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.

What Happens After a Miscarriage in Surrogacy

It’s a situation no intended parent or surrogate wants to experience: a miscarriage. While fertility clinics and fertility doctors take every step to make sure an embryo and a surrogate are healthy before the transfer and implantation of the embryo, miscarriages do sometimes occur.

Miscarriages are still a rather taboo topic, but that doesn’t mean they don’t happen. They’re more common than you may think; between 10 and 25 percent of known pregnancies actually end in miscarriage. Rarely is a miscarriage someone’s “fault,” as it’s usually the result of an abnormal embryo that would not have survived to term anyway.

Experiencing a miscarriage during the surrogacy process can be even more devastating because of the time and effort put into creating an embryo and the past failures an intended parent may have had with their own fertility. A miscarriage can seem like an impossible setback, but know that your surrogacy specialist and fertility doctor will be with you as you cope with this loss and decide what to do next.

Intended Parents

For many intended parents, a miscarriage during surrogacy is a reminder of their own past miscarriages or inability to get pregnant. It is heartbreaking to see your dreams fail again, but it’s important to understand the vast scope of the surrogacy process and stay positive.

There is no dramatic difference in miscarriage rates for those who conceive an embryo via in-vitro fertilization. A miscarriage during surrogacy is a natural thing, although that will likely not come as any condolence to you in your grieving process.

If your surrogacy results in a miscarriage, it’s important to take the time you need to grieve (your surrogate will also need time to physically recover before another embryo transfer can take place). This is also a good time for you and your surrogate to reevaluate your thoughts before moving forward; it’s important that both of you are still committed and comfortable continuing the surrogacy process at a time that’s best for both of you. When you’re ready, your fertility clinic will begin the necessary steps for another implantation cycle.

Remember, miscarriage is a common occurrence, and it’s no one’s fault. Your fertility clinic will have usually prepared you for the possibility of a miscarriage, and American Surrogacy will always give you the support and counseling you need to get through this difficult time. We know that it takes time to heal from a difficult loss like this, which is why you and your surrogate have the right to decide together when to start the transfer process again.

Surrogates

If you experience a miscarriage as a surrogate, it’s common to feel like you’ve failed your intended parents. This is completely untrue; a miscarriage is not your fault but instead a natural phenomenon you have no control over. Still, this can be difficult to accept, especially because it’s your body that has expelled the pregnancy.

A miscarriage will not affect your ability to become pregnant again. Your surrogacy contract will state how many transfers you will complete for the intended parents, so it’s likely that you will have another embryo transferred whenever you are physically and emotionally ready. Depending on how far along your pregnancy was, this recovery period may take longer or shorter than you expect. However, it’s important that your emotional recovery is complete before you move forward with another embryo transfer.

It’s normal to feel a range of emotions after a miscarriage, even if the embryo was not genetically related to you. We can always provide you trained counseling to help you cope with these emotions and prepare for your next embryo transfer, whenever you’re ready. Usually, within the first three transfers you complete with your intended parents, one embryo will result in a successful pregnancy and birth — so, while it may be tempting to give up after this disappointment, remember that it’s highly likely you’ll find success in your subsequent transfers.

Remember, surrogacy is a marathon — not a sprint. It’s a long process that will come with many emotional ups and downs, which is why American Surrogacy’s specialists will be there for you every step of the way. Miscarriage is always a difficult event to process but know that it’s not the end of the line. A successful surrogacy is possible, and we’ll help you complete it.

3 Ways to Find Positivity in an Infertility Anniversary

Whether you’re currently in the surrogacy process or still deciding if it’s right for you, the path to where you are today has likely been a long one filled with many emotional ups and downs. In addition to the small successes you’ve achieved, you may also have experienced heartbreak.

Despite the sadness these days may bring, many intended parents choose to mark the anniversaries of some of these heartbreaks, like past miscarriages, the moment they realized they couldn’t carry a child themselves and the beginning of their surrogacy journey (especially when the process hasn’t yet produced a child of their own).

While it can be a day full of grief and sadness, it’s important that you acknowledge this day and what it means to you. Ignoring the importance of this day can have dire effects for your mental health, especially as you’re also going through the emotionally trying process of surrogacy. The best thing that you can do is embrace the feelings and memory of this day — and take certain steps to help yourself get through this emotionally difficult time.

1. Communicate What You’re Feeling.

A big part of acknowledging this sad anniversary is sharing your feelings with others. Keeping what you’re feeling inside will only elevate those difficult feelings, while letting them out one way or another can be extremely cathartic. It can be comforting to turn to a trusted friend or family member (or your partner if you are going through the surrogacy process with them) to talk about your feelings. Having someone to share your feelings with can help immensely with the loss and loneliness you may be experiencing on this day.

If you don’t feel like sharing your emotions with someone else, that’s okay. Instead of ignoring your feelings, however, try to let them out through journaling or another emotive activity.

2. Commemorate the Anniversary with Something Positive.

While this day will be a sad day, you can take steps to make something good out of it. It can help to symbolically let your negative feelings go; perhaps write down your thoughts on paper inside a balloon and release it into the air, or bury your feelings in a box. To leave a positive impact on a negative day, perhaps plant a tree or donate to a charity that means something special to you. Whatever you can do to make yourself feel a little better, make that effort to add some positivity to this day.

3. Seek Out Support.

No one should go through these difficult times alone, so we encourage all intended parents coping with a sad anniversary to reach out to their surrogacy specialist for support. Our specialists can provide emotional support, as well as refer you to trained counselors if that’s something you need. Most of the time, though, you may just need a sympathetic ear — and your surrogacy specialist is well experienced in the feelings that intended parents like you go through during these difficult times.

You may also wish to seek out support groups for intended parents like yourself. You may find comfort in talking to people who have been through the same situations as you. You can search support groups by state here, or look online for other internet support groups.

