What if the Intended Parents Miss Their Baby’s Birth?

Intended parents are usually able to get to the hospital with plenty of time to spare, so they can welcome their baby alongside their surrogate. But it’s always a fear in the back of the mind of gestational surrogates and intended parents, especially in long-distance matches — what if the intended parents don’t make it in time? 

What if they miss their baby’s birth? Who would be responsible for the baby’s care and for making any necessary medical decisions until the intended parents arrive? 

While this is extremely rare (it’s never happened with American Surrogacy so far!) it’s certainly possible for an unavoidable impediment like unexpected/emergency labor, a travel ban or flight delay to prevent the intended parents from being present at the time of the baby’s birth.

Here’s what surrogates and intended parents should know:

Always Stay Calm

In the unlikely event that this happens in your surrogacy journey, both parties will be understandably upset that things aren’t going according to plan. The arrival of the baby is an important moment, and you all want to be together for that event. 

However, if something unexpected and unavoidable occurs, all that really matters is the health and safety of the baby and surrogate. No matter what, the baby will be born and the families will be united — even if it’s not as soon as everyone would prefer. Until then, stay calm and trust that each party (along with your American Surrogacy specialist) will take care of their end of things. 

The Baby Would Be Cared for By the Nurses

If the parents are significantly delayed for some reason, the gestational surrogate cannot care for the baby in the interim because she’s not the parent and has no legal rights to the child. That will be the hospital’s policy, even if the intended parents give permission for her to temporarily take over for them until they arrive. 

The hospital’s pediatric staff would assume care of the baby until the parents arrive.

Talk to Your Attorney

Your surrogacy attorneys may be able to work a clause into your contracts that outlines what would happen in this situation, including some advanced medical directives. Ask them what’s possible in your situation, and coordinate with your surrogacy partner as well as your specialist to make sure any relevant legal information is provided to hospital staff in advance.

Talking to your attorney will be especially important if you’re stationed overseas and need to travel back to the United States mainland to be with your U.S. surrogate. Ask your attorney and hospital if there are any exceptions that can be made in your situation, or if you can make some decisions regarding your newborn’s care in advance.

Keep Phones Close at Hand

Some of the medical and newborn care decisions that need to be made by the parents may be done over the phone. This can be tricky if the parents are mid-flight or are traveling through an area with spotty reception. However, surrogates and intended parents can try to keep an open line of communication before, during and after the baby’s birth for important updates, so we always recommend having that phone fully charged, close at hand and with the ringer on.

This will also be important in case your surrogacy specialist tries to get ahold of either of you for updates or important information!

You’ll Have the Rest of Your Lives to Make Up for One Missed Moment

If, as an intended parent, you can’t imagine missing your baby’s first breaths, try to keep things in perspective. Missing your child’s birth would be incredibly difficult. But you’ll have a lifetime together ahead of you!

Surrogates: If you’re comfortable doing so, and you know that the intended parents are about to miss their baby’s birth, consider asking your spouse or a nurse to video or photograph your labor and delivery. Being able to see their baby come into the world (even after the fact) may mean a lot to the parents. 

Your Surrogacy Specialist Will Be Ready

Whether you’re an intended parent or a surrogate, remember that your American Surrogacy specialist will be watching over your journey and making sure that things are going smoothly. Even if something unexpected and unavoidable happens, like the intended parents being delayed on their way to the hospital, your specialist will be ready. 

She will be communicating with hospital staff, your attorneys and both parties as often as possible to keep everyone in the know. We understand that sometimes things unexpectedly happen and throw a wrench in our carefully-made plans! But we’ll be ready to help everyone deal with whatever comes your way and make sure the baby is safe, happy and healthy until he or she is placed into the parents’ arms.

A Day in the Life of a Surrogacy Specialist

The surrogacy process is a beautiful way to start a family. It’s also something that takes a lot of work. Everyone involved has an important role to play, especially the specialist with your surrogacy professional.

Surrogacy specialists are responsible for many aspects of the process. Typically, they’re juggling multiple tasks and everything is high priority. They know they can’t afford to drop any balls, because this work is vital to fulfilling your dreams of becoming a parent. Surrogacy specialists are passionate, caring professionals who work tirelessly to help create families.

As an intended parent or surrogate considering surrogacy, or as an intended parent currently going through the process, you obviously know that surrogacy specialists are important, and the work they do matters. But do you really know what their days look like?

We’re going to pull back the curtain on the daily life of a surrogacy specialist. As you’ll see, these are everyday heroes performing challenging tasks under high pressure. From the required administrative duties to filing paperwork to counseling families and surrogates through the ups and downs of the process, your specialist is there for you.

Here’s what a typical day in the life of a surrogacy specialist might look like.

7 a.m. — Family First

Wait, isn’t this about what a surrogacy specialist does at work? Yes, it is. But before we get to that, we need to establish something very important: Surrogacy specialists have lives, too. They have families, obligations, early mornings and everything else.

