Should You Use Embryo Donation & Surrogacy to Build Your Family?

Oftentimes, when intended parents pursue surrogacy, it’s because they desire a genetic connection that other family-building options like adoption can’t provide. But, choosing surrogacy isn’t always about having a biological child. For some intended parents, it’s about a degree of control that adoption can’t provide. For these intended parents, surrogacy provides the perfect solution to their family-building desires.

Combining embryo adoption with gestational surrogacy is becoming a more and more popular option for intended parents looking to grow their families. Here at American Surrogacy, we are happy to guide intended parents through this kind of assisted reproductive technology, as well as the unique considerations this path requires.

So, how do you know if embryo donation and gestational surrogacy are right for you?

1. You don’t need to have a biologically related child.

For many intended parents, gestational surrogacy is the only way they can bring a genetically related child into the world. For others, genetics aren’t as important. Instead, some intended parents are simply interested in having as healthy a pregnancy as possible, which surrogacy can provide.

Some intended parents have genetic conditions they don’t wish to pass down to their children. This is a very common reason for intended parents choosing gestational surrogacy with donated embryos. By adopting embryos, intended parents can choose the medical history of the biological parents to ensure their child has the best chance for health during their in-utero development and as they grow up in the years to come.

2. You want a degree of control you can’t find through adoption.

In adoption, hopeful parents always have the right to select what kind of history they are comfortable with their child and their child’s birth mother having. However, there are certain things parents have little control over: a birth mother’s desire for post-placement contact, how she takes care of herself during pregnancy, and her ultimate ability to choose whether or not adoption is right for her.

Gestational surrogacy, on the other hand, allows intended parents to choose the woman who will carry their child and to play a role in their child’s development in utero. There is no risk of a gestational surrogate changing her mind and “keeping the baby”; legal processes ensure that the intended parents are the legal parents of the child at birth, even if a donated embryo is used. When you pursue gestational surrogacy, your surrogacy specialist and your surrogacy attorney will ensure you have the degree of control you desire in your surrogacy plan.

3. You can’t carry a child on your own.

Embryo adoption isn’t just used for women who can carry pregnancies but don’t have healthy gametes; it’s also used for women who cannot carry pregnancies to term and single men who have low-quality sperm.

Many intended parents find out that a donated embryo is the only way to have a healthy child, due to the quality of their gametes. During their infertility treatment, they find that carrying a child (whether biological or not) can lead to complications they didn’t previously know about. In this case, they may choose to have another woman carry those donated gametes for them — through gestational surrogacy.

If you have adopted embryos with the intention of carrying them yourself, but your pregnancies have not been successful, you may turn to gestational surrogacy to give yourself a second chance with any remaining embryos you have. Similarly, if you are a single intended father pursuing surrogacy who needs a sperm donation, you may find that an embryo donation is an easier way to complete the necessary step.

4. You are looking for a way to cut down on surrogacy costs.

If you do not already have embryos created, you may be interested in embryo adoption as a way to cut down on your overall surrogacy costs. On average, one round of IVF costs $12,000 — and there’s no guarantee that a viable embryo will be created. That’s not including the cost for any donated gametes that you may need. On the other hand, adopting an existing high-quality embryo can cost about $12,000 to $15,000 — once. Donated embryos can be thawed and transferred to a carrier’s uterus when she is ready, rather than having to wait for an egg donor or intended mother’s cycle to match up.

If gestational surrogacy seems to be too expensive with the added cost of IVF, embryo adoption might be a good option for your family.

5. You have spoken to your reproductive endocrinologist about your options.

The best person to tell you whether embryo adoption and gestational surrogacy is right for you will always be your reproductive endocrinologist. They know the most about your infertility struggles and have access to necessary information to determine which options are available to you. If your reproductive endocrinologist is not optimistic about the quality of embryos created from your and your spouse’s gametes or your ability to carry a pregnancy safely, they may recommend embryo adoption and gestational surrogacy.

