When You and Your Spouse Aren’t on the Same Page About Surrogacy

Choosing a family-building option is no easy decision. If you and your spouse have been considering your infertility options, you’ve probably had a lot of hard conversations to get you to where you are now — seriously considering gestational surrogacy.

But, what if you know that you and your spouse aren’t quite on the same page when it comes to moving forward?

First, remember this: Everyone takes their own time to grieve their infertility, and that’s entirely their right. Trying to rush your spouse into a decision they are not ready for will only backfire. You want your parenting journey together to start off on the right foot, don’t you?

If you and your spouse are in a deadlock about your next steps in the family-building process, there are some important things left for you to do. One of them is to speak with a specialist at American Surrogacy. Our team is always here to answer your questions and address your concerns about the surrogacy process. Ultimately, we want to help you make the best choice for your family, whatever that may be. Give us a call at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) to get started.

In the meantime, to help get you and your spouse on the right page, we suggest you proceed with these steps:

1. Consider Infertility Counseling.

If you haven’t already done so, you and your spouse should think about speaking with an infertility counselor. This is a professional who is well-versed in all of your infertility options and will walk you through the pros and cons of each. They will also help you and your spouse come to terms with any remaining emotions you have about your infertility process. That way, they can help you move forward with the path that is best for you.

If you have previously worked with a fertility clinic, those professionals will likely have a list of trusted infertility counselors that you might choose from. It’s important that you and your spouse are comfortable with the counselor of your choice; only then can you be honest enough to have a productive conversation about your options moving forward. Remember: Speaking with a counselor is not a sign of weakness but a sign that you and your spouse are dedicated to your future together as a family.

2. Do Your Research — Together.

When one partner isn’t as enthusiastic as another, it shows. You may be frustrated that your spouse is not committing as much time to the research and interview process as you, and you may be tempted to  blame them for dragging their feet because they haven’t done the work. However, remember that building a family is something you will do together. That will include researching and learning more about your options.

Rather than get irritated at your partner for their lack of interest, try to meet them halfway. Is there a particular option in which they are more interested than any other? Would it be more enjoyable to talk to other parents who have gone through a certain process than search through dozens of articles online? You might consider setting a plan; you’ll research gestational surrogacy, while they’ll research infant adoption. Schedule interviews with family-building professionals at a time when you are both free, and come up with a list of questions that each of you will be responsible for asking.

Little steps can play a big role in motivating your partner to get excited about any family-building options. You may find that involving an infertility counselor (see above) in this step can be helpful, too.

3. Be Honest About Your Wants and Needs.

If you are the enthusiastic partner in the relationship, it can be tempting to do anything to get your spouse on board with your plan. But, if you end up compromising too much, you may find that the things you wanted in the first place from gestational surrogacy aren’t present anymore.

Before you have your open and honest discussion with your spouse, you should both take the time to write down what is most important to you in your family-building process. This can include:

  • Genetic connection
  • Involvement in pregnancy
  • Knowledge of your child’s personal background
  • Cost
  • Timeline
  • Professionals involved
  • And more

Once you and your spouse have created two honest lists of what you want in your family-building journey, you should compare them. Without judgement or questioning, consider what you have in common, where you can compromise, and what you are uncomfortable giving up. That may bring you one step closer to finding the right family-building path for you.

4. Take Time to Reevaluate.

At the end of the day, choosing a family-building path is not a decision to be made lightly. As much as you prepare and discuss your options, it may simply take time for you and your spouse to grieve your infertility struggles and truly be open to a nontraditional family-building method such as gestational surrogacy. That’s completely okay.

Many intended parents feel rushed when contemplating their family-building options, especially if they have already spent years on unsuccessful infertility treatments and want a child as soon as possible. However, we encourage intended parents to take a deep breath and, if necessary, take a small break from their family-building journey if they need to. Sometimes, you are able to see much clearer when you’re not in the midst of the emotions that come with infertility and family-building. This time may also help your spouse reevaluate their opinions. They may even come to a realization during this time that gestational surrogacy is right for your family after all!

Wherever you and your spouse are at in your family-building journey, remember that American Surrogacy’s team will always be here for you. If you are interested in gestational surrogacy, but your spouse isn’t yet on board, we are happy to provide educational materials about our program to help them learn more. We can also provide references to trusted infertility counselors, should you need them.

Addressing Gamete Donors in Family Tree Assignments

School is back in session, and with it comes the familiar assignment that many young children tackle in their first few years of education — the family tree.

While it can be an interesting assignment for many families, it can be a confusing and even stressful one for those whose families have come together in nontraditional ways. While processes such as adoption, surrogacy and gamete donation are more common than ever, they still don’t tend to cross teachers’ minds when it comes to assigning out these traditional family-based projects.

If your child was born via surrogacy and gamete donation, you may be unsure of how to tackle this assignment when your child pulls it out of their backpack. The final decision will always be up to you and your son or daughter, but we’ve offered five ways you may address this topic in a healthy and positive way:

1. Consider whether it’s worth including.

The first thing to remember? That your family’s business is your business alone. Just because your child shares a genetic connection with a donor — anonymous or identified — doesn’t mean that you have to share that news with everyone.

Family trees are assigned for many reasons — to teach students about genetics, to help students get to know each other better, to practice presentation skills, and more. Learn what the focus of this project is for your child’s class. While it’s never a good idea to lie about your child’s personal history, when you’re the parent, it is always your role to safeguard your child’s story and whether or not you want to share it with people outside your family.

