10 Ways to Cut Down Costs During Your Surrogacy Journey

It’s no secret — surrogacy can be expensive. For an intended parent using this process to build their family, surrogacy is a big financial commitment. Lots of thought must go into affording the process of surrogacy and ensuring that your family will remain in good financial standing during and after this journey. So, it’s only natural that many intended parents ask: How can I make surrogacy more affordable?

Because surrogacy involves so many different parts, there are actually more options for cutting down costs than you may originally think. The ultimate decision of how you reduce your surrogacy costs will always be up to you and your surrogacy professionals, though, as some of these cuts can severely impact your surrogacy process to come.

To learn more about American Surrogacy’s transparent surrogacy costs, contact our surrogacy specialists today. In the meantime, find a few tips for making your surrogacy journey more affordable below.

1. Consider asking a friend or family member to carry for you.

The biggest way to cut down on your overall surrogacy costs is by completing an altruistic, identified surrogacy. When you find a gestational carrier through an agency or another matching program, it’s highly likely that those women expect to be compensated for their services — which is entirely within their rights. However, with surrogate base compensation averaging around $25,000, it can be a huge chunk of your overall surrogacy costs.

To reduce these costs, you might find an altruistic carrier, or a carrier who is willing to accept a smaller base compensation. Many intended parent find these women through their own networks. Having a family member or friend carry for you is known as identified surrogacy — and many professionals, including American Surrogacy, offer discounted surrogacy services for intended parents who pursue this path!

2. Shop around for your gestational carrier’s medication.

Like many other aspects of your surrogacy journey, there is always the opportunity for you to save money on your gestational carrier’s medical protocol. Depending upon her insurance policy, you may save money by switching to generic medications or ordering them through a different pharmacy. Always discuss this with your gestational carrier and her doctor before making any major medication changes.

3. Consider a frozen embryo cycle, if possible.

Depending on your fertility clinic, a frozen embryo cycle may be cheaper than a fresh embryo cycle. There are many reasons for this: egg harvesting and in vitro fertilization processes are not necessary, fewer steps are involved in syncing a gestational carrier’s cycle, and the process is usually less complicated. For this reason, intended parents often pay less for a frozen embryo transfer.

If this is a possibility in your surrogacy journey, talk with your reproductive endocrinologist about the costs and which path will result in the best chance of success.

4. Shop around for fertility clinics.

In regards to your fertility clinic and reproductive endocrinologist, you may find that you pay less with one professional over another. Of course, many intended parents prefer to continue working with the fertility clinic who completed their previous infertility treatments, and that’s totally understandable. However, you may find that transferring your completed embryos to a different clinic can save you money, especially if you choose a clinic local to your gestational carrier — cutting down on her travel costs and other necessary expenses.

5. Find the cheapest travel options.

In most surrogacies, intended parents know about their carrier’s appointments and delivery schedule far enough in advance to make appropriate travel plans. One of the best ways to reduce your overall surrogacy costs is finding the cheapest options for your travel. If your gestational carrier’s appointment is somewhere that can be reached cheaper by driving than by flying, it can help you save money — even if it may be a bit more inconvenient. If you have to fly for appointments, find a budget airline and the cheapest tickets possible.

If you are comfortable doing so, consider reducing the number of trips you take to visit your gestational carrier. This will also cut down on your overall surrogacy costs.

6. Consider your gestational carrier’s insurance situation.

Some surrogates have comprehensive surrogacy insurance through their existing policies. Others do not. The specialists at American Surrogacy will always complete a thorough insurance review before matching a gestational carrier with intended parents, so you will always know your surrogate’s insurance situation before beginning.

If you need to purchase an additional insurance policy for your gestational carrier, shop around. Talk with your gestational carrier, your specialist and an insurance agency to determine which plan can provide the best benefits at the cheapest cost. Make sure to explore all of your options.

7. Have your primary care doctor complete your blood testing and medical screening.

As an intended parent, you will need to complete certain screening before being approved for the surrogacy process. You could choose to complete those with a fertility specialist, or you can potentially save money by completing this screening with your primary care doctor during your yearly wellness visit. Many insurance policies will fully cover this visit, where they may not do the same if you complete the screening with a specialist physician.

8. Talk to an accountant about tax break measures.

While there are no tax breaks for surrogacy as there are for adoption, there are still accounting moves that can be made to reduce your overall surrogacy costs. An experienced tax attorney or accountant can help you through this process.

You might consider putting the maximum amount possible into your Flex Spending Account — funds that you can use for medical expenses without them first being taxed. You may be able to write off some of your medical expenses when submitting your taxes for the year. Talk to an accountant about the steps possible for your situation.

9. Be picky about the services you need.

For many intended parents, surrogacy is the last chance they have for a biological child — and they want to do everything they can to make it as successful as possible. That’s understandable, but it may not be the best mindset if you are simultaneously looking to reduce your surrogacy costs.

