5 Secrets to a Successful Surrogacy

It’s no secret — surrogacy can be an overwhelming and complicated but equally rewarding family-building process. So, are there any tips for making it as successful a process as possible?

Whether you’re an intended parent or prospective surrogate, there are a couple of rules to live by if you want to have a surrogacy that meets all of your dreams and goals.

1. Be Open.

More than anything else, surrogacy is an intimate partnership between not only intended parents and their surrogate but also the surrogacy and medical professionals that guide them through the process. Because surrogacy can be so complicated and cause so many different emotions, it’s important that intended parents and surrogates are open with each other and their professionals from the start.

For intended parents, this may mean opening up about past infertility struggles that are difficult to talk about. For surrogates, it means being willing to share intimate medical information about their body every step of the way. Many times, surrogacy is a new experience for both, so it’s important to be open to those new experiences in order to do what is best for your personal journey.

2. Be Honest.

Similarly, it’s important to always be honest about what you are feeling at different points in your surrogacy process. It’s normal to encounter difficult emotions along the way — like jealousy, discomfort and more — but the only healthy way of coping with them is by addressing them honestly, either with your surrogacy partner or your surrogacy professional.

Trying to hide what you are feeling — either because of your own discomfort in revealing your emotions or in attempting to save someone else from discomfort — will only cause more problems further along in your surrogacy process. In fact, your surrogacy professionals are often trained to detect dishonesty or other similar issues, and your surrogacy process could stall until you resolve those emotions.

3. Be Prepared.

There are many moving parts involved in a successful surrogacy, and one of the secrets to making yours as positive as possible is by knowing what to expect. All intended parents and surrogates should fully understand the logistics of the surrogacy process before starting, but you should also speak with your surrogacy professional so you are aware of potential complications that could arise. Even if you don’t believe these circumstances will arise, you should always be prepared, just in case.

The better prepared you are, the smoother your surrogacy will progress.

4. Be Flexible.

On the same note, in the case of unexpected developments, flexibility is key. Your surrogacy may not go as you expect; you may experience delays in screening, failed transfers or even a miscarriage. As discouraging as these situations are, they are completely normal aspects of a surrogacy — and you should be prepared for the possibility of them occurring.

Being flexible under non-ideal circumstances will not only help save your mental health but it will also help you grow a strong relationship with your surrogacy partner, who will also be going through the same situations.

5. Be Realistic.

When you finally begin your surrogacy journey, you will be incredibly excited for the progress to come! However, as mentioned, surrogacy can come with unexpected delays and complications, and not everything will go perfectly the first time.

An average surrogacy journey takes about 12–18 months. Of course, all surrogacy journeys are different, and you may hear about other people’s journeys on both extremes of the spectrum. However, don’t expect to be matched within days and have a confirmed pregnancy the next month. Surrogacy takes time, and it will all happen based on what’s best for your individual journey. You may not see it while you are in the process, but you will look back later and know that everything happened when it did for a reason.

If you’re looking for more tips on having a successful surrogacy, look no further than American Surrogacy. Our surrogacy specialists can provide the case management and support services you need during every step of this complicated journey to help you achieve your personal surrogacy goals. Learn more by contacting us today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

Why Aren’t Surrogacy Agencies Regulated?

Often, intended parents and surrogates ask, “Why aren’t surrogacy agencies regulated?” Knowing that other family-building organizations like private infant adoption agencies and foster care agencies undergo annual review and scrutiny from official government organizations, they may be wary of the fact that surrogacy agencies don’t have this same certification process.

So, how do you know surrogacy agencies are safe if they don’t have this same certification? And why aren’t surrogacy agencies subject to the same scrutiny as other family-building professionals?

The most important thing to know is that just because a surrogacy agency isn’t regulated doesn’t mean it’s a poor choice for your family-building process. Before passing judgement on the lack of regulation, it’s important to recognize exactly why the surrogacy professional field is this way.

It’s Not Because They Don’t Want to Be

You may think that surrogacy agencies take advantage of the lack of regulation: charging whatever they like, offering as many (or as few) services as they deem acceptable, and generally looking out for themselves rather than their clients. And while this may be true with a few organizations, this could not be farther from the mark for most of the surrogacy agencies that exist today.

The best surrogacy agencies today are made up of professionals who have already made their living in the family-building process as trained social workers, medical professionals, lawyers and more. Coming from these fields, they are used to regulation and set internal standards for themselves and their agency. In fact, many of these professionals would welcome a universal regulation and certification process to add credibility to their organization and stand out from the rest. Some professionals today are even advocating for a regulation process for surrogacy agencies.

