6 Ways to Help Those Going through Surrogacy

Things You Can Do and Say to Help Surrogates or Intended Parents

If you’re friends with a surrogate or an intended parent, you’re likely wondering how you can help them. Surrogacy journeys are full of joys and excitements, but they can also be tough and tiring for everyone involved.

Here’s how you can lend your support if your loved one is in the midst of the surrogacy process, whether they’re a surrogate or an intended parent:

1. Offer practical support whenever you can.

The business of pregnancy and waiting for a baby can be hectic, time-consuming and physically draining. This is true for any expectant parent, and it’s also true for gestational surrogates and intended parents.

Surrogates are raising children of their own at home in addition to growing another family’s baby, so they would probably welcome an extra hand with everyday tasks as their pregnancy progresses! Offer to watch your friend’s kids while she’s at her obstetrician appointments or bring over a casserole for dinner so she can have some leftovers.

Although the intended parents aren’t handling the physical strains of the pregnancy, they’re still busy and stressed about their upcoming baby. They may be called for their surrogate’s delivery last-minute, so offer to housesit or watch their other children for them while they’re away. Even offering to take them out to lunch to get their mind off of things can be helpful.

2. Listen.

The surrogacy process can be incredibly emotional for both gestational surrogates and intended parents. There will likely be some ups and downs, and they’ll need someone to talk to about it.

Sometimes, the best way to show your support for someone you love is to just be there and listen. No need to fix anything for them — just hear them out so they can work through their feelings.

3. Encourage them.

The end result of surrogacy — a brand-new baby — makes all struggles worthwhile. But, your loved one will likely need continued encouragement from you to remind them why they started their surrogacy journey in the first place.

The surrogacy process takes at least a year once it’s underway, and that doesn’t include the time that it takes an intended parent to decide that this family-building path is the right one for them. Your loved one will need your encouragement as they continue pursuing something so important, especially when their journey feels difficult.

4. Celebrate their joys.

There are a lot of moments to be celebrated throughout the surrogacy process, both big and small. But because surrogacy is still a relatively misunderstood way to build a family, many people don’t recognize these joys for surrogates and parents.

Your loved one will feel more appreciated and part of a “normal,” celebrated experience if you take the time to acknowledge these joys. If you’re not sure what’s appropriate, ask!

Offer to throw a baby shower for the intended parents and ask how to appropriately honor the surrogate and surrogacy process. Congratulate your surrogate friend on the pregnancy, and let her know to extend your congratulations to the baby’s parents. Surrogates, intended parents and children born via surrogacy all deserve to be celebrated like anyone else, while you also acknowledge their unique journey to get where they are now.

5. Educate others.

Your loved one probably gets a little tired of answering questions about their surrogacy process. They’ve likely talked to you about their experiences, so you already have some knowledge of how surrogacy works.

A great way to show your support for those who have been touched by surrogacy is to educate others about the process and to dispel misconceptions. Continue to learn about surrogacy, and then share your newfound information with others. If you notice someone spreading inaccurate information about surrogacy, set the record straight with some facts!

Just be sure to avoid sharing information from your friend’s personal surrogacy story with others.

6. Be ready to help after their surrogacy journey is over.

Gestational surrogates will be recovering postpartum, and new parents will be right in the middle of baby craziness.

Sending a card or flowers to either party is a nice gesture. Even better, bring over a meal to help save them some time as everyone gets back to their lives post-surrogacy, or offer to babysit their older children so that they can have a quick break.

Remember that gestational surrogates will want some time to rest and recuperate, and new parents will want plenty of alone-time to bond with their child and settle in with the newest family member, so give your loved one some space.

However you help and support your loved one throughout their surrogacy journey, they’ll appreciate that you took the time to make the effort. If you need advice on supporting a gestational surrogate or an intended parent, you can always reach out to an American Surrogacy specialist at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

What to Say — and What Not to Say — to the Intended Parent in Your Life

So, your friend or family member has told you they’re pursuing surrogacy to add a child to their family — how exciting!

But, what if you’ve never had any experience with surrogacy before? How do you know what to say — and what not to say — when you receive this news? How do you express your excitement without offending the intended parents?