Many fertility clinics and reproductive endocrinologists offer different kinds of screenings throughout the surrogacy and in vitro fertilization process. Not all of them may be necessary for your particular surrogacy situation. If you are looking to save costs, talk to your surrogacy specialist and your reproductive endocrinologist to determine which of these tests are absolutely necessary — and save money by turning down the ones you don’t need.

10. Consider an independent surrogacy journey.

Finally, another way you can consider cutting your surrogacy costs is by completing an independent surrogacy journey. Surrogacy agencies can be expensive, and choosing to complete the process on your own (with only the assistance of a surrogacy clinic and surrogacy attorney) can save you from paying those agency fees.

However, don’t jump into an independent surrogacy too quickly. Unless you do proper research ahead of time, you may find yourself paying more for surrogacy services a la carte than with a flat rate fee from an agency. There is also the emotional aspect; completing an independent surrogacy may save you money, but it also requires more responsibility and often brings more stress than working with an agency.

As an agency, American Surrogacy is always dedicated to providing the best surrogacy journey for its clients. This includes being transparent about our agency fees and answering any questions you have before starting. To learn more about the benefits of working with our agency, please call our specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

Traveling to the Hospital on Short Notice: What to Expect

Witnessing the birth of your baby is an incredibly special moment, and many parents having a child through surrogacy are able to share in this experience alongside their surrogate. As you know, babies don’t always arrive at the most convenient times or precisely on cue. This means that many intended parents like to be ready to be by their surrogate’s side as she nears her due date so they don’t miss the big moment.

Here’s what you need to know about being ready to get to the hospital for your baby’s birth as an intended parent via surrogacy:

How Most Intended Parents Handle Travel

People who have become parents through American Surrogacy have traveled to their surrogate’s location up to two weeks before the baby’s birth, staying in hotel rooms to wait for that call saying that it was time to go to the hospital.

While you don’t have to settle in that early to wait for your surrogate’s due date, some intended parents simply feel more comfortable being nearby. That’s entirely up to you and your surrogate.

Most intended parent-surrogate matches are long-distance, so it’s very common for intended parents to travel across several states to get to their surrogate’s hospital. You can jump in the car or on the plane in anticipation of her due date, or when you get the call that she’s going into labor. Again, that depends on what you and your surrogate are most comfortable with.

This will typically be something that you’ll discuss with your surrogate in advance, often when you’re creating your surrogacy contract together. Having an established plan can make everyone feel more confident and relaxed, so that as the big day draws near you’ll at least have a rough idea of what to expect.

What Happens If Your Surrogate Goes Into Labor Early

The thought of missing their child’s birth keeps some intended parents up at night. True, some women do go into labor and give birth weeks before their due date. However, should this happen, that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t see your baby’s arrival.

If you get a call saying that your surrogate is in labor and you need to travel to meet your baby as soon as possible, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Stay calm
  • Check in with your surrogacy specialist, if you haven’t already
  • Try to get on the first available flight or start driving

A few things to remember:

  • Everyone, especially your surrogate, wants you to be able to share in this moment, so be understanding
  • Your surrogate’s health and your baby’s health take priority above all else
  • If you get that call and need to start traveling, grab your paperwork but don’t worry too much about packing more than the absolute essentials — most things for you and baby can be bought or borrowed when you arrive
  • If you don’t make it in time for your baby’s birth, remember that you’ll have the rest of your life together, and that’s much more important

A few general tips to help you stay prepared for short-notice travel:

  • Have your hospital bags packed and ready a few weeks before your surrogate’s due date, including the essential newborn supplies you plan to take
  • Notify your work, family and close friends that you might need to leave quickly and that you could be gone for a while
  • Make arrangements for pets or children, so you can call someone quickly to care for them while you’re gone
  • Have a rough plan for how you plan on getting there and back, but stay flexible
  • Have a rough plan for accommodations, but stay flexible
  • Keep your phones charged and on you at all times

It can be tempting to want to plan out as much as possible, especially when it feels like so much is out of your control. But your baby will be born on his or her own schedule and sometimes, there’s just no planning for that. In the meantime, try to relax and be ready to roll with whatever surprises parenthood brings.

If you have any questions about what to expect when it’s time for delivery, or if you’re ready to start your surrogacy process, contact American Surrogacy now at 1-800-875-BABY (1-800-875-2229).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to Pack for Your Surrogacy Hospital Stay – Intended Parents

One of the most exciting days of your lives is almost here! You’re about to meet your child for the first time. Do you know what you need to bring? We’ve got you covered. Here’s what you should pack in your hospital bag if you are an intended parent who is having a baby through surrogacy:

Paperwork

Your surrogate will be bringing the same information, but you should pack your own copies of this documentation in case she’s busy (she will be having your baby!) and hospital staff needs to reference something. Make sure you bring:

American Surrogacy will work with you to coordinate with your surrogate’s preferred hospital, and we’ll help make sure that they’re prepared for a surrogacy birth, as some hospitals haven’t experienced this before. Ensuring that the necessary hospital staff members are informed about your birth plan will help prevent any snags in you, your surrogate and her family, and your baby being able to access one another freely.

