10 Reasons You Might Switch Surrogacy Agencies

Beginning a second surrogacy journey, whether you’re a hopeful intended parent or a returning gestational surrogate, is an exciting opportunity. But depending on your situation, you’ll also be asking yourself a few questions like:

  • “Do I want to partner with the same surrogate/intended parents as last time?”
  • “Do I need or want to find a new surrogacy partner?”
  • “What else do I want to change about my surrogacy experience, knowing what I do now and having discovered my own preferences from my previous journey?”
  • “Do I want to use a surrogacy agency this time instead of trying to go it alone like last time?

And:

“Do I want to work with a different surrogacy agency?”

Now that you’ve been through the surrogacy process, you’ve likely discovered some likes, dislikes and aspects that would be perfect “if only X, Y, or Z.” In your upcoming surrogacy journey, you can learn from your experiences — and that might include working with an agency you think might be better fit for you.

It’s okay to work with a different professional from your last surrogacy journey! Many people do. Here are 10 reasons why you might switch surrogacy agencies:

1. You want national reach but personalized connections with your professional.

A lot of people work with a local professional their first time around. The biggest benefit of a smaller, local professional is that you’re often able to go into their office and have a personal connection with your professional. However, these local professionals are often understaffed; have fewer resources.connections and less experience; and aren’t able to match you as quickly.

By working with a national surrogacy agency, you can match with anyone in the U.S. However, you still want an agency that will be able to give you the personal attention that you and your surrogacy partner deserve. Choose an agency with national reach and nationwide connections — but with a one-on-one level of attention.

2. Your previous professional didn’t have any surrogates or intended parents waiting for your match.

Ideally, you won’t spend too much time waiting for the right match. However, some agencies will have a long list of waiting intended parents and no surrogates, or vice versa. Choose an agency that has a history of relatively quick matches (and successful, happy ones). 

A good surrogacy agency will actively be advertising for intended parents and surrogates who meet the necessary criteria, so anyone who is waiting for their perfect match won’t have to wait for long. This is another reason why national agencies like American Surrogacy are usually preferred over smaller, regional professionals. And this is especially why people choose to work with agencies rather than searching on their own: Agencies will find them a safe match in less time.

3. You want a more experienced professional who can provide you with support, resources and guidance both before and after your surrogacy journey.

Your surrogacy agency is your guide through a complex and emotional process. There are so many unknowns in surrogacy, even if this isn’t your first time. 

If your previous professional didn’t provide you and your surrogacy partner with the support that’s so vital to a successful and low-stress experience, then it can put you off from wanting to even pursue surrogacy again! 

A good agency will make sure that both parties are well-educated and prepared before ever beginning — and that everyone has access to support throughout their surrogacy journey and beyond. Neither you, your surrogacy partner, or either of your families will ever be on your own in this when you work with American Surrogacy.

4. You don’t want to be limited to matches within your immediate area.

This is a common frustration with people who previously worked with a smaller, local professional. A local agency or attorney is usually restricted to working within the immediate area. But the truth is, you aren’t going to find many matches that way, and the chances that you find the perfect match for you within your town are slim.

National surrogacy agencies like American Surrogacy are able to work with intended parents and gestational surrogates throughout the U.S., so your match is based on compatibility above location. The connection between intended parents and surrogates is one of the greatest indicators of a happy and successful surrogacy experience — location is the smallest factor in that equation.

5. You didn’t “click” with your previous surrogacy professional.

Again, surrogacy is a highly emotional experience for everyone involved. Many choices will be made with your “gut” and your heart, within reason. Not feeling a genuine connection with your previous surrogacy professional is an absolutely legitimate reason for switching agencies.

During this vulnerable and life-changing experience, you want to know that the person who is going to be guiding you through the ups and downs will have your family’s interests in mind. American Surrogacy’s specialists are always here for you and your surrogacy partner, and we’ll take the time to understand you and your needs before we ever begin the process.

6. You want a professional who focuses on the needs of children first.

Children are at the heart of every surrogacy journey. Surrogates are there to protect and care for children when their parents are unable to. Intended parents long for a child and entrust their unborn child’s care to a woman who is ready for such a responsibility. 

