10 Holiday Gift Alternatives for Those Going Through Surrogacy

Are you gearing up for the holiday season? If you’re like most people, then you’re probably struggling with what to give your loved ones — especially if they’re an intended parent or a surrogate and you’re not sure about what is appropriate.

It’s easy to stick with the usual just to be safe: gift cards to their favorite restaurants or to a movie, clothes, holiday money. But we know that you’d rather get them something that’s a little more special. If you’ve having a hard time figuring out what to give them that will really blow them away, you’re not alone.

If you’re tired of pacing the aisles of Target to find the perfect gift, or if you’re looking for something a little out of the box, check out 10 gift ideas that will really impress your loved one going through the surrogacy process.

1. Sending Ready-Made Meals

Even those of us who absolutely love to cook could use a break sometimes. If your intended parent or surrogate’s idea of a good time is spending the evening in the kitchen, ordering a meal-kit delivery service is a great way to take the extra burden of meal-prepping off their shoulders. And, now that meal kits are more popular than ever, you have plenty of options to choose from.

These services are an easy way to ensure that the person you’re buying them for has healthy meals all week long without having to drive to the grocery store. Many of them also have options for specific diets   like vegan or vegetarian. Some, like Snap Kitchen and Fresh and Easy, even provide ready-made meals, which takes away the stress of getting dinner on the table ready. The options range in price, so you should be able to find one that fits perfectly in your budget.

A few favorites?

2. Meal-Prepping for Surrogates Who are Pregnant

There’s nothing better than having a meal made ahead of time. If you like the idea of meal-kit services, but you’d like to put your own spin on things, you might think about meal-prepping for your surrogate during her pregnancy.

Being pregnant isn’t easy, especially when carrying a child for someone else. With so much to worry about, it can be stressful to keep the fridge stocked and dinner on the table. During this holiday season, take the load off a surrogate’s shoulders by doing some of the heavy lifting for her. If you start early on Sunday morning, she’ll have plenty to enjoy throughout the week.

3. Donating to an Intended Parent’s Surrogacy Fund

Everyone loves getting gift cards during the holiday season. They’re simple, and you can find them just about anywhere. But this year, you might think about donating to something other than your local restaurant’s or movie theatre’s cash fund.

If your friend or loved one is pursing surrogacy, even just a little bit of your financial support goes a long way toward making a difference in their surrogacy expenses. Like adoption, surrogacy is an expensive endeavor. It takes a lot of time, money and resources to make intended parents’ dreams of building a family a reality. If you decide to donate to their surrogacy fund, you could take a financial burden off their shoulders.  burden off their shoulders.

4. Donating Your Time

The holidays are all about spending time together. It might seem like a small gift, but just your time can make a huge difference during someone’s surrogacy journey. Run their errands, offer babysitting services for their other children as they make their way to medical appointments, and more.

This can be a priceless gift for super busy people like your surrogate or intended parent. And having one stress-free day will make their surrogacy journey so much easier.

5. Giving Something Sentimental

The surrogacy journey will connect intended parents and surrogates together for years to come. If you are wondering what to give each other, it might be nice to either make or commission a gift that will remind you of your journey together. Consider a necklace that has the baby’s birthdate, a bracelet with the family’s initials, or some other personalized present.

6. Making a Homemade Treat

Over the last year, we’ve all had plenty of time to practice our baking and cooking skills. You’ve probably seen people on social media showing off their bread-making skills in the comfort of their own home. If you fall into that category, now is the time to show your loved ones how much you’ve learned.

Bring over some delicious bread, some handmade jam, or anything else that you think they might like.

7. Organizing a Personalized Gift Basket

You’ve probably seen gift baskets like Edible Arrangements, but you can also make your own gift basket for the special person in your life. Remember, it doesn’t need to be expensive or extravagant.

While you’re making your gift basket, think about where your loved one is at in their surrogacy journey. For example, if this is the intended parents’ first Christmas with their baby, they might want a few special items — like an ornament or figurine — that will help them commemorate this special day.