Everyone is different, and the way you decide to address this sad anniversary will ultimately be up to you. However, we highly encourage that you do take steps to acknowledge and honor this day; it’s an important part of your parenthood journey and who you are today. Remember, this sad day is just one stop on your road to becoming parents and eventually holding that special little bundle of joy in your arms.

5 Facts You Need to Know for PCOS Awareness Month

When it comes to women who are dealing with infertility, some of them may have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), one of the most common ovulatory disorders. Because complications associated with the disorder can make it difficult for women to naturally conceive and carry a pregnancy to term, some women with this disorder may choose to pursue surrogacy instead.

September is PCOS Awareness Month and, at American Surrogacy, we recognize and understand the struggles that many women with this disorder experience — especially when they’re trying to have children. For those that choose to pursue surrogacy as a means to have a family, our surrogacy specialists will always offer you the support and counsel you need as you cope with this medical condition and the demands of the surrogacy process.

Even if you’re still considering surrogacy as a result of infertility struggles from PCOS, our surrogacy specialists are always available to answer any questions you have. We know that surrogacy may not be the answer for everyone, but we are here to help you make that decision from a place of knowledge and understanding.

In honor of PCOS Awareness Month, we’ve gathered some important facts everyone should know about this disorder:

1. Roughly 5 million women in the U.S. are affected by PCOS.

The disease affects five to 10 percent of women of childbearing age in the United States. Because it’s so common a disorder, it’s also the leading cause of female infertility.

2. PCOS affects fertility because of an imbalance in reproductive hormones.

In PCOS, an imbalance of hormones may cause eggs to not develop properly or not be released during ovulation as they should be. This is normally why it can be difficult for women with PCOS to naturally conceive and carry a baby to term. One of the most common symptoms of PCOS is an irregular period, which makes natural conception difficult. Despite the disorder’s name, not all women with PCOS will develop cysts; the symptoms of PCOS will vary from woman to woman.

3. PCOS does not mean a woman cannot get pregnant.

While PCOS does affect fertility hormones, the disorder does not always render a woman infertile. PCOS is one of the most treatable causes of female infertility, and your doctor can talk to you about ways to improve your ovulation and increase your chance of getting pregnant. PCOS does increase a woman’s chance of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and C-section during pregnancy.

However, some women with PCOS also deal with related and unrelated health complications that would prevent them from carrying a baby to term. These women may turn to surrogacy instead of carrying a baby on their own.

4. PCOS can increase the rate of developing other health problems.

Unfortunately, women who have PCOS are also at an increased risk of developing:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Unhealthy cholesterol
  • Sleep apnea
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Endometrial cancer

Because of these risks, it’s important that women with PCOS monitor their condition closely and work constantly with their doctor to preserve their health.

5. PCOS diagnosis can be tricky.

Because the symptoms of PCOS can vary widely for each woman, proper diagnosis of the condition is not always easy. In fact, less than 50 percent of women with PCOS are properly diagnosed. Without present cysts or obvious ovulation and hormone disruptions, many women think their symptoms are just intense side effects of their menstrual cycle. However, if you feel that something isn’t right when it comes to PCOS-like symptoms, talk to your doctor, who can further investigate if you have the disorder. As with any medical condition, the importance of being proactive cannot be understated.

PCOS can be a difficult fertility disorder to deal with, but remember that there are many women with PCOS who have successfully created a family one way or another. To learn more about your family-building options with American Surrogacy, please give our surrogacy specialists a call today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

Deciding Between Surrogacy and Adoption: The Similarities

There are a lot of folks hoping to grow their families but aren’t sure whether they should turn toward adoption or surrogacy. We don’t shy from the fact that our sister company is a national adoption agency, so who better to compare surrogacy and adoption than us?

Let’s quickly break down some of the biggest similarities between the two options:

1. You will need to locate an opportunity with a surrogate or birth mother.

The process of finding an opportunity with a surrogate or with a birth mother is one of the most challenging parts of either processes and is often the main reason hopeful parents choose to work with an agency.

Don’t take this decision lightly – do plenty of research on adoption and surrogacy professionals’ marketing and advertising strategies, and ask them a variety of questions to understand how long it might take to find you an opportunity.

And be sure to find out how long their advertising fees are good for. Do they expire after several months of trying to find a surrogacy or adoption opportunity, or do they never expire like with American Surrogacy?

2. Both options are costly.

You are likely already aware that both surrogacy and adoption are significant financial investments. However, the result of this process is priceless, so in our opinion, either option is quite the bargain!

With that said, surrogacy is often more costly than adoption, usually around double the cost. The two main reasons surrogacy is often more expensive are:

  • The surrogate is paid a base compensation starting at $30,000 (and higher in a state such as California), whereas a birth mother only receives living expenses to help with her pregnancy-related expenses. Surrogates may also earn additional compensations for a variety of events throughout her pregnancy.
  • This is an artificially planned pregnancy, where state-of-the-art medical procedures are required. Medical expenses can quickly add up, especially if multiple embryo transfers are required until a pregnancy is successfully achieved.

3. Support and counseling are important.

Support and counseling are often an overlooked service in adoption and especially in surrogacy.

Even though a surrogacy is a planned pregnancy, the surrogate mother still experiences the same maternal hormones found in traditional pregnancies, and may have certain feelings she needs to talk about with someone other than the intended parents.

This is particularly true in an identified surrogacy, where the surrogate mother may be a family member or friend of the intended parents but may feel uncomfortable sharing her thoughts of feelings if she’s having a rough day. A third-party surrogacy professional or counselor is a great resource to ensure the emotional part of the surrogacy process is being handled as delicately as the rest of the process.

If you have any questions about either option, please contact American Surrogacy today.