How to Save Money on Surrogacy Fertility Meds as an Intended Parent

It’s well-known that surrogacy can be an expensive family-building choice for hopeful parents, often costing in the $60,000–$150,000 range. It’s only normal that intended parents look for ways to bring those costs down.

One of the costs that intended parents have to worry about is the fertility medications that their gestational surrogate takes in preparation for the embryo transfer procedure. If an intended mother plans on using her own eggs to create the embryos used in this process, she’ll also be prescribed a course of fertility medications prior to an egg retrieval procedure.

The costs of the required medications can certainly add up, and they’re not cheap. There are, however, a few ways you can try to save on the costs of those fertility medications:

Talk to Your Surrogate and Your Doctors

Your gestational surrogate doesn’t want you to have to pay a fortune for medical expenses, so she’ll help you out whenever possible. Ask her if she’ll talk to her fertility specialist about money-saving tips on meds. Her clinic might have recommendations for lower-cost brand substitutions that are equally effective, or offer medication promotions or discounts and other helpful suggestions.

Fertility clinics don’t always offer you the lowest-cost medications unless you specifically mention your budget desires. That means you need to ask, and ask early on!

You can talk to your own fertility specialists, but it’s a good idea if your surrogate does this, too. Her doctors will have her medical history, so they can make sure any brand swaps won’t interact with what she’s currently taking, won’t trigger an allergy she may have, or cause another harmful result.

Wait for a List of Your Surrogate’s Prescribed Medications

Remember that not every gestational surrogate will be prescribed the same medications or dosages, so there’s only so much price research you can do in advance. But, once your surrogate has been prescribed her regimen of fertility drugs and has been given a list of supplies to purchase by her fertility clinic, you can use that list to look for potential deals.

Doing some price-scouting and research ahead of time won’t hurt — just as long as you know that your surrogate might not end up taking certain types or brands of medications.

Resources for Fertility Medication Comparison Shopping

Your fertility clinic’s pharmacy partners aren’t always the cheapest option, although the clinic may have some recommendations about places you can look. Checking around for discounts can yield some decent results.

Here are some websites where you can compare medication and pharmacy prices and check for discounts. These specialty pharmacies may have cheaper meds than traditional pharmacies:

If your surrogate has a local specialty pharmacy, check there, as well. Specialty pharmacies tend to carry the correct medications and supplies — and at a better price than the place you go for your everyday medication!

Always talk to your doctor about any specialty pharmacies to ensure they provide legitimate products. American Surrogacy cannot ensure the validity of or endorse the specialty pharmacies listed above.

Save on Supplies

Some of your surrogate’s medications will need to be administered using specific medical supplies, and you may be able to save some money by shopping around for those supplies. She’ll likely need a stash of particular syringe sizes, alcohol wipes to clean injection sites, and more. Talk to her fertility clinic about what she’ll need, and be sure to get your surrogate’s input on products she prefers. You may be able to find your surrogate some coupons for her supplies, or discount offers for options like bulk purchasing or recurring deliveries.

Again, do your research to ensure the supplies you receive from non-traditional pharmacies are new and safe to use.

Other Options

The fertility drugs themselves can be extremely costly, yes. But keeping medical costs low starts at more immediate sources: your insurance and benefits.

Ask your employer if a flexible spending account (FSA) or a health savings plan (HAS) is available to you. These plans allow you to use your pre-tax income for medical expenses, and fertility treatments are usually a permitted spending use for these types of plans by most employers.

If you aren’t already, make sure you’re working closely with your insurance provider to get the most out of your plan throughout the surrogacy process. Your American Surrogacy specialist can help guide you through this to make sure you’re as covered as possible.

Saving money on IVF medications themselves is often possible; there’s no doubt about that. Just make sure you first double your efforts on getting medications covered by insurance whenever possible and see if there are any benefits available through your employer you may have missed.

Need more help financing your surrogacy journey? Learn more cost-saving strategies here, or reach out to American Surrogacy at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) to talk to a surrogacy specialist.

4 Times Surrogacy is Great (and 4 Times When It’s Not) for Intended Parents

Anyone who has completed the surrogacy process can tell you that it’s an emotional journey that has some ups and downs. While it’s all worth it in the end, it’s important to be prepared for the challenges and rewards ahead of you.

Here are some of the joys and struggles that intended parents often experience in surrogacy:

4 of the Best Parts of Surrogacy for Intended Parents

Surrogacy is an incredible experience that most intended parents would do all over again, when possible. Here are some of the best parts of that journey:

1. Having another Chance at a Genetic Connection

For intended parents who dream of a child with their spouse’s smile, surrogacy is a path that can allow this to happen, where adoption cannot. Not all intended parents are going to be able to have a genetic connection to their child through surrogacy, but for those who can, surrogacy is the only way many parents will be able to experience having a biologically-related child.