It’s Because Surrogacy is New and Rapidly Advancing

Unlike other family-building processes like adoption, surrogacy is still a fairly new way of bringing children into a family. Because surrogacy is so heavily based in science, rapid developments in how infertility is treated and the embryo transfer process itself has made it difficult to set standards. If they were to be set, they would have to be constantly updated to reflect the changes in the field.

However, the best surrogacy agencies (like American Surrogacy) stay up-to-date on these changes and reflect them in their programs and the professionals they choose. While national regulation at this point would be incredibly difficult due to these continual changes (not to mention vastly different state laws), the self-regulation that surrogacy agencies perform is an effective way of incorporating modern updates.

How You Can Choose a Professional You Can Trust

Just because a surrogacy agency is not regulated doesn’t mean there is no way of determining whether their program is professional and up-to-date. One of the best ways to determine a surrogacy agency can provide the professional guidance you need is by learning what kind of licensed services they do provide. When considering a surrogacy agency, look for the following:

Of course, it’s always a good idea to speak with former and current clients of a surrogacy agency for their opinion on whether the services offered by the professional meet your personal needs and preferences.

Here at American Surrogacy, our surrogacy specialists are licensed social workers and we only work with professional, licensed surrogacy attorneys and medical professionals. Contact us today to learn more about how we keep our surrogacy program up-to-date, safe and regulated in the best interest of our surrogates and intended parents.

Happy Holidays from American Surrogacy!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all from the staff of American Surrogacy! We and our sister agency American Adoptions are honored to be a part of so many families’ lives in helping to make their dreams come true.

The holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate with family but, if you haven’t quite reached your family goals, you can always contact a surrogacy specialist at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) or an adoption specialist at 1-800-ADOPTION. We are here to help you make your parenthood dreams come true.

What Does Religion Say About the Morality of Surrogacy?

Hopeful parents thinking about surrogacy have many things to consider before embarking on this life-changing journey. For those with a strong faith, they may need to consider how their religion will factor into their surrogacy process, as well.

Religion and any kind of assisted reproductive technology has always been a complicated issue. Many faiths emphasize the importance of a husband and wife conceiving naturally on their own, and involving anyone else in this process can be viewed as unholy.

However, as infertility and IVF become more everyday topics of conversation, many religious people have begun to change their views on what is acceptable within their faith — recognizing that it’s having a family that’s more important than the process behind it.

Religious Views on Surrogacy

Each faith is different and, therefore, what your faith may say about assisted reproductive technology and surrogacy may differ from what’s written below — based on your personal beliefs and that of your local congregation and religious leaders.

In general, here is how some major faiths view surrogacy:

  • Catholicism: While surrogacy is present in the Book of Genesis with the story of Sarah and Abraham, the Catholic Church does not advocate for surrogacy. Instead, the Church teaches that children are a gift from God, only to be conceived and carried naturally by a married husband and wife. Any addition of a third party to this process is considered immoral.
  • Protestantism: Because there are many different factions of Protestantism, views of the surrogacy practice will vary. However, these sects of Christianity are usually more liberal, and surrogacy and other assisted reproductive technology may be more accepted among certain religious groups.
  • Judaism: Like with other faiths, more conservative Jewish factions do not approve of surrogacy. In vitro fertilization can be completed under rabbinical supervision, but there is a complicated discussion regarding the heritage of a child born via egg donor (as Jewish heritage is matrilineal). More liberal religious thinkers may accept surrogacy as a way to ease the suffering of infertile couples.
  • Islam: Muslim views of surrogacy can be wide-varying. Some scholars argue that the process is akin to adultery and that the child has no legal lineage, while others claim that surrogacy is an integral part of the belief that humans have a responsibility to preserve the human species however they can. Some more modern Muslims believe that IVF and surrogacy is allowable as long as semen and ovum are from a married couple, while Sunni Muslims believe no third-party assistance should be permissible.
  • Buddhism: Surrogacy is completely accepted in Buddhism, mainly because procreation is not seen as a moral duty. Therefore, couples are under no obligation to have children and, when they do, they can do so through whatever way they deem fit.
  • Hinduism: Like many faiths, Hinduism and its views on surrogacy vary. In general, infertility treatments can be allowable, like through artificial insemination if the sperm is the husband’s. It’s important to note that surrogacy in India is a thriving industry, and many of the surrogates there are of Hindu faith.

Reconciling Surrogacy with Your Religious Beliefs

Because many religions were established thousands of years before IVF or gestational surrogacy could even be imagined, it can be difficult to determine whether surrogacy is really ethical for your religious beliefs.

Remember that all properly completed surrogacy processes protect the rights of both intended parents and surrogates in an ethical way, and both parties enter into the agreement together. It can be difficult to reconcile this positive process with something that many believe to be against their god’s will, especially if having children is so important to a certain religious culture.