When an intended parent or surrogate is working with a surrogacy specialist, it can be easy to get tunnel vision and forget that they are more than just a surrogacy specialist. Before the drive to the office, there’s getting the kids fed and out the door and, if they’re lucky, time to sit down for a cup of coffee.

8 a.m. — Time for Some Emails

Awareness and interest in surrogacy is growing every day. As recently as several years ago, surrogacy was still seen as an “out there” option for family building. Today, it is much more common. A surrogacy specialist knows this firsthand through the amount of inquiries they respond to each day.

After driving to the office and settling in with a hot cup of coffee, their day will often begin by responding to all of the requests for information that came in over the last 24 hours. This could be five, 10 or more emails.

Each response carries a lot of weight. This is a person who is interested in starting a family or interested in carrying a baby for intended parents. Both are asking serious questions that could be life-changing. Far from a quick response, each email demands careful focus and attention.

9 a.m. — Assisting Active Cases

Our surrogacy specialist shifts focus to the caseload already on their plate once these interest inquiries are taken care of. Along with the people interested in surrogacy, there are also the people who are already in the process. These could be matches — intended parents and a surrogate who are already paired up — or either party that is still waiting for a match.

Managing the caseload is part administrative work, part counseling work and a little bit of everything else. One minute could be dedicated to reviewing a surrogacy contract, and the next is spent vetting a family to ensure they qualify. It’s important for each step of this process to be completed accurately for the protection of everyone involved.

10 a.m. — Phone Calls to Speak with Women Interested in Surrogacy

Deciding to carry a baby as a gestational surrogate is a big choice. After initially requesting information online, women who are interested in taking the next step will often schedule a follow-up call to have a more in-depth discussion about the surrogacy process.

This is unique in the day of a surrogacy specialist, as opposed to many other family-building professionals. Many adoption agencies, for example, have adoptive family specialists and birth mother specialists. In surrogacy, the surrogacy specialist works with everyone involved from start to finish.

These calls are a chance to educate and encourage women interested in becoming a surrogate.

11 a.m. — Team Meeting

Our team at American Surrogacy is made up of several hard-working individuals, and it helps to be on the same page. The surrogacy process can get complicated. There are a lot of moving parts, important documents and necessary phone calls. Plus, working as a team helps provide encouragement on the hard days.

12 p.m. – Lunch, and Probably More Emails

Who really takes a full lunch, anyways? While our surrogacy specialist was speaking with women on the phone and collaborating with her team, new requests for information and emails from active cases have been building up in her inbox. A working lunch is typical.

1 p.m. – Intended Parent Calls

It’s time for more phone calls! So much of being a surrogacy specialist involves answering questions. These questions are important, and they require complete responses. Without the support of a surrogacy specialist, intended parents would be at a loss in this process.

Just like our surrogacy specialist did at 10 a.m. with surrogates, they will spend time in the afternoon following up with intended parents who want to learn more. These calls typically last an hour, and, depending on the day, could take up the whole afternoon. Each family is unique, which means each conversation is totally different.

2 p.m. – Delivering Good News and Finding a Match

One of the best things that can happen in a surrogacy specialist’s day is when intended parents hop on the phone and are ready to go. That means they already have taken the necessary medical steps, have embryos prepared and are ready to find a match. Here’s the best part: showing them our list of available surrogacy situations.

We work with so many amazing gestational surrogates. Helping a family find a match is one of the best parts of the day. This is a moment they’ll remember for the rest of their lives, and we are honored to play a part in the story of their family.

3 p.m. – Delivering Bad News and Having Tough Conversations

This is a profession comprised of ups and downs. For all the times a surrogacy specialist gets to be a part of life-changing moments, there are times when they have to deliver bad news and have tough conversations.

At this point, a surrogacy specialist may have to pick up the phone and call a woman hoping to be a surrogate with some bad news: We’re so sorry, but something has come up, and you do not meet the qualifications.

American Surrogacy has psychological and medical standards for all surrogates, which provides protection for everyone involved in the process. It can be really hard when something comes up in the medical screening that was unknown or unexpected. Delivering news like this is not easy. It’s the knowledge of the good things that will happen that keeps a surrogacy specialist going through hard conversations like this.

4 p.m. – Wrapping up loose ends

You never truly know what a day is going to hold. The last hour is reserved for the unexpected (unless, of course, something unexpected demands attention earlier). There are plenty of loose ends to tie up. A surrogacy specialist rarely leaves the office feeling like work is “done.” The goal is to get everything in a good place to come back to work tomorrow.

 5 p.m. – An Evening Full of Family

Once again, we’re back to life.