Having your relevant paperwork on hand can help communicate this to hospital staff, which rotates frequently.

Occupation

You will likely be actively involved in supporting your surrogate during labor, but there is often also a lot of waiting and idleness for intended parents during the hospital stay, which might make you feel a little anxious or helpless. Bring some things to keep yourself occupied during this time, like:

  • A book
  • Headphones
  • Snacks (try to eat in the waiting area, out of politeness to surrogates who might be sensitive to smells while in labor and who aren’t permitted to eat while laboring)
  • Your phone charger

Having something quiet that can keep you busy while you wait for your baby’s delivery can be surprisingly helpful for both you and your surrogate!

Clothes

The average duration of labor is about 8 hours, but it can vary widely. You’ll also need to stay at the hospital so your baby can be monitored, so your surrogate may be discharged before you if all goes well. This means that you could need to pack for a few days’ stay. Here are a few things you should consider bringing:

  • A few sets of comfortable clothes that you can sleep in if necessary, with light layers, since hospitals can sometimes run pretty warm or chilly
  • Overnight clothes and supplies, as a 24 hour post-birth observation period for all babies is usually required by most hospitals
  • A front buttoning shirt if you’d like to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby, which is recommended for intended parents

Toiletries

You’ll likely be staying at the hospital overnight, so have whatever you need for that stay ready to go, such as:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hairbrush
  • Daily prescription medications
  • Contacts and glasses

Miscellaneous

You’ve probably waited for this day for a long time, but try not to over-pack, especially if you have to fly to your surrogate. It can be helpful to ask your surrogacy professional what other intended parents have found useful in their hospital bags, and what you can leave at home. However, there are a few additional items you might want in your bag, such as:

  • Whatever you need to be comfortable, like a blanket or sleep mask, as you might be there 1-3 days
  • A labor care kit for your surrogate with little supplies like lip balm and slipper socks
  • A small gift for your surrogate to mark the closing of your journey together. Talk to your surrogacy specialist about some appropriate gift ideas

For Baby

Don’t worry about bringing along the entire baby aisle of the store. The hospital will have extra newborn diapers, bottles and other basics. You can handle most supplies when you get home. Some things you should pack for baby include:

  • A weather-appropriate coming-home outfit (in a couple sizes in case one doesn’t fit)
  • Blankets
  • A hat
  • Two or three comfy onesies for sleeping
  • Socks or booties
  • A few burp or spit-up cloths
  • An approved baby car seat
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Bottles, formula, or whatever supplies you need to transport breast milk

Bring what’s essential for keeping your baby warm, comfortable, safe and fed. Most importantly, have the car seat ready. The hospital usually won’t let you leave unless they know it’s safe and installed correctly.

Meeting your child is one of the most important moments in your life, but you don’t need to bring a bunch of extras. Just focus on a few essentials and yourselves!  Your American Surrogacy specialist will help you and your surrogate to create a surrogacy birth plan that you’re comfortable with, and make sure you’re ready for your hospital stay. Contact us now at 1-800-875-BABY (1-800-875-2229) to begin your surrogacy process.

7 Questions You Have About Your Surrogate’s Delivery

It’s finally here, the thing you’ve been waiting your entire family-building process for — your gestational carrier’s delivery. As much that goes into the initial stages of the surrogacy process, you may not have thought about what would happen when your gestational carrier reaches the end of her pregnancy. What can you expect from your upcoming hospital stay?

This is a new experience for many intended parents, and it’s perfectly normal to have lots of questions about this part of the journey. Your upcoming hospital stay can be nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time. The good news is that the more prepared you are for this experience, the more successful it will be.

Understanding what to expect from this part of the surrogacy journey is a big part of preparing for the unknowns ahead of you. When you work with American Surrogacy, your surrogacy specialist will always help you prepare for this exciting time. He or she will answer all of your questions and help you feel comfortable with what is to come.

You can always talk to your specialist by calling 1-800-875-2229(BABY). In the meantime, you can find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about a gestational pregnancy hospital stay below:

1. Will we be present during childbirth?

Yes! Your surrogacy specialist and your gestational carrier will do everything possible to ensure that you make it to the hospital in time for your carrier’s delivery. You will be in close communication with your carrier and receive all the updates she gets from her obstetrician, and you will be made aware of the hospital plan every step of the way. This way, you’ll know when your surrogate is due, and you can make the proper arrangements to be there during childbirth.

That said, babies come when they want to, so you may want to take precautions just in case she goes into labor earlier than expected.