If you are concerned about how your religious faith may play into your surrogacy process, we encourage you to speak to a trusted religious leader and other intended parents or surrogates who have been through the same process. They may be able to help you sort out your feelings and understand exactly what you feel is right and wrong about pursuing surrogacy with your religious convictions.

A surrogacy specialist can also speak to you about the American Surrogacy process so you can determine how it may affect your religious beliefs. There are also several faith-based surrogacy agencies specifically designed to address this family-building process from a religious standpoint.

Determining whether surrogacy is right for you is always a process that takes time, and considering your faith is an important part of this. We encourage intended parents and prospective surrogates to take the time they need to make the best decision for them and, if they have any questions, to contact us at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) today.

10 Surrogacy Social Media Accounts to Follow Today

Whether you’re considering surrogacy as an intended parent or a prospective surrogate, it’s important to be up-to-date on all the latest surrogacy news and information you need to know. But, with so much information out there, how do you find the stuff that’s relevant to you?

Thankfully, there are many surrogacy social media accounts out there that curate all of the constantly emerging surrogacy information. When you choose to follow them, you’ll receive all this information straight in your social media feeds, rather than attempting to gather it all yourself.

Keep in mind that because there is a lot of information on the internet about surrogacy, not all of it is accurate or helpful. Therefore, surrogacy social media accounts are a great way to receive only the information that is credible, accurate and useful. You can find social media accounts that are informational and objective or personal accounts of someone’s experience with surrogacy. Whatever you’re looking for, it’s likely that you can find it.

This is just a small sampling of the social media accounts available to you, but some of the ones that American Surrogacy recommends the most, both for surrogacy and general pregnancy health information:

  1. American Surrogacy, Twitter: @US_Surrogacy
  2. All Things Surrogacy, Twitter: @AllThingsSurro, Instagram: @allthingssurrogacy
  3. RESOLVE: The National Infertility Assocation, Twitter: @resolveorg
  4. Fertility Smarts, Twitter:@fertilitysmarts, Instagram: @fertilitysmarts
  5. The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, Twitter: @AWHONN, Instagram: @awhonn
  6. Surrogate Mothers Online, LLC, Twitter: @surromomsonline
  7. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Twitter: @NICHD_NIH
  8. American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Twitter: @ReprodMed
  9. Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, Twitter: @ReproLawAcademy
  10. Surrogacy By Design, Twitter: @SurrogacySusan

Remember, these are only a few of the social media accounts about surrogacy and infertility that you can follow. Keep an eye out for posts from other helpful organizations, and drop us a line when you find one you think we should add!

14 Books and Movies that Got Surrogacy Right

When it comes to surrogacy, there is never enough representation of this beautiful family-building process out there for people to find. Unfortunately, when it comes to representation of surrogacy in pop culture today, many of the references are ignorant, outdated and negative — definitely not representing the truth of the matter.

At American Surrogacy, we understand how important it is to have positive examples of the surrogacy process in the media not only for the children born via surrogacy, but also for intended parents, surrogates and everyone else in the world. Some of the easiest ways to find these representations are through surrogacy movies and surrogacy books, which can help you explain the process and spread more awareness of the beauty of surrogacy today.

There’s still a long way to go when it comes to having a prolific number of books on surrogacy and surrogacy movies available to use, so it’s important that everyone pushes for more options on their own. In the meantime, however, here are some of the positive representatives of surrogacy that you can turn to:

Books on Surrogacy

Many of the surrogacy books available today are targeted toward younger children as a way to explain to them their birth via surrogacy. Many intended parents and surrogates use these surrogacy books to introduce and normalize the idea of surrogacy from as early on as possible. By using relatable, fun characters, these books teach children to be excited about their birth story. They’re also great sources for explaining surrogacy to a child’s siblings and peers.

Here are some books on surrogacy that we recommend:

In addition to surrogacy books for children, there are many informational resources available to help adults learn more about the surrogacy process. Whether it’s for an intended parent or surrogate considering surrogacy, or for curious family members or friends, these books on surrogacy allow people to understand better this popular family-building option:

Surrogacy Movies

Unfortunately, much of surrogacy film today portrays negative images of women who choose to become surrogates — with them becoming obsessive, overprotective and unwilling to complete their end of the process and let intended parents take their baby home. However, as we all know, these portrayals couldn’t be farther from the truth of who surrogates really are.

When it comes to finding surrogacy movies, your best bet is likely documentaries and similar films that follow real-life families on their surrogacy journey. These can be great ways to educate others about the surrogacy process and show how beneficial it really is for all involved.

Some surrogacy films to consider are:

As the popularity of surrogacy continues to grow, we can expect more books on surrogacy and surrogacy movies to come about in response. Keep an eye out for these resources and share this blog post to spread more awareness about the importance of learning the realities of the surrogacy process.