It’s time for school pickup, volleyball practice, basketball games, cooking dinner (or, let’s be real, ordering takeout) and enjoy time with family. American Surrogacy is all about creating family, so of course a surrogacy specialist places a high value on her own. This is what makes life great. Even though toting the kids to and from evening activities can be tiring, it provides fuel for the next day at work.

The Heart of Surrogacy

Anyone who dreams of starting a family should have the opportunity to see that dream fulfilled. That’s the belief at the core of American Surrogacy. Yes, being a surrogacy specialist is a job. But it’s also much more than that. It is a position with daily opportunities to play a vital role in changing someone’s life.

That kind of work comes with its ups and downs. There are hard days when nothing seems to go right, but there are also great days when you get to witness a family come together for the first time. Surrogacy specialists accept both the good and the bad, holding it all together in this delicate process and working tirelessly to serve you.

If you’d like to speak with a surrogacy specialist today, you can call 1-800-875-BABY(2229) or reach out online. We would love to talk with you.

The Legal and Emotional Risks of Traditional Surrogacy

When choosing between the two types of surrogacy, traditional surrogacy may be an appealing option to many hopeful parents.

Traditional surrogacy — in which an intended parent’s or donor’s sperm is paired with the surrogate’s  egg — can appear to be an easier route, at least at first, due to its lower cost. While this is a completely understandable advantage, a deeper dive into the legal and emotional risks of traditional surrogacy reveals it to be a troubling choice for many.

The other option for intended parents pursuing surrogacy is gestational surrogacy. This type of surrogacy — when sperm and egg from the intended parents or donors create an embryo carried by the surrogate — has many safeguards in place that traditional surrogacy does not, which is why it is the preferred surrogacy option of nearly all professionals today.

If you are considering surrogacy as a family-building option, here’s what you need to know about the legal and emotional risks of traditional surrogacy.

The Legal Risks of Traditional Surrogacy

Starting a family is an emotional process. It holds the potential of your hopes and dreams. It’s easy, and totally natural, to get lost in the feelings of it all. But when you are considering something like surrogacy, you have to realize that starting a family is also a legal process.

And, when considering the legal process of traditional vs. gestational surrogacy, there are clear risks in the former.

The foremost concern that legal professionals have with traditional surrogacy is that, because of how the process works, the surrogate is the biological mother of the child. Since it is her egg that is used in the fertilization process, the child is technically her baby until consent is signed over to the intended parents. This leaves the door wide open for potential disruptions. It also adds another legal step, as intended parents sometimes need to complete a post-birth adoption once the surrogate has signed away her parental rights to the baby.

Should the surrogate become attached the baby she is carrying, the traditional surrogacy process leaves the legal option on the table for her to keep the baby. This is a serious risk.

A secondary concern, which is rooted in the same issue of biological relationship between surrogate and baby, is that the surrogate has much more power to make medical decisions during the surrogacy process without consulting the intended parents. Ideally, this is a cooperative partnership. However, traditional surrogacy allows the surrogate to go in her own direction, if she chooses to do so.

Additionally, you should know that because of these factors and others, some states have outlawed traditional surrogacy. Many surrogacy professionals will not perform traditional surrogacy, even if it is legal in their state.

The Emotional Risks of Traditional Surrogacy

The legal process does not erase the emotional aspects of family building. The two run side-by-side. After considering the legal risks of traditional surrogacy, it’s important to be aware of some emotional risks, too.

As stated above, the most concerning legal risk in traditional surrogacy is the surrogate’s biological relationship with the child. The most volatile emotional risk stems from the same fact.

If you’re an intended mother, you will be working through a lot of feelings during the surrogacy process. Jealousy is often one of those feelings — and traditional surrogacy can make it much worse.

It is fairly common for intended mothers to struggle with feelings of jealousy when the surrogate has a biological connection to the baby, while the intended mother does not. These feelings can sour the intended-parent-surrogate relationship, which can in turn be detrimental to the entire process. A good surrogacy involves a solid relationship, and traditional surrogacy can make that more difficult.

The emotional risks for the surrogate are also increased in traditional surrogacy. Anyone who offers to be a surrogate is doing something wonderful and does not have any intention of keeping the baby. However, by maintaining a biological connection to the baby, the surrogate is at a much higher risk of struggling with feelings of strong attachment. Of course, this is natural when you are carrying a child who is biologically yours.

Gestational surrogacy mitigates this emotional risk, while traditional surrogacy amplifies it.

How Gestational Surrogacy Can Reduce Risks

Gestational surrogacy is the preferred option for nearly all professionals. In some states, it is the only legal option. There are several distinctions that make the gestational surrogacy process safer for everyone involved, from a legal and emotional perspective.

In gestational surrogacy, the egg used for fertilization is either given by the intended mother or an egg donor. The potential downside to this is that it is more costly, and it can take more time. However, the benefits far outweigh the costs. Gestational surrogacy gives the intended mother the opportunity to be biologically connected to her baby — a connection many mothers cherish.

