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).

The Importance of Compromise in Surrogacy

Becoming an intended parent or a surrogate is an exciting journey unlike any other. Before you know it, all the hard work, patience and care that you’ve put into this process will finally pay off.

But before you get to that exciting step, you’ll need to focus on your relationship between one another. Surrogacy is not a solo activity, and it’s important to deepen the bond that will last throughout this entire process.

With that being said, you may be in a situation where you’re having trouble compromising with your surrogacy partner. When one party wants the surrogacy process to go a certain way but the other can’t let go of their plans, what should you do?

This a tough question to answer, but it’s not impossible. We understand that everyone wants to have their individual needs met during this important journey.

At the end of the day, however, surrogacy is a partnership. And, just like in any relationship, it’s all about compromise. You may not get everything you want, but what you will get is an life-changing journey made possible by flexibility and mutual respect.

If you’re feeling frustrated during your surrogacy journey, it’s important to look at the situation from the other perspective and to communicate your needs. To help both parties come to an understanding, here are some things that everyone should know about compromise in surrogacy.

What Intended Parents Should Know

When you’re an intended parent, there are a lot of decisions that will be out of your control. This may be the hardest part about the journey altogether. It’s up to you to accept this and move forward for a successful surrogacy process.

Have faith that your surrogate knows what she’s doing and that she understands how important this process is. At the end of the day, you’re not the one carrying your child — so you’ll need to trust your surrogacy partner and her desires.

Please remember that it takes so much to become a surrogate. Helping hopeful parents grow their family takes considerable time and energy, and it comes with its own potential risks. Every pregnancy can take a physical toll on a body, and a surrogate pregnancy is no different.

When it comes to things like birth plans, prenatal care expectations and the timeline of the process, you may need make some sacrifices and lower your expectations. We know that you want to be involved in everything, but at the end of the day, you will need to take a step back and let your surrogate handle a few aspects of the process on her own.

Try to keep yourself busy and focus on your favorite things during her pregnancy. Use your free time to get reacquainted with some of your favorite hobbies and hang out with dear friends and family. The more time you spend thinking about things you enjoy, the less time you’ll be stressed out the pregnancy and how your baby is doing.

You should also take this time to focus on building and maintaining a relationship with your surrogate. Try to connect with her feelings; spend some time researching what it really takes to become a surrogate and everything that comes with this selfless decision. Putting yourself in her shoes will make your relationship that much stronger.

What Surrogates Should Know

It’s not easy being a surrogate, but you should always keep in mind the intended parents’ perspective, especially if they want to be involved in every little detail.

The countless questions might feel a little nosy, but try to understand where they’re coming from. For an intended parent, there is just so much out of their control. More likely than not, they’ve already been through several IVF treatments before deciding to pursue surrogacy. For them, this has been a lifelong dream in the making, and it can be tough to put their hopes and dreams in someone else’s hands.

Intended parents are thrilled that their dreams of having a baby are finally coming true. But, on the other hand, they’re probably feeling helpless, out of control, and left out of the loop. They may have different expectations for pregnancy and prenatal care than you, and that can be frustrating. However, remember that this baby you’re carrying is not yours — and you may have to compromise to put the intended parents at ease.

The intended parents may request that you take a variety of prenatal pills and get more exercise than you have in previous pregnancies. Your hospital preferences may not match up initially, either. Maybe you’ve only had natural, at-home births for your previous pregnancies, but the intended parents are much more comfortable with a hospital delivery. Remember that surrogacy is a partnership; you’ll need to find a compromise that everyone is comfortable with.

The important thing is to be flexible. Communicate with the intended parents to figure out what works for everyone. If something isn’t working for you, it’s important to be honest.

It may help to maintain boundaries in your relationship with the intended parents. Let them know they need to take a step back if you feel overwhelmed at their involvement. If it gets to be too much, you can always ask your surrogacy specialist for advice and support.

The Journey Ahead

We know that it won’t be easy to make some sacrifices along the way. But we promise all of your hard work will be worth it in the end.

If you can’t understand where your surrogacy partner is coming from, you can always ask your surrogacy specialist to help mediate. After all, that’s what they’re there for — to ensure a positive and respectful surrogacy partnership and journey.