3 Differences Between Gestational and Traditional Surrogacy

Whether you’re a prospective surrogate or an intended parent, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you’ll pursue a gestational or traditional surrogacy. There’s a lot of buzz and controversy surrounding these two types of surrogacy, so it’s important that you know the truth about them before moving forward with your surrogacy journey.

There are many nuanced differences between gestational and traditional surrogacy, and the best way to learn about each in more detail is by talking with one of our surrogacy specialists. In the meantime, here are three important differences to know about traditional vs. gestational surrogacy.

1. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is not genetically related to the child she carries. In traditional surrogacy, her eggs are used to create the embryo for the intended parents.

Gestational and traditional surrogacy are deemed separate surrogacy processes because of the way the intended parent’ embryos are created — a decision that impacts the rest of the surrogacy process. In gestational surrogacy (the most common form of surrogacy today), intended parents create embryos with their own sperm and egg, or using a sperm or egg from a gamete donor. However, in traditional surrogacy, a surrogate uses her own eggs to create an embryo for the intended parents, either through the in vitro fertilization process or through an artificial insemination. Therefore, a traditional surrogate is the biological mother of the baby that she carries, while a gestational surrogate is not at all related to the baby.

This important difference between traditional surrogacy vs. gestational surrogacy informs the rest of the surrogacy process — from the medical procedures involved to the legal process required. As you’ll read below, traditional surrogacies are much more complicated due to this genetic relationship. 

2. The legal process is much more complicated in a traditional surrogacy than in a gestational surrogacy.

When a woman is carrying a baby for other people, the legal process is already complicated. Necessary steps must be taken to draw up a contract that protects both the intended parents’ and the surrogate’s rights, and a lawyer must ensure that the intended parents’ parental rights are established as early as possible in the pregnancy or after the child is born, usually through a pre-birth or post-birth parentage order.

However, when the surrogate is genetically related to the baby that she’s carrying, establishing parental rights can be a bit more complicated. That’s because, unlike a gestational surrogate, a traditional surrogate has inherent parental rights because of her genetic connection. Therefore, there is the possibility that she decides to enact those parental rights, creating more risk for the surrogacy process in general.

3. It’s much easier to find a surrogacy professional that will help you complete a gestational surrogacy than one who will assist with a traditional surrogacy.

Because of the legal risks and additional considerations needed for traditional surrogacy, it’s rare for surrogacy professionals to assist prospective surrogates and intended parents who wish to complete this process. Because gestational surrogacy is much safer, it’s a much more common process for intended parents and surrogates, and there are plenty of surrogacy professionals like American Surrogacy who will help you reach your surrogacy goals in this manner.

If you’re looking to complete a traditional surrogacy, recognize that you may have a harder time finding a professional who is willing to work with you through this process. After you find an intended parent or surrogate who has the same surrogacy goals (which can be just a difficult), you may need to complete an independent surrogacy out of necessity — which places far more responsibility on both parties in the surrogacy. In most cases, those who complete traditional surrogacies are single men, gay male couples or heterosexual couples who use a female relative to have a genetic connection when they can’t both share their genes with their child. American Surrogacy, like many surrogacy agencies, cannot work with those hoping to complete a traditional surrogacy.

These are by no means all of the important things that intended parents and prospective surrogates should know about gestational and traditional surrogacy, but they’re often some of the biggest deciding factors for those who are choosing between the two surrogacy paths. For more information, we advise you speak to your fertility specialist or our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) to learn more about which surrogacy process — traditional surrogacy vs. gestational surrogacy — might be right for you.

50 Acronyms You Need to Know for the Surrogacy Process

When you begin the surrogacy process, there’s a lot of learning to be done. Not only will you need to learn all about how surrogacy works and how each professional will help you complete your surrogacy, but you may find that these professionals and any support groups you become a part of toss around acronyms that you’ve never heard of.

The medical surrogacy process can be complicated, with long medical terms that don’t roll off the tongue quite as easily as some might hope. But, if you don’t know the shorthand for these terms, you might become confused.

To help you out, we’ve defined some of the more common surrogacy terms that you need to know, whether you’re an intended parent or prospective surrogate.

1. RE = Reproductive Endocrinologist

A reproductive endocrinologist is the fertility specialist who assists intended parents through their infertility struggles. This will likely be one of the first professionals intended parents interact with. After they decide to pursue surrogacy, a reproductive endocrinologist will work with the intended parents and the surrogate to coordinate the embryo creation and transfer process.

2. OB = Obstetrician; OB/GYN = Obstetrician/Gynecologist

After a healthy pregnancy is confirmed by the reproductive endocrinologist, the OB/GYN is the professional who will work with the surrogate throughout her pregnancy to make sure she and the unborn baby are healthy.