Because of this process, there is no biological connection between a gestational surrogate and the baby. Gestational surrogacy mitigates the risk of the surrogate changing her mind and wanting to keep the baby. Since the surrogate has no biological connection, there are no parental rights to argue over.

Additionally, removing this risky aspect of traditional surrogacy creates a better environment for the intended parents and surrogate to develop a healthy relationship — unburdened by complicated emotions.

For these reasons, among others, American Surrogacy only offers services for gestational surrogacy. It is our belief, and the overwhelming belief of all surrogacy professionals, that gestational surrogacy offers the safest path both emotionally and legally for everyone involved.

Contact American Surrogacy Today

American Surrogacy can be your partner in the gestational surrogacy process. We would be honored to support you as you fulfill your dream of becoming parents.

Contact us today or call 1-800-875-BABY(2229) for more information and to start your gestational surrogacy process.

The Best Insurance Options for Gestational Carriers

It’s no secret: Pregnancy is expensive. And, when you add in the additional medical costs of gestational surrogacy, those numbers can seem astronomical.

Fortunately, medical insurance exists to mitigate those expenses.

But, what if your surrogate’s personal policy excludes a gestational pregnancy?

This is becoming more and more common for insurance policies, and we’ve seen it happen often with our clients. Fortunately, your specialist will always help you find additional coverage for your gestational carrier — to protect her and the baby in the months ahead.

Often, the first step is searching the Affordable Care Act marketplace. Open enrollment takes place Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 each year, and you will have a variety of plans to choose from. Policies can run anywhere from $200–$700 a month (plus application fees), based on the level of coverage you choose. Your surrogate’s coverage will begin Jan. 1 of the next year.

Whether your surrogate’s policy excludes gestational surrogacy or they lose coverage through a job loss during pregnancy, your specialist will always be available to guide you through this process. We also recommend every intended parent purchase back-up insurance. To learn more, call your specialist anytime at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

In the meantime, here are some options for surrogacy-friendly insurance.

1. ART Risk Solutions

American Surrogacy frequently recommends ART Risk Solutions to intended parents looking for a surrogate insurance policy. Whether as a stand-alone insurance policy or a back-up policy, ART Risk Solutions can provide the coverage you are looking for at a fair price.

ART Risk is an insurance provider that exists solely to serve those pursuing assisted reproduction technology methods. They partner with other insurance companies to provide customer service and financial risk and case management to patients and medical professionals. The company works with more than 150 agencies and law firms across the globe, including many of American Surrogacy’s clients.

When you contact ART Risk Solutions, you’ll speak with an agent who will evaluate your personal situation and determine which coverage options are right for your surrogate. While your specialist will not directly interact with your insurance agent, they will be happy to provide any paperwork ART Risk Solutions may need to create your personal policy.

2. New Life Agency

Like ART Risk, New Life Agency is an insurance provider that works solely with clients pursuing assisted reproduction. They provide policies for fertility patients, intended parents, surrogates, egg donors and professionals in the ART industry.

New Life also offers fertility financing to assist intended parents through their family-building journeys.

3. SurroPlans

Another option for insurance is SurroPlans. This company provides both backup medical and full-coverage medical policies. Whether or not your surrogate currently has insurance, SurroPlans can provide services to protect you financially, just in case.

This provider also offers emergency medical planning and assistance with taxes and visas for international intended parents.

4. ArcLight

ArcLight is another surrogacy-insurance provider; however, it only operates in nine states. These agents will review your surrogate’s health insurance and search for a surrogacy-friendly option in her state, if necessary.  They will manage every step of the application and deductible process.

ArcLight also offers surrogate life insurance and disability insurance options, both of which will be required as part of your legal surrogacy contract.

We know surrogacy insurance can be a complicated subject, so remember that your specialist is always here to answer your questions and provide guidance as you go through this process. Don’t hesitate to email or call your specialist at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) for professional advice.

Match Disruptions: Why They Happen and How to Avoid Them

In most surrogacies, the matching process goes smoothly: A surrogate and intended parent choose to work together based on mutual goals and preferences, and their partnership develops naturally, ending with the birth of a healthy child at the end of it all.

However, that’s not always the case. Although it’s rare, a match disruption can occur — and it can be a scary situation for surrogates and intended parents.

Here at American Surrogacy, our specialists work hard to reduce the risks of match disruptions and promote healthy partnerships from the very beginning. We also recognize the importance of informing our clients about all aspects of surrogacy. So, here we tackle this rare but complicated situation. What kind of situations cause a match disruption, and what can you do to prevent one from happening?

Good questions. Find the answers below.

Why a Surrogacy Match Disrupts

There is no “one” reason why a surrogacy match disrupts. Life is unpredictable, so the reasons behind a match falling apart are unpredictable, too. But, in our agency’s experience, there are a few major reasons why intended parents and gestational carriers may choose to go their separate ways.