2. Embracing the Feeling that it “Takes a Village”

At first, it can be disconcerting to have so many people involved in what’s usually such an intimate and personal process. But once intended parents let go of any preconceived ideas of how having a baby usually goes, most people find comfort and community in the number of people who are fully dedicated to helping them have their child.

Everyone at American Surrogacy, your gestational surrogate, attorney, fertility clinic staff, doctors — they’re all rooting for you and here to help bring your family together! Surrogacy has an amazing way of uniting people for a common good.

3. Making a Genuine Connection with Your Surrogate

When you’re first matched with your gestational surrogate, it can feel a little odd. You might have some initial hang-ups about someone else carrying your baby and involving a near-stranger in such a life-changing event.

However, as you come to know each other more and you experience this emotional journey together as a team, most intended parents are thrilled to walk away from their surrogacy experience with a lifelong friend. The bond between surrogates and intended parents is unique — so enjoy it!

4. Finally Meeting Your Baby

This could go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: The arrival of your baby is the best part of the surrogacy process, for everyone involved. Your surrogate gets to see you all together — her hard work paid off. You’re finally united with your child, and you have the family you’ve been dreaming of. That moment makes all the highs and lows of the surrogacy process worth it.

4 of the Worst Parts of Surrogacy for Intended Parents

As amazing as surrogacy is in the bigger picture, intended parents have to deal with some difficult experiences along the way:

1. Loss of Control

All alternative family-building methods involve a loss of control for the parents. With surrogacy, intended parents are unable to carry their own baby and, therefore, aren’t able to personally control their child’s developing in utero.

You’re also not able to control certain factors such as when you’ll be matched with a surrogate, when (or even if) IVF will work, and more. The need to control is something that intended parents have to let go, because surrogacy is a complicated process with a fair amount of unknowns.

2. Grief for What You Had to Give Up

Surrogacy isn’t often an intended parent’s first or even second choice. Intended parents have to give up a variety of things. Some have to give up the dream of having a biological child. All intended parents have to give up control and some involvement in the pregnancy experience, including the ability to carry and deliver their child.

These are all types of losses and sacrifices that you have to grieve in order to embrace a new and different dream. If you have experienced infertility or pregnancy loss, these are additional losses you’ll have to grieve. Even though you’ll ultimately welcome the child you’ve been waiting for, it often happens after some painful experiences.

3. Uncertainty

Nothing is truly certain in surrogacy. You never know exactly when you might be matched with a gestational surrogate, you don’t know when (or if) embryo transfers will work, you don’t know the exact amount that surrogacy will cost you because of all the variables involved, among other uncertainties. Surrogacy professionals like American Surrogacy will prepare for every possible event, but there’s always going to be an unavoidable amount of uncertainty for both the surrogate and the intended parents.

4. Waiting

Intended parents often spend some amount of time waiting to have a child even before they begin their surrogacy journey. Perhaps you underwent fertility treatments for months, or even years. Then, once the surrogacy process is officially underway, it typically takes at least a year for waiting parents to have a child.

The most frustrating part of all this for intended parents is that there’s often very little that they can do while they wait, because there’s not much that’s within their control. There is a lot of paperwork to wait on, coordination between multiple professionals, waiting for the surrogate’s cycle to synch up for transfer, and much more. There’s no way to fast-track surrogacy, even if you begin the process shortly after deciding you’re ready to become a parent.

Surrogacy is Worth It — Highs and Lows and All

No matter how your family came together, if you’ve been fortunate enough to experience parenthood, you know that it makes all the ups and downs worthwhile. If you are a hopeful parent, take comfort knowing that when you finally meet your child, the difficulties you’ve faced will have been worth it.

Ready to start your surrogacy journey? Contact American Surrogacy at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) to begin.

Getting Your Newborn Home After Their Birth via Surrogacy

It’s more common than not that intended parents are matched with an out-of-state surrogate. Sometimes, it’s legally necessary; the intended parents may live in a state that is not particularly surrogacy-friendly. In other cases, it’s simply because the best surrogate for their goals and preferences happened to live in a different state.

Many of the aspects of a long-distance surrogacy are easily managed with a bit of organization and professional guidance. But, there is another important thing to think about, and it comes after the surrogacy process is complete: how to bring your new baby home across state lines.

When you have a brand-new baby, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, especially if this is your first go at being a parent. Getting ready to bring your baby home requires all kinds of preparations, but you may be unsure of how to do this safely.

Don’t worry: American Surrogacy is here to help. Below, find out your options for bringing home your little one after birth. Don’t hesitate to contact your surrogacy specialist at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) for more guidance on this matter.