If you are exploring all of your infertility options, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about this option — which, unknown to you, may end up being the best option to grow your family.

If you are interested in embryo donation, we recommend you reach out to these organizations:

For more information about gestational surrogacy, please contact our surrogacy specialists today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

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

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

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

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

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

1. Explain your situation ahead of time.

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

2. Redirect with a joke or lighthearted comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Make your discomfort known.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join Us in Honoring Those Lost Too Soon: Pregnancy, Infant Loss and Miscarriage Month

While Oct. 15 may be Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, those who have suffered the loss of a pregnancy or baby take time throughout the entire month of October to remember their lost children and to spread awareness.

Many hopeful parents who turn to American Surrogacy have experienced a miscarriage or infant loss prior to pursuing surrogacy. All of us at American Surrogacy offer our support to those who are remembering a lost pregnancy or infant this month. Remember, your surrogacy specialist is always there for you. She is also happy to connect you with an infertility counselor, should you need a little extra support during this time of the year.

However, one of the best ways to help others during this month is to educate yourself and to spread your new knowledge. There may be a lot about Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month that you don’t know about. Here’s your chance to learn and share:

Who Observes Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day?

The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Wales, Norway, Kenya and Italy all honor lost pregnancies and babies on Oct. 15. The day culminates in the Lights of Love International Wave of Light, where candles are lit for an hour in remembrance at 7 p.m. local time across the globe.

Anyone who has ever felt the pain of a lost pregnancy from miscarriage, or the loss of an infant due to illness, stillbirth, SIDS and more spend the month of October honoring that loss. Parents and families of the children who have passed away are those who most commonly observe this month, but their cause is often shared among friends and loved ones.

How Many People Are Affected by Miscarriages or Infant Deaths?

The number of people who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy or baby may come as a surprise to you. If you yourself have never experienced this, then it’s likely that at least one person in your life has, whether you know it or not. Even if you think you’ve never been affected by this kind of tragedy, someone close to you probably has.

Here are some of the statistics behind pregnancy and infant loss:

  • An estimated 15 to 20 percent of confirmed pregnancies will end in miscarriage.
  • In 2016, there were 23,161 infant deaths in the U.S.
  • The global infant mortality rate has dramatically decreased from 1990 to 2016, going from about 64.8 deaths per 1,000 live births, to 30.5 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • The top three leading causes of death for infants in the U.S. are chromosomal abnormalities and various types of congenital malformations, low birth weight or premature birth-related problems, and SIDS.
  • Most infant deaths in the United States occur within the first 27 days of life.
  • A lack of health care access is one of the highest contributors to infant death, so poorer rural areas are most affected, most commonly among minority ethnic groups.
  • Mississippi is the U.S. state with the highest infant mortality rate, while New Hampshire has the lowest rate.

Ways You Can Participate in Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Whether you’re a grieving parent or you simply want to show your support to those who have been affected by pregnancy and infant loss, there are several ways you can take part in Pregnancy, Infant Loss and Miscarriage Month:

  • Spread awareness and share stories through social media using the hashtag #PregnancyAndInfantLossRemembranceDay.
  • Join or organize a local gathering for the Lights of Love International Wave of Light and use the hashtag #WaveOfLight.
  • Do something kind for someone who is grieving, like making them a meal or offering to listen or babysit their older children so they can have a night out.
  • Join a pregnancy or infant loss support group, either online or in your area.
  • Wear the pink and blue ribbons that signify Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day to raise awareness.
  • Contact your representatives about initiatives that can improve maternity and infant healthcare access and education, so that those who are most at-risk (mothers in the first trimester and babies in their first year of life) have better access to life-saving medical care.
  • Share simple pregnancy and baby care information (about preventing SIDS, prenatal health, etc.) through social media to reach mothers who might not otherwise have access to reliable and accurate healthcare information.
  • Offer your support, and never judge anyone who has lost a child for any reason.