2. Ask your child about their thoughts.

Before you tell your child to include a sperm or egg donor on their family tree, make sure to talk to them! Children have as much right to their own birth and family story as anyone else, and it’s important that they play a role in their family tree assignment — and who they want to put on it.

Every donor-conceived and surrogacy-born child should know their personal story from an early age. If you’ve done your job right, your child will be aware of their surrogacy or gamete-donor story. They will likely have their own feelings about it, too.

3. Use an alternative family tree design.

When children are brought into a family in a non-traditional way, a traditional family tree structure can’t capture those nuances. If you and your child decide to move forward with a family tree, you should brainstorm together to find a way to best represent your child’s heritage and genetic background.

You might simply choose to add another line from your child to their sperm or egg donor, designating the difference between a genetic donor and an actual parent. Or, you may add your surrogate in the same way, with a line that makes it obvious your child isn’t genetically related to the surrogate.

Some adoptive and other non-traditional families choose to create “family forests” instead of trees. This way, they can emphasize the most important people in a child’s life, without necessarily pointing out genetic connections and non-genetic connections.

There are several ways you can create a non-traditional family tree. Work with your child to determine which is the best design for his or her preferences.

4. Talk to your child’s teachers about alternative assignments.

After discussion with your child, you may decide that a family tree is not the best assignment — especially if there are complications in your child’s family history, related or unrelated to their surrogacy story. Many teachers will be happy to work with you to find an alternative assignment. If your child doesn’t want to make a family tree based on their background, consider completing a family tree for a famous person in history, such as a president.

This brings up a good note for any parent: It’s a good idea to make your child’s teacher aware of any non-traditional aspects in your child’s family, to avoid awkward and complicated teaching moments throughout the whole school year.

5. Include the donor on the family tree — and use it as a teaching moment.

If you and your child are comfortable, don’t be afraid to use the inclusion of your child’s donor as a great opportunity to share the beauty of assisted reproduction methods with the classroom. While your child may be the only one in class conceived this way, remember that the number of nontraditional families in the U.S. is growing. Education plays a great role in tolerance and acceptance.

If your child is excited to share their surrogacy or donor story with their classroom, you’ll want to help them prepare for the class conversation. Give them some answers to ignorant comments and questions claiming that a surrogate “gave them up” or that their non-biological parent is not their “real” parent. You should also consider including the teacher on this preparation, so they can guide the class conversation is a positive and accepting way.

The pride that your child has in their own surrogacy story is a great example that you are doing a great job as a parent. Support them in this assignment; it will be the beginning of a lifetime spent answering questions and educating about surrogacy and gamete donation.

Have more questions about the nuances of raising a surrogacy-born, donor-conceived child? Talk to our surrogacy specialists anytime at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

5 Tips for Bonding with Your Baby After Birth

Intended parents often have a lot to worry about during the surrogacy process — whether they will find the right surrogate, whether their embryos will implant, whether their surrogate will have a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

But, there’s another worry that some intended parents have after the whole journey is done — whether they will be able to bond with their baby born via surrogacy.

Every new parent has fears of not being able to bond with their new children, but those parents who have not physically carried their children through pregnancy appear to have an instant disadvantage in this process. Biological connection or pregnancy doesn’t make a family but, for many, it can help ease the transition into parenthood.

If you’re worried about properly bonding with your child after they are born, preparation is key. Your surrogacy specialist can always offer suggestions for your stay at the hospital and following time at home to help you feel more comfortable. Remember: You are not alone in feeling the way you do.

Here are a few tips to help you bond with your child after they come into the world:

1. Use skin-to-skin contact.

The best way to bond with your child occurs immediately after birth. When babies are born, they crave contact with a strong, warm human body to feel safe and secure. Having skin-to-skin contact with your child directly after they are born is the easiest and quickest way to catch up on the bonding you didn’t have during their in-utero development.

Skin-to-skin contact has been linked with certain benefits:

  • Reduces an infant’s responses to painful stimuli (vaccinations, blood sampling, cord-cutting)
  • Calms babies and allows them to sleep faster during skin-to-skin contact
  • Improves physiological benefits such as improved thermoregulation, cardiopulmonary stabilization, blood glucose levels, enhanced oxygen saturation levels and more
  • Decreases separation anxiety
  • And more

Skin-to-skin contact should be a part of your surrogate’s delivery plan. This way, both parties will know what to expect once the child is delivered. Many experts recommend post-birth skin-to-skin contact to last as long as possible (at least an hour).

Physical touch will remain an important part of bonding with your child in the weeks and months to come, as well.

2. Take advantage of feeding time.

Another great opportunity for bonding with a new baby can be found during feeding time — especially if you are an intended mother who breastfeeds her child.

That’s right; intended mothers can breastfeed just as any woman who carried her own child can. It will require a certain medical protocol with your doctor, but you can share this experience with your child born via surrogacy, if you desire.

Breastfeeding gives the added benefit of skin-on-skin contact but, if you choose not to breastfeed, you can still share this contact while bottle-feeding your baby. Make sure to also share plenty of eye contact during this time, and limit distractions to have as effective a bonding experience as possible.

3. Frequently communicate and interact with your baby.

It’s important that your baby become familiar with your voice, especially because they’ve spent their entire time in utero listening to your surrogate’s voice. It may feel foolish at first, but try to narrate your activities when you’re around your child. They will automatically pay attention and be comforted, recognizing your role as their caregiver and parent.

