercise aficionado.

However big or small, your personal touch shows that you care enough to think about them during the busy holiday season.

2. Something to Help Them Prepare

If the intended parents are in the middle of the surrogacy process, they are probably freaking out a bit at the upcoming changes in their lives. You can help reassure some of their worries by aiding them through the preparation process.

Send them a package of outlet covers or another baby-proofing device. Consider buying them a set of parenting classes to ease their nerves. While intended parents may have more energy to prepare than an expectant parent carrying their child, that doesn’t mean they are any less nervous or know better what to do. Offer to step in and give them a hand during the busy holiday season.

3. Baby Supplies

On the same note, a parent-to-be can never have too many baby supplies! Their loved ones will likely be excited to buy all of the cute baby onesies and toys on their wish list but, at the end of the day, intended parents will be much more grateful of gifts such as diapers, formula, baby wipes and more.

It may not seem like the most exciting holiday gift, but the intended parents will be thankful for it.

4. Something for the Baby

That doesn’t mean you can’t buy something fun for the baby! Whether or not they are already here, if you find the perfect little stuffed animal or holiday decoration for the baby, don’t be afraid to get it.

This gift can be even more meaningful if you are the surrogate carrying the baby for the intended parents. It can be a keepsake that helps them explain their child’s surrogacy story in the years to come.

5. A Night Out on the Town

Intended parents spend a lot of time worrying and waiting during the surrogacy process. You can help them take their mind off of those worries for a bit by gifting them a date night. Consider buying a movie and restaurant gift card to give them a night on the town. After all, time together won’t be easy to come by once the baby is born. It can be just the thing they need to escape from the surrogacy and holiday stress this time of the year.

6. A Sentimental Accessory

If you are the surrogate carrying for the intended parents, you might want to give them something special that commemorates your journey together. That could include anything from paying for a photographer to be there during delivery to nicely framing an existing photo you have of all of you together. You might even choose to write a letter to the baby you’re carrying or gather other important mementos for the intended parents to add to the baby’s surrogacy memory book.

7. A Home-Cooked Meal

If the intended parents have already welcomed their little one home, they’re probably going through all the motions of new parenthood — and finding out they have little time for themselves.  A home-cooked meal may be exactly what they need. Put together a tried-and-true casserole yourself, or use a service like Send a Meal to deliver a fully cooked meal right to their doorstep. It can be the perfect way to say, “I’m thinking of you, and I know how you’re feeling,” without pressuring them to find a babysitter for a dinner out.

8. Surrogacy-Specific Gifts

Despite the support intended parents receive from their surrogacy specialist and their family and friends, surrogacy can be an isolating journey. While the family-building process is growing in popularity, your friends may be the only ones they know who have taken this route.

So, find a holiday gift that shows pride in their family-building process. Websites such as Etsy are great places to find décor with surrogacy phrases or other keepsakes commemorating their surrogacy journey.

9. Something Handmade

Maybe you have a special hobby. If so, consider making the intended parents a personalized gift. Their baby will love a soft handmade blanket or beanie, and the intended parents might appreciate a one-of-a-kind painting with which to decorate their child’s nursery.

It will certainly be a gift unlike any other they receive!

10. A Holiday Card and Family Update

Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you have to go overboard when it comes to gifts and presents. The act of gift-giving is all about showing someone you care, and the smallest card and letter can be all an intended parent needs to know you were thinking of them. This can be especially heartwarming from their former surrogate; they are forever bonded to her, and they want to know how her family is doing, even years after the surrogacy process is complete.

If you’re a surrogate struggling over what to get your intended parents during the holidays, don’t be afraid to go simple. Just knowing you were thinking about them will make the intended parents smile.

Want more guidance on picking out a holiday gift for intended parents? Contact our specialists today.

5 Things Every Surrogate Needs from Her Friends

If your friend has told you she’s becoming a surrogate, you’re likely thrilled for her. She’s probably wanted this journey for a while now, and you’re excited to watch her achieve her dreams of helping to create a family.