Intended Parents and Gestational Carrier Have Irreconcilable Differences in Opinion

There are many decisions to make when planning a surrogacy journey, and some are more sensitive than others. Everyone has the right to their own opinion about topics such as contact, selective reduction and termination, and other subjects.

Before a surrogate and an intended parent are matched, they must share the same opinion on these topics. Otherwise, a match can quickly fall apart. In most cases, a surrogate and intended parent end their partnership because one party was not fully honest about their thoughts on sensitive topics, or they changed their mind at some point during the pre-surrogacy process. For example, if you have intended parents who would terminate a pregnancy if the child is not expected to survive outside the womb and a surrogate who is wholly against termination in any situation, that partnership is simply not going to work out.

Unexpected Life Changes

It’s possible that both a surrogate and her intended parents are 100 percent in agreement and on board with the surrogacy process, but something completely unexpected can throw the process off. Small life changes can easily be dealt with, but circumstances such as divorce, death, serious relationship issues, and medical malpractice with embryos can stop a surrogacy in its tracks. These situations are no one’s fault but, if it’s too emotionally stressful to move forward, partners may choose to end a surrogacy match in the best interest of all involved.

Unrealistic Expectations

While our surrogacy professionals explain in great detail what surrogates and intended parents can expect from surrogacy, it can be hard to fully comprehend the process until you’re in it. And, unfortunately, some people find out too late that it is more than they can handle.

That’s why our team of specialists works so hard to explain the process and what you can expect before you begin. Surrogacy is not an easy journey, but it is worth it in the end. If you are struggling during your surrogacy journey, remember that your specialist will always be there to support you and get you the help you need to keep your partnership strong.

How to Avoid a Match Disruption

No one wants a surrogacy match to fall apart. Fortunately, there are a few simple and easy steps you can take to strengthen your match and reduce the risk of a disruption occurring:

  • Be honest about your needs and opinions: The most important part of a successful partnership is shared preferences and goals. Therefore, you must always be honest about your own surrogacy preferences from the very beginning. Don’t try to convince yourself you want something different to try to impress a surrogate or intended parent or speed up your matching process. Whatever your personal goals, you will eventually find someone who shares them. But the only way your specialist can ensure this happens if you are honest about what you want out of surrogacy.
  • Communicate throughout the surrogacy process: Sometimes, as a person learns more about and actually experiences the surrogacy process, their opinions on certain aspects change. That’s okay — but you must share those changes in opinion with your specialist and your surrogacy partner. If you are uncomfortable at any point during the journey, express those concerns. Only that way can you and your partner work through any issues before they become major roadblocks.
  • Keep your surrogacy specialist informed: Finally, remember that your specialist is always here for you. They understand the stress and tension you will be under during your journey, and they are happy to provide you with the resources you need. By letting them know right away if something changes, they can help mediate a conversation with your surrogacy partner and hopefully prevent a match disruption from occurring.

For more information on finding a surrogate or intended parent, and how American Surrogacy can help you find the perfect partner, give us a call at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) or contact us online today.

7 Things People Still Get Wrong About Surrogacy — and the Truth Behind Them

At one point, we’ve all probably believed some pretty ridiculous things. Then, you listen, you learn, and your worldview opens up a little more.

It’s time to stop believing (and spreading) a few ridiculous things about surrogacy. Now is your opportunity to learn something new or to share your information with someone else!

Here are 7 things people still get wrong about surrogacy:

1. Women get rich by becoming surrogates.

At American Surrogacy, base compensation for surrogates starts at $30,000 for an approximately year-long journey. Does that seem like a lot? Consider what a surrogate goes through:

She’s expected to submit to a series of tests and screening processes, take an intense regimen of fertility medications, complete more tests and medical procedures, carry a pregnancy and have a relationship with the intended parents. That’s all in addition to caring for her own children and managing her career, if she works outside the home.

The surrogacy process usually takes more than a year of a woman’s time, effort, dedication and physical work. She takes on risks and responsibility. Accepting some amount of compensation for that is reasonable.

That’s all after one important fact: Surrogates aren’t in this for any money they receive. Time and again, women say that the reason they became surrogates is because they wanted to help intended parents.

2. Surrogacy is illegal.

Well, yes and no.

Each state sets its own regulations for the surrogacy process. They often fall under one of these categories:

  • Prohibit surrogacy
  • Have no laws on surrogacy, which makes the process legal — but the process must be completed with experienced professionals to do so safely
  • Outlaw certain types of surrogacy and are very welcoming of other types
  • Have detailed surrogacy regulations, which keeps the process safer for everyone involved and makes the legal steps involved easier and more streamlined

The misconception lies in the belief that there is a blanket ban on surrogacy in the U.S., which simply isn’t true. While there are some states that are more surrogacy-friendly than others, experienced national agencies like American Surrogacy work to guide intended parents and gestational surrogates throughout the country safely through this process.