Surrogacy can be a tricky conversation, but American Surrogacy is here to help. In this blog post, we’ll run through some of the biggest things not to say when talking to intended parents and offer some alternatives instead. Remember, our team is always available to explain more about surrogacy when you call us at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

In the meantime, find some tips for this conversation below:

5 Things Not to Say to an Intended Parent

There are a few common things that people say when their loved ones first share their surrogacy news. As well-meaning as they are, they can actually be quite intrusive and hurtful for intended parents to hear. Here are a few phrases you’ll want to avoid:

1. “How much are you paying your surrogate?”

Surrogate compensation is a hot topic among those who are unfamiliar with the surrogacy process — but it’s not a topic up for discussion with intended parents. Refrain from any comments on money or how the intended parents must be “rich” for pursuing this path. The fact is that many intended parents are often in debt or have spent much of their life savings trying to have a child.

Any compensation they are paying their surrogate is between them and her. Rest assured that it’s a number the two parties have both agreed is fair.

2. “Why don’t you just adopt?”

Adoption is a lot harder than many people think it is. It’s a process that takes a great deal of time and money, just like surrogacy. It also comes with some unknowns that surrogacy doesn’t.

Asking intended parents this question comes across as judgmental. Odds are, they considered adoption when deciding on their next step in their family-building process, and they decided it wasn’t right for them. It’s not your business why they chose surrogacy over adoption; it’s your job to support them through their family-building journey.

3. “Who’s the baby’s real mother?”

Most surrogacies today are gestational surrogacies, in which the surrogate is not genetically related to the child she carries. Instead, the intended parents’ embryo is implanted in her uterus for her to carry to term. Some intended parents use donor gametes to create this embryo.

Using the word “real” in reference to non-traditional family-building processes only perpetrates the idea that pregnancy is the only way to be a parent. Pregnancy and genetic relationship does not make a family; instead, it’s love and dedication.

4. “Whose sperm are you using?”

Similarly, when a male gay couple pursues surrogacy, people often ask who the “real” dad will be. This is an incredibly rude and intrusive question. A parent’s genetic connection to their child is only the business of the parent, the child, and the spouse.

Both men in a gay couple will be great parents to their child, regardless of genetics. Focus on that in your conversation, not their biological relationship.

5. “Can I meet your surrogate?”

This question may come from a place of interest; after all, you want to meet the woman who will be carrying your loved one’s baby! However, a surrogate isn’t someone to be put on display. She’s her own person with her own life, not subject to whims of intended parents and their friends and family.

Intended parents should be the one bringing up this idea, not you. Their relationship with their surrogate and their personal preferences will determine whether they are comfortable with this sort of thing.

6. “Wow, you’re lucky you don’t have to get fat/have morning sickness!”

You may be trying to find a silver lining in your loved one’s journey to surrogacy, but remember that many intended mothers would much rather carry their child on their own — regardless of side effects or risks. It may have taken an intended mother a long time to grieve her dreams of pregnancy, and this flippant response can bring up her negative experiences and feelings all over again.

7. “Don’t you feel jealous of your surrogate?”

Of course an intended mother has some feelings of jealousy toward her surrogate! On the same note as the comment above, don’t mention these kinds of things to intended mothers. Infertility grief is strong and can last a long time, and your loved one should be looking forward to the positives of the future — not the bad experiences of the past.

3 Things to Say to an Intended Parent

While there are many things you should not say to an intended parent, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t talk about their surrogacy at all! Here are a few more positive phrases you should make sure to use in your conversations with intended parents:

1. “How can I help?”

Even though intended parents aren’t the ones physically going through pregnancy, their journey through gestational surrogacy will still be hard. Not only do they have to stay organized and pay for all of the expenses of pregnancy, there will be tough emotional journey ahead as their surrogate gets pregnant and they watch their baby grow within her over the next nine months.

As their friend or family member, you can play a huge role in making this journey a little easier. Offer to take them out for dinner or do something else to take their mind off of surrogacy. Throw them a baby shower or help them decorate their nursery for their future child. Find ways to help them out just as you would anyone else who is expecting a child in the traditional way.