Tragically, even with the best medical care, children can leave us just as soon as they come into our lives. A parent’s grief can last a long time, even if their child’s life was a short one. But your stories and shared experiences may help others who are going through similar emotions. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone.

There are many people who are remembering lost pregnancies and babies this October. American Surrogacy joins those who are hurting in honoring those who were gone too soon, and we offer our condolences.

What are you doing this October to help raise awareness about Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month? Let us know in the comments below.

Managing the Grief of Infertility: Tips for Intended Parents

An estimated 1 in 8 couples will be diagnosed with infertility. So, if you’re grieving after your diagnosis, you’re not alone.

Grief is the most common reaction to infertility. Some people grieve their original dream of having biological children, or they grieve their body’s inability to become pregnant or carry a child. Others may also be grieving pregnancy loss. There is often the feeling of loss of control and identity when a person is diagnosed with infertility, and the grieving process is an essential part of rediscovering yourself after infertility.

Wherever you are in your current family-building journey, here a few things to keep in mind and to help you through the infertility grieving process:

Everyone Grieves Differently

If you’re dealing with infertility alongside a partner, it can be difficult if they grieve differently than you do, or if they process their feelings at a different pace. Your friends and family may also grieve for you in their own way.

Be patient with them and with yourself.

It can be frustrating or lonely when everyone is hurting, but try to stay compassionate with one another. Continue to communicate how you’re feeling and what you need from others.

Responses to infertility can manifest in different ways for different people, including:

  • Anger or blame
  • Feelings of guilt or shame
  • Sadness or depression
  • Numbness or emotional detachment
  • Disbelief or denial through seeking help from many different health professionals
  • Hyper-focusing on your infertility and having an inability to concentrate on anything else
  • Trying to ignore your infertility by focusing on everything else

After learning of their infertility, one partner may tend to bury themselves in their infertility diagnosis, while the other may avoid it as much as possible. Grieving differently can make a painful time even harder, but try to continue to support one another as you deal with your emotions on your own terms.

Ways to Help Heal from Infertility Grief

Not sure how to start making peace with what you’re feeling? Here are a few methods that can help you begin processing your infertility grief:

  • Create a representative space to honor lost pregnancies or lost dreams of having a child in the way you’d initially hoped for. This could be a space on a shelf where you put items you purchased for a child, or a garden that you plant and care for.
  • Write about your thoughts and feelings. Putting pen to paper through journaling or through letters to a lost child or a future baby can help you look at your emotional progress and see hope for a different path to parenthood someday.
  • Use creative outlets or hobbies to keep from falling into depression or hyper-focusing on your diagnosis. Keep hiking, running, making jewelry or whatever you like to do to help get back to feeling like yourself.
  • Talk to others. Join a local infertility support group, talk to your partner, friends or family members that you feel will listen the best. Consider talking to an infertility counselor.
  • Plan for things you can look forward to, such as concerts, taking a trip, visiting friends, or taking classes of something you’ve always been interested in, whether that’s cooking or boxing. This can help if you’ve felt like you’re not in control lately, and it also gives you a few fun things in the future to look forward to.

There’s no right or wrong way to tackle your infertility grief. As long as you’re acknowledging that grief and giving yourself the time you need to begin feeling at peace, then you’re doing great.

Move Forward When You’re Ready

Moving forward means that you may need to let go of painful things that can hold you back from living a full and happy life. That may be letting go of your dreams of having a child who is biologically related to you or carrying a pregnancy yourself, or letting go of miscarriages or children you’ve lost. This doesn’t mean that you’ll forget what you’ve experienced, but it does mean that you’re ready to take the next step in your life. Moving forward is a necessary step after the grieving process, and it looks different for everyone.

When you feel like you’re ready to move forward after experiencing infertility grief, there are different paths your life can take:

There is no right or wrong way to move on from infertility. There’s also no timeline for reaching the point where you feel ready to move forward. People reach that point at their own pace, so be patient with yourself and with loved ones. This is a process that’s personal and unique to everyone.

