What Is My First Step? The Agency or the Clinic?

What is my first step as an intended parent? Do I l find a fertility clinic or surrogacy agency? This guide explains what to do.

What is your first step as an intended parent? Do you locate a clinic for in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment or try to find a surrogacy agency? We’re here to answer that question for you.

If you want to get free surrogacy information now, then you can contact us online whenever you need us. Our trusted team is always here to support you. In the meantime, though, we’ve put together this guide that explains what your first step should be as an intended parent.

Your First Step in Choosing Surrogacy [What You Need to Know]

You know surrogacy is the right path toward building your family and making your dreams of parenthood a reality. But, what you don’t know is how you begin the surrogacy process. What is that important first step, exactly? When you’re ready to get started, you’ll want to contact a reputable agency like American Surrogacy.

Our agency’s experienced professionals can answer all your questions. We will also determine your needs and preferences for matching with a prospective surrogate. Before you seek out a fertility clinic to undergo the IVF process, you should first work with American Surrogacy and go through our matching services. After all, how would you start IVF without a surrogate? That’s where we come in to help.

Finding a Surrogate Mother with Our Agency

As you might imagine, finding a prospective surrogate alone can be stressful. Fortunately, American Surrogacy has an extensive surrogacy screening process that ensures they are 100% committed to carrying a baby for you. For instance, we require all surrogates who work with us to:

  • Complete thorough background checks
  • Visit an obstetrician to confirm their fertility
  • Fill out social and medical history forms
  • Undergo a home assessment from a licensed social worker
  • Receive a psychosocial evaluation from a licensed psychologist

In other words, you can rest assured that all our prospective surrogates are dedicated to this journey. Before you match with a surrogate, our media specialists will help you create your intended parent profile. This profile showcases who you are. When prospective surrogates view them, they’ll learn about your hobbies and interests, family traditions, why you’ve chosen surrogacy, and so much more.

After they view your profile, you can begin getting to know the surrogate a bit better. Your American Surrogacy professional can arrange a video chat for you all. Here, you can ask them any questions you have and learn more about them as a person.

Also, your professional will mediate this call, and they’ll inform you of any topics to avoid before you speak with the surrogate mother. If you’re ready to move forward and feel like this is the right choice, then let your specialist know! It’s time to move to the next step.

What to Look for in a Surrogacy Clinic

Once you’ve matched with a prospective surrogate mother, your professional will refer you to a fertility clinic. Still, it is ultimately your choice as you decide which surrogacy clinic you’d like to work with.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to research which clinics meet your needs and preferences. No two surrogacy journeys are the same, so it’s important to find a surrogacy clinic that’s best for you. To give you a solid starting point, we’ve listed some key services below that you should keep an eye out for:

When you reach out to these clinics, be sure to ask them all your questions. Their answers will help you determine if the clinic you’re interested in meets your surrogacy needs.

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There’s no doubt that surrogacy is a complex topic, so we completely understand if you have some more questions. American Surrogacy is here for you whenever you need us. To get more free information now, you can fill out our online contact form today. We would love to hear from you!

How We Reduce Surrogacy Wait Times [In 2 Valuable Ways]

Although gestational surrogacy wait times are increasing at some surrogacy agencies, American Surrogacy’s stayed the same. Continue reading to find out how our agency completes successful surrogacies quickly.

Although surrogacy wait times have increased in recent years, American Surrogacy has maintained our 30 to 120-day intended parent waiting period.

We’re proud that we’ve continued to help families grow quickly and safely by providing care and assistance throughout the surrogacy process for intended parents.

Continue reading to discover why surrogacy wait times exist and how American Surrogacy maintains its predictable intended parents’ surrogacy waiting period. But, you can contact us today if you think you’re ready to start talking to a surrogacy specialist about starting your gestational surrogacy journey.

Why Surrogacy Wait Times Exist

Waiting for anything you’re excited about is challenging. And waiting to start the surrogacy process – and successfully complete a surrogacy agreement – is no different. But, intended parents’ surrogacy wait times are necessary.

Generally, most surrogacy wait times are due to the surrogacy medical process.

The Gestational Surrogacy Medical Process

To better understand the overall length of the surrogacy process, let’s take a deeper look into the steps of the medical process.

Pre-Medical Process Steps

You and the surrogate will undergo thorough screenings to ensure you’re ready for surrogacy and can safely experience pregnancy again. These screenings take time but are routine, so don’t worry too much.

Common surrogacy screenings include:

  • Physical
  • Psychological
  • Medical

Once these screenings are complete, you’ll match with a surrogate. Your surrogacy attorney will then help finalize a surrogacy contract.

Intended Parent Medical Steps

When you reach the medical portion of your gestational surrogacy with our agency, your surrogacy specialist will prepare you for the common medical steps all intended parents go through. Again, try not to stress too much about this process – you will receive support from your care team to ensure everything goes smoothly.

  1. Egg production stimulation: If you or your partner’s eggs are used, you’ll start to take medications to stimulate egg production. Once the fertility clinic determines its time, a minor egg retrieval process will happen.
  2. Fertilization: After eggs are retrieved from you (or your partner or a donor), they are fertilized using sperm from the intended father or sperm donor.
  3. Incubation: After fertilization, the embryos are incubated and assessed for development before being transferred to the gestational carrier.
  4. Pregnancy: After the transfer occurs, a clinic will confirm if there’s a pregnancy. You’ll continue to support the surrogate and share the pregnancy experience.

Surrogate Mother Steps

The gestational carrier naturally has a few more medical procedures to go through. This ensures she and the baby remain safe and healthy throughout the pregnancy.