2. “You must be excited to be parents!”

Intended parents often have conflicting feelings about surrogacy. It’s one step closer to them finally having a child, but it also requires them to give up their dreams of pregnancy and a great deal of control over their child’s development in utero. Because of the emotions involved, it may be difficult for them to share their excitement.

So, give them an opportunity to talk about it! Instead of focusing on the details and asking lots of questions, accept their news with excitement and reflect what they are likely feeling. Ask them about their plans for the nursery and what will happen after the baby is born; don’t focus too much on their choice of surrogacy in getting there.

3. “I know you’ve waited a long time for this. I’m happy for you!”

Similarly, express your excitement about their news, too! Remember that intended parents have often gone through a lot before choosing surrogacy, and it can be reassuring for someone to notice and validate their struggles. This is the kind of response they are looking for when they announce their surrogacy journey. You can’t go wrong with mentioning this in your conversation.

More than anything else, pay close attention to the intended parents’ language and responses during this kind of conversation. You should be able to detect fairly easily what topics they are comfortable with and which they are not. Use that to guide your conversation.

Want more tips on supporting those going through the surrogacy process? Talk to our surrogacy specialists anytime by calling 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

What to Say — And What Not to Say — to the Surrogate in Your Life

Talking about surrogacy can be tough — especially if you’re still learning about the ins and outs of the process. If a loved one tells you about her plans to become a surrogate, you may not be sure of how to respond. What should you say to be as supportive as possible?

We know surrogacy can be a tricky conversation for some people. That’s why we’ve gathered this helpful guide to what to say — and what not to say — when someone tells you they’re becoming a surrogate. Proper language is so important in the surrogacy process, and it’s a good idea to have a base knowledge of surrogacy before your loved one begins their journey.

Below, check out some important things to know for talking about surrogacy with your loved one. Remember: American Surrogacy’s team of surrogacy specialists is always here to answer any of the questions you may have about the surrogacy process.

5 Things Not to Say to a Surrogate

First, let’s start with the things not to say to a gestational carrier. There are a lot of misconceptions about the surrogacy process, and a lot of them emerge as ignorant or insensitive questions to a gestational carrier.

Before you have a conversation with your loved one about her surrogacy journey, scratch these ones from your vocabulary:

1. “Aren’t you afraid that you’ll ‘get attached’ to the baby?”

Many people assume “surrogacy” still means “traditional surrogacy” — that the carrier is related to the baby. But, that’s not the truth. More than likely, your loved one is a gestational carrier, meaning she is just “the oven” for the intended parents’ baby.  It’s silly to ask her if she’ll get attached; she knows she’s just “babysitting,” and she will likely be excited to hand over the baby once he or she is born!

2. “How much are you getting paid?”

This is an absolute hands-off topic when you’re talking with gestational carriers. How much a woman is paid for her surrogacy services is her family’s and the intended parent’s business alone.

Know that if your loved one is receiving compensation for her services, it is a number that she and her intended parents agreed is fair to all parties. Avoid any conversation about money when talking to your friend or family member about her surrogacy journey.

3. “Why don’t the intended parents just adopt?”

This is one of the most common questions that intended parents get — and their surrogate will likely get the query, too. The fact is that adoption is not right for everyone. Every parent has the right to choose the family-building path that is right for them, and it’s no one’s business to question it.

Intended parents choose surrogacy for many reasons: They have remaining embryos, they want a genetic connection, or adoption may not be possible for them. Their reasons are not your surrogate’s story to tell, so stop asking!

4. “How will you tell your kids?”

While this question itself can be a well-meaning one, it can come off in another way. Often, the people who ask this question are implying that the surrogate’s children won’t be able to understand the surrogacy process, or that they will take it personally when their mother “gives away” the baby she is carrying.

Children understand more than adults give them credit for. It’s highly likely that your friend has already started to explain the surrogacy process to her children in a positive way — maybe even in a way not much different than how she explained surrogacy to you.

5. “Pregnancy is dangerous — are you sure about this?”