It’s always important to work with a surrogacy professional that’s able to navigate the variations in state laws. American Surrogacy can help.

3. Surrogates might keep the baby.

A gestational surrogate can’t legally keep the baby she carries — and she wouldn’t want to in the first place! The baby isn’t hers, in more ways than one.

In most states, a gestational surrogate doesn’t have legal parental rights, because the baby isn’t biologically hers. Laws vary by state, but in states where the woman who gives birth to the baby is presumed to be the mother, intended parents can often officially confirm their legal parental rights with documentation before the baby is even born. Additionally, in every surrogacy contract, intended parents legally agree that they must assume all parental rights and responsibilities of the baby after he or she is born, no matter what. So, before a surrogate is even pregnant, custody is usually locked in.

On to the second point: A surrogate isn’t interested in keeping the baby. She has her own children to care for, so she isn’t “after” the intended parents’! She understands what surrogacy is, and she’s only interested in “babysitting” the intended parents’ child in order to help them have the family they’ve been longing for. Remember: Every surrogate is psychologically screened beforehand to confirm that she shares this mindset.

4. Women should carry babies for their friends or family members.

When friends or family members enter into a surrogacy arrangement together, this is called “identified surrogacy.” This type of surrogacy can work out great in many situations, but it can also pose unique emotional challenges that are less likely to occur in a matched partnership.

As long as everyone involved is fully aware of potential hurdles before they begin, and each party has separate legal representation for the creation of their surrogacy contract — an absolute must, no matter how much you love and trust one another — then identified surrogacy can be a mutually positive experience.

However, identified surrogacy is not necessarily the preferred method over a matched partnership. It all depends on the preferences of the surrogate and the intended parents involved.

5. Surrogacy involves intercourse between the surrogate and the intended father.

Ok, here’s how this works:

An embryo is created through IVF in a lab using egg and sperm from the intended parents or donors. That embryo will eventually be transferred to the gestational carrier’s uterus in a fertility clinic with a doctor.

That’s how surrogates become pregnant — not in the “traditional” way.

6. Intended parents choose surrogacy to avoid being pregnant.

Most intended parents would give anything to be able to carry their child themselves. Choosing surrogacy often comes after a long grieving process, letting go of some old dreams and experiencing a lot of pain ­— sometimes physical as well as emotional.

Don’t ever believe that intended parents are just “getting out” of pregnancy. You don’t know what they’ve gone through to get where they are now.

7. Parents can’t bond with children born via surrogacy.

If parents need to give birth to their children in order to love and bond with them, then do you believe that families formed through adoption are also unable to establish these bonds? This is an absurd assumption that people make because they’ve never experienced anything other than traditional, genetic family connections.

Forming bonds with babies born via surrogacy, like adopted infants, can take some time and special care for some families. For others, the connection is instant. Either way, those bonds will form — no less strong or “real” than those of any other family.

You can learn more about the surrogacy process and receive information about becoming a gestational surrogate or intended parent by contacting American Surrogacy online or at 1-800-875-BABY
(2229).

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 Steps to Take When Something Unexpected Happens in Your Surrogacy

In an ideal surrogacy, everything would go according to plan. The surrogacy plan set by intended parents and their gestational carrier would outline everything to expect in the months ahead, and both parties would follow their step-by-step process to successfully bring a new child into the world, with little to no stress for either party.

However, not all surrogacy journeys go this way. In fact, it’s more likely than not that something unexpected will happen during your surrogacy journey. Surrogacy is a process with many moving parts and complex factors, and it’s highly likely that something may not go as planned in the many steps along the way. This is completely normal — but it can be stressful, whether you are an intended parent or gestational carrier.

Remember, your surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy will be there to guide you through every step of this process. They will be there to answer any questions you have and help alleviate any concerns that come up along the way.

That said, if you find yourself facing an unexpected development in your surrogacy journey, what should you do?

Step 1: Take a deep breath.

When something doesn’t go according to plan in life, it’s normal to be frustrated or even panicked. This is even truer in a surrogacy journey; adding to a family is an incredibly important journey, and feeling like something is going “wrong” is incredibly stressful for both intended parents and gestational carriers.

That’s why the most important thing to do when something doesn’t go according to plan is to first take a deep breath. It’s important to have a clear head when your journey goes off-book; otherwise, you can easily say and do things in the heat of the moment that you will later regret. Before doing anything else, sit down and take a deep breath (as long as there is no immediate medical risk to you or your surrogacy partner).

Step 2: Contact your surrogacy professional.

The first person you should always contact if something unexpected occurs should be your surrogacy professional. Your surrogacy specialist is trained to handle many kinds of difficult situations, and they will be able to guide you step-by-step through this situation that you find yourself in.