How to Find Patience in the Surrogacy Journey

Waiting is hard, especially when you know what you want. That’s why it can be so frustrating when steps of the surrogacy process seem to drag on and on. Why can’t things speed up, already?

If you’re preparing for the surrogacy process — as an intended parent or surrogate — you will need to find ways to develop patience. Unfortunate as it may be, there are aspects of this process that simply can’t be rushed. You might feel frustrated during those times, and that’s completely understandable. How you respond to that frustration will play a big part in your overall experience with the surrogacy process.

For the best experience on this life-changing journey, consider some of these tips and pointers on ways to find patience when things are moving slowly.

Finding Patience as an Intended Parent

You’ve likely been waiting for a long time when you’re an intended parent in the surrogacy process. The dream of parenthood has been in your sights for years, possibly many years, and now that you’re so close you just want it to be here now.

This is extremely understandable. It’s normal. In fact, it’s good. It’s a sign of your already deep love for your child and your desire to take on the responsibilities of parenthood. However, unchecked impatience can spoil the process.

Here are a few things to do and consider when you feel frustrated by the pace of the process:

Speak with your surrogacy specialist.

Your first and most important call is always to your specialist. An open, honest dialog with your specialist sets the foundation for a successful surrogacy process. Feeling impatient? Talk about it — and remember to be kind, because your specialist is working as hard as they can to support you during this journey.

Remind yourself what you’re waiting for.

One good way to do this is by writing it out. This forces your brain to consider the idea to the fullest extent. It may seem silly — of course you know what you’re waiting for.

But, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment when the process becomes frustrating. Taking time to re-examine your hopes and dreams of becoming a parent can reset your focus and help you find the necessary patience during a slow-moving step of the process.

Find something else to do.

The surrogacy process can feel all-consuming, but there are other parts of life that matter, too. Find something to take your mind off the process, if only for a moment. Nothing makes a wait feel longer than only thinking about the thing you’re waiting for. The clock will speed up if you begin investing your energy in other areas of life. This could be work, your relationships, or even something fun like a good book or movie. Give yourself a break — you deserve it.

Finding Patience as a Surrogate

Choosing to become a surrogate is amazing. It’s a brave, loving decision. If you’ve made it, then you’re probably eager to get started. You will play an essential role in the life of a family and experience something totally unique and life-changing for yourself, as well.

So, it’s completely understandable to become impatient when things aren’t moving as quickly as you’d like. There are things that take time — maybe a lot of time — for this process to be completed correctly.

About ready to pull your hair out waiting for the next step of the process? Here are several things to keep in mind when you feel impatient about a step of the process:

There’s a reason it takes a long time to find a match.

Your agency is hard at work looking for the perfect intended parents for you. The surrogacy process will be most rewarding with the right match. It may feel good in the moment for things to move faster, but that could lead to frustration later on if a match is forced.

All those legal documents are really important.

Sometimes the surrogacy contract can take weeks or more to draw up. Your attorney isn’t slacking — they are making sure that everything is covered. This contract protects everyone involved, and it needs to be airtight. It may take a long time, but it will protect you in the end.

Speak with your specialist.

Just like for intended parents, your surrogacy specialist should be your most trusted resource during this process. Feeling antsy about how long things are taking? Your specialist will understand. Give them a call.

Perspective: It Will Be Worth the Wait

Time is an illusory and subjective experience. Sometimes it flies; sometimes you could swear the clock is stuck. In the moment, it may feel like a step of the process is taking forever. But, try to remove yourself from the moment.

Looking back on your journey so far — during the surrogacy process and in your life before — doesn’t time always seem to fly by? Someday in the future, this process will be done. When you get there, these moments of impatience will fade away, and it will all be worth it. When that day comes, these long waits will, probably, seem like nothing.

Try to remind yourself of that when things become frustrating, when the process seems to moving slower than a snail. The wait will be worth it — we promise.

7 Things People Never Tell You About Surrogacy

Gestational surrogacy can be a wonderful thing — but it’s also a process that can be full of surprises, especially for those who have never taken this journey. Whether you’re a gestational surrogate or intended parent, there’s a lot you need to know before you get started.

Knowing the basics is important before any surrogacy journey, but some nuances don’t always make it into the introductory packets. Every surrogacy is unique, but in our experience, there are a few key things that our clients are surprised to find out as they get started.