As far as being in the room during the actual birth, that will depend upon the policies of the hospital where your gestational carrier is delivering. Some hospitals will only allow a certain number of people into a delivery room, and the rules could be even stricter when there’s a cesarean-section. In some cases, both intended parents are allowed to be in the room with the carrier and her spouse, but some situations allow for only one or two people to accompany the carrier into delivery.

As with every other part of the hospital plan, a plan for who will be present during delivery will be set before the carrier gets close to delivery. You and your surrogate will decide which preferences you are both comfortable with during that time.

2. Will we get our own room?

Again, the answer to this will depend upon hospital policies. Some hospitals treat surrogacy as similar to adoption; intended parents can stay in a hospital room near the carrier after the baby is born. This can be incredibly instrumental in the bonding time shortly following birth.

However, some hospitals do not provide extra rooms for intended parents. Therefore, some parents stay in the same room with their gestational carrier as she recovers, or they stay in a nearby hotel and visit the carrier and their baby as often as possible.

3. Will our baby get to stay with us?

Again, this will depend upon hospital policy. If you are staying in a hospital room, and the surrogacy situation has been explained to hospital staff in detail, it shouldn’t be a problem for your baby to stay in the room with you as your surrogate recovers and your baby waits for discharge.

However, there may be situations in which a baby cannot stay in the same room with either the intended parents or gestational carrier, most notably in cases of premature birth or other birth complications. Separation from a new baby can be stressful for any parent, let alone a parent who didn’t carry a child themselves. Remember that your baby’s doctor will do everything they can to move your child to your rom when they are medically ready. In the meantime, if you are staying at the hospital, you can always visit your child as often as allowed. You can invite your gestational carrier to accompany you, as well.

4. Will our names be placed on the baby’s birth certificate?

If your state laws allow for a pre-birth order, your names will be placed on your baby’s birth certificate when they are born. This can be a massive relief for intended parents, but remember that, even if you don’t have a pre-birth order, there will never be any confusion about who the baby really belongs to. Your surrogacy specialist will make sure the hospital is aware of your situation and understands the parental rights you have in this process.

Some states don’t allow for pre-birth orders, only post-birth parentage orders or adoption. If this is the situation with your surrogacy, your surrogacy attorney will explain the necessary legal process to you before your carrier gives birth. They will also work to ensure that an amended birth certificate is provided to you as quickly as your state processes allow for.

5. Can I breastfeed my baby in the hospital?

If you are an intended mother, you may be interested in breastfeeding your child born via surrogacy. Not only is this recommended by breastfeeding advocates, but it is entirely possible — and you can start breastfeeding once your child is born.

You’ll need to talk to your doctor ahead of your carrier’s delivery to ensure you induce lactation early enough for your baby’s delivery. If you have a separate room for you and your baby during the hospital stay, you may even have access to lactation specialists during this time. They can help you with any issues you have inducing lactation and adjusting to your new breastfeeding schedule.

6. Do we get a say in the hospital and delivery plans?

While your gestational carrier will be the one undergoing childbirth, you are still an active part in this surrogacy process. When your carrier creates her hospital plan, your surrogacy specialist will make sure to include you in this decision-making. If you have specific desires for your child’s birth — such as a natural delivery, delayed cord clamping or more — it’s important that you tell your carrier and surrogacy specialist as early on as possible.

Like the other aspects in surrogacy, a hospital plan may include compromises. Being honest about what you want early on will help ensure a surrogacy process you are comfortable with.

7. How do we start planning our hospital stay?

When you work with American Surrogacy, your surrogacy specialist will ensure that your hospital plan is created in plenty of time to let you and your gestational carrier prepare for this experience. Typically, this plan is created during a carrier’s second or third trimester in a conversation between all parties involved.

While planning a hospital stay can be stressful in an independent surrogacy, when you work with American Surrogacy, your surrogacy specialist will handle all the necessary details. They will mediate the conversation between you and your gestational carrier, coordinate with the carrier’s insurance provider and medical professionals, and work with the hospital to ensure all professionals are prepared for the unique surrogacy situation ahead of them.

The birth of your baby can be an incredible experience. Let our specialists help you through every part of this process. To learn more about our agency’s services, please contact our specialists today.

Should You Consider Embryo Donation After Surrogacy?

When you’re an intended parent, you will put a lot of thought into the surrogacy process. But, you may not consider what will happen when your surrogacy is complete. If you’re like many intended parents, you will have remaining embryos after your gestational carrier gives birth — and you’ll need to decide what to do with them.

There are generally three options for leftover embryos: to dispose of them, donate them to science, or donate them to another intended parent. Many intended parents choose a fourth “option” — to keep them in long-term storage indefinitely — but, as an intended parent, you will need to decide what to do with your embryos at some point. At American Surrogacy, we encourage our clients to think about this earlier rather than later.