Believe us: We are always here for you, no matter what. As your full-service surrogacy agency, American Surrogacy is prepared to help you through every step of your surrogacy journey, even those which pop up unexpectedly. Some situations may require professional intervention, while others may not. Either way, we want to know about everything that happens in your surrogacy journey.

Step 3: Calmly think about your options.

As mentioned above, panicking or stressing about an unexpected development in your surrogacy journey is often counterproductive. When something unexpected occurs, it’s important to calmly think about the paths available to you. Obviously, they will vary based on your situation — but many surrogacy participants automatically jump to the most extreme, worst-case-scenario paths when there are so many gentler ways to address the situation.

This is where our surrogacy specialists can be so helpful. Because they have experience in these situations, they can calmly offer you the paths you may wish to take, as well as the pros and cons of each. Rather than jumping into the first option presented, take the time to evaluate what’s best for your family. For example, if your gestational carrier is having contractions earlier than expected, you may be tempted to book a flight and hop on a plane to her right away. However, she may be simply having Braxton-Hicks pre-contractions, and waiting for more information from a doctor can save you lots of time and money.

Step 4: Keep your surrogacy partner informed.

Just as you will want to inform your surrogacy professional of any unexpected developments along the way, your surrogacy partner should be your second call. Surrogacy is a partnership, and the process only works when both partners trust and respect each other. Keeping each other informed is an important part of maintaining that mutual trust and respect.

Of course, there may be certain unexpected situations that arise because of your relationship with your surrogacy partner, and those situations may be best solved with the mediation of your surrogacy professional. In all other cases, we recommend that you make sure your surrogacy partner is aware of your situation as soon as you can describe it calmly and clearly. They will appreciate being in the know, especially because your surrogacy plan is their surrogacy plan, too. Any changes you have to make will impact their upcoming journey.

Step 5: Remember that unexpected developments are normal.

Finally, it’s important to remember that, should something unplanned happen, it’s completely normal. In most cases, it won’t mean the end for your surrogacy journey. Because surrogacy involves so many complicated steps, it’s completely natural for something to occur in a more complicated way than expected. Instead of panicking, try to see this as a special part of your unique surrogacy journey. You’ll likely find that, once everything is complete and a baby is born, the things that caused you the most anxiety during your surrogacy journey will only be little blips on your radar — or even something that you laugh about later on!

Remember, if you ever have any questions about what is and isn’t normal during your surrogacy journey, don’t hesitate to reach out to American Surrogacy today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

Is Surrogacy Safe? What to Know Before Starting

Yes — surrogacy is safe, if you take basic but essential precautions.

At American Surrogacy, we are committed to protecting every surrogate, intended parent and child in our program, which is why we take every precaution to make the surrogacy process as safe as possible. Your safety is our top priority.

Here are some of the potential medical, legal and emotional issues with surrogacy that could make it unsafe for surrogates and intended parents, and how to avoid these issues and minimize risk:

Emotional Safety

When first considering surrogacy, potential intended parents and surrogates are often worried about the emotional risks involved. Some of the most common emotional concerns associated with the surrogacy process for surrogates are:

For intended parents, emotional issues can include:

  • Post-surrogacy depression, not unlike postpartum depression
  • Feeling out of control during the surrogacy process, as you’re not carrying your baby
  • Worrying that you won’t bond easily with your baby
  • Dealing with infertility-related grief, or with your baby not being genetically related to you
  • Jealousy toward the surrogate

American Surrogacy works with surrogates and intended parents to avoid these emotional issues by providing both parties with constant support before, during and after the surrogacy process. We counsel you on how to build a solid emotional support system at home so that your loved ones can help you through the emotions of surrogacy. We’ll also help everyone involved to communicate honestly and openly about their needs and feelings to foster stronger intended parent-surrogate relationships.

Medical Safety

Both intended parents and surrogates will often undergo medical procedures throughout the surrogacy process and may worry about the medical risks involved. Here are some of the medical risks that prospective surrogates are most concerned about when considering surrogacy:

Prospective intended parents may worry about the medical risks of:

  • Egg retrieval (if an intended mother is using her own eggs for IVF)
  • Hormone treatments (if an intended mother is using her own eggs for IVF)

Most of the medical risk falls on surrogates. Many of these risks are the average risks that a woman takes anytime she becomes pregnant and gives birth. However, there are always additional, if minor, risks associated with the medical processes unique to surrogacy.

To minimize these risks for the safety of surrogates (and for the baby), American Surrogacy carefully screens prospective surrogates and has a list of medical requirements in place. Potential surrogates are thoroughly medically screened to ensure that they are healthy enough to undergo the surrogacy process before they begin, to prevent exposing you to any unnecessary medical risk.