Our surrogacy specialists are always available to talk about these when you call us at 1-800-875-BABY(2229). In the meantime, read more about them below.

1. You’ll Gain Some New Family

Surrogacy involves a partnership between intended parents and gestational carriers. We match up our clients based on mutual preferences and desires for the surrogacy process and, for many of them, this is the basis for a healthy, trusting relationship. For those who embrace it, this partnership becomes a lot more.

More than likely, the surrogate or intended parent you work with will become your genuine friend. Because surrogacy is an intimate journey, you will learn a great deal about each other. You’ll lean on each other in the hard times and celebrate your successes. Even long after your surrogacy is complete, you may stay in regular touch with your partner and see them as a part of your extended family.

Take it from one of our former surrogates, Megan:

“I didn’t just have babies for somebody else; I gained an entire family through the whole process… It was the most rewarding thing in the entire world. I would do it all over again.”

2. You Might Have a Hard Time Bonding

If you’re an intended parent, you’ve been dreaming of the moment you first hold your child for a long time. But, when you have a child via surrogacy, it may not be exactly how you picture it — and your child’s first few months might be an adjustment, too.

Becoming a new parent is hard enough but, when you haven’t carried your own child for the last nine months, you may feel a bit of a disconnect. You may not have felt the overwhelming “true love” emotion after seeing your baby for the first time, and that’s completely normal.

Bonding with your baby may take more time and effort than you originally imagined. This doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent; it just means you took a unique journey to get where you are, and you need some time to adjust. Remember, your surrogacy specialist will always be there to answer your questions after surrogacy, too!

3. Not Everyone “Gets” Surrogacy

Because surrogacy is still a fairly new family-building option, there are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings about it. You may be surprised to find out that your friends and family don’t completely understand the path you’re taking (and why you’re taking it). Don’t be shocked if you have to educate a few of your loved ones along the way.

Even with education, some people simply don’t “get” surrogacy and don’t support it. This can be hard to hear, but remember why you’re pursuing it and why this choice is important to you. At the end of the day, the only opinions that matter are yours and your surrogacy partner’s.

4. It’s Not Available Everywhere

Surrogacy is regulated by state in the U.S., so every state has different legislation on the process. Some states (like California and New York) are very surrogacy-friendly, with laws protecting all parties. Other states have loosely defined or no surrogacy laws at all, but surrogacy is still possible there.

Before you assume you can begin surrogacy in your state, talk to a professional like American Surrogacy or a local attorney. They can explain why surrogacy will look like where you live and what you can expect moving forward.

5. It’s Not an Easy Choice

Surrogacy isn’t simple. There are many moving parts, and all parties have to meet requirements before they can begin. Just like parents can’t “just adopt,” they can’t “just choose surrogacy.”

Intended parents often have to save for years to afford IVF and surrogacy costs, and they have to grieve their dreams of pregnancy before they can work with a surrogate. A gestational carrier must be medically approved to carry an intended parent’s child, and she must accept all the risks of pregnancy and surrogacy before deciding it’s right for her.

Simply put, there’s a lot involved in the choice to pursue surrogacy.

6. Every Journey is Different

You can read tons of articles about people’s surrogacy journeys, and we encourage you to! But the fact is that your surrogacy journey will be unique — and the only way to know what to expect is by speaking with a professional.

An intended parent’s or gestational carrier’s surrogacy plan is based on their own needs, preferences and goals. It involves the coordination of a reproductive endocrinologist, surrogacy lawyer and case manager. There’s no “one size fits all” in surrogacy. While stories from former intended parents and gestational carriers can be helpful, don’t trust that your journey will look exactly the same.

7. It’s a Lifelong Experience

Surrogacy is more than just the year or so you put into preparation and pregnancy. Surrogacy is a lifelong journey for all involved.

When you have a child via surrogacy, you will need to explain their surrogacy story honestly and proudly to them as they grow up. And, when you become a surrogate, you will likely think about the intended parents and their child for years to come. Many surrogacy partners even maintain lifelong friendships after their journey is complete.

So, before you pursue surrogacy, recognize how it will forever change your life — in a good way! Be prepared for what’s ahead, and you’ll be that much more likely to have a successful journey.