At the same time, play with your baby every day. Not only will this encourage your baby’s brain development, but it will also provide a fun bonding experience. When you play up-close with your child, they will start to recognize your face and mimic your actions.

4. Pay close attention to your child’s needs.

It may seem obvious, but anticipating and responding to your baby’s needs will help you bond with them in a way nothing else will. After all, this is the mark of a good parent. Meeting your child’s needs will help both you and them feel fulfilled in your roles and in your relationship with each other.

Don’t worry if you don’t anticipate your child’s needs correctly every time. Parenting is a learned skill, and it may take some time to recognize a “feed me” cry from an “I’m tired” cry. Your bond, as it grows, will help you be more confident in your parenting skills.

5. Remember that bonding may take some time.

Finally, be patient with yourself. You’ve probably heard lots of stories about parents having an “instant” connection with their child after birth, but it’s totally normal to take some time to properly bond with your child. A baby is a big adjustment in your life, and being a parent can be overwhelming at first.

If you don’t feel an instant connection with your child, it doesn’t make you a bad parent. It just makes you human. Follow the suggestions from your surrogacy specialist and your pediatrician for proper bonding, and you will feel like the parent you’re meant to be in no time.

Remember: You Don’t Have to Wait Until Your Baby is Born!

Just because someone else is carrying your baby doesn’t mean that there is no bonding you can do during pregnancy. In fact, there are a few common steps that intended parents take to create a bond with their child before they even enter the world:

  • Talking to their baby, or having their surrogate play recordings of their voice during pregnancy
  • Being involved in important milestones, such as ultrasounds
  • Providing a transitional item for your surrogate during pregnancy
  • Accustoming your child to your home environment with certain music, smells and more

Remember: Your surrogacy specialist has helped many intended parents through this process, and she is available to help you through your bonding before and after birth. Don’t hesitate to reach out at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) or online to receive some more suggestions for building a bond with your new baby.

5 Losses to Be Prepared for in the Surrogacy Process

Deciding to start the surrogacy process is an exciting step. You’re closer to having a child than you ever have been, and it’s easy to look forward to the positive experiences awaiting you as you take this journey with a gestational carrier.

However, it’s also important to remember that surrogacy is not all rainbows and butterflies. While there are exciting moments in this journey to become a parent, there may be hard moments, too. Before you decide to start the gestational surrogacy process, you’ll need to prepare yourself for the good and the bad.

Fortunately, your specialist at American Surrogacy will be there to support you every step of the way. Wherever you are in your journey, she can answer your questions and address your concerns – making sure that you are comfortable and confident throughout.

Before you start your surrogacy journey, you’ll need to talk with our surrogacy specialists about your expectations. Here’s what we encourage all intended parents prepare themselves for before moving forward:

1. Infertility Grief and Loss

Most intended parents come to gestational surrogacy after months and years of infertility treatment. It can be a sensitive and raw subject, but infertility losses are something that all intended parents should cope with prior to starting the surrogacy journey. Only then can they fully commit themselves to the challenges and rewards of gestational surrogacy.

That said, there may be moments in your surrogacy journey where you are reminded of your previous infertility grief and losses. Infertility memories can pop up when you least expect it, even when you think you’ve fully accepted the situation you are in. Some of the most exciting moments of surrogacy — finding out your carrier is pregnant, being there for your child’s birth — can bring up these old emotions. So, every intended parent should be ready for these moments and prepared for how to handle them in a positive manner.

2. Loss of the Pregnancy Experience

One of the biggest losses for intended parents (especially intended mothers) is the ability to be directly involved in their child’s development in utero. When you choose gestational surrogacy, you are trusting someone else to carry your child for you. That can be a tough thing to reconcile, especially if you’ve had dreams of being pregnant.

Remember: While you may not be carrying your child yourself, you can still be actively involved in your surrogate’s pregnancy. You can be included in important doctor’s appointments, and your surrogate will keep you updated on her pregnancy every step of the way.

It’s important that every intended parent has grieved their loss of the pregnancy experience in order to show the excitement that their gestational surrogate will desire during their journey together.

3. Failed Transfers or Miscarriages

In an ideal surrogacy journey, the first embryo transfer takes and results in a healthy child. However, this isn’t always the case.

Failed transfers and miscarriages are more common than intended parents think, and it can be incredibly disheartening to experience one on your way to becoming a parent. Remember this: There are no dramatic differences in miscarriage rates when it comes to in vitro fertilization, and a miscarriage is no one’s fault. Your surrogacy specialist will be there to support you and your surrogate during this unfortunate situation. When you’re ready to try again, they will help you through the next steps – with no additional fees from our agency.

4. Loss of the Childbirth Experience

Although you won’t be the one physically giving birth to your child, you will still be involved in the childbirth process. Your experience will just be different when you’re an intended parent.

You and your surrogate will create a delivery plan together, which will detail things like:

  • Where she will give birth
  • Who will hold the baby first
  • Whether you will have a room at the hospital
  • Whether you will breastfeed your child (if you are an intended mother)
  • What kind of medical procedures you have planned for your child
  • And more

You will always be treated as the parent during your child’s birth, but it can be tough to create a delivery plan if you have unresolved grief and loss surrounding this experience. Intended parents should cope with these emotions as much as possible prior to starting surrogacy. That way, their child’s birth will be an exciting and joyful process — not an emotionally complicated one.

5. Loss of a “Traditional” Birth Story

Before coming to gestational surrogacy, many intended parents dream about the story they’ll have of bringing their little one into the world. But, when plans change and surrogacy is their only option, they may be initially ashamed or way or sharing their child’s surrogacy story with the world.