  1. Fertility medications: These medications increase the chances of a successful embryo transfer.
  2. Embryo transfer: This quick and painless procedure requires a few days of rest post-appointment.
  3. Pregnancy confirmation: A fertility clinic will confirm a pregnancy a few weeks post-transfer.
  4. Prenatal care: This entails OBGYN appointments, medications, and routine procedures to ensure the pregnancy is progressing normally.
  5. Delivery: After the surrogate delivers your baby, you go home as a family to start your parenthood journey.

How We Reduce Surrogacy Wait Times

Although challenging global factors like the pandemic have caused the average intended parents’ surrogacy wait times to increase and the number of surrogates to decrease, our agency’s wait times have held steady.

Because American Surrogacy can provide all the surrogacy services you need in-house, you get to experience a shorter overall surrogacy wait time.

A few of those key services that support shorter wait times are:

1. Matching Services

In addition to having an extensive network of prospective surrogates who live across the United States, we also offer comprehensive matching services.

Our matching services reduce gestational surrogacy wait times by ensuring:

  • Unlimited matching: We provide unlimited re-matching if you experience a surrogacy setback (like an unsuccessful pregnancy or surrogacy interruption). This allows you to restart your surrogacy journey quickly.
  • Smaller surrogate-intended-parent ratios: Our agency has a 1:1 ratio of intended parents to gestational carriers.
  • Pre-match surrogate screenings: All of our prospective surrogates are screened before becoming active. This allows us to present you with a trusted surrogate on day one.
  • Match with someone who holds similar values: You will have the opportunity to match with a surrogate with all the qualities you admire.
  • An extensive network of surrogates: Our surrogates live across the country. We attract many surrogates because of our resources, compensation rates, and more.

2. Surrogacy Resources

Our agency has multiple resources that help reduce surrogacy wait times, too.

These resources include:

  • Nationwide marketing: Our advertising efforts reach surrogates throughout the country.
  • Personal support: Because our agency provides support throughout the entire process, we can find and retain surrogates who are prepared and dedicated to the surrogacy journey.
  • Professional references: Our agency partners with licensed and qualified legal counsel to ensure all aspects of your surrogacy journey are 100% legal and quickly executed.

Start Your Successful Surrogacy Journey Today

Contact us today to find out how we can make your surrogacy dreams a reality.

3 Reasons Why Now is a Great Time to Become a Surrogate

By becoming a surrogate, you have the opportunity to change someone’s life in the most amazing, generous, selfless way imaginable.

If you’re like many women considering surrogacy, you’ve known for a long time that this is something you want to do. But deciding when to actually start this process is an incredibly personal decision. If you are wondering, “When is the best time to become a surrogate?” The answer is always, “Whenever you feel ready!”

That being said, if you have been thinking about becoming a gestational surrogate, now may be the perfect time for you to join American Surrogacy.

Here are just a few of the reasons why:

1. The process has returned to “normal”

COVID-19 completely upended life as we knew it. Through it all, American Surrogacy was still here, helping our clients through the process and adapting to every change and challenge along the way. But, certain steps of the surrogacy process were also affected.

Fortunately, as more and more people are vaccinated and restrictions continue to loosen, the surrogacy process has more or less returned to normal — meaning clinics are back to doing embryo transfers, travel is much more convenient for surrogates and intended parents, and hospital policies are making it easier for intended parents to be present for the birth of their child.

And, if you’re concerned that your COVID vaccination status will impact your ability to be a surrogate, don’t worry. Whether you choose to get vaccinated or not, we will help you find families who are comfortable with that!

2. We just increased our surrogate compensation

At American Surrogacy, we know how much you and your family will sacrifice to help another person realize their ultimate goal of becoming a parent — and we feel strongly that you deserve to be compensated fairly in return. That’s why we offer a competitive compensation package for all of our surrogates.

The amount of base compensation you receive will vary depending on your personal situation and experience with surrogacy, but we recently increased our guaranteed base compensation to the highest amount ever offered by our agency!

3. You’ll still have months before you actually get pregnant

We know that summer is a busy time of year for many of our prospective surrogates. School is out, which means you may be busy with additional childcare responsibilities, vacation plans or just spending extra time with your kids. Often, women are hesitant to start the process at this time of year because they know that it is not a good time for them to be pregnant.

This concern is completely understandable. But, it’s important to remember that even if you start the surrogacy process today, there are a number of steps you will need to take before ever becoming pregnant, including:

  • Submitting an application
  • Scheduling a consultation with our surrogacy specialists
  • Completing the screening process
  • Gathering medical records
  • Matching with intended parents
  • Signing legal contracts

Many of these steps can take weeks or even months to complete. So, even if you are not ready to be pregnant right now, that doesn’t mean you can’t get started with the application and screening process!

This can be a time-consuming step for our specialists as we work to gather and review your medical records, sometimes taking up to three months before we are really ready to get started. If you are hoping to be pregnant in the fall or winter, when your kids are back in school, now is actually the perfect time to take your first steps toward becoming a surrogate.

Surrogacy is a gift unlike any other and one that only a woman like you is able to give to hopeful parents. If you are thinking about becoming a gestational surrogate, or if you know other women considering surrogacy, now is an opportune time to join our agency.

To learn more, or to get started today, contact us online or call 1-800-875-BABY(2229). We can’t wait to work with you on this life-changing journey!

How to Make a Surrogacy Plan

You’ve taken the first big steps: You’ve decided that you’re ready for the surrogacy journey and you’ve reached out to American Surrogacy to help you do that. But now that you’re here, you probably have one big question:

“How will I find a gestational carrier or intended parent?”