Most likely, by the time your friend is telling you about her plans to become a surrogate, she has already begun the process. She may have already matched with intended parents, she may be taking fertility medication, or she may even be pregnant!

Whatever stage she is at, she’s already made up her mind about this journey. Expressions of concern from her loved ones are not what she is looking for. A woman has to be fully informed of all the risks well before she starts the surrogacy process. So, she’s already evaluated those risks, and she won’t like to be reminded of them.

3 Things to Say to a Surrogate

While there are certain things that surrogates are tired of hearing, there are also some things that surrogates don’t hear often enough. If you’re discussing your friend’s surrogacy journey with her, here are some positive things that you can say:

1. “The intended parents must be so grateful!”

A surrogate knows that what she’s doing will help her intended parents reach their dreams of having a family. But, to hear someone else acknowledge her impact is a big deal.

Rather than focusing on what she gets out of the surrogacy process (ie. surrogate compensation), focus on what her decision will give to other people. It shows that you truly understand why she chose this path and, in turn, that you appreciate her, too.

2. “You are such a wonderful person for doing this!”

But, don’t just assume that your loved one knows you respect her decision — tell her to her face!

A surrogate may not always receive positive comments from all of her friends and family. It can be disheartening to be so excited about being a surrogate, only to have someone respond with judgement or disapproval (see comments above). Make it obvious that you respect her decision by congratulating her on it and clearly showing your pride in what she has chosen to do. After all, surrogacy is something that affects the whole world, not just her intended parents.

3. “How can I help?”

When your loved one becomes a surrogate, she gives up a great deal of her time and energy to grow a baby for someone else. She may be just as tired and overwhelmed as during her previous pregnancies, but she may not be receiving the same support from her friends and family because the baby isn’t hers.

So, when your friend tells you she’s being a surrogate, take the opportunity to offer your assistance. Tell her you’ll make dinner on a busy night or watch her kids when she has doctor’s appointments. She will certainly appreciate it in the next year or so to come.

Want more advice on talking to a surrogate about her journey? Contact our surrogacy team at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) for our tips and advice.

Why Don’t Intended Parents “Just” Adopt?

It’s a common question that intended parents pursuing surrogacy receive:

Why don’t you just adopt?

For those unfamiliar with gestational surrogacy, choosing this method to build a family may be hard to understand. For them, surrogacy brings up concerns over financial burden, genetic relationships, time and emotional complications.

While their concerns are often well-meaning, they can be hard for intended parents to hear. People who have struggled with infertility go through a lot before deciding on gestational surrogacy. They’re excited about this next step to build their family! But, when people ask them why they don’t “just” adopt, intended parents can feel judged for the personal decision they’ve made for their family.

The decision between adoption and surrogacy is a big one to make. So, before you start prying into this personal decision of intended parents, think about these reasons why adoption may not have been right for them:

1. They want a biological connection to their child.

People who have never struggled with infertility often take for granted their ability to have a genetically related child. It was easy for them to conceive a biological child, so they likely don’t think about the emotions tied to this seemingly simple connection.

But, intended parents have.

A biological connection is the biggest reason why intended parents choose to pursue surrogacy over adoption. Like many other parents, intended parents want a child who looks like them and shares their blood. While genetic relationship does not make a family, many intended parents want to have this relationship, if at all possible.

It’s not a simple decision to give up dreams of having a biological child. Parents who pursue adoption must go through a grief process as they accept their child will not have a genetic connection. It’s not as easy as “just deciding” to start the adoption process.

2. They have remaining embryos from infertility treatments.

For some intended parents, the idea of discarding or donating perfectly usable embryos is a difficult one. So, instead, they decide to use those embryos in a gestational surrogacy situation. This way, they feel better about the money they put into creating those embryos in the first place, and it gives them another chance for those embryos to develop into babies.

If you have leftover embryos you’re considering for surrogacy, you can always call our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) for more information on the surrogacy process with our agency.

3. They want more control over their baby’s development in utero.

Parents who choose adoption to bring a child into their family must give up a great deal of control. No matter what kind of adoption process they use, there are likely unknowns when it comes to the child’s health history and the personal history of their birth mother.