Remember this: Surrogacy or any lack of genetic connection does not make you any less of a parent to your child. The prospect of telling your child, friends and family about their surrogacy story may sadden you at first — but it’s actually something to celebrate! Surrogacy is a beautiful and unique way to bring a child into the world, and it’s a story that you and your family should be proud to tell to the world.

If you are not sure of how to explain surrogacy to your child or to your loved ones, your surrogacy specialist will always be here to help.

Coping with the losses of the surrogacy journey can be tough, but any intended parent will tell you that it will be all worth it in the end. If you are having difficulty accepting the losses associated with surrogacy, either before you begin or during your journey, you can call your surrogacy specialist at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) anytime. American Surrogacy will always be here for you.

Are You Ready for Another Baby? Starting Another Surrogacy Journey

A baby can bring a great deal of joy into your life. If you’ve had a child through the surrogacy process, you know all the hard work, time and effort it took was all worth it.

But, what if you’re thinking of adding a second pair of little feet to your family?

Many people — whether they had a child traditionally or through a process such as adoption or surrogacy — find the idea of a second child to be appealing. You will give your older child a sibling to grow up with, and you’ll get to experience the beauty of childbirth and parenting an infant all over again.

But, if you had your first child through gestational surrogacy, there’s a bit more to consider. Starting the surrogacy process again (or exploring other infertility options) is a big commitment. How do you know whether your family is ready for another little one?

Remember that your specialist at American Surrogacy will always be here to talk to you about your options, even if you’re just testing the waters about a second surrogacy journey. Don’t be afraid to reach out at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) or online today to talk to our experts.

In the meantime, here are some questions you might ask yourself before moving forward with a second surrogacy journey:

1. Are you financially prepared?

Bringing home any baby requires a great deal of financial planning. It’s no secret that infants are expensive. If you’re thinking about having another child, your childcare and child supply costs will double. While you will save some money on hand-me-down supplies from your first child, you should be prepared to spend just as much on medical expenses for your second child as your first.

If a second child requires a surrogacy journey, there are additional costs to consider. Can you afford the tens of thousands of dollars it requires to complete the gestational surrogacy process — while also maintaining financial stability for your other child? Before you decide to have another child via surrogacy, we recommend speaking with a financial planner. They can give you a better idea of your financial situation and whether surrogacy is a possibility for your family at this time.

There are certainly ways to make surrogacy more affordable, but are you ready for the financial requirements of going through this journey again?

2. Have you considered all of your family-building options?

Many intended parents have such a wonderful experience with gestational surrogacy that they are excited to go through the process again. And that’s great! But, just as you did before your first surrogacy journey, it’s important that you consider all of your family-building options again.

Simply by having a child now, your family situation is different than it was when you started your first surrogacy journey. You may find that a different family-building option (such as adoption) fits your family’s needs a little better this time around. Surrogacy is not right for every family at every time in their life, even if they’ve already completed the process once. That’s why it’s so important to speak with a surrogacy specialist and your reproductive endocrinologist to learn more about your options — keeping in mind your personal financial situation, reproductive health and more.

When you’re ready to discuss a second gestational surrogacy, feel free to contact your surrogacy specialist for more information.

3. How will your older child’s age play into your decision?

For many families, there is a “sweet spot” when it comes to the best time to have another child. For some, it’s as soon as possible after their first, while other parents wait a few years to recover from their first experience of parenting.

Intended parents should always consider their eldest child’s age when thinking about adding another child to their family. Gestational surrogacy can take a year or more to complete, so you’ll need to factor that into the future age difference between your children. The decision of when the “right time” is will always be up to you, but here are some things to consider:

  • If your first child is still young: Having siblings close in age can be the best option for some intended parents. They are able to tackle the diaper and infant stage quickly, and their children share the same milestones around roughly the same time. However, depending on how long it’s been since your first child was born, you may not have the financial savings or mental fortitude to jump back into the gestational surrogacy process right away.
  • If your first child is older: If it’s been several years or more since your child is born, you will already have a large age gap between your children — and it will get larger because of surrogacy’s timeline. Are you prepared to go through the challenges of raising a newborn again? Are you ready to add another 18 years (or more) onto your time as a parent with a child at home? Do you still have young, healthy embryos that can be used in the surrogacy process? You may not be keen on the idea of being a parent to a smaller child again, and that’s totally okay!

Ultimately, the decision of whether to start the surrogacy journey again will always be up to you. It may take many honest conversations between you and your spouse (if applicable) before determining whether gestational surrogacy is a path you want to take again.

Remember: If you ever have questions or want more information about how a repeat surrogacy journey works, please contact your surrogacy specialist anytime.

3 Tips for Intended Parents When It Comes to Baby Showers

When you’re an intended parent, you often have to sacrifice some big experiences found in a typical pregnancy journey. But, you don’t have to sacrifice having a baby shower!

As you go through the surrogacy process, you may have friends or family members approach you about throwing you a baby shower. Or, you may want to throw a baby shower yourself. Either way, you may be unsure of how to approach this celebratory event if you’re not actually the one giving birth.

The good news? It won’t matter. Regardless of how you get to parenthood, you are expecting — and you deserve all the love and appreciation that any other parent-to-be would receive from their friends and family.

In many ways, your baby shower will be the same as any other parent’s. However, there are a few things you’ll want to consider ahead of time to have the most positive baby shower possible, for yourself and for your gestational carrier.