The process is actually much simpler than you might think. And it all starts with creating what’s called a “surrogacy plan.” American Surrogacy’s planning process is unique, and it’s the best way to make sure you have everything you’re looking for. And in a lot of ways, it’s the key to finding the perfect match. But it does require a lot of thought.

Here, we’ll be going into detail about what you need to fill out to help find the perfect match. But if you’d like to go into more detail with your American Surrogacy specialist, you can give us a call at 1-800-875-2229 or fill out our contact form.

In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about making a surrogacy plan.

What is a Surrogacy Plan?

The surrogacy plan is like a roadmap – one that’s very much like an adoption plan. Whether you’re becoming a surrogate or a parent, this personal roadmap will guide your entire experience.

Through a set of simple questions, you’ll outline all of your preferences for a match. You’ll also fill out some important information about yourself, too. Your answers to all of these questions will help your surrogacy specialist find the perfect match for you.

Both parties will answer similar questions. But there are a few differences that you’ll see below depending on whether you’re an intended parent or gestational carrier. Here’s what it will look like for each of you:

Intended Parents

You’ll be asked:

  • Some basic information about you, like your full name, birthday, address, etc.
  • Your assisted reproductive history
  • The type of contact you’re comfortable sharing with your gestational carrier
  • Whether or not you’re currently working with an attorney for assisted reproduction
  • Your surrogacy budget
  • Additional questions to help assess your readiness for surrogacy

You’ll also be asked questions about what you’re looking for in a gestational carrier, like:

  • Are you looking for someone in your state?
  • Are you looking for a married surrogate?
  • Are you looking for a single surrogate?
  • And more

Gestational Carriers

You’ll be asked:

  • Are you looking for a family in your state?
  • Are you open to traveling?
  • How close would you like to be in contact afterward?
  • And more

In addition to their surrogacy plan, gestational carriers will also have to fill out information regarding their social medical history. As the name implies, this form gives your surrogacy specialist some much-needed information on your medical background.

As you can see, these questions are pretty similar. The purpose of these questions is to make it easier to find the best match. And one of the easiest ways to do that is to make sure everyone is on the same page.

What Happens After I Create My Surrogacy Plan?

In addition to creating a surrogacy plan, you’ll also start the process of making either an intended parent or gestational carrier profile. This profile will be used to show potential matches a little more about you before accepting a match.

This profile is basically a snapshot of who you are. If you’ve found one that you like, you can move on to the next step: Getting to know each other!

What Happens After I’m Presented with an Opportunity?

Once both parties decide to move forward with a potential match, it’s time to start getting to know each other. Typically, the first time you speak to one another will be a mediated call over the phone with your surrogacy specialist. This call typically lasts about 1 hour while everyone gets to know each other. After that, you can continue to build your relationship on your own through phone calls, emails, and video calls.

If both parties decide that you’re ready to move forward, then you’ll make the match official by drafting a legal contract.

How Will I Know When I’ve Found the Right Match?

It’s important that you’re absolutely certain before you accept a match. If you’re not getting a good gut feeling, or if you need to change your mind about anything at all, please don’t be afraid to let your specialist know how you’re feeling. It might feel stressful to start the process of finding a match again, but it’s better that you take some time to look at all your other options before you get into a match that doesn’t feel like a good fit.

Remember, the relationship you have with your gestational surrogate or intended parent will be life-changing. The right partnership is what makes a surrogacy journey a meaningful, enjoyable and emotionally rewarding shared experience. Don’t feel pressured to say yes to the very first match you’re presented with if you feel unsure. Intended parents and gestational carriers have a lot of control when it comes to deciding what they’re looking for in a match. Until you decide that you’ve found a good one, it’s okay to take your time and wait. We’ll help you find the right fit!

I’m Ready to Create My Surrogacy Plan. How Do I Get Started?

There’s a lot of thought that goes into making the perfect surrogacy plan. But we’re ready to talk you through all of your questions. If you’re ready to start your surrogacy process as a parent or as a surrogate, you can give us a call at 1-800-875-2229 or fill out our contact form.

The 5 Biggest Risks of Using Social Media to Find a Surrogacy Match

When it comes to surrogacy, waiting for and finding the right match can be one of the hardest steps. While you always have the option of working with a professional who can help you find what you’re looking for, it’s possible that you’ve realized that working with an agency isn’t the right option for you. In that case, how will you go about finding an intended parent or surrogate on your own?

For many pursuing an independent surrogacy, there’s one simple answer: Try to find a match online.

These days, it’s easy to find just about everything you’re looking for on the internet. So, it should really come as no surprise that many people, maybe like yourself, have thought about using social media to find their perfect surrogacy match. And there have been cases where the internet has provided a great opportunity to find a successful surrogacy journey. But are the potential risks worth it in the long run? Let’s take a look at 5 things to know before you start your search.

And if you’d like to talk a little bit more about what it’s like to find a match, whether online or through an agency, you can always give us a call at 1-800-875-222 to get more information.

1) Lack of Screening

The first thing you might want to consider before finding a match online is the lack of screening available. When you decide to work with an agency, you’ll know that any woman you’re matched with has already been approved by a professional. But the same can’t exactly be said for any surrogate you find online. While there is a chance that you can meet someone who already meets all the qualifications, you’ll have a better chance of finding what you’re looking for when you work with an agency. If you do decide to start your search online, and find someone who could be the right fit, be aware that there is a chance that they they’ll end up ineligible for the process.