But, if you’re unfamiliar with the surrogacy process, you may be unsure of how to help her during the journey to come. What’s appropriate and what’s not? How do you know the best things to say and do to support her through fertility medication, pregnancy and postpartum recovery?

Don’t worry — American Surrogacy is here to help. We’ve gathered a few things every surrogate can benefit from during her surrogacy journey.

Friends and family, listen up: Here’s where you can start.

1. A Listening Ear

While surrogacy can certainly be a complicated practical process, it can also be draining on a woman’s emotions and mental health, too. Even when surrogates are 100 percent ready for the ups and downs of being a surrogate, it can be overwhelming to balance their everyday lives and intended parent relationships with the wild emotions of pregnancy hormones.

Your friend will be emotionally committed to the surrogacy process through every step — but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some hard times along the way. A surrogate may not feel comfortable sharing her stress with her intended parents, so you should be there to serve that role. Be her shoulder to cry on, if she needs it, and empathize with the emotions she’s feeling during this time.

Pay close attention to your friend, too. Like any pregnant woman, she will have the chance of developing antepartum depression. If she seems like she’s reaching out for help instead of just venting, help her get the professional assistance she needs.

2. Practical Support — Like Childcare

Emotional support won’t be the only help your friend needs. Managing her surrogacy responsibilities and her everyday responsibilities as a mother can be difficult. Your help will be much appreciated.

You can step in by providing childcare when she has to attend medical appointments or appointments with the intended parents. Offer to take her and her family out for dinner, or cook them a meal they can eat during the week.

Don’t wait to be asked — think about what you or other loved ones wanted most during their pregnancy. Take the initiative to offer those to your friend who’s a surrogate. The last thing she wants to do is make a list of things you can help her with, but it’s unlikely she’ll refuse when the specific help is right in front of her.

3. A Welcome Distraction

For a year or more, surrogacy will be the most important part of your friend’s life. She’ll be paying close attention to her fertility medication, pregnancy, and intended parents’ wishes. Sometimes, she’ll just want a break.

Be there for her in this situation. The next time she seems overwhelmed, offer to take her out for the evening. Go to your favorite dinner spot and then see the movie you’ve both been dying to see. Take her on a spa day to get a pedicure, especially if she can no longer reach (or see) her toes.

While her surrogate pregnancy is certainly something she is proud of, your friend probably doesn’t want to talk about it all the time. Give her a mental break, and she’ll feel more refreshed — and ready to dive back into the day-to-day of being a surrogate.

4. Interest and Understanding

When your friend becomes a surrogate, she becomes an automatic ambassador for the process. She’s going to receive the same questions and comments over and over again — but don’t let them come from you.

One of the best things you can do for your friend is to research surrogacy and understand exactly what the process is like. Not only will this show her you’re interested in this important part of her life, but it will save her from having to explain the basics to you every time you discuss her journey.

You can even go the extra step and start educating others — your family, your group of friends — about gestational surrogacy. That way, there will be fewer questions from your friends’ circle of loved ones. She’ll feel more supported knowing they took the time to learn about something that is so important to her.

5. Postpartum Care

While a surrogate will not bring home the child she delivers, she will still need time to recover from pregnancy and childbirth. As her friend, you can step in to make the recovery easier.

Your friend will appreciate many of the same services that you might give to a new parent. A home-cooked meal can help feed her and her family when she’s too tired to cook. Offering to watch her children can give her the rest she needs to recuperate. And, of course, don’t forget the importance of emotional support — even though surrogates don’t raise the children they deliver, they can still develop postpartum depression. Keep a close eye on your friend’s moods and emotions, and help her get the assistance she needs if you feel like she is reaching out.