3. ART = Assisted Reproductive Technology

Assisted reproductive technology is the vast term that encompasses all methods of assisted reproduction, including surrogacy, in-vitro fertilization, gamete donation and more.

4. IVF = In Vitro Fertilization

IVF refers to the ART technique of retrieving mature eggs and sperm and then fertilizing embryos in a lab.

5. AI = Artificial Insemination

This is the process of injecting semen into the vagina or uterus through a method other than sexual intercourse. While not used in gestational surrogacies, some traditional surrogates do complete at-home inseminations (AHI) in this manner.

6. IP(s) = Intended Parent(s)

The intended parents are the people who are trying to have a biologically related child through surrogacy. More specific terms include:

7. IF(s) = Intended Father(s)
8. IM(s) = Intended Mother(s)
9. PIF = Potential Intended Father
10. PIM = Potential Intended Mother
11. PIP = Potential Intended Parent
 12. TS = Traditional Surrogate

A traditional surrogate is a woman who is genetically related to the child that she carries, usually through donating her eggs as part of the IVF process.

13. GC = Gestational Carrier

A gestational carrier (or gestational surrogate) is a woman who carries the intended parents’ child. She is not genetically related to the baby.

14. BCP = Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are sometimes used in surrogacy when a fresh embryo is created. A surrogate will take the pills to coordinate with the intended mother’s or egg donor’s cycle before transfer.

15. E2 = Estradiol

Estradiol is an estrogen medication that surrogates take to prepare for the embryo transfer, mainly to help grow the lining of the uterus.

16. LH = Luteinizing Hormone

Luteinizing hormone, also known as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), is closely monitored during the surrogacy process. It’s a hormone that’s secreted by the pituitary gland to stimulate the growth of the ovarian follicle in the development of eggs and control the menstrual cycle.

17. P4 = Progesterone

Progesterone is a hormone that maintains pregnancy by preparing a woman’s body and regulating the monthly menstrual cycle. Surrogates take progesterone supplements to prepare the uterine lining.

18. PIO = Progesterone in Oil

This is another progesterone supplement.

19. SubQ = Subcutaneous Injections

These injections are the common way that pregnancy and preparation hormones are administered to prospective surrogates and women who have their eggs retrieved.

20. HSC = Hysteroscopy

A hysteroscopy is a procedure that allows a doctor to look closely at a woman’s uterine lining. It can be used to diagnose infertility or diagnose any difficulty in a surrogate’s ability to successfully carry a baby.

21. CM = Cervical Mucus

Cervical mucus is a good representation of a surrogate’s fertility and usually has to reach a certain level before an embryo transfer can occur.

22. ENDO = Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus instead. In many cases, those with endometriosis struggle with fertility problems. It may even be the reason that they turn to surrogacy.

23. ET = Embryo Transfer

The embryo transfer is completed by the fertility clinic once a surrogate’s body is deemed ready to accept an embryo.

24. FET = Frozen Embryo Transfer

Rather than a fresh embryo transfer, this kind of transfer involves a frozen embryo, usually left over from intended parents’ previous IVF treatments.

25. DE = Donor Egg

A donor egg is used to create an embryo for an intended parent who may be a single man, a same-sex male couple or an intended mother whose eggs are not viable for healthy embryos.

26. ED = Egg Donor/Donation

This is an acronym used when a surrogacy process includes an egg donation.

27. LMP = Last Menstrual Period

A surrogate must be aware of her LMP, which is the last time her period started, so that fertility specialists can know when she is most fertile and able to accept a transferred embryo. Usually, a fertility clinic tracks this closely.

28. CD = Cycle Day

A cycle day is the first day of a woman’s menstrual cycle. The first day of her period is Day 1.

29. 2WW = 2 Week Wait

The two-week wait refers to the time between when an embryo is transferred into the surrogate’s uterus and when she can be tested for a positive pregnancy.

30. DP3DT = Days Post 3-Day Transfer

Many fertility clinics will either transfer an embryo three days after fertilization or five days after fertilization, depending on how the embryo is developing. Surrogates use this term to mark the days after a transfer is complete.

31. DP5DT = Days Post 5-Day Transfer

This is another acronym to mark days after a transfer is completed.

32. DPT = Day Post Transfer

This is a more general acronym for post-transfer day tracking.

33. PET = Post-Embryo Transfer

Again, this is another term for the time period after a transfer is complete.

34. BETA = Blood Test for Pregnancy

BETA hCG levels are the chemical and blood levels that determine if a surrogate is pregnant. Surrogates and fertility clinics will track their BETA levels; while an increasing BETA level means a surrogate is pregnant, a declining BETA level means a surrogate is not pregnant.