2) Scams

Scams happen all the time – especially on the internet. Unfortunately, there are just too many people pretending to be someone they’re really not and getting away with it. As you can imagine, this can cause some serious problems when it comes to finding a potential match online or through social media.

Because you’re not screening any potential matches, it can be difficult to verify if any potential match you talk to is genuinely interested in becoming a surrogate for the right reasons. So, when it comes to meeting a potential match online, be sure not to share any financial or personal information until you contact a surrogacy attorney.

3) It Might Take Longer than You Planned

Looking for the right match is hard enough. But when it comes to searching for the right candidate online, you could be in for an even longer wait. Of course, it’s important to be patient during this process whether you work with an agency or not. But having to wait even longer for the perfect match who is compatible with what you’re looking for can be incredibly frustrating. If you’re set on the surrogacy process, and you’ve been dreaming about getting started for a long time, it might be a better idea to work with an agency from the get-go.

4) You’ll Be in Charge of All Communication

When you decide to find a surrogacy match online without the help of an agency, it becomes your job to handle all communication. This means that, in place of an agency’s role, intended parents will be the one making sure their surrogate is ready for the journey ahead and is taking the correct steps. And for surrogates, that means making sure that their potential intended parent is safe to work with along with being emotionally and financially ready for surrogacy. So, before you take this leap, take a look at the steps involved in a regular screening to make sure you have everything you need to complete this part of the process.

5) Lack of Counseling and Support

The support of a great surrogacy specialist is more helpful than you might realize. Surrogacy isn’t just a complex legal and medical process, but an emotional one, too. And one of the downsides of pursuing an independent surrogacy is not having the support when you really need it. Having someone who can help you navigate any challenges you might face will be incredibly important throughout the entire process for both intended parents and surrogates. While you may be able to find the support you need through a third party, it can be difficult to find a counselor who is as familiar with the process as a surrogacy specialist would be.

The Security of Finding a Match Through an Agency

When you decide to work with an agency, like American Surrogacy, to find a match, you won’t have to stress about the risks that come with finding a potential intended family or surrogate online. No matter who you pick, you’ll rest easy knowing that they’re:

  • Screened
  • Ready and prepared for the surrogacy journey
  • Full invested in the surrogacy process
  • Meet the requirements to start the process
  • And more

Finding the right match thought an agency means less stress on your end. What’s more, it could save you a significant amount of time, legal issues or even money, in the long run. Working with an agency ensures that you’ll have the support you need throughout every step of the process. If you’d like to know what it’s like to work with a surrogacy specialist to find a match, we’d be happy to help! Give us a call at 1-800-875-222 to get more info today.

Is it Cheaper to Pursue Surrogacy with a Family Member?

It’s no secret that using surrogacy to build your family is expensive. Between the IVF treatments, agency fees, advertising services, and much more, it’s clear to see why anyone would want to find ways to cut down on costs.

But would asking a family member for their help be the best way to achieve that goal?

It makes sense as to why someone would want to learn more about identified surrogacy with a family member. After all, working with someone you already have a solid relationship with while keeping costs to a minimum seems like the perfect solution. But, for a number of reasons, an identified surrogacy isn’t as easy or simple as you might expect.

To help you make the best decision that works for your family, we’ve created this guide to what it’s really like to pursue surrogacy with a family member. But if you’d like to talk a little bit more about what this process is like with one of our specialists directly, we’d be happy to help. Give us a call at 1-800-875-2229 to get more information today.

So, How Much Does Identified Surrogacy Cost?

If you’re an intended parent looking at the costs of surrogacy, then you’ll know that it’s definitely not cheap. The average costs can be up to $100,000 or more. Because of these high costs, we understand why it might be tempting to ask a family member for their help, and to ask, “How much is surrogacy with a family member?” Especially since finding an identified gestational carrier means that your fees can be reduced.

It’s important to remember that, no matter how you choose to find a gestational surrogacy, you’re still going to be spending a lot of money during this process from start to finish. While having a family member become your gestational surrogate is a possibility, we consider you to consider all of your other options for finding a gestational carrier first.

What are Some Other Ways to Keep Costs Down?

While surrogacy might be an expensive endeavor, there are thankfully a few ways that you keep costs low and make your dreams for building a family come true. Below are just a few other options that can make surrogacy a little more affordable.

Loans: The most common way to fund your surrogacy and one that you might already be thinking of applying for are loans. Like any other type of loan, however, you’ll want to consider potential interest rates you’ll be charged and make sure that you can afford the monthly payments.

Grants: If you’re eligible, receiving a surrogacy grant is the best way to cut costs. This is money that you won’t have to pay back, which makes it a huge win. Any grant you apply to will have different requirements, so be sure to read up on them before you apply.

Fundraising: Having a supportive community of friends and family will be a great help during your surrogacy journey. If you haven’t looked into it yet, why not consider starting a fundraiser with their help?

Can a Family Member Become a Gestational Surrogate?

Now that we’ve talked about costs, let’s talk about the logistics of surrogacy with a family member. The short answer to the initial question is yes — they can become one. But should a family member be a part of your surrogacy journey? The answer to that really depends.

As you may already know, becoming a surrogate is not as easy or simple as many people seem to believe. No matter who you choose, she will still have to go through a rigorous screening process to assess her eligibility. On top of that, she needs to be prepared for the steps it will take to prepare her body for the embryo transfer itself. Becoming a surrogate is a lot of work, and it’s not a quick or easy process. So even if they are a family member, you should both make sure that everyone is on board for them to make this sacrifice of time, stress and physical effort.