Remember, you can always contact our surrogacy specialists for tips and advice anytime at 1-800-875-BABY(2229). In the meantime, we’ve offered a few tips to guide you through your party-planning process.

1. Be Involved in the Planning of Your Shower.

In a traditional pregnancy, many expectant parents leave the planning all up to the friend or family member who offers to host. But, because the family-building process is a bit more complicated for those pursuing surrogacy, it’s important that intended parents play an active role in the planning of their baby shower. That way, they can ensure the process is represented truthfully and positively.

Involving expectant parents in any baby shower is also a good logistic move. Parents-to-be are often busy as can be in the time leading up to their child’s birth (especially so if they are coordinating a gestational surrogacy). If a friend or family member is throwing your baby shower, talk to them about your desires for a party, including:

  • Guest list
  • Time and date
  • Gifts or no gifts
  • Food and game list
  • And more

This is your baby shower, so it makes sense that your loved one will want to create an experience you will enjoy! Don’t be afraid to make your preferences known throughout the planning process.

2. Think About Whether You’ll Include Your Gestational Carrier.

One of the more complicated parts of throwing a baby shower for a gestational surrogacy is the addition of a gestational carrier. While it may make total sense to you to include your surrogate in the festivities, your loved one throwing the event may worry about including her for fear of confusing other guests, hurting your feelings, or taking attention away from you and your spouse during the event.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to invite your gestational carrier (and determining what role she will play) will always be up to you.

If you have a great relationship with your surrogate, it may seem only natural to include her in this important event. Including your surrogate won’t draw attention away from you; she will be excited to simply be a part of your journey, and she’ll make sure to talk to your guests about your journey as parents, not her own as a surrogate. If you want to invite your surrogate, make sure to give her the heads-up on what she can expect and emphasize that she is in no way obligated to bring a gift. After all, she’s already giving you the best gift possible.

What if you’re not sure you want to invite your gestational surrogate? Maybe you’re worried how your loved ones will treat her or that her inclusion might cause a bit of awkwardness. Perhaps you just want your baby shower to be a small gathering of close family and friends. If this is the case, it’s completely your right to exclude her from the list — but it’s a good idea to explain your decision in person, so she doesn’t feel slighted or un-appreciated. Maybe offer to take her out for a nice lunch or dinner (if possible) to celebrate the baby’s impending arrival on your own.

If you’re having trouble with this conversation, don’t hesitate to reach out to your surrogacy specialist for guidance and suggestions.

3. Make Sure Your Guests Understand the Surrogacy Process.

When you’re having a child via gestational surrogacy, you automatically become an ambassador for the surrogacy process. So, expect your guests at your baby shower to be a bit curious about this process and what it entails on your end.

Many intended parents want to enjoy their baby shower with their friends and family, not answer questions about surrogacy throughout the whole thing. And no one wants a loved one discovering you’re going through surrogacy when they first arrive at the baby shower. To avoid this awkwardness, and to help all of your guests have a base knowledge beforehand, make sure your announcements include the fact that guests will be showering the intended parents and a gestational carrier. You can also include some basic information about how surrogacy works to reduce the likelihood that you’ll spend your party answering the same questions over and over again.

Another note: If you’re planning on including your surrogate in the festivities, make sure your guests know who she is, and make it clear whether or not gifts are also expected for her during the gathering.

With a little bit of preparation, you can have the baby shower that you deserve after your long path to becoming a parent. Surrogacy can be complicated, but approaching every step in the process with an open mind and the right information can make all the difference.

Want more tips on hosting the best baby shower for your family? Talk to your surrogacy specialist or to other intended parents for advice and suggestions as you get ready for the big event.

5 Tips for Finding a Pediatrician for Your Child Born via Surrogacy

When you use surrogacy to add a child to your family, there are a lot of medical professionals involved: your reproductive endocrinologist, your surrogate’s personal physician and obstetricians, nurses at the hospital, and more.

But, have you thought about the most important professional you’ll need once your surrogacy is done — your child’s pediatrician?

Finding the right pediatrician for your child will take some time. One bright side of your surrogate carrying your child? You will have the time to research and choose the perfect doctor for your baby once they are born.

Below, find five important tips to keep in mind during this search. Remember: Your surrogacy specialist will always be available to answer your questions about raising a child born via surrogacy, including how your pediatrician can play a role in this journey.

Don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) today for more information.

1. Do thorough research.

One of the best ways to spend the time waiting for your child to be born? Preparing yourself for their arrival — which includes finding the right pediatrician to look after their medical health.

Finding a pediatrician involves more than just choosing the closest doctor to you. Your child’s pediatrician will provide preventative care to your child throughout their childhood, and they will play an integral part in your child’s physical and mental development. They will also be a great resource to you by providing education about child development, safety and more.

When you first start researching options for pediatricians, you’ll want to consider:

  • Location, hours and after-hour care
  • Insurance coverage
  • Whether the doctor is accepting new patients
  • The doctor’s certifications and awards
  • The doctor’s experience and any areas of specialization
  • And more

2. Ask for references and recommendations.

If this is your first child, you may be unsure of what you are looking for in a pediatrician. Talking to those who have been through this process before can be helpful.

One of the best ways to find a good local pediatrician is by asking your friends and family members with children. They can let you know who they are seeing, what they like about them, and what they wished they had known about pediatricians before starting. Their experience can serve you well in your personal search.

You might also reach out to your (or your surrogate’s) obstetrician. They may have advice for finding a good pediatrician based on your and your surrogate’s health background, and they might even recommend a few physicians to start with.