Intended parents who choose surrogacy have a bit more control over their surrogate’s pregnancy than adoptive parents have over a prospective birth mother’s. Every preference and expectation for a gestational pregnancy is outlined in a legal surrogacy contract. Intended parents can be involved in medical appointments and the birth of their child, and they are reassured in knowing the personal health history of their child — because the child is genetically related to them. They also have the confidence that their child will be theirs at the end of the pregnancy — unlike in adoption, when a prospective birth mother always has the right to change her mind.

Don’t get us wrong: Intended parents do have to give up a certain amount of control. But, they are often more comfortable with this sacrifice in gestational surrogacy than in adoption.

4. The adoption process isn’t right for their family.

Just as gestational surrogacy isn’t right for everyone, neither is the adoption process.

Sometimes, intended parents don’t have the option of adoption. Perhaps they’re an LGBT individual or couple, and they are worried about finding an LGBT-friendly agency in their state or country. Maybe they’re too old (or too young) to meet adoption requirements. Maybe they simply aren’t prepared to raise an adopted child and cope with the challenges along the way.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Adoption isn’t “easy”; it’s a path that parents often take after they have exhausted all of their other options and have spent months and years preparing. Intended parents who choose surrogacy may not have been ready for that challenging process at this time.

5. They have the right to choose the family-building option that is best for them.

Finally, for people asking, “Why didn’t you just adopt?” ask yourself this: Why didn’t you adopt?

Every hopeful parent has the right to choose the family-building process that is best for them. Just as you may have never considered adoption yourself, perhaps intended parents considering surrogacy didn’t either. There’s a lot that goes into this decision, including costs, emotions, timeline and more.  After considering all of this, intended parents discover that gestational surrogacy is the right option for them.

No matter how you built your own family, it’s never your place to judge or question why people build their families in specific ways. It’s much better to support someone’s family-building journey, whatever it is. Offer your practical and emotional support, and your friends going through surrogacy will be thankful.

Trying to decide whether gestational surrogacy is right for your family? Reach out to our surrogacy specialists for more information and professional advice.

5 Ways to Respond to “When Are You Having a Baby?”

The holiday season — a time full of love, joy, and reconnecting with family. But, family doesn’t always mean love and joy, especially for those going through the infertility process. Instead, it can sometimes mean endless questions about a subject you’d rather not let be the focus of your holiday season.

For many relatives, close and extended, the holiday season is a time to catch up with family about the big updates of the year and those yet to come. Often, those questions involve discussions of family-building and future bundles of joy. While these questions may seem harmless to the asker, they can quickly take their toll on couples and singles at every stage in their family-building process.

We know that the holidays can be a tough time for intended parents, even if their families are sensitive about discussing their family-building process. That’s why your surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy will always be here to support you during this time, whether you need more information about your personal surrogacy journey or connections to trusted local infertility counselors.

If you’re like many intended parents, no amount of preparation can stave off the inevitable question: “When are you having kids?” If you wish to spend time with family during the holidays, there are a few different ways you can approach this invasive question:

1. Explain your situation ahead of time.

If you know a big family gathering is coming — such as Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner — take the initiative to tell your family members about any news (or lack of) in your family-building process ahead of time. Consider sending a mass text or email to tell your extended family (who may be unaware of your recent life changes) about your current status in your infertility treatments. Whether you are still undergoing traditional treatments, have taken a break or are pursuing surrogacy or adoption, share that news with them ahead of time. That way, they can process any emotions they have and ask you questions in a less emotionally charged way than you would experience at a family gathering.

2. Redirect with a joke or lighthearted comment.

If you do get the dreaded questions during your family gathering, you have a few options in how you respond. If you don’t wish to go into depth about the personal details of your family-building process, you can respond in a lighthearted way. Often, family members and friends will pick up on your comment and redirect the conversation elsewhere. If they don’t, take that initiative yourself.