Likewise, think about where a surrogate is at in her pregnancy. If she’s just delivered, she might like something to commemorate the experience with the intended parents, as well as items for her postpartum recovery.

8. Putting Together a Memory Book

The surrogacy journey is full of ups and downs — just like any family-building experience. For this holiday season, you might decide to look back and create your own memory book of your surrogacy journey. Make a collection of your favorite pregnancy photos and or pictures of your child and put them in the book to share repeatedly.

Don’t forget a copy for your surrogacy partner!

9. Choosing Something for the Surrogate’s Family

If you’re the intended parent or the family of an intended parent, it could be nice to include a small gift for the surrogate and her family. Whether it’s something handmade or something you plan on buying, we’re sure you’ll find something special — like tickets to a local zoo or a movie night out.

10. Just Spending Time Together

Giving gifts is a wonderful part of the holidays. But it’s not the most important thing.

If you can, carve out some time to spend with the intended parents or the surrogate. Even if you choose to not spend any money, you can still have a great time with fun, family-friendly activities. Hold a talent show, a concert, or just watch a movie together from a distance.

It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday cheer and go all out with elaborate, expensive gifts. But the best gifts are the ones with the most thought put into them.

No matter what you decide to give your intended parents or surrogate, we know that they’ll appreciate it. If you put in the time and care to think about what they really want, you will make this holiday season one to remember.

Looking for more holiday gift ideas for your surrogacy partner? Contact your surrogacy specialist for suggestions!

4 Ways to Introduce Your Newborn to Family During COVID-19

Socially distancing ourselves from one another this year, especially our own family members, has been hard. If you welcomed a baby in 2020 (or are about to), the inability to enjoy the magical meet-the-baby moments is especially disappointing and isolating for everyone — even more so if you’ve waited a long time for those experiences.

We understand how badly you and your family members want to hug each other and hold the newest member of the family. And we know that new parenthood is always a little lonely and isolating, even before those feelings became heightened by new parenthood in a global pandemic.

Right now, you’re all eager to share in your excitement and love. But, as you know, now just isn’t the safest time to celebrate together in person.

Your infant isn’t the only one considered high-risk for COVID complications; your older or immunocompromised loved ones are also at risk. For everyone’s safety, things are going to have to look a little different.

While it’s still not safe for your friends and family to hold your newborn, there are a few creative ways in which they can meet and see your child while still prioritizing everyone’s health:

1. A Virtual Party

Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and other video call platforms have been a saving grace for all of us during the pandemic. With these tools, there’s no reason to cancel your baby shower or “welcome home” party.

It may not have the same feel as an in-person party, but there are some upsides to a virtual meet-and-greet:

  • No need to have a bunch of people in your home when you’re already juggling the chaotic messes and sleeplessness of a newborn.
  • You won’t have to clean up the mountain of spit-up rags and stray bottles scattered everywhere.
  • Everyone can attend, even if they live far away.
  • You’ll limit your family’s exposure to the seasonal flu, colds and other common illnesses in addition to serious illnesses like COVID-19.

You were probably already going to ask a friend or family member to help you organize a party pre-pandemic. So now, just ask that person if they’d be willing to schedule a virtual party and help coordinate the tech aspects with attendees.

2. A Drive-By Parade

One fun, lively and creative solution that has arisen in the age of COVID-19 is the drive-by parade. People throughout the world have lined up from inside the safety of their cars and slowly driven past the houses of friends and family members in honor of a celebration: birthdays, graduations, marriages, important anniversaries and, yes, to meet children for the first time.

If you invite your friends and family to participate in a drive-by parade past your home, you should probably ask them to skip the horn-honking — your baby wouldn’t appreciate the noise. However, this is a way for your loved ones to view your baby through their rolled-up car windows and offer their congratulations from a safe distance.