Want to learn more about surrogacy with our agency? Contact us online today.

How Will Moving Affect Your Surrogacy Journey?

Moving is certainly a hassle — but, sometimes, you just can’t help it. Job changes, family emergencies and other unique circumstances may force you and your family to pack up your things when you least expect it.

When you’re in the middle of a surrogacy journey, moving will add a few wrinkles to your plan. In fact, depending on where and when you move, your experience may completely change. That’s why your first step should always be to let your surrogacy specialist know if moving may be in your family’s future — whether you’re just starting your journey or are already in the middle of it.

From there, your specialist will work with your attorney to determine what steps should be taken. Below, find just a few examples of how moving may affect your surrogacy plans:

The Applicable Laws May Change

If you (or your surrogacy partner) move states, it’s likely that the laws governing your process will change. While many states have legislation that is friendly to surrogacy (or simply don’t regulate the process at all), the nuances between each state’s legislation can cause hiccups.

Your attorney will research what laws will regulate the process in your new state. They may update your existing contract or, if necessary, create a whole new contract applying the laws in your new location.

Unfortunately, there are a few states in the U.S. where surrogacy is prohibited. If a surrogate moves to one of these states, it may endanger the legal agreement completely.

Again, keeping your specialist informed about any moves ahead of time will reduce complications and help them best assist you as your family navigates this new step.

You May Need a New Attorney

On the same note, when you move states, your old attorney may not be able to represent your interests anymore. Instead, you may be required to hire a new (or additional) attorney who better understands the laws of your new state and can best advocate for you. If additional steps like rewriting a contract are needed, your surrogacy journey may last longer than anticipated.

If you are considering moving states, let your surrogacy attorney know early, too. That way, they can refer you to any additional professionals you need in that state (or within the same state, if your attorney only works in one regional area).

You May Need to Redo Your In-Home Assessment

American Surrogacy reserves the right to complete in-home assessments for gestational carriers. If your family and house underwent one prior to starting the surrogacy journey, you may need to complete another one upon moving into your new residence.

As a reminder, these assessments are simply intended to confirm you can provide a safe environment for a pregnancy. A licensed social worker will sit down with you and your family to discuss your feelings on surrogacy and ensure all family members are supportive of this journey.

For more information about in-home assessments (and whether moving will require you to complete another), reach out to your surrogacy specialist.

We’ll Say It Again: If Moving, Notify Your Surrogacy Specialist Right Away

Whether you’re seriously considering moving or it’s just a blip on your radar right now, make sure to keep your surrogacy specialist updated on your plans. Starting to move without telling American Surrogacy can jeopardize your journey, whether you’re an intended parent or gestational carrier. But, when your specialist is aware of your family situation, they can stay on top of any changing requirements or steps needed to keep you and your surrogacy partner safe.

Remember: Your surrogacy specialist is always here to help you. Whatever big changes happen in your life during your surrogacy journey — moving, relationship changes, family deaths or additions — she will be here to support you and make any necessary adjustments. Keep your surrogacy specialist informed, and your experience with American Surrogacy will go much smoother!

How COVID-19 Has Impacted International Surrogacy

It’s Time to Shift to Domestic Surrogacy

Despite the availability of surrogacy situations within the United States, many intended parents turn to other countries in search of a gestational surrogate. Now, as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, intended parents and surrogates around the world are experiencing the fallout.

Now and in the future, domestic surrogacy is the safest option for all involved.

Here are a few of the situations that international intended parents and surrogates have found themselves facing as a result of the ongoing pandemic:

Babies have been stuck in foreign makeshift nurseries.

Hundreds of children are in quarantine limbo, thousands of miles from their parents, who have yet to meet their baby. Nurses are caring for these stranded babies in temporary nurseries set up in hotels.

Many of these babies have been stuck for months while countries are restricting or banning international travel, and it’s still unknown when they’ll be able to go home.

Intended parents have been unable to travel to their surrogate or meet their newborn baby.

On the rare occasion when international travel has been permitted, intended parents have still been met with countless legal and financial hurdles. Intended parents who are immunocompromised may not be able to travel due to the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

New precautions by countries and airlines regarding intercountry travel have delayed or halted travel plans for intended parents, so many were too late for their baby’s birth, if they were able to arrive at all. Some are still waiting to meet their child, months after delivery.