The Big Debate: Flying vs. Driving

When it comes to bringing a baby home that was born out of state, there is often one question: Should I fly home on a plane or drive home instead?

First, know this: Which path you take should always depend upon your pediatrician’s recommendation. Your baby’s health will play a crucial role in this decision, and only your doctor will know what is best for your family. Always stay in close contact with them leading up to and after your carrier’s delivery.

In general, here are some things you should know about each option:

Putting a Newborn on an Airplane

Taking a newborn baby on a plan comes with certain pros and cons. You’ll need to consider these before booking your flights.

First, the advantages:

  • Shorter travel time: When you’re looking at a 12-hour drive or a couple-hour flight, choosing to fly may take a lot of stress off of you as intended parents. It’s likely that you want to get home as soon as possible, and a plane ride is often the way to best do so.
  • More travel options: There is always a degree of uncertainty when a baby is born. The baby may come early, or they may overstay their welcome in your surrogate’s womb. If you rely on a car to get you there, you may miss your baby’s birth! A plane, on the other hand, offers more frequent options to leave (and return) whenever you need to. This can give you a bit more leeway when bringing your little one back home.

But, there are also some disadvantages, too:

  • Potential for more germ exposure: Newborn babies are vulnerable, and a plane’s atmosphere can be the worst place for an underdeveloped immune system. If you choose to take your infant on a plane, you must be comfortable with the exposure to viruses and bacteria that other travelers are carrying.
  • Flight changes can be expensive: While flying gives you more opportunity to update your travel plans if necessary, these changes can be expensive. For this reason, many intended parents buy one-way tickets on airlines with minimal change charges (check out Southwest) and wait to buy their return ticket until they are more aware of their baby’s situation.

If you think flying might be the right option for you, always speak with your baby’s doctor. Certain airlines will require a doctor’s note for a baby under a certain age to travel. Make sure to always research tips to make your return journey as stress-free as possible.

Taking a Road Trip with a Newborn

Another way you can return home with your baby is by driving them. Whether or not this is an option for your family will depend upon your personal situation.

So, why do intended parents choose to drive home with their newborn?

  • Cost savings for shorter distances: In some cases, driving to and from a surrogate’s state is much cheaper for intended parents than flying. In many cases, if intended parents have a drive of a day or less, they will save substantial money in comparison to buying flights on short notice, as baby delivery can sometimes necessitate.
  • Safer immuno-environment: When you travel with a newborn in a car, you are in more control over the bacteria and viruses exposed to them than if you were on a plane. You can take steps to keep your car as clean as possible, and you may be more comfortable knowing that your son or daughter will only come in contact with you on this journey.
  • More control over journey: When you drive, you are in charge of your journey. This includes how frequently and where you stop, as well as deciding what is best for your child. You aren’t at the mercy of an airline; if you need more time to get home, or if you and your child need a break on the way home, you can always take it.

But, keep in mind these disadvantages before you strap in your newborn to their car seat:

  • Fatigue on long journeys: If you are taking a long road trip, make sure you have a partner to help you out. Driving long hours is exhausting for anyone but especially so for a new parent caring for a brand-new baby.
  • Cleanliness of stops along the way: You’ll need to stop at rest stations along the way to stay safe. If you are taking a longer journey, you may even spend the night at a hotel. Will your hotel be clean enough for your newborn baby? Are you prepared to haul all of your baby supplies across state lines and in and out of your hotel rooms?
  • Distance from a doctor or hospital: Even if your newborn baby is 100 percent healthy at birth, it’s normal to be worried about their health in the weeks after they are born. When you take an extended road trip after their birth, there will be times that you are a distance away from any doctor or hospital. While many intended parents bring their children home safely via car, this is an important consideration not to overlook.

Remember, the best person to talk to about returning home will always be your baby’s doctor. They are likely the one who will make the ultimate decision in which option is right for you.

Your surrogacy specialist will always be there to support you. To learn more about this topic or about surrogacy in general, please contact our team at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

Why Don’t Intended Parents “Just” Adopt?

It’s a common question that intended parents pursuing surrogacy receive:

Why don’t you just adopt?

For those unfamiliar with gestational surrogacy, choosing this method to build a family may be hard to understand. For them, surrogacy brings up concerns over financial burden, genetic relationships, time and emotional complications.

While their concerns are often well-meaning, they can be hard for intended parents to hear. People who have struggled with infertility go through a lot before deciding on gestational surrogacy. They’re excited about this next step to build their family! But, when people ask them why they don’t “just” adopt, intended parents can feel judged for the personal decision they’ve made for their family.

The decision between adoption and surrogacy is a big one to make. So, before you start prying into this personal decision of intended parents, think about these reasons why adoption may not have been right for them:

1. They want a biological connection to their child.

People who have never struggled with infertility often take for granted their ability to have a genetically related child. It was easy for them to conceive a biological child, so they likely don’t think about the emotions tied to this seemingly simple connection.