Legal Safety

There are a few legal risks associated with surrogacy that many potential surrogates and intended parents may worry about, as well, especially after hearing sensationalized horror stories in the news. Surrogates are often concerned about:

  • The intended parents refusing to parent the baby after he or she is born
  • Legally questionable forms of surrogacy compensation
  • Being asked to terminate a pregnancy when you are uncomfortable doing so

Intended parents worry about legal issues like:

  • The surrogate “keeping” the baby
  • The baby not being “theirs”
  • Being scammed by a surrogate

All of these legal issues are entirely preventable when you work with a reputable surrogacy professional like American Surrogacy. The only instances these legal risks are possible are when people attempt surrogacy on their own without the legal protection of experienced professionals and surrogacy contracts. American Surrogacy ensures that each party is individually represented by a licensed surrogacy attorney, so that everyone is equally advocated for throughout the legal process of surrogacy. We insist on detailed surrogacy contracts, and will walk you through the surrogacy laws within your state so you’re fully informed about protecting your rights.

It’s understandable to worry about the potential risks of surrogacy. But by working with American Surrogacy, these risks are reduced, if not completely eliminated. Surrogacy brings people together to create families, and the benefits far outweigh any minor risks. Contact American Surrogacy now at 1-800-875-BABY (1-800-875-2229) to learn how we work to minimize or avoid potential surrogacy risks for surrogates, intended parents and children.

New Year’s Resolution: Why We Should Stop Surrogacy Shaming

Each new year brings a fresh new slate. With the end of the old year and the start of the new one, we have a chance to break old habits, examine our strengths and faults and to try to be better. In 2019, let’s make it a priority to stop surrogacy shaming. It’s an old, tired argument that everyone is sick of. Here are six reasons why:

1. Families Expanded through Surrogacy are Families

Whether a family comes together through surrogacy, adoption, foster care, biologically or by any other means, they’re a “real” family as long as there is real love. Biological ties, how a child comes into a family, or whether or not a family is considered “traditional” are all pretty inconsequential in the big picture.

2. You May Not Know the Whole Story

Infertility, disrupted adoptions, lost pregnancies or children, medical treatments, or other heartbreaks — there are often rough patches in a person’s journey that has ultimately led them to surrogacy that you may not know about. Before you speak, even if you’re trying to be helpful or make suggestions, remember that this person may have already tried what you’re suggesting and it ended badly.

Be kind, be thoughtful and keep your “helpful suggestions” or opinions to yourself. This person or family has likely chosen surrogacy after a lot of careful thought, and you haven’t been in their shoes.

3. It’s Not a Moral Superiority Competition

There is no “right” or “wrong” way to have a family. Are you going to presume to know better than anyone else?

Children are not moral superiority trophies to argue over. You’re not a “better” or “worse” person for choosing a different path to parenthood. All that should matter is that you’re a good parent to your children, and that you’re raising them to be kind people.

4. If Someone Wants to Be a Parent, They Deserve that Happiness

Why would you spoil that with your judgment? If you’re a parent yourself, you can sympathize with those who long to know that joy for themselves. While there are many ways to become a parent, a person’s reasoning for choosing surrogacy is their own, and again, you may not know the whole story.

It’s simply not your place to decide who gets to become a parent or how they do so. Not everyone can (or chooses to) have and carry a child biologically. They may need help. Are you really going to try to take away all the happiness and unconditional love that parents get to experience?

Be happy for those who are about to become a parent. If you can’t manage that, keep your opinions to yourself.

5. If a Woman Wants to Help Someone Become a Parent, She Deserves Respect

We’ve talked a lot about why you should stop shaming people who become parents through surrogacy, but it’s no less important to stop the shaming of surrogates. Enough already with the judgmental nonsense.

Surrogates are extraordinary women who see a need and offer to help. They’re mothers themselves, so they know what it’s like to wish for a child. Perhaps they’ve known someone who has struggled to have a child, or maybe they simply feel compassionate towards those who have been waiting to complete their families.

Surrogacy shamers might assume that surrogates only want monetary gain. However, this is far from the truth. Studies like this 2014 report have shown that the main motivators for women who choose to become surrogates are the desire to help others and a love of being pregnant.

Thank a surrogate for helping to create families!

6. Children Born through Surrogacy Will Hear What You Say

Kids who come to their family through “nontraditional” means hear the things you say  to their parents, on social media and to other parents in the schoolyard — make sure what you’re saying is something that makes them feel good about themselves, because it’ll stick with them for longer than you might realize.

No matter how you feel about surrogacy, no child has any say in how they come into this world, but every child deserves to feel safe and loved. Is your opinion of surrogacy worth the peace of mind of a child?

Let’s make 2019 the year where we get over surrogacy shaming. It’s time we moved past quibbling over how families are made and instead started focusing on celebrating the many different kinds of loving families!

Share this to spread your New Year’s Resolution and to help end surrogacy shaming in 2019.