If they want to drop off gifts or food while they’re in the area, you probably don’t need to worry about disinfecting those items. As you know, COVID-19 is primarily spread through in-person contact (so keeping a rolled-up car window in between one another will do the trick) but it’s also completely fine to request that your visitors refrain from delivering gifts if you’re worried.

3. A Photo Shoot

Many parents-to-be were planning on having a newborn photo session long before COVID-19 struck. Now, those photos may be the only way for your friends and family to see your baby at the moment.

We know looking at a photo is a poor substitute for your loved ones cuddling your new baby, but it will give them the opportunity to see your baby closer than they would safely be able to right now.

Plus, scheduling a photo shoot with your newborn during this difficult time will someday serve as an amazing reminder of your child’s entrance into a world that felt a little upside-down. Someday, you’ll be able to show those photos to your child and explain to them what a blessing they were in the midst of such a scary and dark time.

When booking your photo session, make sure that your group is limited to the parents, the baby and the photographer. Talk with your photographer about precautions that you’ll all want to take, including but not limited to:

  • Quarantining before your photo shoot.
  • If available in your area, getting yourselves tested for COVID prior to the session, to be certain that you’re all negative.
  • Wearing masks as often as possible during your session — put them back on after you smile!
  • Taking photos outdoors rather than at home or in a studio.
  • Staying at least six feet apart from the photographer when possible. They may want to bring a zoom lens!

Don’t forget to take at least one photo with your masks on, if only to commemorate the strangeness of this moment in time!

Once your photos are ready, be sure to send an online link, physical prints, or a keepsake album of your family photo session to your loved ones, so that they can see your baby up close without being close.

4. A Safe In-Person Meeting

We understand that it may be a priority for certain loved ones to meet your baby in person and that waiting until this pandemic is completely over just isn’t an option. You may feel that it’s important enough for people like your parents or siblings to hold your baby that you’re all willing to take the necessary precautions, as well as accept some level of risk.

Not everyone will feel comfortable with an in-person visit right now, so always remain respectful of everyone’s individual levels of comfort and health concerns. However, if you and a few close family members mutually decide that an in-person meeting can’t wait, we recommend that you all take some important precautions, which can include but are not limited to:

Meeting at home.

Meeting outdoors is preferable to an enclosed space, but it might not be an option in your situation — caring for a newborn as well as local weather conditions may necessitate an indoors meeting. If you do meet inside, stay at home rather than meeting up in a public place to avoid contact with non-family members.

Quarantining before the visit.

Ask your loved ones to stay at home and avoid contact with non-household members for two weeks, and practice the same quarantine measures yourself. It may seem extreme, but it’s the best way to keep everyone (including your newborn) safe.

It may not be possible for you and your family members to get tested for COVID-19 in preparation for the visit, so quarantining in advance is the best way to prevent potential spread of the illness.

Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) during the visit.

Everyone but the baby should be wearing a mask throughout the entirety of the visit. Remember: Try not to touch your mask while you’re together. Wearing a mask won’t do anyone any good if you’re not using it properly!

Washing hands and sanitizing.

It may seem simple and it’s been said countless times, but you and your visitors should wash your hands in accordance with CDC guidelines before, during and after the visit. Even if visitors aren’t planning on touching the new baby, they’ll still probably touch a few shared surfaces or objects. Sanitizing frequently touched areas (doorknobs, tables, your phones, etc.) before and after the visit will also limit the risk of COVID-19 exposure.

Keeping your distance.

As tempting as it is to pass your baby around for long-awaited cuddles, everyone should try to maintain a six-foot distance as often as possible. If your loved one must hold your baby, ask that they refrain from kissing your newborn or removing their mask.

Additionally, make sure that you and your loved ones maintain a safe distance from one another. We know it’s hard not to touch, hug, kiss, or be physically close to your family during this important moment, but safely needs to come first right now. Remind everyone to keep touching to a minimum.