But, intended parents have.

A biological connection is the biggest reason why intended parents choose to pursue surrogacy over adoption. Like many other parents, intended parents want a child who looks like them and shares their blood. While genetic relationship does not make a family, many intended parents want to have this relationship, if at all possible.

It’s not a simple decision to give up dreams of having a biological child. Parents who pursue adoption must go through a grief process as they accept their child will not have a genetic connection. It’s not as easy as “just deciding” to start the adoption process.

2. They have remaining embryos from infertility treatments.

For some intended parents, the idea of discarding or donating perfectly usable embryos is a difficult one. So, instead, they decide to use those embryos in a gestational surrogacy situation. This way, they feel better about the money they put into creating those embryos in the first place, and it gives them another chance for those embryos to develop into babies.

If you have leftover embryos you’re considering for surrogacy, you can always call our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) for more information on the surrogacy process with our agency.

3. They want more control over their baby’s development in utero.

Parents who choose adoption to bring a child into their family must give up a great deal of control. No matter what kind of adoption process they use, there are likely unknowns when it comes to the child’s health history and the personal history of their birth mother.

Intended parents who choose surrogacy have a bit more control over their surrogate’s pregnancy than adoptive parents have over a prospective birth mother’s. Every preference and expectation for a gestational pregnancy is outlined in a legal surrogacy contract. Intended parents can be involved in medical appointments and the birth of their child, and they are reassured in knowing the personal health history of their child — because the child is genetically related to them. They also have the confidence that their child will be theirs at the end of the pregnancy — unlike in adoption, when a prospective birth mother always has the right to change her mind.

Don’t get us wrong: Intended parents do have to give up a certain amount of control. But, they are often more comfortable with this sacrifice in gestational surrogacy than in adoption.

4. The adoption process isn’t right for their family.

Just as gestational surrogacy isn’t right for everyone, neither is the adoption process.

Sometimes, intended parents don’t have the option of adoption. Perhaps they’re an LGBT individual or couple, and they are worried about finding an LGBT-friendly agency in their state or country. Maybe they’re too old (or too young) to meet adoption requirements. Maybe they simply aren’t prepared to raise an adopted child and cope with the challenges along the way.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Adoption isn’t “easy”; it’s a path that parents often take after they have exhausted all of their other options and have spent months and years preparing. Intended parents who choose surrogacy may not have been ready for that challenging process at this time.

5. They have the right to choose the family-building option that is best for them.

Finally, for people asking, “Why didn’t you just adopt?” ask yourself this: Why didn’t you adopt?

Every hopeful parent has the right to choose the family-building process that is best for them. Just as you may have never considered adoption yourself, perhaps intended parents considering surrogacy didn’t either. There’s a lot that goes into this decision, including costs, emotions, timeline and more.  After considering all of this, intended parents discover that gestational surrogacy is the right option for them.

No matter how you built your own family, it’s never your place to judge or question why people build their families in specific ways. It’s much better to support someone’s family-building journey, whatever it is. Offer your practical and emotional support, and your friends going through surrogacy will be thankful.

Trying to decide whether gestational surrogacy is right for your family? Reach out to our surrogacy specialists for more information and professional advice.

Spending Father’s Day as a Hopeful Parent in the Surrogacy Process

If you’re an intended father in the middle of the surrogacy process, Father’s Day can be a hard reminder that you’re still waiting for your baby. If you’re experiencing some mixed emotions today, you’re not alone.

To help you through it, here are a few different ways you can spend the day, as well as some important reminders for the waiting dads of surrogacy:

Check In With Your Surrogate

Checking in with your surrogacy partner can be reassuring, especially if you’re feeling a little adrift today. Do what feels right depending on the type of relationship you share with your gestational surrogate, but here are a few suggestions:

  • Ask how she’s feeling and how things are going on her side of things.
  • Schedule a time to meet for lunch and catch up, if you live in the same area.
  • Get her a small gift to commemorate your journey together and show your appreciation, if you think it’s appropriate.

Take a Self-Care Day

The surrogacy process can wear on everyone, including intended fathers. Take a break for the day. If you need to distance yourself from all mentions of surrogacy, Father’s Day and babies (all of which can be painful reminders that you’re not a dad yet), then do so. Treat yourself to dinner and a movie, a massage, or even just a day on the couch. The physical, mental and emotional well-being of intended parents needs to be looked after, too.

Do Something for Your Future Child

Letting go of so much control in the surrogacy process is hard for intended parents. Actively doing something, even something small, can be comforting.