3. Interview potential pediatricians.

Once you have a list of prospective pediatricians, you will need to interview the ones you are seriously interested in. Your first time meeting your baby’s pediatrician shouldn’t be at your baby’s first visit; you should establish a relationship with the doctor prior to your baby even being born.

There are a lot of great doctors out there, and many of them may work as your personal pediatrician. To determine your best fit, you’ll need to meet the doctor in person. This will give you a chance to ask any questions you may have about their practice and their medical opinions, as well as determine whether you two “click” and have a good relationship.

This can be the lengthiest part of finding a pediatrician, so make sure to start your interviews early! The more doctors you talk to, the better idea you’ll have of what you’re looking for in a pediatrician for your child.

4. Keep your surrogacy experience in mind.

In many ways, the process of finding a pediatrician for a child born via surrogacy will be very similar to that of a child born in a traditional manner. However, there are a few things you should consider.

If you are matched with an out-of-state surrogate, the first pediatrician to see your child will likely be in the city where your gestational carrier gives birth. You’ll want to talk with your surrogate’s obstetrician for local recommendations, and you’ll want to keep your own pediatrician up-to-date on pregnancy and delivery news as it occurs. You’ll also want to ask your local pediatrician when they would like to see the baby after you return home and make sure that the hospital at which your child is born sends the proper paperwork to your local doctor.

If your child has been conceived with a gamete donation, you’ll need to inform your pediatrician, as well. This may play a role in your decision — is your pediatrician familiar with the ins-and-outs of sperm and egg donation, and do they have experience tackling this issue with current patients? How will they navigate the issue of social and medical history from a donor when caring for your child?

You’ll need to work with a pediatrician who is comfortable with your child’s surrogacy background — and is willing to do more research whenever necessary. So, make sure your surrogacy experience is an important topic of your initial conversation with a prospective doctor.

5. Don’t be afraid to change your mind.

The pediatrician that you choose for your child will most likely be there throughout the years (and even decades!) to come. It’s a big decision — and it’s completely normal if your needs and wants end up changing over the years to come. Fortunately, there are many pediatricians out there, and you will find the one that is best for your child.

Say you choose one pediatrician to start with. But, on your first visit with the doctor and your baby, you’re not satisfied with the level of care you receive. Alternatively, your child may develop a condition during childhood that your pediatrician may not be able to adequately care for. Changing doctors is totally acceptable — it’s not a comment on your ability as a parent or even the doctor’s ability to do their job!

You are never obligated to remain with a certain medical professional just because you started with that person. As a parent, you must always do what is right for your child!

Want more tips and hints for life as a parent after surrogacy? Reach out to your surrogacy specialist anytime at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

What is Colostrum, and Should I Consider it for My Baby Born via Surrogacy?

When you hire a surrogate to carry your baby, there are a lot of decisions you’ll have to make. But, have you given thought to breastfeeding once your child is born?

It may surprise you to know that many intended mothers (and adoptive mothers) are able to breastfeed their children after birth, even though they weren’t pregnant themselves. The decision of whether or not to breastfeed — or whether or not your surrogate pumps for your baby — will always be up to your preferences.

Whether you’re considering breastfeeding your child, or you are interested in having your gestational carrier pump breastmilk for you, there’s an important thing you should know about first: colostrum. It may very well make a difference in what path you eventually choose.

For this year’s National Breastfeeding Month, find some basic information below about this medical marvel.

Remember: The information presented in this article is not intended to be and should not be taken as medical advice. We encourage you to always speak with your doctor for advice on what will be best for your newborn baby.

What is Colostrum, and Why is it so Special?

Colostrum is a special kind of breastmilk that is only produced right after a woman gives birth. It’s a sticky, yellow fluid that has everything a baby needs to transition to life outside the womb. All infants can benefit from colostrum, but studies have shown that colostrum has an immense benefit for preterm babies.

So, what are the advantages of colostrum?

  • It contains antibodies and white blood cells that help a baby build its immune system.
  • It creates a tough coating on a baby’s stomach and intestines to protect from germs.
  • It acts as a laxative to help a baby pass its first poop.
  • It helps prevent jaundice.
  • It provides the right nutrients to help the brain, eyes and heart grow.
  • It’s an easy first food for babies to digest, containing high levels of protein, salts, fats and vitamins.

Colostrum is usually produced within the first few days of birth. Women typically stop producing colostrum about two to five days after delivery. Then, “transitional milk” (a mixture of colostrum and more mature milk) comes in. By this time, a baby’s stomach will be ready to digest larger amounts of more mature milk.

Should Your Surrogate Pump Her Colostrum for Your Baby?

Because of colostrum’s benefits, many new mothers who don’t plan to breastfeed extensively still ensure their baby receives colostrum directly after birth.

But, if you’re having a child via surrogacy, getting colostrum to your baby isn’t as simple as it is in a traditional birth. Even if you plan to induce lactation to feed your baby, you will not produce colostrum (which is related to the production of human placental lactogen). If you want your baby to receive the benefits of colostrum, you will need to have your surrogate pump after birth.

Asking your gestational carrier to pump breastmilk for you is not a question to bring up for the first time in the delivery room. It should be a conversation that you have long before she delivers — possibly even during the drafting of your surrogacy contract. It’s important to iron out the details, such as how long she will pump, how the milk will be delivered to your baby, and whether she’ll receive any extra compensation for doing so. Remember: Pumping breastmilk is a big commitment, so your surrogate needs to be actively involved in this decision.