And if you are considering traditional surrogacy within the family, definitely take some time to seriously consider all the pros and cons first, as this can be extremely complicated emotionally and legally. You should also be aware that the vast majority of surrogacy agencies won’t work with you for this type of traditional surrogacy. Instead, your best bet is always work with a gestational surrogate if you’re considering the help of a family member.

What’s it Like to Have a Family Member Become a Surrogate?

Working with a family member isn’t the right choice for everyone. Below are just a few things that can make an identified surrogacy a challenge for both the intended parents and the surrogate:

1. Personal differences when it comes to finances. Compensation is one of the most important things to consider if you’re pursuing identified surrogacy. While your family member may have offered to do a non-compensated or altruistic surrogacy, in the long term this might not be the best option. For instance, your family member might initially feel comfortable with this kind of arrangement only to feel later like they’re being taken advantage of. When drafting up your surrogacy contract, it’s important that each party works with their own surrogacy attorney who can negotiate on both of your behalf.

2. Surrogacy could put a strain your relationship. Even if you already have a close relationship with your surrogate, it doesn’t mean that both parties won’t be tested in unexpected and challenging ways. If your surrogate if your sister, for example, it’s possible that feelings of sibling rivalry can come up — making for an uncomfortable experience for both parties.

3. The surrogate will likely need some space, even if they’re a family member. Surrogacy isn’t easy, and being pregnant certainly isn’t, either. There will be ups and downs throughout her experience, but she might not feel comfortable talking about this when her intended parents are also part of her family. Before you consider asking a family member to become your surrogate, think about what kind of boundaries you’ll need to keep in place to make this situation work.

Choosing a Family Member to Be Your Gestational Surrogate

In many cases, finding a gestational surrogate that’s not a family member can be a better option. But if you are in a situation where you would rather work with a family member, then we recommend that you still work with an experienced professional, like American Surrogacy, to help you through the process. Choosing to work with an agency, even in an identified match, gives you the same amount of protection as any other intended parent. This means that you’ll receive:

  • Screening and assessment of both parties
  • A larger network of prospective surrogates
  • Support and guidance for every step of the process
  • And more

Even if you’re pursuing surrogacy with a family member, it’s important to make sure that everyone is ready for the journey ahead. Like we mentioned earlier, surrogacy with a family member can cause a strain on your relationships. That’s why, during the screening process, we will help you and your surrogate talk through any potential difficult situations before feelings of tension arise.

While you will always have the option of pursuing gestational surrogacy with a sister, cousin or another relative, we encourage you to do plenty of research. You might find that, while it will cost less to work with a family member, you might end up with a better experience by working with a gestational surrogate who is not a friend or family member. To learn more about your options, you can always speak with our specialists.

Ranking 6 TV Surrogacy Plots from Least to Most Realistic

Good television is all about escapism, entertainment and surprise. Our favorite TV shows ramp up drama and conflict to give us a more heightened story than occurs in our real, everyday lives. After all, nobody wants to watch a story about something that goes smoothly and uneventfully — it wouldn’t be very exciting! But, this means that real occurrences, like growing a family through surrogacy, are often dramatized and fictionalized beyond recognition in order to make a better TV plot twist. 

The problem? Surrogacy is still a relatively new and misunderstood concept in the eyes of many viewers. So, these fictional and sensationalized portrayals could be inadvertently fueling dangerous misconceptions about what surrogacy is really like. How do these shows measure up to the real surrogacy process

Meet the Contenders 

While surrogacy is no stranger to the small screen, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Roseanne,” “Superstore,” “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” “The Nest,” and “Top of the Lake: China Girl,” have all recently had surrogacy storylines that garnered some buzz. Let’s rank those 6 depictions, from least accurate to most accurate: 

6“The Handmaid’s Tale” 

The winner of the least realistic portrayal of surrogacy, “The Handmaid’s Tale” takes place in a dystopian future, where fertile women are forced into becoming traditional surrogates via rape. Needless to say, it’s devastatingly far from the truth of real and legal gestational surrogacy. Read real stories of gestational carriers and parents here

5. “The Nest” 

A drinking, partying teenage surrogate who lives with the intended parents, a drug-dealing intended father, a swapped embryo, some murder, mystery and general mayhem ensue. This series takes place in the U.K., but this show flies in the face of the requirements of actual surrogacy professionals in the U.S. and the surrogacy contracts that real intended parents and surrogates establish with attorneys.  

4. “Top of the Lake: China Girl” 

Their portrayal of surrogacy is just one of many wildly inaccurate and dangerously dramatized plots throughout the series. The titular “China Girl,” a murdered sex worker and illegal surrogate for intended parents working outside the law in Australia, is one of many outlandish (and at times, offensive) aspects of the show. 

3. “Roseanne”  

Becky decides to pursue surrogacy purely for money — she’s promised a whopping and unrealistic $50,000. She also lies about her age and is faced with unreasonable demands from the intended parent. In real life, base compensation starts at about $35,000–$40,000 for a first-time surrogate like Becky, who also would have been carefully screened and background-checked prior to her acceptance into a gestational surrogacy program like American Surrogacy. Additionally, the wishes of intended parents and surrogates are talked about with their American Surrogacy specialist long before the process ever begins, to ensure everyone is on the same page and feels comfortable with how things move forward. 

2. “Superstore”  

Dina volunteers to be Glenn’s surrogate, although she’s never been pregnant or given birth before — a requirement for surrogates in real life. At different points, comedic misunderstandings are inserted into the plot, including disagreements about the contract (which would have been discussed with an attorney beforehand in real life), threats to have unprotected sex in the midst of the surrogacy process, shock over what childbirth is like and more. Unsurprisingly, none of this is a realistic depiction of the careful, legal contract between surrogates and intended parents. 