How about meaningful preparations for your future baby? You could:

  • Write your future baby a letter on this Father’s Day without them, letting them know how excited you are to meet them and the promises you’d like to make to them as a father.
  • Start a journal or baby book to document the journey that your family and your surrogate are experiencing, which you can share with your child.
  • Frame a photo of an ultrasound, of you and your surrogate, or of you and your spouse. You can add it to the nursery or your desk at work.
  • Work on the nursery, or purchase something meaningful for your surrogate or child. For example, you could give your surrogate a special stuffed animal to sleep with to later give to your baby as an emotional transfer object.

Celebrate With a Not-a-Father’s-Day

This may seem a little counterintuitive when becoming a parent has been the focus for a long time, but consider: This may be your last Father’s Day of “freedom.” A freedom you’ll gladly relinquish, yes, but that freedom allows you to stay out late without a sitter, sleep in, bask in a toy-free living room, and more. When you’re a dad, those little pleasures will be harder to come by, so enjoy them while you can!

If You’re Struggling with Father’s Day, Don’t Forget These Important Things

In case you needed to hear them, here are a few important reminders for today (and every day of your wait):

  • You will be your child’s dad, regardless of whether or not you’re biologically related to him or her.
  • If you’re going to be a single father through surrogacy, remind yourself that you’re not the only person who’s chosen to parent solo; there’s a small-but-growing community (as well as your surrogacy specialist) you can always talk to.
  • If you’re a member of an LGBT couple and one of you will be genetically related to your baby, remember that you are both equally your child’s fathers.
  • If you struggled with infertility or pregnancy loss, take a moment to acknowledge what those losses meant to you today.
  • Even though you’re not the one going through the physical experiences of fertility treatments or pregnancy, you’re still equally emotionally affected by your journey to parenthood and the struggles you’ve faced. Your feelings deserve recognition, too.
  • You will be a dad, even if it sometimes feels like it’ll “never happen!”

Your American Surrogacy specialist is always here for you if you need to talk this Father’s Day, or any day. Contact us at 1-800-875-BABY (2229) anytime.

How to Explain Your Surrogacy Journey to Your Older Children

Secondary infertility is more common than you think. If you’re pursuing gestational surrogacy after having a biological child naturally, you have a lot to think about.

One of the questions you may be asking yourself: “How do I explain this to my child?”

It’s likely that your child has grown up only knowing about the traditional way to bring a child into the world. Explaining gestational surrogacy may seem impossible. But, it’s not — and many parents have successful done it.

Here at American Surrogacy, we are dedicated to proper education about the surrogacy process and to helping intended parents however we can. You can always speak to your specialist at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) as you prepare for this important conversation.

We’ve also gathered a helpful list of tips and advice below:

Explaining Surrogacy to the Child You Birthed Yourself

When many would-be adoptive and intended parents explain nontraditional family-building to their older children, they try to keep it age-appropriate. Rather than go into the details of how reproduction works, they say that “Mommy’s tummy is broken,” so another woman (whether a birth mother or a gestational carrier) will carry their sibling, instead.

Often, this is a great way to introduce infertility. But, if an intended mother carried her first biological child, this explanation may be followed up with a bigger question from their child: “Did I break Mommy’s tummy?”

Children are smarter than many people give them credit for and, while they may accept the idea of surrogacy easily, they may also make leaps of comprehension you don’t anticipate. So, when explaining that you are pursuing the surrogacy process, emphasize that your older child was not the one who “broke” your tummy. Sometimes, these things happen, and it’s nobody’s fault. Remind them that you were so happy to carry them in your stomach, and you wouldn’t change anything about it.

If you’re having trouble with this conversation, there are a few books that you can use to introduce the topic of gestational surrogacy:

Explaining Egg and Sperm Donors

Explaining gestational surrogacy can be hard enough — but how do you explain to your children that their younger sibling is going to be their biological half-sibling?

As you should with any nontraditional family-building method, you should always be open with your children (both older and younger) about their genetic relationships. It’s incredibly harmful for children to find out that their birth story and genetic relationship is a lie later on, so positive celebration of their unique story should start from the moment you bring them home.

If you are pursuing surrogacy with gamete donation, you may worry about what this will mean for your older child — and your child yet to be born. Will it cause resentment about genetic relationships?

Any adopted sibling will tell you that’s not the case. It’s love that makes a family, not blood. While you may have difficult conversations ahead of you in the future, your children will love each other no matter their genetic connection.