If you decide to have your surrogate provide colostrum to your baby after birth, you’ll need to talk to your surrogate about the details of this experience, as part of your overall hospital plan. Will your surrogate need to pump directly after delivery? Will you have her breastfeed your child instead? Your surrogacy specialist can also help mediate this conversation.

Remember: You are in Charge of Your Breastmilk Preferences

When you’re an intended parent, you always get to decide what the best medical decisions for your child are. If you want to induce lactation and feed them yourself, great! If you choose to bottle-feed instead, that’s okay, too! It’s all up to what your doctor recommends and what will work best for your own schedule.

No matter what you decide, you are still a good parent. Unfortunately, there is a lot of debate out there about breastfeeding vs. bottle-feeding, but one is not inherently better than the other. As long as you do your research and talk to your surrogate about your plans for breastfeeding colostrum and mature milk, you will be able to make the decision that is right for your family.

Want to learn more about how breastfeeding works with surrogacy? Talk to our surrogacy specialists today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) or contact us online.

What to Say — and What Not to Say — to the Intended Parent in Your Life

So, your friend or family member has told you they’re pursuing surrogacy to add a child to their family — how exciting!

But, what if you’ve never had any experience with surrogacy before? How do you know what to say — and what not to say — when you receive this news? How do you express your excitement without offending the intended parents?

Surrogacy can be a tricky conversation, but American Surrogacy is here to help. In this blog post, we’ll run through some of the biggest things not to say when talking to intended parents and offer some alternatives instead. Remember, our team is always available to explain more about surrogacy when you call us at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

In the meantime, find some tips for this conversation below:

5 Things Not to Say to an Intended Parent

There are a few common things that people say when their loved ones first share their surrogacy news. As well-meaning as they are, they can actually be quite intrusive and hurtful for intended parents to hear. Here are a few phrases you’ll want to avoid:

1. “How much are you paying your surrogate?”

Surrogate compensation is a hot topic among those who are unfamiliar with the surrogacy process — but it’s not a topic up for discussion with intended parents. Refrain from any comments on money or how the intended parents must be “rich” for pursuing this path. The fact is that many intended parents are often in debt or have spent much of their life savings trying to have a child.

Any compensation they are paying their surrogate is between them and her. Rest assured that it’s a number the two parties have both agreed is fair.

2. “Why don’t you just adopt?”

Adoption is a lot harder than many people think it is. It’s a process that takes a great deal of time and money, just like surrogacy. It also comes with some unknowns that surrogacy doesn’t.

Asking intended parents this question comes across as judgmental. Odds are, they considered adoption when deciding on their next step in their family-building process, and they decided it wasn’t right for them. It’s not your business why they chose surrogacy over adoption; it’s your job to support them through their family-building journey.

3. “Who’s the baby’s real mother?”

Most surrogacies today are gestational surrogacies, in which the surrogate is not genetically related to the child she carries. Instead, the intended parents’ embryo is implanted in her uterus for her to carry to term. Some intended parents use donor gametes to create this embryo.

Using the word “real” in reference to non-traditional family-building processes only perpetrates the idea that pregnancy is the only way to be a parent. Pregnancy and genetic relationship does not make a family; instead, it’s love and dedication.

4. “Whose sperm are you using?”

Similarly, when a male gay couple pursues surrogacy, people often ask who the “real” dad will be. This is an incredibly rude and intrusive question. A parent’s genetic connection to their child is only the business of the parent, the child, and the spouse.

Both men in a gay couple will be great parents to their child, regardless of genetics. Focus on that in your conversation, not their biological relationship.

5. “Can I meet your surrogate?”

This question may come from a place of interest; after all, you want to meet the woman who will be carrying your loved one’s baby! However, a surrogate isn’t someone to be put on display. She’s her own person with her own life, not subject to whims of intended parents and their friends and family.

Intended parents should be the one bringing up this idea, not you. Their relationship with their surrogate and their personal preferences will determine whether they are comfortable with this sort of thing.

6. “Wow, you’re lucky you don’t have to get fat/have morning sickness!”

You may be trying to find a silver lining in your loved one’s journey to surrogacy, but remember that many intended mothers would much rather carry their child on their own — regardless of side effects or risks. It may have taken an intended mother a long time to grieve her dreams of pregnancy, and this flippant response can bring up her negative experiences and feelings all over again.

7. “Don’t you feel jealous of your surrogate?”

Of course an intended mother has some feelings of jealousy toward her surrogate! On the same note as the comment above, don’t mention these kinds of things to intended mothers. Infertility grief is strong and can last a long time, and your loved one should be looking forward to the positives of the future — not the bad experiences of the past.

3 Things to Say to an Intended Parent

While there are many things you should not say to an intended parent, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t talk about their surrogacy at all! Here are a few more positive phrases you should make sure to use in your conversations with intended parents:

1. “How can I help?”

Even though intended parents aren’t the ones physically going through pregnancy, their journey through gestational surrogacy will still be hard. Not only do they have to stay organized and pay for all of the expenses of pregnancy, there will be tough emotional journey ahead as their surrogate gets pregnant and they watch their baby grow within her over the next nine months.

As their friend or family member, you can play a huge role in making this journey a little easier. Offer to take them out for dinner or do something else to take their mind off of surrogacy. Throw them a baby shower or help them decorate their nursery for their future child. Find ways to help them out just as you would anyone else who is expecting a child in the traditional way.

2. “You must be excited to be parents!”