In this article, we’ll talk about one of the most selfless and beautiful choices for your leftover IVF embryos: donating them to another intended parent. Understandably, many people have reservations about this process, so having the right information can help you make the best decision for your family.

Whether you’re seriously considering embryo donation or simply want to learn more, here are some things you should know:

Signs Embryo Donation is Right for You

Donating leftover embryos is not right for everyone — and that’s okay! When you donate an embryo to another couple, you are often giving a very personal gift to a complete stranger. It can be nerve-wracking to consider.

However, there are a few signs that it may be the right choice for you:

1. You want to help someone else become parents.

As an intended parent, you understand the struggle that people like you go through to have a child. If you decide to donate your embryos, you can make someone else’s parenthood journey a little easier. Donated embryos can be used to help an intended mother experience pregnancy, reduce the costs of IVF for those looking into surrogacy, and even help LGBT couples who can’t conceive an embryo on their own.

When you donate your embryos, you give these intended parents a new chance at building their family. The people who choose this path empathize with those in that situation, and they make the selfless choice to give the possibility of a child to those who want it most.

2. You are uncomfortable disposing of your embryos or keeping them in long-term storage.

While frozen embryos are in no way considered viable, some intended parent feel uncomfortable disposing of the promise their embryos could have. Whether or not they view them as “children,” some people don’t believe that discarding their embryos (or donating them to science) is ethical.

On the other hand, keeping them in long-term storage is not a viable option either. Sure, it may delay the decision you have to make, and it can keep your options open if you wish to have more children, but you will eventually need to decide what you wish to do with your embryos. Otherwise, this will be a decision made by your family members when you die.

Donating your embryos can give you control over their use and a sense of purpose that you may not feel otherwise.

3. You are comfortable with being an identified donor.

There’s one thing that you should know before donating your embryos: You are not “giving up your children.” Instead, you are giving the possibility of a child to someone else. If that embryo successfully implants and develops into a fetus, there will be a child with your genetic material out in the world. That’s why embryo donation is also called “embryo adoption.”

For this reason, the people who donate embryos with their genetic material are highly recommended (sometimes even required) to do so on an identified basis. That means, when the child is old enough, the embryo donors can be contacted by their biological son or daughter (or his or her parents) for more information about genetic history, siblings, etc. You will not be responsible for your biological child’s well-being, and you will likely not feel the same connection that a birth parent feels to their child in an adoption situation. However, you will have the responsibility to give your biological child the information they need as they grow up.

Signs Embryo Donation is Not Right for You

If you’re unsure about donating your embryos to someone else, that’s completely normal. You may have a few concerns about the process, which is why learning as much as possible will help you make the best choice for your family.

There are generally a few signs that embryo donation may not be the best route for your family:

1. Your embryos are not high-quality.

This reason goes without saying. If you have struggled to conceive yourself, and you’ve turned to surrogacy and transferred the best quality embryo, your remaining embryos likely weren’t quality enough to be used for your own surrogacy. Therefore, they shouldn’t be donated to another couple if they have a high chance of failure.

If your reproductive endocrinologist determines that your leftover embryos are too low quality for donation to other intended parents, consider donating them to science instead. That way, experts can study your embryos to advance future assisted reproduction techniques.

2. You are uncomfortable with someone else raising a child who is biologically related to you.

If your embryos are created from you and your spouse’s gametes, it may make you uncomfortable to donate a potential biological child to someone else. Even if you choose identified donation, you will not be actively involved in your biological child’s life. For some intended parents, this can be a deal-breaker when it comes to donation. It takes a special kind of person to give a biological child to someone else; not everyone can be an embryo donor or birth parent.

Consider talking to an identified donor bank to learn more about this process to see if your concerns clear up with more information. If they don’t, that’s okay — consider donating your embryos to science, where they will never reach the point of viability.

3. You would rather dispose of your embryos.

Deciding what to do with your leftover embryos is a tough choice. You may not like the uncertainty of long-term storage, and you may be uncomfortable with donating your genetic material and the unknowns that come with doing so. In your case, discarding your embryos may be the best solution.

Remember, choosing to discard your embryos doesn’t mean that you are destroying “children.” It is always up to you to decide whether you are personally comfortable with discarding your embryos, but know that they are not viable and will not develop into fetuses unless implanted in a uterus.

If you are ever unsure as to what to do with your leftover embryos, we encourage you to speak in depth with your reproductive endocrinologist. This may not be a decision that you make overnight, but having the proper information and understanding all of your options will help you to choose the path that is best for your family.

5 Things to Look for in Gestational Carriers

Finding the right gestational carrier is a big decision for any intended parent to make. After all, this will be the woman whom you trust to carry and give birth to your child — no small feat. It’s normal to be nervous and unsure about choosing the gestational carrier that is right for your family, especially if you are entering into the surrogacy process for the first time.