Some important things to remember:

  • You’re not alone — many people come to terms with infertility and understand what it’s like to grieve.
  • You’ll be happy again, and you’ll find a new path for your life and you can be a parent if you want to, even if it’s not in the way you’d originally planned.
  • Be kind with yourself and others, and don’t be afraid to seek infertility grief counseling if you need to.

Infertility grief is difficult but it is manageable with some work, and you will heal. Until then, take care of yourself. When you are ready to start discussing your family-building options, know that American Surrogacy is here to help.

IVF Refunds and Packages: How Does It Apply to Surrogacy?

If you’ve considered working with an IVF clinic to use in vitro fertilization (IVF) to become a parent — whether by carrying a child yourself or by using a gestational surrogate — you may have heard about IVF refund programs and IVF packages. IVF can be expensive; there’s no doubt about that. But can these programs really help you save money?

It’s always a good idea to speak at length with your fertility clinic and your surrogacy professional before deciding whether or not to utilize these programs in your surrogacy journey. Medical circumstances vary significantly in each person’s case, and what is right for one may not be right for another. Only your personal professionals can help you decide what is best for your family.

In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about IVF clinic refund and package programs, and whether or not they can help you become a parent without spending more money than you should:

What is an IVF Refund Program?

With an IVF refund program or shared-risk program, you would pay an additional (usually flat-rate) fee that pledges to return some of your costs if you (or your gestational surrogate) are unable to get pregnant in a set number of IVF rounds. These are often paired with IVF packages.

Not everyone may qualify for IVF refund programs. If you have factors that may increase your likelihood of failing to get pregnant, many IVF clinics don’t want to take on that financial risk. Qualifying clients usually have to be under a certain age, have little to no previously failed IVF cycles and a low BMI. These qualifications will vary from one IVF clinic to another.

What is an IVF Package?

IVF clinics often offer deals on purchasing packages or bundles of IVF rounds. You would purchase a certain number of IVF rounds, and the cost of each of those rounds would be lower than if you were to buy them individually rather than in a package deal.

You might need all of those rounds of IVF to achieve a successful pregnancy. You might need more than the rounds you buy in that package. Or you (or your surrogate) might only need one round to get pregnant. However, you would not be refunded for any unused rounds of IVF purchased in a package deal.

What are the Benefits of IVF Refund and Package Programs?

If you or your surrogate fail to get pregnant in that set number of IVF rounds, an IVF refund package could return some (but not all) of those costs to you so that you could pursue other family-building options with that money, such as adoption.

The benefit of purchasing IVF packages is that each round of IVF in the package is at a lower rate than if you were to buy each round individually without the package deal.

So, you would be spending more money up front — but there’s a chance that you’d save money if you have a hard time conceiving through IVF and need a lot of rounds, or if you are unable to conceive through IVF at all.

What’s the Potential Catch?

IVF clinics may weigh the probabilities of you or your surrogate getting pregnant before beginning your medical treatment. If they think you’re more likely to get pregnant quickly through IVF, they’ll offer you packages and refund programs. This way, if they’re right and you do become pregnant relatively quickly, they’ll be able to keep any extra money you spent on unused rounds of IVF. If they think you’re less likely to get pregnant, you won’t qualify for those programs, because they don’t want to risk the chance of having to refund your money.

Some people wind up spending thousands more to get pregnant through IVF than if they had purchased individual rounds of IVF, even if the individual rounds were higher cost per round.

This often means that those people aren’t left with enough in their budget for surrogacy or adoption, and IVF is no longer an option for them, either.

Is It Still Worth It?

There is a chance that you’ll come out of purchasing an IVF refund or package program having saved some money. That depends on whether or not you needed the additional rounds of IVF to successfully have a baby.

If you or your surrogate ends up getting pregnant surprisingly quickly, you might have spent a lot more money than you needed to, even if you were spending more money on individual rounds of IVF. The clinic will keep any additional money you spent on the unused rounds of IVF in the IVF package you purchased. There’s no real way to tell how fast you might get pregnant when you start IVF, if at all.