1. “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 

This is probably the most accurate of these portrayals, although it’s still not realistic by a long shot. After two unsuccessful rounds of IVF, Darryl runs out of the money he’d saved to conceive a child. He is successful once Rebecca donates her egg for free and Heather offers herself as a gestational carrier, also for free.  

But, who is covering the costs of Rebecca’s egg retrieval and Heather’s medical processes? Were the reimbursements of these costs discussed and established in a contract with a licensed attorney? Heather had never given birth before, which is a requirement for surrogates, so she wouldn’t have been a gestational surrogate in the first place.  It’s not a wildly inaccurate portrayal, but it’s not a very clear one, either. 

Red Flags in Fictional Surrogacy 

One common theme in these fictional portrayals: Many of the surrogates had never been pregnant before and they panicked midway through their pregnancies at the thought of childbirth, which they mysteriously had not considered up until that point. In real life, gestational carriers must have given birth at least once before, with no history of complications. Real surrogates have a history of smooth pregnancies and childbirth, and enjoy being pregnant. It’s what draws them to surrogacy in the first place. 

Another fairly common element in TV storylines is the presence of traditional surrogacy, which has been all but fully phased out in favor of gestational surrogacy. In fact, most professionals in the U.S., American Surrogacy included, won’t complete traditional surrogacy journeys. But, traditional surrogacy is more dramatic, so it makes for better television. 

There’s another red flag in most of these stories: Informal agreements without the guidance of a professional. Surrogacy professionals screen and background check the prospective gestational carrier as well as the intended parents. They educate the participants about the highs and lows of the surrogacy process, so everyone knows what to expect — no comedic surprises, unlike TV’s depiction of surrogacy in sitcoms. Professionals help intended parents and surrogate forge supportive, healthy relationships, which often turn into genuine friendships. So, none of the situations in the TV shows mentioned above would have ever happened under the guidance of an actual surrogacy professional. 

Instead of perpetuating myths about real surrogacy experiences, we encourage anyone and everyone to read the stories of our real-life gestational surrogates and families created through surrogacy. Their stories may not be shown on the small screen, but they’re far more meaningful! 

Are Women Getting Rich Off of Surrogacy?

If you want to skip the rest of this article, we’ll give you the answer to the question right now: No. Women aren’t getting rich by becoming surrogates. Here’s why:

Gestational Surrogate Compensation Compared to the Average Annual Income 

The average annual wage in 2019 in the U.S. was $51,916.27, and the average median wage was $34,248.45. Let’s compare that to what a gestational surrogate makes: 

The base compensation for a first-time surrogate usually starts around $35,000–$40,000. That amount increases based on a surrogate’s experience and other factors. Surrogates then receive additional payments at different points throughout the pregnancy, and they will be reimbursed for all pregnancy- and surrogacy-related expenses. 

That starting rate of surrogate compensation could hardly be called “getting rich,” since it’s less than what many Americans make in a year. 

Is That More or Less Than You Expected? 

If that base compensation seems like a lot, that’s probably because you don’t know much about the effort and sacrifices that gestational carriers take on. Pregnancy and childbirth aren’t exactly easy, and surrogacy adds additional steps to the process. We’ll examine that further below. 

Conversely, was that starting number less than you were expecting? That may be because you’ve heard of surrogacy agencies that claim to pay women up to $63,000. However, their promises are extremely misleading. Not every surrogacy agency is as transparent as American Surrogacy, so we urge you to use caution when researching base compensation for surrogates. 

The payment that surrogates receive isn’t enough to get rich. But, it’s still a reasonable and important way to compensate women for the physical risks they accept and the amount of time and effort they sacrifice. 

Time and Physical Effort Invested 

For most gestational surrogates, the surrogacy process will take about one year from start to finish. It typically takes a couple months for a surrogate to complete the screening and approval processes, and then she may wait a bit to be paired with the right intended parents. Add in the unknown amount of time that it will take for her to become pregnant — it can take a few cycles of IVF before an embryo successfully “sticks,” while some surrogates will have success on the first try. 

All told, surrogates will usually invest roughly a year of their life to help intended parents have a child. 

Let’s look at what a surrogate would be doing during that time: 

  • Completing screening and approval processes, which involve medical tests, interviews with the surrogacy professional, counseling, emotional assessments and more. 
  • Attending regular doctor’s appointments (more than she would for a standard pregnancy) to ensure prenatal health, neonatal checkups, fertility treatments, IVF and embryo transfers, ultrasounds and more. 
  • Self-administering daily fertility medications throughout the IVF process. 
  • Communicating with her American Surrogacy specialist and the intended parents about how she’s feeling and the status of the baby. 
  • Taking care of her own children, attending to her own household and her own work. 
  • Preparing for and experiencing childbirth. 

As you can see, it’s not just sitting around, being pregnant! Gestational surrogates invest a lot of their time, effort and love into the surrogacy process. It’s a major commitment, and it’s one that deserves fair compensation. 

Surrogacy Compensation is a Financial Boost, Not Enough to Be the Sole Source of Income 

Many gestational surrogates are stay-at-home moms, or only work outside of the home part-time. So, although they’re contributing vitally to their families, they aren’t always the sole breadwinner — their spouses usually work outside the home.  

By becoming a surrogate, these women can help provide a financial boost to their family’s normal income. In some ways, it’s not unlike taking on a temporary, part-time job. The compensation they receive as a gestational carrier often goes toward specific financial goals, like a down payment for a home or their child’s college fund. 