35. hCG/HCG = Human Chorionic Gonadotropin

HCG is the hormone tested for during a blood test for pregnancy (BETA), as it’s the hormone created by the placenta during pregnancy.

36. HPT = Home Pregnancy Test

While fertility clinics and intended parents prefer the absoluteness of a blood pregnancy test completed at the clinic, some surrogates take home pregnancy tests in the days leading up to their BETA to see if their positive pregnancy read gets stronger.

37. POAS = Pee on a Stick

This is another acronym for a home pregnancy test.

38. BFN = Big Fat Negative

This is a term used more by surrogates than by a fertility clinic, as it’s an acronym for a negative pregnancy test.

39. BFP = Big Fat Positive

On the other hand, a BFP is a positive pregnancy test.

40. PG = Pregnant

This is an acronym surrogates use to describe where they are at in their surrogacy journey, either after they complete a pregnancy test or otherwise.

41. US or U/S = Ultrasound

Ultrasounds are completed at various stages in the surrogacy process to make sure a baby is developing correctly.

42. CB = Cycle Buddy

A cycle buddy is the woman or women that surrogates share their infertility treatment cycle with. Surrogates find cycle buddies either through their fertility clinics or surrogate support groups and support each other through all stages of their surrogacy process.

43. CVS = Chorionic Villus Sampling

This sampling is a prenatal test conducted to diagnose chromosomal abnormalities, like Down syndrome and other genetic disorders. Fertility clinics will usually test several embryos with this process before determining which one they will transfer to a surrogate’s uterus.

44. M/C = Miscarriage

Sometimes, an embryo that has implanted does not survive to full term. A miscarriage usually occurs within the first trimester, and the embryo will either be expelled naturally or through a surgical procedure.

45. D&C = Dilation and Curettage

A D&C is a medical procedure used to remove tissue from the inside of the uterus. It’s commonly used as an abortion procedure when an embryo implants in a surrogate’s uterus but fails to lead to a viable pregnancy. Before a new embryo can be transferred, the old embryo must be removed through this minor surgical process. A D&C can also be used to diagnose and treat certain uterine conditions.

46. GD = Gestational Diabetes

A surrogate (or any other pregnant woman) may develop gestational diabetes while she is pregnant. This doesn’t mean she will have diabetes after she gives birth, but it is a condition that must be monitored closely for her and the baby’s health.

47. SCH = Subchorionic Hemorrhage

This is a hematoma that develops in about 25 percent of pregnant women. While a subchorionic hemorrhage usually regresses, it’s important that surrogates who experience any kind of unusual vaginal bleeding while pregnant contact their doctor.

48. EDD = Estimated Due Date

This is when a surrogate is expected to give birth, although she may be induced or scheduled for a C-section later on.

49. PBO = Pre-Birth Order

A pre-birth order is a legal document that protects the rights of the intended parents. It establishes their parental rights before the baby is born, usually allowing for them to have their name on their baby’s birth certificate upon delivery.

50. VBAC = Vaginal Delivery After C-Section

When women who have previously had a C-section are able to deliver their next baby vaginally, this is called a “VBAC.” The women’s OBGYN will help determine if this is a possibility for her.

These are just a few of the important surrogacy acronyms you need to know if you’re interested in the surrogacy process. The better you understand the terms and different steps of the surrogacy journey, the easier it will be for you. When you work with American Surrogacy, your surrogacy specialist will help explain these different processes to you and make sure you understand all the necessary terms to have a successful surrogacy. To learn more today, please give us a call at 1-800-875-2229.

For a more extensive list of surrogacy acronyms, check out Adoption.net and All Things Surrogacy.

10 Common Myths About Surrogacy And the Truth Behind Them

Surrogacy is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) that’s advancing at a rapid rate, making intended parents’ dreams come true in a more efficient and easier way than ever before. However, it’s still a fairly new process — and, because the nuances of the processes can change relatively quickly, there is still a lot of misinformation about surrogacy.

No matter whether you’re interested in completing a surrogacy of your own or just want to learn more, it’s important that you recognize these myths and their truths. Not only will this help you better understand surrogacy yourself, it also gives you the knowledge to clear up some of these misconceptions whenever you hear them from other people.

Here are some of the most common myths that unfortunately still exist when people think about surrogacy:

1. The surrogate is related to the baby, and she has to conceive the child in the “traditional” way.

Sometimes, when people think about surrogacy, they automatically think of traditional surrogacies, in which the surrogate is genetically related to the child she’s carrying. While traditional surrogacies are still an option, they are rarely completed today because of the inherent risks from a genetic relationship between the surrogate and the child. Instead, the vast majority of surrogacies (including those completed by American Surrogacy) are gestational — meaning the surrogate is implanted with a previously created embryo that does not include her own eggs.