Celebrating the arrival of a child can feel strange in the middle of so many unknowns and stressors. But, it absolutely still deserves celebration and joy — even if those celebrations are a little bit different from how we had originally imagined!

7 Things Grandparents Need to Know About Surrogacy

Happy (early) Grandparents Day! The role a grandparent plays in the life of their children and grandchildren is indispensible. Comfort, joy, security, and peace — these are all things a grandparent can provide in a unique way.

And for this year’s Grandparents Day on Sunday, we want to specifically speak to those with grandchildren who became a part of the family through the surrogacy process, or who will soon be a part of the family through this journey.

We know — surrogacy can be a bit confusing. You’re probably wondering how it all works, and if there’s anything different you need to do to be the best grandparent possible.

We’re sure you are going to be a great grandparent, especially once you have an even better understanding of surrogacy. So, without further ado, here are seven things every grandparent needs to know about surrogacy.

Your children considered all their options.

Is your child in the process of becoming a parent through surrogacy? It may seem like an odd choice. You may not really “get it.” What about adoption? Or foster care?

It’s completely understandable to have questions. However, you should be aware that asking could sound like an accusation or disapproval.

Anyone starting the surrogacy process has thoroughly considered all of their options. If this is what your child has chosen, then they did it intentionally. Rather than question (even with good intentions), it’s best to stick to support and encouragement.

There’s a difference between questioning the process and asking questions about the process.

With that said, we don’t want to stifle your curiosity! It’s expected that you’d have questions about how surrogacy works. This is different than questioning the method itself.

It’s okay to ask about the process. This shows your interest and makes it clear that you are going to be invested.

Your grandchild could be biologically related to you.

There are two types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational. The vast majority of modern surrogacies are gestational. That means both the egg and sperm are combined through IVF, and the surrogate’s eggs are not used in the process. The surrogate is not biologically related to the child.

Some intended parents turn to donors for viable sperm and eggs. Others are able to use their own. This means that in a gestational surrogacy, your grandchild could have a biological connection to you. Either way, though, they are still your grandchild!

The surrogacy process can be challenging.

Intended parents have to work through a lot of complicated emotions and endure long periods of waiting during the process. It can be difficult. Reach out and check on them — offer to make dinners, host a movie night, or really anything that could pick them up.

The surrogate is an important piece of the journey, both then and now.

The surrogate is on the other side of the surrogacy process from the intended parents. It may be an awkward relationship to think about, but she is an important piece of the process and could remain a part of the family’s life moving forward. Consider how you can be kind and welcoming to her during (and after) this process.

Your grandchild should hear their surrogacy story.

You know those old tropes about keeping adoption secret, like it’s something to be ashamed of? You’ve probably seen it in movies and TV shows. Well, it’s completely wrong. And just like adoption stories, surrogacy stories are something to be shared early and often.

The parents take on the primary responsibility of teaching their child about their surrogacy story. When you are grandparents of a child via surrogacy, ask the parents how you can help. They may have good books to read at bedtime when the kids stay over, or helpful answers for questions they’ve been asking lately. Try to familiarize yourself with talking about surrogacy, especially at age-appropriate levels.

You have a lot to be proud of.

Your children made a brave decision to pursue surrogacy. They chose the best route for them to fulfill their dreams of becoming parents. It took dedication and strength, as they faced plenty of frustrations and challenges along the way.

Whether you are grandparents already or grandparents-to-be, you have a lot to be proud of. That’s something to be thankful for on this Grandparents Day.

10 Great Father’s Day Presents: For Dads and Dads-to-Be

Fatherhood is the greatest gift any man can receive. But with Father’s Day right around the corner, now is a great time to lavish the dad or dad-to-be in your life with even more presents.

Parenthood is a unique journey for each person. Even within a surrogacy partnership, participants will have different experiences. When you’ve recently become a parent through the surrogacy process — or are preparing as an intended parent — the journey is especially distinct.