These women don’t view surrogacy as a way “get rich quick” (which isn’t accurate, anyway) — they simply see it as a way to help someone else to become a parent while they also provide for their own family. 

Surrogates Are Required to Be Financially Stable 

What’s more, most surrogacy agencies (American Surrogacy included) actually require a prospective gestational surrogate to be financially stable. Meaning, she can support herself and her family without surrogacy compensation. Why? If a woman is only becoming a surrogate for financial reasons, rather than because she genuinely wants to, surrogacy could easily enter a realm where low-income women are exploited or feel financially pressured to become surrogates in order to make ends meet. 

Professionals like American Surrogacy want to make sure that a woman is choosing to carry someone’s child not out of necessity, but because she genuinely wants to help a family, and because she enjoys being pregnant. Then, the payments she receives are a fair compensation for the time, effort and physical risk she is taking on. It’s just the cherry on top. 

Surrogates Experience More Meaningful Rewards 

These women aren’t looking to get rich. They simply have a history of easy, enjoyable pregnancies, and they know they can use that incredible ability to help another couple know the joy of parenthood. Surrogates aren’t in it for the money. They’re carrying someone else’s child because they know it’s the most important gift they can give to someone else. 

That’s not a gift that can ever be repaid. But, the families that a surrogate helps will offer a lifetime of gratitude, all the same. 

Have more questions about American Surrogacy’s compensation for gestational carriers? Interested in becoming a gestational surrogate yourself? Contact us now.  

Our Tips for Choosing a Hospital for a Surrogacy Delivery

The surrogacy process is a unique experience in many ways. One example of this is making important medical decisions as a team. Working together, the surrogate and intended parents choose which doctors to see, the type of prenatal care to receive and, of course, the hospital for labor and delivery.

Finding the right hospital for labor and delivery can make this important and climatic step of the surrogacy process better for everyone. Your hospital should make you feel safe and have all of the available resources you could possibly need. Proximity to the surrogate’s home could be a big factor, as could other common concerns about hospitals.

If you’re preparing to begin the surrogacy process, this guide will give you the step-by-step process and information you need to make this important decision.

How to Choose a Hospital for Delivery

Choosing a hospital for delivery in the surrogacy process will follow a few steps:

Step 1: Start a Conversation

Choosing a hospital for delivery in surrogacy is a collaborative process. Coordinating with your surrogate and your agency, start talking about what you’re looking for in a hospital. Set your standards and make any non-negotiable items clear.

Step 2: Research Options

Now that you’re on the same page with your surrogate and agency, you can begin searching for hospitals that meet the criteria discussed in step one. Put a list together, starting with online research, and then talk over the list with your surrogate and agency.

Once you have it narrowed down to a few locations, schedule time for consultations with those hospitals to get a personal feel for the staff and ask specific questions. In some cases, the intended parents or surrogate (or both) may be able to take a tour of the maternity ward before making a choice.

Step 3: Choose Your Hospital

Once everyone has reached an agreement about the best location for labor and delivery, you can choose that hospital and move forward with the process.

Seems simple, right? While there may not be that many steps involved in choosing a hospital for surrogacy, the tricky part of this process is working collaboratively on an important and personal medical decision.

Working with Your Partner

Surrogates and intended parents are partners in this life-changing journey. Each has distinct desires and needs. For the best outcome, everyone involved should respect the desires and needs of everyone else involved.

Choosing a hospital is the type of thing that can become contentious if one person tries to take over. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. For the best hospital choice that makes everyone feel safe, supported and encouraged, make sure to do the following:

Listen First

Approach the conversation with the goal of understanding what the other person wants. Of course, you will always need to be clear about what you are looking for in a hospital for labor and delivery, too.

If both the surrogate and intended parents approach the conversation with this posture — eager to listen and also prepared to clearly state their needs — then you’ll be well on your way to making a good decision.

Remember the Goal

It can be common, in the midst of a close game, for a team’s two star players to get into a heated disagreement. This doesn’t happen because one wants her team to win and the other wants the opponent to win. They both want what is best for their team. The disagreement comes from passion, but the goal is the same.

This is how it is with surrogacy. When you’re in the middle of a conversation where you want different things, it can be easy to assume you are fighting for different outcomes — essentially playing for different teams. If you can’t come to an agreement, stop and remind yourself that everyone is playing for the same team and trying to reach the same goal. You all want what is best for the process.

This simple reminder — we’re all working toward the same goal — can help ease tension and resolve disagreement.

Turn to the Experts

Having a hard time with this choice? Your surrogacy specialist can help. Remember, you aren’t in this process alone. Your specialist has helped many other intended parents and surrogates make choices like this.

If you’re stuck between two hospitals or you can’t agree on what’s most important while making your choice, bring your specialist into the conversation. Their professional guidance can bring clarity to your choice.

Things to Consider in Prospective Hospitals

Now that we’ve covered the steps to choosing a hospital and the conversation tools needed to make this decision as a team, let’s take a look at the important practical considerations you’ll need to keep in mind when evaluating locations for labor and delivery.

Insurance

The intended parents cover the costs associated with the medical process of surrogacy, including the hospital stay for labor and delivery. You will want to make sure, as the intended parent, that your insurance offers assistance in cost coverage for any of the hospitals that you’re considering.

Capabilities of the NICU

You never want to believe that your child will spend extra time in the NICU, but it’s always a possibility. If there are complications around the birth, does the hospital have the staff and resources in the NICU to provide adequate care?