If someone asks you, “When are you having children?” you could respond with answers such as:

  • “My dog/cat is enough of a child for me right now!”
  • “That’s a good question! I have one for you, too” (and then change to another subject).
  • “When I hit all the countries and cities on my bucket list!”
  • “Well, we’re just doing a lot of practice right now!”
  • “I don’t know, but we’ll give it a go tonight!”
  • “Not sure yet — what about you?”
  • “When people stop asking us all the time, so probably not for a while.”

Obviously, some of these responses will go over better than others, depending on who you are speaking to. Use your own judgement, and the right response will usually lead to the asker quickly changing the subject.

3. Answer honestly — and take this chance to educate.

If you’re dealing with infertility, you may have been keeping this a secret from your family and friends. However, infertility is more common than you may think — 1 in 8 American couples struggle to get pregnant — and you can spread awareness by being honest about your situation. If you feel up for it, explain to the asker that you have been having troubles getting pregnant and are looking into your options. You can also take this opportunity to explain why asking this question can be so harmful to people, and that advice from anyone other than your doctor won’t make you feel any better.

If you mention that you are pursuing surrogacy or adoption, you may receive misguided and misinformed comments from your family and friends. If you are comfortable doing so, take this opportunity to shed the light on the reality of these family-building methods. Not only will you help spread awareness about these beautiful methods of creating a family, you will also help your family and friends get as excited as you are about your future plans.

4. Make your discomfort known.

You don’t have to explain your situation if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. Remember, news about your family-building process is always personal, and it’s no one’s business but your own. If you don’t feel like answering the question, “When are you having kids?” with a long response, use something simple:

“That’s a really personal question that I’m really not comfortable answering.”

While it may be awkward when you start using this response, it can be incredibly effective at shutting down the conversation about your family-building plans and will often prevent your friend or family member from asking the same question again in the future.

5. Make any discussion about family-building off-limits.

If all else fails, you may need to use more forceful language when speaking with your friends and family. Subtle responses like the one above may not stop a nosy relative, so be prepared to shut down the conversation if you have to.  As uncomfortable as it may be, tell the asker that this is not a topic for discussion during your family gathering, that you wish to focus on the family that is already here to celebrate, and that you do not want for them to ask again. It may cause tension in the family for a little bit, but it is always worth it when it comes to your emotional well-being.

The holidays can often be stressful enough without feeling like you have to fend off intrusive questions from your loved ones about your personal life. If you need to, don’t be afraid to take some space for yourself during these gatherings or even avoid certain get-togethers completely. It is important for you to keep yourself emotionally healthy, especially if you are in the middle of surrogacy, adoption or another family-building path. Remember, your family’s journey is only your own business; you do not owe anyone an explanation.

For more guidance about discussing surrogacy and infertility with your family and friends, don’t hesitate to reach out to your surrogacy specialist at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

What Happens If a Surrogate Gets a New Partner During Her Journey?

Many of the women who choose to become surrogates have a supportive spouse to assist them along the way. However, being married or in a committed relationship is not a requirement to become a surrogate. Many single women have become surrogates and successfully helped to bring a child into the world — and you can, too!

The process of surrogacy can take a long time, but we never ask gestational surrogates to feel like they have to put their life on hold during this journey. Single surrogates are no exception. If you have been dating prior to your surrogacy journey and feel like continuing that process, we have no restrictions on you doing so.

If you do choose to continue dating during your surrogacy journey, you may find that you meet a great potential partner after you have begun your surrogacy process. But, this can be a complicated situation — how do you explain your decision to your new partner? How will your journey affect your budding relationship?

Remember, your surrogacy specialist will always be there to support you through your entire surrogacy process, even complicated situations like this one. Building a new romantic relationship and being a surrogate don’t have to be mutually exclusive, but there are some important things you should know ahead of time.

Do I Have to Tell My Surrogacy Professional?

At American Surrogacy, we don’t want to micromanage your life as a surrogate — and neither will your intended parents. However, bringing a new romantic and sexual partner into your surrogacy journey is something that will affect all parties. As soon as your new relationship has the potential for sexual contact, you will need to inform your surrogacy specialist right away. You won’t have to ditch your new partner, but there are a few steps you’ll have to take moving forward.