The joys and challenges of surrogacy are unlike anything else. With this in mind, there are several Father’s Day gift ideas that are great for anyone who became a father through surrogacy.

10 Great Father’s Day Presents

1. Surrogacy Memory Book

This gift takes preparation, but it’s worth the time. Collect pictures, texts or letters exchanged during the surrogacy process. If you can, ask the surrogate to contribute, too. You can create a physical scrapbook commemorating the journey or make something digital.

2. A Grilling Set — With a Mini Match

This is only one example of a larger idea: Find something that will create a bond and memory between father and child.

Does the new dad love grilling? Get him a set of new grill tools, and a play grill that he can set up next to the real thing. Kids emulate dads, and it will be the sweetest thing to look out on the deck and see the two of them out there together, spatula in hand, flipping burgers.

This gift could be anything. A small basketball goal, a little lawnmower, a miniature set of golf clubs — whatever you could foresee your child and their dad doing together.

3. Parenting Classes

This may not be the most fun gift, but any dad-to-be will appreciate it. Becoming a parent for the first time isn’t easy. For those who became fathers through surrogacy, there can be unique challenges forming attachment with the baby. Parenting resources and classes for new dads can be helpful, and these could be a great Father’s Day gift.

4. A Date Night

In the whirlwind of becoming parents together through surrogacy, don’t forget about your relationship. Your partnership is the foundation of your parenting. Take care of it, too, by giving your dad or dad-to-be a night out for Father’s Day.

Your date night doesn’t need to be extravagant. Find a sitter you trust, make a reservation at your favorite restaurant and enjoy yourself. Maybe pick up a bottle of your favorite wine to wind down once you get home. It’s the simple things that mean a lot.

5. Surrogacy-Specific Gifts

There are many small boutiques that make handmade, surrogacy-specific gifts. Etsy shops are a good place to start, if this sounds like something the dad or dad-to-be in your life would like. Decorative pieces with common surrogacy phrases are a good touch for the office as he returns to work, or it could be something to put in the home.

6. Cool-Looking Baby Gear

Baby bags are essential, and most of them are made for moms. But, there’s cool gear out there for any new dad.

From tactical baby bags to svelte diaper bags to trendy stroller organizers, you can find something practical and attractive for your Father’s Day gift.

7. Slippers

Okay, hear us out. Few things matter more to new parents than comfort. They’re going to lose some sleep, and they’ll be pushed to their breaking point more than once. The least you can do is treat them well. Why not help your new dad out with a nice pair of slippers?

At least this way his feet feel good on the long walk down the hall at 3 a.m.

8. Home Workout Equipment

Becoming a parent seems to shorten your days. You used to have time to get to the gym a couple days a week. Now? Not so much.

A small home workout set could be a great Father’s Day present. Even a little daily activity can go a long way toward improving physical and mental health — which makes you a happier person and a better parent. It’s a win-win-win for father, mother and baby.

9. Local Coffee and a New Mug

Notice any increased caffeine needs recently? Coffee and a mug are always great options for Father’s Day. Find a local roaster and pick out their most popular bag to make the dad’s mornings much better. There are plenty of good Father’s Day mugs to choose from. Or, if you want something less holiday-themed, you could go with a practical to-go cup.

10. A Summer Getaway

For our final idea, take date night up a notch and make it a whole weekend getaway. You and your spouse may not be ready for this yet, as it takes time to feel comfortable being apart from your baby. But, if you’re ready, why not book a nice, relaxing cabin for a couple nights?

Enjoy the summer skies, go for hikes, sip coffee (maybe from that new mug) surrounded by towering trees, and refuel together from your first months as new parents.

There are so many ways to show your appreciation through gifts. Don’t forget to express it in other ways, too. Simple words of encouragement go a long way for any new dads or dads-to-be.

Becoming a new parent through surrogacy is incredible. Take time this Father’s Day to celebrate all that has happened for the new dad in your life and all the good things yet to come.