On the same note, even though many people know of in vitro fertilization, they may assume a surrogate becomes pregnant after having intercourse with the intended father. While this may have been the way secret surrogate pregnancies were created before the advance of ART, this is never done today by surrogacy professionals. As mentioned, surrogacy involves in vitro fertilization, and the implantation of an embryo into the surrogate takes place under the supervision of medical professionals.

2. Surrogates are only in it for the money.

Women who choose to become surrogates do have the option of a compensated surrogacy, in which they will receive a base compensation for carrying the child (in addition to coverage of all pregnancy-related expenses). While surrogates do consider this base compensation as a way for them to reach a financial goal, that’s not the prime reason they choose to become a surrogate. They are instead motivated by helping another family experience the joy they know that parenthood can bring. Some of these women have dreamed of being surrogates since they were young, while others discovered it later in life and just “knew” it was something they were meant to do.

At American Surrogacy, all of our potential surrogates are thoroughly screened, including in regards to their motivations. If we sense that a woman is only interested in surrogacy for the money, she will usually not be cleared for the surrogacy process.

3. A surrogate can change her mind and keep the child after it’s born.

In a gestational surrogacy, this is a nearly impossible thing to do. Because a surrogate is not genetically related to the child she is carrying, she has no parental rights to keep a child after birth. In addition, your surrogacy lawyer and surrogacy professional will make sure that the intended parents’ rights are protected while the surrogate is still pregnant. A pre- or post-birth parentage order establishes those parental rights and, many times, makes it possible for the intended parents’ names to be placed on the birth certificate at the hospital.

In addition to these legal protections, a surrogate rarely wants to “keep” the child she is carrying. The surrogates who work with American Surrogacy have already completed their families and have no desire for another child. A surrogate does not have the emotional connection with the intended parents’ baby like she had while carrying her own; she thinks of herself as “babysitting” the unborn child until they’re born, at which point she is happy to see the baby meet and go home with their parents. All of American Surrogacy’s surrogates are provided emotional counseling throughout the process and are required to have one child already, as just another way to provide an emotional balance throughout her surrogacy.

4. The parents who choose surrogacy don’t want to deal with the stresses and risks of being pregnant, so they hire someone else to do it for them.

We’ve all heard it: “She decided to use a surrogate because she obviously didn’t want to ruin her perfect body or deal with the side effects of pregnancy.” This is a completely false and hurtful comment; intended mothers would do anything to be able to carry their own child, and many have already gone through years and thousands of dollars’ worth of IVF treatments before turning to surrogacy. Surrogacy is usually the last chance they have at a biologically related child. It’s also not cheap. Therefore, to suggest that intended parents are only using surrogacy for convenience is completely out of touch with the realities of the surrogacy process.

5. Surrogacy is an unethical practice where women sell their wombs and intended parents profit off vulnerable women.

Surrogacy is not only an ethical practice where both parties want the same thing — it’s also a highly regulated one that protects the rights and interests of both parties involved. Laws across the United States ensure that both surrogates and intended parents are not taken advantage of, and professional surrogacy agencies like American Surrogacy make sure that their clients are properly cared for throughout the process. Surrogates want to carry a child for intended parents, and they are properly compensated for doing so. As long as your surrogacy is completed by an experienced surrogacy professional and attorney, it will be a positive experience for all.

6. Surrogacy is illegal where I live.

There are some states that have strictly defined laws regarding surrogacy and other states that do not — but just because your state doesn’t have any surrogacy laws doesn’t mean that surrogacy is not legal for you. Lawyers in these states have created specific legal processes to complete surrogacies in a way that protects all involved; it may even be easier to complete a surrogacy process in one of these situations. Odds are, if you want to complete a surrogacy in the United States (whether you live in the states or in another country), it’s completely possible for you.

You can always call our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229 to learn more about whether surrogacy is legal where you live.

7. Surrogacy is selfish when there are so many children waiting to be adopted or fostered.

As mentioned before, many intended parents who choose surrogacy do it as a last chance to have a biologically related child. They may have a few embryos left from previous IVF cycles, and they don’t want them to go to waste.

Regardless of their infertility successes or failures, most people have an inherent desire to have a child who is genetically related to them. That’s a completely rational and understandable desire. After all, are the parents who can have biological children naturally also selfish for not adopting instead? Of course not — and neither are the intended parents who choose to pursue surrogacy. Adoption isn’t right for everyone and, ultimately, how a person chooses to create their family is their own personal decision.