When you first become a surrogate, you will have been tested for communicable diseases. This is to ensure that the baby you carry will not contract any of these diseases or infections during your pregnancy or delivery process. Any surrogate who is married or in a committed relationship at the time of her screening would have included her partner in these medical checks. If you gain a new sexual partner during your surrogacy, it is no different.

Before you have any sexual contact with your new partner, it’s important that he or she is tested for any communicable diseases or infections. This will make sure you and the baby you’re carrying stay safe through every step of the process. If your new partner tests positive for any infectious or communicable diseases, it doesn’t mean you have to break up — it just may mean that any sexual relationship between you will need to be delayed until after the baby is born.

For more information about this, reach out to your surrogacy specialist or your fertility clinic.

How Do I Explain My Surrogacy Journey to My New Partner?

Now that you know this, you may be anxious about how to bring up that testing — not to mention your surrogacy journey in general — with your new partner. We understand that surrogacy can be a damper on a new relationship, but it’s an important part of your life for a year or more. It cannot be a secret.

Dating while being a surrogate is an interesting situation, and it’s one you should prepare for if you are a entering this process while single. Fortunately, there are helpful stories from women in similar situations; you can usually find them on surrogacy boards and support groups.

There’s one thing to keep in mind if you’re dating while taking the surrogacy journey: If that partner is really interested in you, they will be okay with your decision.

But, how do you tell them about it?

In many ways, telling prospective partners about your upcoming or current surrogate pregnancy is the same as telling family and friends about your surrogacy decision. You’ll want to make sure they fully understand the process, that you discuss your reasons, and that you give them the chance to ask questions. If they seem to accept and support your decision, you may find that pursuing this relationship will be easier than expected. You don’t necessarily have to bring up the idea of screening right away, just as soon as the idea of a sexual relationship seems likely.

Being a surrogate is a relatively short period in your life, but it is one that will affect every aspect of your life — even your dating life. Your surrogacy specialist will always be here to help you navigate these complexities, and there are plenty of surrogacy support groups that you can turn to for more advice. With proper preparation, you can continue to balance your dating life with your life as a surrogate — and be fulfilled in each journey, too!

10 Things Not to Say to Someone Struggling with Infertility

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

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

1. “Are you pregnant yet?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Break the news gently.

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

2. Educate them.

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

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

3. Give them your reasons.

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

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

4. Ask for their support.

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

5. Focus on what matters.

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

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

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

How to Support Your Friend Pursuing Surrogacy

Your friend or family member has just announced their surrogacy plans to you — and, while you’re excited for them, you’re not exactly sure how to support them in this journey.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do both during and after the surrogacy process to show your friend how excited you are for them… and to make their experience even more positive.

Learn about surrogacy.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about surrogacy out there. You don’t have to become a surrogacy expert, but being somewhat informed about the surrogacy process can go a long way in making your friend or family member feel supported and understood. Your friend will be touched that you took an interest in learning about surrogacy, and they will be happy to have someone to talk to who has a basic understanding of the process they’re going through.

Offer emotional support.

Whether your friend or family member is pursuing surrogacy as an intended parent or a gestational carrier, they are bound to have some hard days. Be there to listen and offer emotional support: let them vent, be a shoulder to cry on, and continue to do activities you enjoy together, whether it’s going out for pedicures or meeting up at a favorite restaurant.

Celebrate with them.

Surrogacy is something to be proud of, and the process is full of many exciting moments worthy of celebration. When your friend or family member hits important milestones in their surrogacy process — for example, the embryo transfer or confirmation of pregnancy — mark the occasion. Send a simple card, care package or gift, or, if your friend or family member is an intended parent, offer to throw a baby shower.

Provide a service.

In addition to emotional support, surrogates and intended parents can benefit from practical support during the surrogacy process, as well. If your friend is a surrogate, offer to babysit her other children or help out with some simple errands or household chores so she can get some rest. Similarly, if your friend is an intended parent, offer to help them assemble the crib or make other preparations for the new baby.

Welcome them home.