Fortunately, there is help. If you choose to work with American Surrogacy, a surrogacy specialist will guide you through every step of finding a gestational carrier. They will ensure that you are only presented with women who match your preferences and provide all the information you need to make the right decision for your family. Our specialists know how important this choice can be, which is why we dedicate ourselves to making it as easy as possible for you.

But, the ultimate choice will always be up to you. So, how do you find the perfect gestational carrier when there are so many to choose from?

Every intended parent has different preferences, but there are a few common things that our specialists recommend you look for in the perfect surrogacy partner:

1. Someone Who Shares Your Surrogacy Goals and Preferences

The most important aspect in a successful surrogacy relationship is sharing the same goals and preferences for the journey. Surrogacy has a lot of moving parts, and there are many choices that both intended parents and gestational carriers can make along the way. To make the journey as easy as possible, surrogacy partners should ensure they have the same ideas about their process before starting.

How can you do this? Fortunately, when you work with American Surrogacy, your surrogacy specialist will help you create a detailed surrogacy plan. They will ask you about aspects of the process you may not have considered before. Then, they’ll take this plan and find gestational carriers who share the same goals. That way, you can be sure that any gestational carrier presented to you will want the same things from their surrogacy journey.

When you first meet with a prospective gestational carrier, take the opportunity to ask her more about her surrogacy goals to ensure you are both on the same path for this family-building journey.

2. Someone Who Meets Your Expectations

On the same note, it’s important that a gestational carrier meets your personal desires, too. When you start your surrogacy journey, you will be able to decide what kind of woman you want carrying your child — her experience with surrogacy, where she lives, and more. You and your surrogacy specialist will create an ideal gestational carrier profile, which your specialist will use to determine which available surrogacy situations are perfect for your journey.

As nice as a gestational surrogate may seem, if she doesn’t meet your preferences for a carrier, it’s unlikely that you will have a successful and positive surrogacy experience with her.

3. Someone Who is Adaptable

Surrogacy is a partnership — not a relationship where one person gets their way every time. Therefore, it’s important that you and your gestational carrier are flexible when it comes to compromise and unexpected developments.

Just as you should not expect to have your gestational carrier follow your every whim, you shouldn’t feel held hostage to your gestational carrier’s desires. When you first talk with a prospective surrogate, gauge how they respond to your suggestions. Do they seem flexible and adaptable, or are they stuck on a surrogacy journey that only meets their vision? Even if your goals and preferences match up now, an inflexible gestational carrier can be problematic if unexpected situations occur along the way.

4. Someone Who Wants a Relationship with You

Your relationship with your gestational carrier is a big part of your surrogacy experience. While it can be awkward at first to develop a relationship with a total stranger who you are paying to carry your child, the development of your relationship will play a huge role in how successful your journey is. Be wary of gestational carriers who only seem interested in the surrogacy process and their compensation; you want a gestational carrier who is warm and expresses her genuine desire to get to know you throughout your surrogacy partnership.

When you are first getting to know your surrogate, ask her about her family — and pay attention to what kind of questions she is asking you. Does she seem interested in a relationship before, during and after the pregnancy? Or does this seem to be just a business transaction for her? Keep in mind: The best surrogacy experiences emerge when intended parents and gestational carriers share a real bond.

5. Someone Who Gives You that Gut Feeling

Finally, when you’re looking for your perfect gestational carrier, you should always pay attention to how you feel about this match. While all the other aspects above are important to keep in mind, the best surrogacy partnerships are created when the people involved have a gut feeling about each other. Many intended parents and gestational carriers compare their first conversation to a “first date” of sorts; they often know right away whether this partnership will work out.

So, don’t disregard your personal feelings during your search for a gestational carrier. It’s entirely possible that you and a prospective carrier match up on paper but don’t jive in person. That’s okay — American Surrogacy will work with you as long as you need to find the perfect surrogacy partner for your family-building process.

Want to learn more about finding a gestational carrier? Call our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) today.

5 Tips for Managing a Relationship with Your Gestational Surrogate

Once you’ve matched with your gestational carrier, you’ll be excited to start the medical process of surrogacy. After all, you are one step closer to finally holding the little bundle of joy you’ve been dreaming about for so long!

However, surrogacy is about more than just getting your baby. It’s a long and complicated process aided by a positive, healthy relationship with your gestational carrier. She is more than just a woman you “hired” to carry your child; she is your partner in this journey. Therefore, it’s important that you establish a good relationship with her from the get-go.

It’s normal to be nervous about your relationship with your gestational carrier. It’s probably your (and her) first time having this kind of intimate relationship with a previously unknown stranger! Don’t forget that the specialists at American Surrogacy will be there to guide you through this relationship and your surrogacy process every step of the way. We have helped many intended parents and gestational carriers through the surrogacy process, and we are happy to help you, too.

When you work with our surrogacy agency, you can always call your specialist at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) for advice on building a successful relationship with your gestational carrier. In the meantime, we’ve listed a few tips below to help you get started.