So, if you do fail to get pregnant through IVF, paying that extra money for the refund program could be beneficial, as you could use that money towards adoption or surrogacy fees. Then again, if you paid more for a refund program and you wind up getting pregnant, you will have lost that money.

Essentially, it depends on you how want to gamble on potential success or failure of IVF. With IVF, there is simply the possibility of not getting pregnant.

Infertility is unfair and frustrating, to say the very least. But remember — you are not alone and even if it doesn’t seem like it now, there are always paths to parenthood. To learn more about the surrogacy options available to you (including using a gestational surrogate to ensure the best chances of IVF success), you can always contact American Surrogacy at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

Thinking of all the Intended Fathers on this Father’s Day

When Mother’s Day rolls around each year, much is said in consideration of all the hopeful mothers struggling with infertility. But there’s an equal party of struggling people during the next month’s celebration — hopeful fathers — that doesn’t get as much awareness or support while going through the same thing.

At American Surrogacy, we recognize that intended fathers cope with the same difficult emotions as intended mothers. We also recognize that, due to societal pressures and norms, most of these men suffer in silence — afraid of compromising their “image” as a man by admitting these difficult emotions.

Know that the specialists at American Surrogacy will always be here to offer you support and guidance during these difficult times. We have worked with many men in your situation, whether you are still struggling with infertility, considering surrogacy or in the middle of the surrogacy process.

Entering this Father’s Day weekend, there are three things we want you to know:

You Are Not Alone

Infertility, whether due to medical or social situations, is more common than you may think. Millions of people across the United States struggle to have a child, so there are many people out there sharing the same disappointment and frustration that you likely feel.

In the United States, 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. That’s not including all of the single men and women — LGBT or heterosexual individuals — who must use assisted reproductive technology methods to have a biological child.

About 1/3 of infertility issues are attributed to male factor infertility, another 1/3 are due to female factor infertility, and the last 1/3 is a combination of both partners or unexplainable. Whether you are struggling with infertility due to your own situation or because of your partner’s complications, know that you are not the only one in your situation. Just because infertility remains a taboo subject not discussed by many does not mean it ceases to exist.

At American Surrogacy, we know your situation exists — and we are here for you.

Don’t Be Afraid to Share Your Feelings

Unfortunately, it can be harder for men struggling with infertility to open up about their emotions, whether to their loved ones or to mental health professionals. If they have a partner, they are often expected to be “the strong one,” especially if their spouse is the one diagnosed with infertility. If they are single, it can be even harder to open up with no partner to turn to.

However, on days like Father’s Day — when these emotions can be triggered and stronger than ever — opening up is important to coping with the struggles of infertility. Keeping harmful emotions bottled up inside is not healthy; it can even lead to physical manifestations of your feelings.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to loved ones and share your thoughts while coping with infertility. They will not think any less of you for doing so; in fact, asking for help and sharing deep emotions is a sign of strength. It can also create a stronger relationship with your loved ones.

An infertility counselor may be helpful if you are still determining where to go from here. If you are in the middle of your surrogacy process, your surrogacy specialist can always provide professional support and counseling to help you move forward from these difficult times.

Even if you don’t feel comfortable sharing your feelings aloud on Father’s Day, find a healthy way to express them. Write in a journal, throw yourself into a project, or work out to release your pent-up emotions. Healthy expression of your feelings can help you to enjoy the day with any father figures in your life, rather than dwell on the sadness of another year without a child.

You Can Still Become a Father

Finally, remember that just because you are childless on this Father’s Day doesn’t mean you have to be next Father’s Day. There are many different ways for hopeful fathers to bring a child into their lives, whether through assisted reproductive technology or adoption. Each path has many different processes within it, so you can find the one that works best for your personal hopes and dreams.