Location of the Hospital

Ideally, the hospital will be a short drive from the surrogate’s home. This may not be possible in some situations. In cases like this, you will want to come up with a travel plan so that the surrogate is able to get to the hospital as quickly as possible.

Comfort Level

Does the maternity ward and birthing suite make you feel comfortable and safe? An environment that increases comfort and decreases anxiety can lead to a better birthing experience. This is why it can be a good idea for the surrogate to request an in-person tour of a location before making a final choice.

Speak with a Surrogacy Specialist

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to choosing a hospital for surrogacy. Sometimes, it can be helpful to speak with a surrogacy professional if you have more specific questions about your own decision-making process.

You can contact us online or call 1-800-875-BABY (875-2229) at any time to speak with a specialist. This free consultation can provide the answers you are looking for about surrogacy and, if you’re ready, we’ll always be happy to help you get started with your own journey.

Surrogacy and Vaccinations: Unpacking a Difficult Process

Surrogacy is an intimate process, and sometimes it requires uncomfortable discussions. The safety and happiness of everyone involved in the process — both the surrogate and the intended parents — is always the goal. To ensure that goal is achieved, one touchy subject has to be addressed: surrogacy and vaccinations.

The medical aspects of surrogacy make up a large part of the process. If you’re considering surrogacy — either as a surrogate or intended parent — then you’ll need to get used to in-depth discussions around medical issues. This can often feel invasive and uncomfortable.

Vaccines have become a delicate issue in our culture. What was once accepted almost universally as a good and necessary piece of modern medicine is no longer so simple. In fact, in many circles the mere mention of vaccines can cause tension. And ever since COVID-19 became a big part of our daily existence, the conversation around vaccines has only intensified.

If you’re interested in surrogacy, you’re going to need to push through this tension to understand how vaccinations can impact your journey. From agency requirements to finding a surrogacy match, vaccinations can significantly alter your experience with the process.

Surrogates and Vaccinations

Your health as a surrogate is a priority during the process. You may feel a strong conviction about vaccinations — whether you see them as necessary or harmful. What’s important to understand is how your views (especially if you are against vaccinations) could disrupt the process.

There are two levels of medical screening that surrogates must complete: the agency screening and the fertility clinic screening.

Each surrogacy agency has its own in-house medical screening standards. These agency requirements will determine whether or not you can begin the process as a surrogate. If you do not have all of your immunizations, you will need to check on your agency’s requirements before going any further.

The intended parents choose the fertility clinic that will perform the in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Each fertility clinic will conduct a medical screening before the procedure, and requirements differ from clinic to clinic. Many require a full vaccination record.

When you’re a surrogate, you don’t officially enter into your legal contract with the intended parents until the medical screening with the fertility clinic has been completed. A failed screening could result in the dissolution of a match, which can be very disappointing.

Our intent in saying this is not necessarily to change your mind. It’s important to remember that, when you are a gestational surrogate, you have the right to choose what you believe is best for your body.

However, it is our job to make sure you have all the information you need before making big choices. If you are interested in being a surrogate and are personally against vaccinations, it could become an issue in your medical screening.

Intended Parents and Vaccinations

The intended parents’ opinion on vaccinations can also be a factor in the surrogacy process. While intended parents do not undergo the same medical screening that surrogates do, their perspectives on vaccines can come up in the screening process and, as we’ll explore in greater detail below, could potentially become an issue when it comes to finding a match.

Intended parents who are against vaccines may want to find a surrogate who is also against vaccines. This could become an issue if it is not clearly addressed upfront. If a surrogate feels that immunizations are necessary to protect her health, the intended parents cannot force her to abstain.

Additionally, intended parents who are against vaccinations may have a hard time finding a fertility clinic that does not require them. Many fertility clinics have guidelines that include a long list of immunizations.  If this concerns you, you can ask a clinic if there are exceptions, or ask them to explain the safety of vaccinations during pregnancy. However, there is a chance that anti-vaccination views on the part of the intended parents could limit the number of professionals available to work with. 

Anti-Vaccination Views and Finding a Match

The aspects of surrogacy and vaccination covered above are primarily technical. But, there’s a more personal side to this discussion, as well. While medical screening and agency requirements should be considered, finding a surrogacy match is another topic of equal importance.

Here’s the simple truth when it comes to anti-vaccination views and finding a match: It may be more challenging to find a match if you hold this opinion of vaccines.

This can be true for intended parents or surrogates. If the other party accepts medical science on the safety and importance and vaccines and you do not, then it can often become an insurmountable disagreement.

Intended parents and surrogates do not have to perfectly agree on everything. In fact, disagreements on some level are common. However, vaccinations are too important for many people to simply “agree to disagree.”

The views of the intended parents and surrogate on vaccinations should always be discussed early in the process, so that a passionate disagreement can be avoided at a later stage.

The COVID-19 vaccine, specifically, could become a regular requirement for surrogates and intended parents when it comes to finding a match. While requirements from the agency side will vary, it’s expected that many surrogates and intended parents will want the other party involved to have received the vaccine once it is available.

On the other hand, there is a growing public wariness about vaccines, and the COVID-19 vaccine in particular. This could cause it to become a hot-button issue that impacts all areas of society, including surrogacy.

Once again, this information is not presented in an effort to change opinions. Rather, it’s vital that you fully understand the potential implications of anti-vaccination views when it comes to the surrogacy process.

Speak with a Specialist

Surrogacy can be a beautiful journey. Whether you are pursuing this opportunity as a surrogate or intended parent, we want you to feel encouraged and empowered. If you’d like to learn more about the process and speak to a specialist about this specific topic, you can contact us online today or call 1-800-875-BABY (875-2229).