Yes, a surrogate’s postpartum recovery period is typically much shorter than any other new mother’s is (because she’s not caring for a newborn), but that doesn’t exclude her from emotional and practical support during this time. Again, don’t wait for her to ask for it; offer your assistance as early and as frequently as possible to ensure her mental and physical recovery.

Supporting a friend through surrogacy can be complicated, especially if you have no experience with the surrogacy process. But, by following these steps, you can make sure she receives the support she needs.

For more information on the surrogacy process and suggestions for helping your friend through her journey, contact our surrogacy specialists anytime.

5 Things Every Intended Parent Needs from Their Friends

It can be hard to be an intended parent. In many cases, these hopeful parents have gone through a lot to even get to the surrogacy process — and, once they’ve started it, they still have a long and complicated journey to go. Sometimes, they just want to feel like any other expectant mom or dad.

If you’re a friend or family member of an intended parent, you can take certain steps to help them feel “normal” during their family-building journey. Just like any parent creating their family through adoption, intended parents deserve all the same love as someone who has conceived naturally.

Not sure what you can do to help? We’ve gathered a few simple tips that you can use to support the intended parent in your life:

1. A Baby Shower

Just because your loved one isn’t giving birth to their child doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a baby shower! It’s common for intended parents to be left out of the baby-shower fun because they are not the ones who are pregnant. But they deserve to be showered just as much any other parent.

Take the initiative to throw a baby shower for your loved one (they probably won’t do it themselves). It may be the first time they truly feel like an expectant parent, and a baby shower can help them experience some of the parent “firsts” they’ve been longing for.

Check out our tips for throwing a baby shower for surrogacy here.

2. A Distraction from the Wait

During much of their surrogate’s pregnancy, an intended parent can feel like they are just sitting around, wasting time. There’s not much they can do to contribute to their child’s development in utero, and the wait to meet their baby can be a difficult experience.

So, take it upon yourself to distract them from the tough emotions they’re feeling. Suggest a night out with a nice dinner and a movie, or invite them to your next big gathering (avoid anything with too many children and babies). Sometimes, even the smallest things — like a drink at your local bar — will be enough to alleviate the stress they’re feeling.

3. An Inclusive Conversation

It’s easy for intended parents to feel left out of conversations about parenting with their friends who have had children. So, the next time you talk about parenthood and include the intended parents, focus on what makes the journey exciting for them. Ask about their surrogate and her pregnancy, and talk about their plans for parenting after the baby is born. While you don’t have to completely avoid topics such as pregnancy and labor-and-delivery stories, be mindful of how your loved ones’ experiences will differ from your own.

4. Emotional Support

It’s no secret that surrogacy is an emotionally trying experience. It’s likely that your friends are going through this process for the very first time; they have to cope with all the novelty of their situation while simultaneously grieving the infertility path that likely brought them here. Like any expectant parent, sometimes they just need a shoulder to cry on.

Be there for them. Don’t try to solve all of their problems or connect with everything they’re saying; unless you’ve been through surrogacy yourself, you can’t comprehend the situation they’re in. Show them some empathy during the hard times and, if you think they are crying out for help, help them get the assistance they need. Postpartum depression is possible among intended parents, too, so make sure to keep a close eye on your friend.

5. Practical Support — Like a Home-Cooked Meal

Emotional support won’t be the only kind of support your loved one needs. Once their new baby is born and brought home, your friend will be dealing with all the normal demands of parenthood. You can be a huge help during this time.

Don’t wait for an intended parent to ask you for help; step in to provide the practical support they need at this time in their life. Ask if you can watch the baby while they take care of important details such as calls with their surrogacy lawyer, surrogacy professional or insurance company. Bring them over a home-cooked meal; they’ll probably be too tired to cook themselves.

If nothing else, just be there for them. Be the first one to volunteer if they look like they need help, and don’t take no for an answer. Just because they didn’t give birth doesn’t mean they’re more prepared for the parenthood journey. If they’re going through it for the first time, every exciting new step has a learning curve.