If you are considering surrogacy, you can always contact our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) for more information about this process. We can answer whatever questions you have and provide the information you need to make the best choice for you. If you are interested in adoption, we can also refer you to our sister agency, American Adoptions.

On this Father’s Day, it may be difficult to put on a happy face and celebrate your father like everyone else when you so desperately wish to be one yourself. More than anything else, remember that you always have the right to do what makes you happy on this day — and that there are options to make your fatherhood dreams come true.

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Male Factor Infertility

When it comes to babies, family-building, adoption and surrogacy, the conversation tends to revolve around women. It’s easy to assume that because mothers are the ones carrying the pregnancy, they are also the ones who care most about having children — and, when efforts to conceive naturally fail, it’s easy to assume that women are the ones with the fertility problem.

But the truth is that male factor infertility plays a role in 30 to 50 percent of infertility cases, according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and it can be just as emotionally challenging to overcome as female infertility.

If male infertility has played a role on your path to surrogacy, you’re not alone. To open up the conversation about male factor infertility, here are five important things everyone should know about the condition:

1. There are many different causes of male infertility.

There are many factors that can contribute to male factor infertility. According to RESOLVE, the national infertility association, some common causes include:

  • A blockage or other structural abnormality that affects the flow of sperm
  • Low sperm count or quality caused by a sperm production disorder
  • Ejaculatory issues that prevent the sperm from ever reaching the egg
  • Immunologic disorders that prevent fertilization
  • Azoospermia, a condition in which the testicles do not produce any sperm
  • Obstructive azoospermia, in which sperm is produced but blocked by an obstruction
  • And more

Some of these infertility issues are caused by underlying health problems, like hormonal imbalances. Prior surgeries and radiation from cancer treatments can also damage reproductive organs and sperm.

2. Seeing a doctor should always be your first step.

If you and your partner have been trying to conceive for one year without success, it’s time to see a doctor about possible infertility issues. Both partners should schedule a consult and have a workup done to determine the potential cause of their infertility (and identify any other underlying health issues). Of course, you should also always see a doctor if you notice any lumps, swelling, pain or other abnormalities affecting the groin area.

Some men are reluctant to take this step, but when it comes to your reproductive health, it’s important to be proactive. Seeing a doctor is the only way to get to the bottom of what’s causing your fertility problems — and to make a plan for how to move forward. Your doctor will assess your medical history and perform a semen analysis and other medical tests to diagnose your fertility problems.

3. There are options for overcoming male infertility.

With rapid advances in reproductive medicine and technology, there are now more options available to couples struggling with infertility than ever before. Depending on the type and cause of your infertility, there are several courses of treatment your doctor may recommend, from in vitro fertilization (IVF) to sperm washing and intrauterine insemination.

There are also more family-building options today than ever before. If fertility treatments aren’t right for you, you might consider other family-building options, like surrogacy or adoption. While it’s important to remember that these options are not “cures” for infertility, they will allow you to finally bring home the child that you’ve dreamed about for so long.

4. Male infertility can have emotional implications.

Just like for women, an infertility diagnosis and treatment can be an emotional rollercoaster for men — even if they’re not willing to admit it. Society often links manliness and fertility, which can lead men to experience shock, anger, sadness, guilt and low self-esteem following a male factor infertility diagnosis.

Talking about these feelings can be difficult, but it’s important to acknowledge the emotional pain of infertility in order to fully heal and move forward with your family-building journey. Infertility counseling may help you in coming to terms with your infertility diagnosis, communicating with your partner and deciding what steps to take next.

5. Infertility isn’t one partner’s problem.

Whether you’re dealing with male factor, female factor, unexplained or combined infertility issues, this condition doesn’t just affect one partner — it affects both of you. Pinpointing the cause of your issues to male factor infertility isn’t about “blaming” one partner; it’s about getting to the root of the problem so you can move forward with the family-building option that’s right for both of you.

Remember to communicate openly with your partner and support each other through this journey. It takes two (or more) to build a family, so you should both be on the same page when it comes to the next steps following an infertility diagnosis.