Intended parents have become stuck in their surrogate’s country.

Some intended parents who scrambled to beat the oncoming travel bans arrived in their surrogate’s country to get their newborn baby, only to find that they were not allowed to return home. Many are still quarantining in hotels within their surrogate’s country, waiting for it to become possible to leave.

This has become financially straining for many families, and they’ve had to find ways to care for their newborn in a foreign country.

Surrogates have had to care for the intended parents’ baby.

Some gestational surrogates for international families have had to assume responsibility for the baby during the COVID-19 outbreak. But these women were not prepared to care for a newborn — they don’t have cribs, carriers, diapers or the essentials.

They also were not expecting or wanting to care for a baby, let alone someone else’s. Most of these women are also raising children of their own, so providing for another is a serious burden.

Fortunately, women have risen to the occasion with compassion, even though it’s not part of their job description.

6 Reasons Why Intended Parents and Surrogates Should Choose Matches Within Their Own Countries

If the horror stories of intended parents, surrogates and babies being stranded thousands of miles apart from one another due to COVID-19 weren’t enough to convince you that it’s time to look within our own countries for surrogacy situations, these six reasons for choosing domestic surrogacy will.

1. Fewer ethical concerns

Eliminating the exploitation of women in developing countries is always a concern. Surrogates within the United States are required to be financially stable without the assistance of surrogacy-related compensation they accept, so you know they’re doing this because they want to and not because they need to.

There will always be a group of people who do not feel comfortable with the concept of surrogacy as a whole, but knowing that their gestational surrogate is in a stable and positive situation in her life will put the minds of many intended parents at ease.

2. Improved opportunities for strong surrogate-intended parent relationships

Intended parents and gestational surrogates who were separated by countries and continents typically had little to no interaction with one another even before COVID-19. This experience creates less of a shared, emotionally-centered experience, and is more akin to a transaction.

The most commonly cited reason why U.S. women want to become surrogates is because they have a desire to help intended parents know the joys of parenthood. So getting to know the family they will be carrying for is an exciting and rewarding part of the experience.

Not only do intended parents and surrogates benefit when they forge a genuine connection, the child will one day have the opportunity to know a bit more about the woman who helped bring them to their parents.

3. Less traveling with vulnerable newborns

A newborn baby’s immune system is especially vulnerable. Traveling transcontinentally is stressful for a newborn, and a lengthy travel will increase the risk for exposure to illnesses, including COVID-19.

Intended parents who partner with surrogates within their own countries often have the option to return home by car after the birth of the baby, or at the very least will have a much shorter journey.

4. No language barriers

Intended parents must communicate with their surrogacy agency and relevant professionals in addition to communication with their surrogate. If there are language or cultural barriers standing in the way of any of these communications, it can have a number of concerning effects on the surrogacy process, including but not limited to:

  • Legal misunderstandings
  • Financial miscommunication
  • Travel complications
  • A less emotionally connected experience
  • A lack of information or confusion with updates regarding the baby and pregnancy
  • A lack of support for the intended parents and/or surrogate

5. Fewer legal concerns

International surrogacy has far more legal steps than a domestic surrogacy situation, similar to international adoption. Visas and passports must be obtained, agencies and professionals will need to jump through hoops in both the sending and receiving country and there may be legal citizenship issues now or in the future. Changes within a country’s policies on the matter can occur rapidly, leaving intended parents out of money and options in the middle of the process.

Although states within the U.S. are each going to have their own set of surrogacy laws, surrogacy within the U.S. is still much better regulated than it is in foreign countries. In such an important experience, the legal protection of everyone involved in the surrogacy process (especially the baby) is a primary concern.

6. Reduced cost

Without the high costs of international travel and lodging, intended parents will save money by choosing surrogacy situations within their own countries. Additionally, there are often more hidden costs in international surrogacy than the parents were aware of. Surrogacy can already be a costly process — adding international travel to the total is unnecessary when there are surrogacy situations available domestically, perhaps even nearby.

American Surrogacy exclusively works with U.S. intended parents and surrogates in an effort to avoid the aforementioned concerns. Want to learn more about domestic surrogacy within the United States? Contact American Surrogacy now, or start by viewing our available surrogate situations of waiting women located within the U.S.

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.