How you tackle this subject will depend upon your child’s understanding of the reproductive system. Here’s an example of how to explain a sperm or egg donor to younger children, provided by an intended mother herself:

“Mommy was able to grow you in my tummy but later after you were born, Mommy’s tummy stopped working for growing babies. Mommy was very, very sad because you are so special that Mommy and Daddy really wanted to have more children and you to be able to have a brother or sister. Then, we met some very loving, giving women/men who were willing to help us give you a brother or sister. Babies are made from a little bit of a man and a little bit of a woman. Since Mommy/Daddy didn’t have any little bits to give, another woman/man let our family have a special lit bit of themselves. Doctors took that and made your siblings, but babies need to grow in a woman’s stomach before they are big enough to come home. Another woman let your brother or sister grow in her tummy until she/he was big enough to come out and come home with us. So, you are so loved that four people came together to give you the chance to have a brother or sister that we wanted so much.”

Take this example, and tweak it to your situation. It’s a great place to start when introducing this topic.

When it comes to explaining gestational surrogacy, it’s always good to use age-appropriate language — but don’t use that as an excuse to hide the facts from your child. More and more families are being created in nontraditional ways, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s something to be proud of! Your older child may soon be telling the world about their excitement for their new sibling, including the way in which he or she is coming into their life.

Still, this conversation can be tricky. And that’s why your surrogacy specialist is here to help. When you contact your specialist, she can give you tips and advice for explaining surrogacy to older children for as positive a conversation as possible.

Ready to share your news with your children? Talk to a surrogacy specialist today. 

Tips for Surviving a Failed Transfer: Intended Parents

You’ve waited for this moment and put a significant amount of hope and money on the line — only to find out that this embryo transfer failed and your gestational surrogate is not pregnant this time. Now what?

Everyone’s reaction to a failed transfer is going to be different. But, these general tips may help you cope with this loss, so you can start to move forward with the next steps in your surrogacy journey:

Do:

Allow yourself a moment to feel whatever you’re feeling.

If you experienced infertility prior to pursuing surrogacy, then you already had to grieve that loss. For some, a failed transfer can feel like an IVF failure all over again. It’s OK if you’re feeling hopeless, frustrated and disappointed. Talk to your spouse, partner, surrogacy specialist, counselor or whoever you lean on for support to help you deal with this loss in a healthy way.

Connect with your surrogate and with other intended parents.

Your surrogate is also grieving for, and with, you. It wasn’t her embryo, but her hopes were high for you, and she’s probably going through some guilt and sadness of her own. Turning to one another for support can be comforting — you’re in this together, after all. Talking to parents via surrogacy or IVF who experienced similar setbacks can also be reassuring, and they can often offer perspective and tips for coping.

Focus on your surrogacy plan.

When you created your surrogacy contract, you agreed on a maximum number of embryo transfers with your gestational surrogate. This wasn’t your only chance. Failed transfers aren’t at all unusual. Your fertility clinic and surrogacy specialist know that, and they’ll help you to stay focused on your next step.

Don’t:

Indulge the urge to jump ship.

It can be tempting to switch fertility clinics, gestational surrogates, surrogacy professionals, or even run from your surrogacy journey altogether when something goes wrong. It often takes more than one transfer to become pregnant, and failed transfers aren’t a sign that any person within your surrogacy team is failing you. Stick with it, and stick with them for a while longer. Everyone is doing their utmost for you.

Blame yourself.

You might look for someone else to blame, or you might try to blame yourself. Ultimately, there’s no one at fault. Somehow, it’s more frustrating to shrug and say that, “These things just happen,” but unfortunately, it’s true. You’re doing everything you can for your future baby, and nothing you or anyone else could have done would have made this transfer magically successful.

Become overwhelmed by this loss.

Again, a failed embryo transfer can be incredibly devastating — even more so if you have experienced pregnancy losses in the past. However, it’s important that you don’t lose sight of something important: If you stick with this, you will become a parent. This is easier said than done when you’re grieving a loss, and it sometimes feels like it’ll “never happen,” but it will.

If you’re struggling after a failed transfer, or you need some guidance about emotionally moving forward with your surrogacy journey, you can always contact a specialist at American Surrogacy for help.

“Snowflake” Embryo Adoption: A Warning to LGBT and Single Parents

It’s becoming more and more common for intended parents to use donated embryos as part of their gestational surrogacy. For many people, it makes sense: Embryo adoption is usually much cheaper than a fresh IVF cycle, and gestational surrogacy gives a degree of control over pregnancy that private domestic infant adoption cannot.

However, embryo adoption — increasingly called “snowflake adoption” — is not for everyone. In fact, if you’re a single or LGBT intended parent, embryo adoption could likely be much harder for you than it would be for a married, heterosexual couple.

Why? Keep reading below to learn more.

The Religious Overtones of Embryo Adoption

As more hopeful parents go through the in vitro fertilization process to become pregnant, there’s been an unanticipated result: a growing number of frozen embryos being stored indefinitely. For many intended parents, the idea of discarding embryos that they worked so hard to create is emotionally difficult. And, for a group of certain intended parents, discarding embryos would be akin to “killing” frozen children.