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

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

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

1. Something handmade

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

2. A self-care package

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

3. A journal

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

4. Baby supplies

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

5. Diapers

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

6. A spa day

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

7. Flowers

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

8. A gift card to one of her favorite places

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

9. A meal-delivery service

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

10. Something to help her get ready

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

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

What If Your Spouse Wants to Become a Surrogate?

Becoming a surrogate is a life-changing journey.

So, if your partner has decided to become a surrogate, the news will probably come as a shock. And, as their partner, you want to do everything you can to support them. But it can be hard to work through the emotions that you’re feeling right now.

Many spouses of women who want to become a surrogate are supportive, proactive, and encouraging. And, yet, others may be feeling worried, anxious and uncertain about the process ahead.

While there is no right or wrong way to feel about this decision, there is one thing that we want to make clear upfront: Your support will be a crucial part of this entire journey. That’s why, in this article, we’ll go over some things you should know when your spouse decides to become a surrogate — and a few ways that you can stand by her side.

Working Through Your Emotions

It’s not every day that you find out that your spouse wants to become a surrogate. At this point, we bet you have plenty of questions. Rest assured, this isn’t a decision that your spouse came to lightly.

Choosing to become a surrogate involves many factors. Maybe she’s always dreamed of helping someone else grow their family. Or maybe it’s an idea she’s stumbled upon recently, and after plenty of research, she’s decided it’s the right path for her.

You’re also probably full of mixed emotions. Some spouses are very supportive of the idea of surrogacy, making their partner’s journey that much easier. But, there are many spouses who aren’t understanding of the decision to become a surrogate.

First, we want to say that you’re not alone for feeling this way — but it’s possible for these feelings to change. Your emotions may come from a place of misunderstanding. Surrogacy may still be a whole new concept for you. You might worry about how this will affect your partner’s well-being, your family and you.

If you are unsupportive of your spouse’s surrogacy goals, it will be near impossible for her to move forward. She needs your support during this life-changing, complicated process. Before shooting down her idea, hear her out — you may find yourself convinced.

If you’re not sure where to turn to, please reach out to a surrogacy specialist to learn more. You and your spouse can also speak with a counselor about what you’re feeling before moving forward.

We know that this news is a lot to take in, so don’t feel bad about needing some time to process everything. When you are ready to talk, a specialist will be there to support you.

How You Can Support Your Spouse’s Surrogacy Journey

We know that starting the surrogacy process can be a stressful time for everyone. In that case, here are a few of our tips for supporting your partner through their surrogacy journey.

  • Learn about surrogacy: Education is one of the best tools. If you’re new to the surrogacy process, then you’re probably feeling a bit wary. The good news is that there is plenty of information available for you to peruse. And there’s no better time to learn than right now. Your spouse will have also done plenty of her own research, so don’t be afraid to bring up any questions you have about the process. You can also reach out to a surrogacy specialist for more information, too.
  • Talk it out: Your spouse wants to know what you’re thinking — so don’t bottle it up. After learning more about the surrogacy process, you can use that knowledge to share your thoughts with your spouse rather than just saying no. As her partner, you should be comfortable sharing your misgivings, so that the two of you can come to a solution together.
  • Remind them that you’re there to help: Your spouse is your partner in all things. You should remind her that you’re always there to listen and lend an ear. When things don’t go as planned, she should always know that you’ll be the first one to listen. For the next year or so, she’s going to count on you when things get tough.

Please remember that these are just a few of the ways that you can support your spouse. If you have any other questions, or if you need more tips, don’t forget that you can always reach out to a surrogacy specialist for help.

How to Prepare Older Children for a Sibling Born Via Surrogacy

If you have a child or several children, and you’re in the process of adding to your family through surrogacy, you’re also going to be preparing your children for a new baby brother or sister. So, in honor of National Siblings Day, American Surrogacy wanted to offer you some tips!