8. Intended parents are not able to bond with a baby that is being carried by another woman.

Surrogacy is a partnership; intended parents and the surrogate work together through every step. While the intended parents may not be able to experience every moment of the pregnancy, they will be able to be a part of milestones like doctors’ visits, baby showers and the birth of their child. A surrogate is happy to let the parents be a part of her surrogate pregnancy, and she may even make a pregnancy scrapbook to document the parents’ pregnancy for their future child.

Intended parents can bond with their child even when another woman is carrying him or her. They can speak to the child in person or over a recording that the surrogate plays, they can be there to feel the baby kick and move, and more. Ultimately, it will be up to intended parents and the surrogate as to what kind of pregnancy contact is possible and acceptable during this stage of the surrogacy process.

A bond with a child is less about who is carrying them and more about who cares for them after birth. Many intended mothers report feeling a strong maternal connection with their newborn immediately after birth.

9. I can’t breastfeed my baby if he or she is born via surrogacy.

Breastfeeding as an intended mother is absolutely possible in surrogacy — and highly recommended. A fertility doctor can help intended mothers breastfeed their babies by prescribing the proper hormones and inducing lactation. As long as intended mothers put in the time and effort into inducing lactation, they can successfully breastfeed their baby like any other mother.

10. I can’t afford surrogacy.

While surrogacy can be an expensive process for intended parents (it’s completely free for surrogates), it certainly is still a possibility with the proper funding and financial research. Intended parents may choose to take advantage of grants and loans and other fundraising options to afford their surrogacy journey, and the specialists at American Surrogacy can work with you to find a financial solution that’s best for your family. Contact us today to learn more about our fee schedule, and contact a financial advisor for counseling on how to best move forward with your surrogacy costs.

These are just 10 of the common misconceptions about surrogacy, and they’re certainly not the only ones. One of the best ways to recognize the myths about surrogacy is by talking to an experienced surrogacy professional like American Surrogacy. Our specialists can answer any questions you have and help you fully understand exactly what the surrogacy process entails. To learn more today, please call us at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

The Truth About Genetic Modification of Embryos

A U.S. team of scientists made headlines this summer when they were the first to successfully correct a disease-causing mutation in a human embryo. While the embryo was not and never intended to be transferred into a uterus for implantation, the announcement did open up a larger discussion about genetic modification of embryos and its future moving forward.

There is a lot of confusion today in the U.S. about genetic modification of human embryos and an even greater ethical conversation about this practice. If you are considering entering into the surrogacy process, whether as an intended parent or a prospective surrogate, it’s important you understand the realities of this scientific find and what it may mean for surrogacy moving forward.

The best source for information about genetic modification of embryos will always be a fertility specialist, as they can explain in detail not only which processes are possible but which are available at their own organization. But, to help you grasp the basics of the process, we’ve answered a few of your questions below.

What Kind of Genetic Modification is Available?

In the U.S. today, it is illegal to perform genetic modification on a human embryo for the purpose of implanting it in a woman. While research is allowable for scientists as long as they destroy the experiments and don’t receive federal funding, genetic modification for intended parents is not a possibility.

But, just because an intended parent cannot genetically modify their embryos does not mean they are limited to unhealthy possibilities. In fact, it is common today for embryos created in vitro to undergo preimplantation genetic screening. This screening tests for chromosomal abnormalities and certain genetic diseases, which means intended parents can avoid transferring an embryo that is not desirable — i.e., one that has a genetic disorder or another mutation that will prevent it developing to term.

Your fertility specialist can give you a better idea of what kind of screening and testing can be done to ensure a healthy embryo for transfer.

Could Genetic Modification Play a Role in Creating “Designer Babies?”

One of the concerns that people have about scientists moving forward with genetic modification of human embryos is what they see as a potential for “designer babies” — embryos that are modified for not only dangerous mutations but also characteristics like eye color, height and more.

However, the National Academy of Sciences (an organization of leading researchers) explicitly states that genetic modification should never be used for enhancement purposes. In addition, researchers have not yet isolated genes for those kinds of traits, making any modification of them impossible. Any researchers who are testing genetic modification focus on more critical characteristics, like disease-causing genes, and are well aware of the ethical concerns of focusing on more superficial traits.

When Can I Expect Genetic Modification to be Available?

While genetic modification could theoretically be applied to thousands of genetic diseases, the testing behind approval of this technique will take years — especially because of the restrictive U.S. laws and lack of funding regarding this technique. Therefore, it’s likely that genetic modification for many traits and diseases will not be available until at least the federal laws on the practice are changed.

In the meantime, methods like preimplantation genetic screening and egg, sperm and embryo donations can help reduce the likelihood that a child is born with genetic diseases and disorders. For more information about how you can have the healthiest child possible through the surrogacy process, contact a surrogacy professional and a fertility clinic.