When your friend or family member returns home from the hospital, a simple gesture can go a long way to show them you’re thinking of them. Consider leaving a sweet surprise for the surrogate or new parents, whether it’s a bouquet of flowers delivered to the door, balloons tied to the mailbox or a home-cooked meal.

Like any woman who has just given birth, the surrogate will be physically and emotionally tired and recovering. And, like any new parents, the intended parents may be a little overwhelmed (and sleep-deprived). Remember that even after the baby is born, your friend can use all the help they can get — either as a surrogate or new parent. Pamper them, and continue to offer any emotional and practical help they may need.

When in doubt, consider what you would do for a friend pursuing a traditional pregnancy. Surrogacy may be a different way of bringing a child into the world, but it’s no less beautiful — and the intended parents and surrogates who come together to make it happen are no less deserving of your support.

How Your Surrogacy Journey Will Affect Your Spouse

When you become a surrogate, you’re making one of the greatest commitments you can possibly make. But, as much as you will dedicate your time and energy to helping create another family, it’s also important to recognize that your decision will also impact your own family, especially your spouse.

Women today are required to be raising their own children before pursuing this process, and many also have a partner who will be intimately involved in the journey, as well. Therefore, if you’re considering becoming a surrogate, you’ll need to take extra steps to involve your spouse and children to make sure they’re comfortable and understand exactly what your surrogacy decision will mean for them. For many women, surrogacy is not a choice they make solely on their own — but with their spouse’s help.

What Surrogacy Will Mean for Your Spouse

As mentioned, being a surrogate is a huge commitment, and it will greatly impact the lives of all your family members. When you’re raising children with your partner, necessary work and responsibilities will have to be rebalanced — which is why your spouse should be on board with your surrogacy decision from the start.

Like many pregnant women, you will likely have days where you don’t have as much energy or feel as well as you normally do. Activities that you usually take care of or share with your spouse, like cleaning and watching the children, may seem impossible. Your spouse will need to take on those extra responsibilities during that time. In addition, if you are placed on bed rest or required to miss a great deal of work, this can add to the practical and financial responsibilities for your spouse.

You may also have doctor-mandated restrictions on intimacy, especially when you are preparing for your embryo transfer process. Because you will have heightened fertility, any sexual intercourse with your spouse will be more likely to lead to pregnancy — but not the kind you want. If you’re part of a lesbian couple, talk to your doctor about what intimacy restrictions you may need to adhere to. In addition, just like any pregnant woman, your energy and libido may take a hit during this process, which may mean you’re less interested in physical intimacy. This can very easily drive a wedge between couples, so make sure to address this with proper communication.

Keeping Your Relationship Strong

Your spouse is likely your go-to support system in all other areas of your life, and it should be the same during the surrogacy process. However, because surrogacy is such an emotional journey, it may be difficult to keep the same relationship you’ve always had during potential hard and stressful times. This is why it’s so important that you keep your partner involved, so they feel a real part of the process.

To keep a strong relationship with your spouse, try to follow these tips:

  • Ask him or her to come to doctor’s appointments with you, meet the intended parents and be there for the baby’s birth.
  • Talk with your partner throughout the surrogacy process, even when things get tough.
  • Speak with a counselor if you’re struggling to communicate effectively.
  • Focus on the positives, like the surrogate compensation you may be using for a large financial gain, like a down payment on a house.
  • Remember that your surrogacy journey is only temporary; maybe plan a special trip or event after you are recovered from your pregnancy.
  • Lean on others, like friends and family and other surrogate couples, for support and assistance.

Perhaps most important is something you do before you even begin the surrogacy process — discussing its possibility with your spouse and making sure they support you from the very beginning. Without this support, your surrogacy process will become complicated and could have lasting effects on your relationship. If you are having difficulties explaining the process and your decision to your spouse, you can always contact your surrogacy specialist. She will be happy to help you through this conversation and answer any other questions that your partner may have.

Remember, the most successful surrogates go through the surrogacy process with the full support of their spouse, who is just as excited to be part of such a beautiful, family-building journey. With the proper communication, preparation and dedication, you and your spouse will create a life-changing memory of doing something good that you’ll cherish forever.