Don’t forget — your loved one needs just as much support during and after the surrogacy process as any other new parent. Step in and be the friend they need during this time. They’ll be forever grateful.

If you’re an intended parent struggling with the emotions of the surrogacy process, remember that you can always look to your American Surrogacy specialist for advice and support. Call us at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) any time.

5 Tips for Talking to Family About Surrogacy: Surrogates

When it comes to the holiday season, nothing can be as fun as catching up with loved ones you haven’t seen in a while. But, when you’ve recently made the decision to become a surrogate, these family gatherings can hold another purpose — telling your family about your upcoming surrogacy journey.

But, how do you casually drop into conversation that you’re going to become a gestational carrier?

American Surrogacy is always here to help. When you work with our agency, you can always prepare for these conversations with the help of your surrogacy specialist. In the meantime, check out some tips to prepare yourself below.

1. Clear up misconceptions about surrogacy.

First, you should remember that not everyone is as well-versed in the surrogacy process as you are. You’ve likely spent a great deal of time researching gestational surrogacy before you applied with an agency. Remember the confusion and misconceptions you had before? Your loved ones probably have similar thoughts.

If you are planning to share your news with family, you should be prepared to educate them about the process. Don’t just drop your news casually into your conversation; follow it up with a basic explanation of what this journey will mean for you. Explain that you and the intended parents were fully screened before starting, that you will be compensated for your services, and that the baby you will carry will not be related to you.

A basic understanding of the process will go a long way to helping your loved ones get excited about your announcement.

2. Explain your reasoning for becoming a surrogate.

Many times, when surrogates share their news with family members, they are met with the same response: “Why didn’t you tell us you were financially struggling? We could have helped!”

Unfortunately, many people unfamiliar with the surrogacy process believe women choose this path only for the compensation. It’s a myth that persists, despite education otherwise. You can play an important role in teaching your loved ones about the reality of your situation.

Be confident in explaining your reasoning for this path. Talk about your love of motherhood and how you want to help someone else experience that. Mention how much you love being pregnant and how you want to use your healthy uterus to aid someone who can’t have a child on their own.

3. Give your loved ones a chance to ask questions.

When you share your surrogacy announcement at a family get-together, you’ll be able to answer many of our loved ones’ questions at the same time. It can save you from having to answer the same questions over and over again if you tell everyone individually.

However, keep in mind that you may receive some insensitive and ignorant comments and questions during this conversation. It will be likely be stuff that you’ve heard before and will continue to hear, so prepare yourself by doing your research.

Your surrogacy specialist can help by listing some of the most common responses you may get. She can also provide answers that you have ready-to-go when these questions inevitably come up.

4. Protect your intended parents’ privacy.

Some of the questions you get from your family and friends will likely be about the intended parents you’re carrying for. They are naturally curious about the family you are helping to create; in a way, they may seem like extended family to your loved ones.

While their interest is a sweet sentiment, your intended parents’ privacy should always come first. We encourage surrogates to talk with their intended parents prior to sharing news with family members. That way, they can both come up with a list of details they are comfortable telling others. The last thing you want is to break your intended parents’ trust by sharing private information with others.

Don’t be afraid to lean on the old “My surrogacy contract doesn’t let me talk about that” line if your family members won’t stop asking about details you’re uncomfortable sharing.

5. Share only what you’re comfortable with.

And, on that note, think hard about this conversation with family before you have it. What are you willing to tell them? Which details do they need not know?

What you decide to share during this conversation is entirely up to you. Surrogacy is an exciting journey but it is also an intimate one. While you may want to share your announcement with family members, you may not want to share every detail – and that’s OK. Your loved ones should understand and support you, no matter what.

We know the holiday season can heighten family relationships and get-togethers. So, whether you’re dreading or looking forward to this conversation about surrogacy, know that your surrogacy specialist is here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out today to prepare for sharing your surrogacy news.