1. Show her that you care — but don’t be overbearing.

If you are an intended parent in the surrogacy process, it’s normal to have all kinds of feelings — nervousness, excitement, anxiety and more. When another woman is carrying your child, there can be a feeling of helplessness you must overcome. It’s important that you don’t let that feeling impact your relationship.

Some of the biggest concerns that our specialists hear from gestational carriers are regarding intended parents who cross boundaries. While well-intentioned, these intended parents can make a carrier feel like she is not trusted. In turn, this can cause a carrier to pull back from communication, inspiring another round of checking in from overbearing intended parents.

We understand what you are feeling as an intended parent — and that you would do anything to be able to carry your child yourself. However, it’s important that you identify what are the appropriate boundaries to maintain with your gestational carrier. These may even be outlined in your surrogacy contract. Stick to your agreed-upon communication preferences and frequency, and try not to go too much beyond those set contact times. Your gestational carrier will appreciate it.

2. Show interest in her life and her family.

A gestational carrier sacrifices a lot to help an intended parent add to their family. She gives up her time, her energy and her body during this process. Therefore, it’s important that she feel appreciated for her sacrifice — not just as a piece in a puzzle to help intended parents.

Most intended parents never intentionally present that kind of view to their gestational carrier, but our specialists recommend that you take extra steps to help a surrogate feel appreciated during the journey. For example, when you are getting to know a woman in your first conversation, ask her about herself, her lifestyle and her family — not just the aspects of the surrogacy journey. This applies to conversations had during her pregnancy, as well. You should know enough about her to consider her a friend during the journey, not just a woman who is being paid to carry your child.

3. Give as much as you get in the relationship.

When you are an intended parent, you probably already feel like you are giving a lot to your surrogacy journey — especially regarding your finances. You may feel like a gestational carrier is obligated to your wishes because you are paying her, but that is a recipe for an unhealthy relationship.

Give and take is an important part of any healthy relationship. Yes, you will have set certain preferences and agreements in your surrogacy contract, but there may also be things that arise during pregnancy and delivery that you haven’t thought about. Don’t feel like your gestational carrier owes you everything you want; remember that she is entitled to certain rights, as well.

When you think of something that you want to ask from your gestational carrier, take a second to ask yourself, “Am I making the same sacrifices she is?” For example, rather than making a gestational carrier travel back and forth to you during the early stages of her pregnancy (even if you are paying for travel costs), consider visiting her and her family to head off any inconvenience.

4. Offer to help however you can.

On the same note, remember that your gestational carrier is taking on a great deal of responsibility and personal discomfort in carrying your child. Even if she loves being pregnant and has no bad side effects, she still must take time out of her everyday schedule for appointments and adjust her normal lifestyle to maintain a healthy pregnancy.

As her intended parent, you should always offer to help her however possible. Any financial help should always be cleared by your surrogacy specialist, but you can also provide more heartfelt assistance: sending her pre-made meals or taking her to lunch, creating a pregnancy gift basket to help her pamper herself, or taking her and her family out on an excursion to a local activity, like the zoo. As much as your gestational carrier is being financially supported during her pregnancy, there are still things she is giving up — and offering to help her regain that positive mental energy can show your appreciation for her sacrifice.

5. Continue your relationship after delivery.

While your surrogacy journey will officially be over once your child is born, your relationship with your gestational carrier doesn’t have to be. In fact, many intended parents and surrogates remain friends after delivery, and some even consider each other extended family in the months and years to come. One of the best things you can do for your relationship with your carrier is ensuring her that you will still want to be in her life after she gives birth — and then following through on your promise.  There is perhaps nothing more hurtful to a gestational carrier than intended parents who abandon her once the baby is born.

Your surrogacy specialist will help you prepare for appropriate interaction during delivery and your carrier’s hospital stay. They can also provide suggestions for maintaining an appropriate, respectful relationship after delivery, too.

Having a healthy relationship with your gestational carrier before, during and after her pregnancy will be instrumental in having a successful surrogacy experience. The best surrogacy journeys are those in which surrogacy partners create a close bond and friendship, and it is always possible for you. To start looking for your perfect gestational carrier, please contact American Surrogacy today.

What Happens if My Baby is Born Prematurely During Surrogacy?

It’s a situation that no intended parent or gestational carrier wants to be in: a premature delivery. However, like any other person experiencing a traditional pregnancy, both parties need to be fully prepared for this situation, should it occur during their gestational pregnancy.

If you’re an intended parent, you probably don’t want to think about your child being born prematurely. Surrogacy comes with enough unknowns as it is; when you add in the aspect of premature labor, it can become even more complicated.

So, what can you expect if your baby is born prematurely?