If you are considering surrogacy as a family-building option, or if you would like to learn more about moving from infertility to surrogacy, contact us today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

The 7 Steps to Choosing the Right Fertility Clinic

Whether you are ready to start the surrogacy process or still exploring your infertility options, you will wonder at some point about how to choose a fertility clinic that’s right for you, if you haven’t done so already. With so many professionals available to you, it can be overwhelming to find the perfect professional to meet your parenthood goals and preferences.

The surrogacy specialists at American Surrogacy can always offer advice and referrals to trusted fertility and surrogacy clinics for your situation. Before you even begin pursuing the surrogacy process, it’s important that you have the correct medical information and options from an infertility expert at a fertility clinic.

Like with selecting any other family-building professional, intended parents should always do diligent research when choosing a fertility clinic. Only once you have done that can you move forward with your parenthood dreams.

Here are a few things to consider about choosing a fertility clinic:

1. Determine what kind of services you are interested in.

There are many different kinds of infertility treatments, and it’s okay not to know exactly which ones you want to pursue when you first contact a fertility clinic. If you are still exploring your options, you may want to choose a fertility clinic that focuses on less invasive infertility treatments. If you already know which path you wish to take (for example, starting surrogacy), you can research the more advanced treatment options at different fertility clinics.

2. Understand what treatment plan you’re comfortable with.

Some infertility doctors will be more aggressive than others in their treatment plans, and some may suggest treatments that you are uncomfortable with. Make sure that you understand all of the infertility options available to you and discuss them with a prospective fertility professional before committing to their program. Your personal goals and expectations will play a role in this discussion.

3. Find a clinic that specializes in your treatment plan.

As mentioned, it’s important to select a fertility specialist who offers the treatments you’re interested in — and it’s also a good idea that your chosen professional specializes in that treatment. For example, if you’re interested in pursuing surrogacy, you’ll want to work with a professional who focuses on completing surrogacies for people in situations like yours. Remember, if you need references for medical professionals that complete the surrogacy medical process, American Surrogacy can provide them.

4. Determine whether you need an egg, sperm or embryo donation.

If you will need a donor gamete during your infertility treatments, you may wish to seek out a fertility clinic that either has a donor bank in-house or works closely with a trusted donor bank. Many times, fertility clinics will have partnerships with certain donation banks, so intended parents should ask about this relationship if they think they may need an egg, sperm or embryo donation during their infertility or surrogacy process.

5. Understand how your doctor will adjust treatment as necessary.

Not all infertility treatments will work the first time, and intended parents may need to readjust their family-building process to obtain success. Before committing to a fertility clinic, you should speak with the doctor to learn more about how he or she will adjust your personal treatment plan if the original does not work. Unfortunately, not all doctors will automatically do this, so make sure you are working with a professional who will keep your faith throughout your family-building journey.

6. Know what your budget is.

Infertility treatments can be expensive, whether you are pursuing simple in vitro fertilization or a more involved process like surrogacy. As you continue your treatments, it’s not uncommon for the expenses to add up. Infertility treatments can leave many intended parents in financial distress, so it’s important that you select a fertility clinic that is within your budget. Because it can be hard to say “no” to treatments because of financial difficulties, all intended parents should also speak with a financial advisor to understand exactly what their budget allows for. From there, they can best determine which fertility professional meets both their budget and their family-building goals.

7. Above all else, pay attention to your comfort level.

While there are many aspects involved in selecting a fertility clinic, the most important is making sure that you are comfortable with your professional. Your fertility doctor will guide you through one of the most important times of your life, and you will work intimately with him or her throughout all the ups and downs of your treatment plan. If you do not completely trust your medical professional, you will likely not have a positive experience during this process.

Knowing how to choose a fertility clinic can seem overwhelming, but it will be one of the most important decisions of your family-building process. Before selecting a fertility clinic, consider speaking to your doctor or a fertility counselor to learn more about what options are available to you. The surrogacy specialists at American Surrogacy can also provide references when you contact them at 1-800-875-2229.