Intended parents often have conflicting feelings about surrogacy. It’s one step closer to them finally having a child, but it also requires them to give up their dreams of pregnancy and a great deal of control over their child’s development in utero. Because of the emotions involved, it may be difficult for them to share their excitement.

So, give them an opportunity to talk about it! Instead of focusing on the details and asking lots of questions, accept their news with excitement and reflect what they are likely feeling. Ask them about their plans for the nursery and what will happen after the baby is born; don’t focus too much on their choice of surrogacy in getting there.

3. “I know you’ve waited a long time for this. I’m happy for you!”

Similarly, express your excitement about their news, too! Remember that intended parents have often gone through a lot before choosing surrogacy, and it can be reassuring for someone to notice and validate their struggles. This is the kind of response they are looking for when they announce their surrogacy journey. You can’t go wrong with mentioning this in your conversation.

More than anything else, pay close attention to the intended parents’ language and responses during this kind of conversation. You should be able to detect fairly easily what topics they are comfortable with and which they are not. Use that to guide your conversation.

Want more tips on supporting those going through the surrogacy process? Talk to our surrogacy specialists anytime by calling 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

5 Tips for Parents via Surrogacy on this Parents’ Day

After celebrating mothers in May and fathers in June, American Surrogacy brings them both together to celebrate National Parents’ Day this Sunday, July 28. We know that becoming parents is a tag-team effort for many intended parents, and we want to recognize the hard work that went into their surrogacy journey — and continues every day as they raise the next generation.

That’s why our team of surrogacy specialists is always here for our intended parents, even long after their children are born. Surrogacy is something that will affect your life forever, and we are here to provide advice and guidance whenever you need it. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your surrogacy specialist anytime at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

In the meantime, we’ve gathered some of the biggest tips we have for the parents who’ve used surrogacy to bring their children into the world. Check them out below:

Tip #1: Always be honest with your child about their birth story.

In order to be the best parent possible, those who have used gestational surrogacy should always make sure their child knows their birth story — and is proud of it. Surrogacy is a beautiful way to build a family, and it’s important that your child knows their story from the moment they are brought home.

Many times, parents who have brought children into their family in a non-traditional process (such as surrogacy or adoption) think they are doing their children a favor by waiting until they are “old enough” to understand. However, when they eventually get around to telling their child about their surrogacy or adoption story, they cause a great deal of emotional harm. After all, this child has grown up believing one thing, only to discover that their identity is a lie.

Your surrogacy specialist can always provide tips for explaining surrogacy to your child as they grow up. Start with these surrogacy books to aid you in an age-appropriate conversation.

Tip #2: Always be open to questions from your child and your family.

Surrogacy shouldn’t just be a topic of discussion during the conversations mentioned above. It should be a constant part of your life.

This means being open to answer questions from your child whenever they have them. By putting off their questions instead of answering them right away, your child unconsciously picks up on the idea that you are uncomfortable about the topic. That can manifest into your child being embarrassed of their surrogacy story.

Similarly, be open to conversations about surrogacy with your extended family, as well. Even if you took time to explain surrogacy to them when you were first going through the process, be ready for questions and comments to pop up every now and then.

Tip #3: Be a positive role model during insensitive comments or questions.

When you’re open about your surrogacy journey, it’s highly likely that you’ll receive comments and questions from friends and strangers. Not all of them will be positive. Surrogacy is still a fairly misunderstood process, and you should be prepared for ignorant and insensitive comments at times.

Remember: Your child sees everything you do. So, when you receive these questions and comments, instead of brushing them off, take them as an opportunity to educate others about surrogacy. If your child sees you aren’t embarrassed about their surrogacy story, they will mimic that behavior.

A great deal of parenting is setting a positive role model for your child — and that’s even more important if you brought a child into your family in a non-traditional manner. Stand strong against negative comments about your family-building journey, and give your child ways to respond when they get similar questions and comments from their peers.

Tip #4: Celebrate the unique way that your family came to be.

Addressing questions and concerns from your child does more than educate them about their past. It also shows that you are proud of the way they came into your family.

Being a parent to a child born via surrogacy is a lifelong journey. Your surrogacy decision will impact your day-to-day long after your child is born. You shouldn’t pretend it didn’t happen; instead, you should celebrate your decision.

Perhaps this means including your gestational surrogate in certain family events. Maybe it means displaying maternity photos of your gestational surrogate in a visible spot. How you celebrate your story will always be up to you. But, make sure you do it — it will teach your child that they have nothing to be ashamed of in regards to how they were brought into this world.

Tip #5: Remember that you are a parent as much as any other parent out there.

There are a lot of practical aspects of being a good parent, but the emotional aspects can be one of the biggest factors in just how “good” of a parent you will be. Anyone can feed, shelter and raise a child, but it takes a wonderful parent to provide the emotional support a son or daughter needs as they grow up. This is even more important for children who are born via surrogacy.

Children can pick up on a lot more than adults tend to give them credit for. If you are harboring feelings of guilt or sadness over your path to surrogacy, even after your child is born, they will know. Your child should only know happiness and pride when it comes to them being your child. That’s why it’s so important that you have properly grieved your dreams of pregnancy before becoming a parent via surrogacy.

Choosing surrogacy doesn’t make you any less of a parent, just as having a child via gamete donation or adopting a child doesn’t lessen your parental “claim.” In order to be the best parent possible, you must be confident in your role.

If you have concerns about the surrogacy process, or you have questions about raising a child born from surrogacy, American Surrogacy is here to help. Contact our surrogacy specialists anytime for more information.