For many reasons, leftover embryos have been donated to organizations promising to give these “snowflake babies” a chance at life with someone else desperate to become a parent. In turn, the process is frequently called “embryo adoption” — invoking the same emotions as the adoption of a child already born.

As a New York Times piece reveals, embryo “snowflake” adoption is increasingly tied to organizations affiliated with anti-abortion rights or Christian organizations — many of which receive federal funding. Whether intentional or not, many of these organizations have closely affiliated themselves with the mindset of “pro-life” advocates. In their views, donated embryos are not just cells that can become a child; they already are a child.

An intended parent need only look at advertising materials from some of the biggest embryo adoption centers to see the evidence:

  • From the National Embryo Donation Center: When couples decide that their family is complete but still have embryos remaining… they can thaw them out and let them die… Embryo adoption allows the genetic parents to give their embryos a chance for life.
  • From Nightlight Christian Adoptions: Just as each snowflake is frozen, unique and a gift from heaven, so are each of our embryo adopted Snowflake Babies. We hope to help each donated embryo grow, develop and live a full life.

For these professionals, an embryo is more than just a collection of cells; they are children waiting to be born. This viewpoint overlooks the fact that, for many intended parents, a created embryo may or may not grow into a fetus for many reasons — quality of embryo, likelihood of implantation and more.

What This Means for LGBT and Single Parents

Putting aside the never-ending controversy of that position, what does this ethical viewpoint mean for intended parents wishing to use a donated embryo in their gestational surrogacy?

Here’s the quandary: Organizations that have this view of life at conception often have specific ideas of who should be a parent — specifically, that only heterosexual couples should pursue embryo adoption.

Both the National Embryo Donation Center and Nightlight Christian Adoptions have specific requirements for hopeful adoptive parents. In the case of NEDC, only a couple of a “genetic” male and female who are married can adopt, and embryos cannot be adopted to be used in a gestational surrogacy. Similarly, Nightlight’s initial application requires a mother and father to fill out their information, and the agency’s overarching requirements necessitate that an adoptive couple have a “spiritual home environment,” among other things.

Clearly, those who don’t fit the heteronormative expectations of these adoption agencies don’t have this option with those agencies — no matter how well-prepared they are to become parents.

If you’re a single intended parent or a member of an LGBT couple, embryo adoption may not be possible for your gestational surrogacy. That’s why it’s so important to seek out LGBT-friendly adoption agencies and donor centers. Unfortunately, there is still a great deal of prejudice out there for nontraditional families, and the steps it takes to bring your new addition home may be a bit more complicated than for a heterosexual married couple.

For a more comprehensive look at requirements of embryo adoption agencies, check out the Embryo Adoption Awareness Center’s list. It’s always a good idea to speak with a professional in person to determine whether you are eligible for their embryo adoption program.

Even if embryo adoption is not a possibility for your family, there are many other paths you can take to achieve your gestational surrogacy. To learn more about them, give our surrogacy specialists a call at 1-800-875-2229(BABY). Our agency happily works with all intended parents — regardless of marital status or sexual orientation — and we’d be honored to help you bring a child into your life.

5 Steps to Take Before Pursuing Surrogacy to Build Your Family

Considering surrogacy as a way to build your family is a gigantic decision. It’s not one to rush into overnight — but how do you know that surrogacy is really right for you?

Every intended parent’s journey to surrogacy will be different, but there are a few general steps that our surrogacy specialists recommend every hopeful parent take beforehand. In our experience, those who are best prepared for the surrogacy process have usually completed these steps:

Step 1: Explore all of your family-building options.

Surrogacy is a complicated process, and it’s not one that an intended parent jumps to right away. Those struggling with infertility have many other assisted reproduction methods before gestational surrogacy, and it’s likely that a reproductive endocrinologist will recommend some of the less invasive and cheaper options first. These could include IUI, IVF and more.

On the other hands, LGBT intended parents considering gestational surrogacy should also consider adoption. Both are very different processes, but they are viable options for those looking to add to their family.

In order to know what is best for your family, you must fully understand all of the options available to you. Fortunately, the specialists at American Surrogacy are well-experienced in both the gestational surrogacy and adoption processes. You can call them at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) to learn more about the pros and cons of each.

Step 2: Be honest with your partner.

As you explore your family-building options, you need to ask yourself hard questions — and be honest with your partner when it comes to how you’re feeling.

If you’ve struggled with infertility, it’s important that you have completed grieved your dreams of a pregnancy experience before starting gestational surrogacy. Intended parents who start the surrogacy process without doing so often have to face their complicated emotions later on — which can negatively impact their relationship with their gestational carrier.