FertilityIQ Releases Annual List of Most IVF-Friendly Employers

In the United States, 1 in 8 married couples struggle with infertility issues. It’s no wonder, then, that the annual IVF cycle volume in the U.S. has increased 70 percent in the last decade, meaning more people than ever are completing more IVF cycles than ever — and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the family-building process.

Fortunately, employers have started to recognize the importance of infertility treatments to their employees, and many have started offering infertility-specific benefits to those who need it. More than 60 percent of patients undergoing infertility treatments don’t receive any coverage but, to help you be more aware of your options, FertilityIQ has compiled a list of the companies who do provide the best infertility benefits in its annual report.

For the second year in a row, employers within the technology sector placed highest in the 14 categories FertilityIQ studied. Companies like Facebook and Salesforce offer benefits well over $100,000 in value to their employees, and several employers offer unlimited coverage for employees who meet certain requirements.

The consulting and accounting and banking and finance industries placed second and third, respectively, in an analysis of more than 250 employers who offer infertility benefits in the United States.

For a full list of the factors impacting FertilityIQ’s study, as well as listings of employers by benefits and industry, check out more of the annual report here.

To learn more about financing your infertility treatments and what American Surrogacy’s fee structure looks like, you can contact a surrogacy specialist today at 1-800-875-2229.

Remembering Lost Pregnancies and Infants this October

Oftentimes, the path to surrogacy is filled with emotional ups and downs — including devastating heartbreaks. Whether that’s from an inability to get pregnant, a miscarriage or other infant loss, many families who work with American Surrogacy experience a tragedy in their family-building journey before they turn to our agency for help.

That’s why we’re recognizing the month of October as Pregnancy, Infant Loss and Miscarriage Awareness Month. Far too many families grieve in silence, never having the opportunity to come to terms with their loss of an infant or a pregnancy — so we’re encouraging all families (whether they’ve dealt with this tragedy or not) to take time this month to recognize those who have experienced this loss. No one should have to grieve alone, and this month of remembrance helps those to live with their loss in a healthy way.

President Ronald Reagan first proclaimed this month of remembrance back in 1988, saying:

“National observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, 1988, offers us the opportunity to increase our understanding of the great tragedy involved in the deaths of unborn and newborn babies. It also enables us to consider how, as individuals and communities, we can meet the needs of bereaved parents and family members and work to prevent causes of these problems.”

While the entirety of October is an awareness month, Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. “Remembering Our Babies,” an organization to spread awareness of this issue, encourages everyone to light a candle at 7 p.m. on Oct. 15 to represent the pregnancies and infants that were lost too early.

The organization also offers guidance for coping with grief of a lost pregnancy or baby throughout the year. Friends and families can view suggestions on how to support and counsel loved ones going through this grief process.

In addition to the worldwide candle lighting, you can also see if an organization near you is hosting an awareness walk or activity within the month of October. You can also submit information about an event you’re hosting for advertising on their website.

For those who are dealing with an infant or pregnancy loss, it’s important to commemorate this day and acknowledge what you’re feeling. Some ideas include:

  • Releasing balloons or butterflies
  • Planting a tree
  • Having a memorial service
  • Giving to a charity that supports infants and children and their families

Whatever you decide to do on this day, it should be something that makes you feel better, even if it that feeling is bittersweet.

The surrogacy specialists at American Surrogacy are also available to provide counseling and support to our intended parents who are coping with their grief during this difficult month. We can also refer you to trusted professional counselors for more support, if you need it.

You may wish to reach out to others who have experienced an infant or pregnancy loss. Try these support groups and resource centers for more suggestions on coping with your grief:

You can also find a full list of infertility and infant loss groups in the United States here.

While this month can be difficult, remember that you are not alone. It’s important to acknowledge your feelings and appropriately cope with your grief, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help and support from others if you need it.