First, know this: Your surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy will be there to support you every step of the way. They will be prepared to coordinate with all the necessary medical professionals and insurance providers during this process, allowing you and your gestational carrier to focus on what really matters — getting your baby healthy.

Our surrogacy specialists are always available to answer your questions about the medical process of surrogacy when you call our agency at 1-800-875-2229(BABY). In the meantime, you can find out more about premature births in surrogacy below.

What are the Risk Factors for Premature Delivery?

Admittedly, surrogacy can be a complicated family-building process on its own — but there is also evidence that in vitro fertilization can increase the chance that your child will be born prematurely. Therefore, surrogacy professionals take many steps to ensure that a gestational carrier is 100 percent prepared (medically and emotionally) to carry a child before she is approved for the surrogacy process. As part of this process, these medical screenings will test for risk factors for premature labor, such as:

  • Being underweight or overweight before pregnancy – American Surrogacy requires all surrogates to have a healthy BMI between 19 and 31.
  • Multiple previous miscarriages or abortions – Surrogates must have a proven track record of healthy pregnancies free from complications to work with American Surrogacy.
  • Fewer than six months between pregnancies – Our agency requires gestational carriers to wait 12 months after their last pregnancy before starting surrogacy.
  • Smoking cigarettes or using illicit drugs – Surrogates with American Surrogacy are prohibited from these activities before or during their surrogacy.
  • Chronic conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes – All surrogates must undergo an extensive medical examination to prove they are healthy enough to carry a gestational pregnancy.

Another common risk factor for premature labor is carrying multiples, which is why medical professionals will advise against transferring more than one embryo during a single transfer. However, many women who experience premature delivery have no previously known risk factors. That’s why American Surrogacy encourages all its gestational carriers to follow certain guidelines for a healthy pregnancy — guidelines that will likely be addressed in your surrogacy contract.

What if My Surrogate Goes into Preterm Labor?

There are situations in which a gestational carrier seems to have a completely healthy pregnancy, only for her to go into labor prematurely. This can be nerve-wracking for both her and her intended parents, who can feel helpless during this emotional time.

If you live close enough to your gestational carrier, you may decide to travel to her, just in case premature delivery may be needed. If you live far away, it can be tempting to try to find the next flight available and get there when you can. Whatever your situation, you may actually wish to wait until you hear from your carrier’s doctor.

Not all premature labor will result in premature deliveries. In some situations, an obstetrician will be able to prescribe medication to delay the labor as long as possible. Many doctors have a number of weeks they would prefer women hit before giving birth, and your carrier’s doctor may be able to help her keep the baby until that point. She may need to take medication, or she may be required to stay on bedrest for the remainder of her pregnancy. If the latter is the case, your surrogacy contract should detail what expenses will be paid to her as a result of her missing work.

What Will Happen at the Hospital if My Child is Born Premature?

Even with a doctor’s intervention, a gestational carrier may have to deliver a child prematurely — for the child’s safety and for her own safety, too. If you receive a call that your gestational carrier is delivering earlier than planned, you may be frustrated and nervous that things aren’t going according to plan. Remember, your carrier’s doctor is doing the best he or she can to keep your carrier and your baby safe, which sometimes involves premature delivery.

Some doctors may be able to delay a carrier’s labor until intended parents are able to arrive at the hospital. This may not be possible in other situations. Your gestational carrier, her doctor or your surrogacy specialist will keep you up to date on developments. Either way, if you receive the news that your child is being born prematurely, you should likely travel to the carrier’s hospital as soon as possible.

What you will do when you arrive at the hospital will depend upon your surrogate’s medical situation and the hospital’s policies. You may be able to be in the same room during her delivery, whether vaginal or cesarean-section. In other situations, you may not be.

Again, this will all depend upon your carrier’s and your baby’s medical situations, but your baby will likely be placed in the NICU after delivery. There, he or she will receive the medical care they need. Your baby’s doctors will keep you updated on his or her status and allow you to visit your child as soon as possible. You may even be able to stay in a nearby hospital room as you originally planned to during the hospital stay, but this will depend upon hospital policies and available rooms.

As stressful as this time can be, you shouldn’t forget about your gestational carrier. She is likely just as worried as you are about the baby. Take the time to visit with her after labor and ensure she is recovering. Give her the chance to see the baby during her stay, if possible, and keep her updated on your baby’s status after she is discharged.

Every premature delivery situation is different, so these are just some basic words of advice that you can keep in mind if this circumstance occurs with your own surrogacy journey. The best thing you can do in this situation is keep in touch with everyone involved in your surrogacy — your gestational carrier, her obstetrician and your surrogacy specialist. A premature delivery can be a scary experience, but it doesn’t always have to be a negative one.

For more information on how American Surrogacy will support you during your gestational carrier’s pregnancy and delivery process, please contact our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

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

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

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

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

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

1. Explain your situation ahead of time.

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

2. Redirect with a joke or lighthearted comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Make your discomfort known.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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