If you’re not ready to move on from infertility treatments — or if you’re uncomfortable with the surrogacy process — you need to tell your spouse. Entering into such a complicated process without being fully committed is a bad idea, and it will come back to hurt you in the end. If you’re coping with infertility, you may feel like your time to have a biological child is slipping away, but you should never rush into the surrogacy process until you and your spouse are 100 percent emotionally ready.

Step 3: Do your research.

If you think gestational surrogacy may be right for your family, research is your next step. There are a lot of options in a surrogacy journey — genetic relationship, cost, location and more — and intended parents should have a general idea of what they want before getting started.

Speak with surrogacy professionals and your reproductive endocrinologist to determine what this process may look like for you. Check out information from sites such as Surrogate.com to learn more about every aspect of the process.

At the end of your research, you should be able to answer these questions with some confidence:

  • Do you want to pursue gestational or traditional surrogacy?
  • Do you want to work with a surrogacy agency or complete an independent surrogacy?
  • Do you have a carrier in mind, or do you still need to find one?
  • What kind of program can you afford?
  • What are you looking for in a surrogate?
  • What surrogacy options are available in your state? Do you need to go out-of-state for a safe and ethical surrogacy?

Step 4: Get your funding in place.

One of the biggest hurdles for intended parents is the cost of gestational surrogacy. It’s no secret: Surrogacy is expensive. But it’s for good reason — there are a lot of complicated moving parts that require expertise and professional assistance.

As you research your surrogacy options, research your estimated surrogacy costs, too. Being aware of your financial situation beforehand will come in handy when it comes to paying your surrogacy expenses later on. When you know how much you can expect to pay, you can start fundraising and exploring your other financing options.

Learn more about affording surrogacy here.

Step 5: Interview surrogacy professionals.

If you’ve decided that gestational surrogacy is right for your family, you only have one more step before you officially get started! Finding the right surrogacy professionals for your surrogacy goals is the final thing to do.

There are a lot of choices when it comes to surrogacy professionals. You can choose to complete an independent surrogacy with only a lawyer and a fertility clinic, or you can work with an experienced surrogacy agency every step of the way. Which you choose will be up to you. How much responsibility do you wish to take during your surrogacy process? How comfortable are you with the requirements of the process?

We encourage all intended parents — whether they’re considering an independent surrogacy or an agency-assisted surrogacy — to speak with a surrogacy agency such as American Surrogacy. That way, you can learn more about the services an agency can offer and what steps you would need to take without professional assistance. Only then can you can make the best choice for your family.

Get answers to all of your questions about surrogacy by contacting our specialists today. We are here to give you all the information you need, whatever decision you end up making for you and your spouse.

A Letter to Hopeful Mothers on Mother’s Day

Dear Intended Mothers,

For many of you, today is a hard day. While many of your loved ones will be celebrating their Mother’s Day surrounded by children, you may be spending another Mother’s Day with only your dreams of motherhood. It’s an incredibly tough time. It’s hard to celebrate or look forward to something that has brought you so much pain in the past.

You may or may not have your own mother to celebrate with on this day. As comforting as her presence can be, it may not fill the hole in your heart. It’s still waiting for a little bundle of joy.

While you may not feel like it, today is about you, too. Hopeful mothers deserve just as much celebration as those who already have a child in their lives. Goodness knows you’ve put as much (or more) effort into getting pregnant as any other woman.

On this emotionally complicated day, however, it’s important to put yourself first. You’ve been through a lot to get to this point, and there is no requirement that you put on a brave face for your friends and family. Cry, if you need to. Treat yourself to something special. Get as far away from mothers and children as possible. Do what you need to do to keep yourself happy.

We know how tough this day can be for intended mothers. As you go through your Mother’s Day weekend, remember this:

  • You are still a mother if you didn’t give birth to your child.
  • You are still a mother if you have no biological relationship with your child.
  • You are a strong beautiful woman, and infertility can’t take that away from you.
  • You will be a wonderful mother, whether you have a child next year or years from now.
  • You are still a worthwhile person, even if you never end up having children.

Mother’s Day is a day fraught with emotions — good and bad. You don’t need to be happy about this day if you can’t find it in you. Remember: You are not alone. 1 in 8 American couples cope with infertility struggles. There are millions of other women across the country — and across the globe — who are feeling the same thing as you. If you can, take solace and strength from that knowledge.

American Surrogacy and our surrogacy specialists understand the complicated emotions that come with Mother’s Day. We are always here to answer any of your questions about surrogacy or to be a shoulder to lean on whenever you need us. Don’t hesitate to reach out online or call 1-800-875-2229(BABY) anytime.

Whatever your Mother’s Day brings you, know that you are special, you are loved, and we are here for you.

-The Team at American Surrogacy