In most respects, you’ll talk to your children about the responsibilities of being a big sibling just like any family would. Your children will likely experience the same thoughts and feelings that most kids have when they find out they’re getting a new sibling.

However, because you’re welcoming a child via surrogacy, a few aspects of this experience will be a little different. For example, your kids won’t be watching Mom’s belly grow. They may wonder if their surrogate-born sibling will be different somehow. They may want to establish their own relationship to your surrogate and their unborn sibling.

You may not be sure of how to move forward, so here’s American Surrogacy’s advice on how to help get your children ready for their newest surrogate-born sibling:

1. Explain Surrogacy to Your Children

Having a basic, age-appropriate grasp of the surrogacy process is the first step. Reading some children’s books about surrogacy together can be a great introduction to the topic. 

Explain that there are many different but equally wonderful ways to grow a family, and this is just how your child’s brother or sister will be joining your family. Ask them if they have any questions about surrogacy, and express your excitement and pride in this shared experience — they’ll mirror your calmness and positivity!

Remember that your children will become their own ambassadors for surrogacy at school and among their peers, so give them the tools they need to answer questions they might be asked by inquisitive kids or teachers. Teaching them some basic language to use and practicing using that language at home can be helpful.

2. Continue to Talk About the Baby and Let Them Ask Questions

When you’re adding to your family via surrogacy, the concept of the new baby can be a little “out of sight, out of mind” for some kids. After your initial news, they may forget that the baby is still coming because they aren’t watching Mom’s body change. The baby’s arrival can feel very far away to a little kid!

Keep their new sibling a topic of conversation. Ask them what they’re excited to do with their little brother or sister when they’re older, or what names they like. Ask them for their help in setting up the baby’s nursery.

Take the opportunity to listen to their questions, as well. Your child might be wondering about how the baby is doing with the surrogate, or they might be unsure of what the hospital process will be like. They might also be nervous about typical big sibling concerns, too!

3. Involve Them in the Surrogacy Experience

It can be comforting for your child to feel included and clued in with what’s happening, in an age-appropriate way. Here are a few ways you could include your child in your family’s surrogacy journey:

  • Let your children meet your surrogate, if possible. You can show your child her picture or video chat with her if an in-person visit isn’t convenient. Getting to know the wonderful person who is carrying their sibling can make things feel a little more real and exciting.
  • Let your children meet their sibling at the hospital. This may also give them the opportunity to thank your surrogate for helping your whole family. 
  • Encourage your child to write letters or draw pictures to your surrogate and your baby. Mail them to her! It’ll probably bring a smile to her face.
  • Record your child reading a story to the baby, and send it to your surrogate to play. Get a jumpstart on sibling bonding!
  • Have your child pick out two special gifts — one for your surrogate and one for their baby sibling. Letting them choose a toy or stuffed animal for the baby can help things feel tangible.
  • Talk about your surrogate. Tell your child stories that she’s shared about the baby’s progress or movements. Tell your child about where she lives and what her family is like. Talk about how she’s taking amazing care of their baby sibling.

4. Be Reassuring and Express Your Excitement

Kids pick up on our emotions and look to parents to see if they should feel positively about a new situation. Speaking and behaving in a way that shows you’re proud of this surrogacy journey will set the example for your children to follow suit. Setting this tone now will especially be important for your surrogate-born child. Show your children that this is a happy and exciting time for your family. 

Even so, your child may still be afraid of the big changes ahead or may feel some uncertainty toward the surrogacy process. Keep assuring your children that things are going to be alright. The surrogacy process can be hectic and emotional, but your children will look to you for normalcy and positivity in the adventure you’re undertaking together.

In many ways, these feelings are the same that any family experiences with the arrival of a new child. Surrogacy can make things seem a little challenging at first glance, but the enormous benefit that it will have for your family will be lifelong.

Want more tips and suggestions on preparing your children for a sibling born via surrogacy? Reach out to your American Surrogacy specialist anytime for personalized advice.

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.