A surrogacy agency’s responsibility is to ensure that those intended parents and surrogates are putting the child first, too —ot just the health of children when they’re in utero, but their emotional and mental health as they grow. That’s why agencies like American Surrogacy educate intended parents and surrogates about supporting children who are born via surrogacy — encouraging pride in their birth story, staying in touch with those involved in the child’s birth and more.

7. You want support in facilitating a stronger bond with your surrogacy partner.

It’s always hoped that you and your surrogacy partner, whether that’s a gestational surrogate or intended parents, will share a deep emotional connection and that you’ll truly enjoy this life-changing experience together. Ideally, you’ll gain a lasting friendship from this, as well as the joy of bringing a new life into the world.

But new relationships can be a little awkward at first when you’re matched with a stranger. And it can be important to have an experienced professional help you all navigate the details of this process, including the legal and financial aspects. 

At American Surrogacy, your specialist will help you and your surrogacy partner work through the necessary details, have the important conversations and get to know one another. From there, you can continue your relationship to whatever extent both parties are comfortable with. We’ll just help you get off to the best possible start.

8. You want a professional that will ensure all candidates meet the highest screening standards.

More than anything, it’s important that everyone involved (especially the child) is safe, healthy and happy. That’s why it’s so critical that both parties complete thorough screening processes.

Everyone must come to the surrogacy process completely ready — physically, emotionally, financially and mentally. Our specialists at American Surrogacy take this very seriously. That’s why we spend so much time talking prospective surrogates and intended parents through the process, screening everyone and making sure that they’re excited and prepared in every way.

9. Your previous professional wasn’t available when you had questions. 

Nothing is more upsetting than not being able to reach your professional when you need them. When you trust a surrogacy agency to act as your guide through such an important process, you also trust that they’ll be there for you should you ever have a question, concern or a new development.

American Surrogacy is always here for our surrogates and intended parents — before, during and after their surrogacy journeys.

10. Your previous professional only gave you (unrealistic) platitudes rather than transparent facts and options.

As you likely know from your previous experience with surrogacy (and parenthood), not everything is perfect all the time! All the preparation in the world can’t prevent something unexpected from happening.

American Surrogacy never sugarcoats or promises that everything will always go precisely according to plan. We all know that babies can be a little unpredictable, for one. We’re committed to providing surrogates and intended parents with honest, transparent and realistic descriptions of the choices in front of them at each stage of the process, and we’ll always offer our expert opinion in an effort to help you do what’s best for your families. 

Thinking about switching surrogacy agencies? We encourage you to reach out to a specialist at American Surrogacy to learn more about how we go above and beyond other professionals.

5 Things Same-Sex Intended Parents Are Tired of Hearing

Gay individuals and same-sex couples are subjected to plenty of weird and invasive questions and comments. For some reason, you’re often seen as the ambassador for all things LGBTQ+.

Now that you’re beginning the surrogacy process, you’ll likely start receiving the “gay surrogacy” questions and comments, too.

This can be extra irritating when you’re setting out on one of the most important journeys of your lives — becoming parents! Instead of everyone’s focus being on that exciting news, you may find yourself answering the same insensitive questions over and over. It can be frustrating, but remember that you are not alone.

To help you prepare, here are five things same-sex intended parents are sick of hearing:

1. “Is the surrogate the mother?” “Who was the father?”

The biggest difference between opposite- and same-sex couples pursuing surrogacy is that same-sex couples need a gamete donor. That’ll be pretty obvious to anyone who hears your good news. So, naturally, they’ll be curious. But there’s a lot to explain when you get this question.

First, a gestational surrogate isn’t the biological mother. She’s just an amazing person who is willing to carry someone else’s baby! Second, even if the donor is known, that information isn’t always going to be shared, largely for privacy reasons. Third, and most importantly, the people who are up all night with their crying baby, who give out kisses and time-outs — they are the only parents that matter, regardless of biological ties.

2. “Which of you is the biological mom/dad?”

Again, because the need for a donor is fairly obvious, people are often overly-focused on biological ties. It’s usually what they’re most familiar with. But the answer is always, “Both of us are the mom/dad.”

The two of you love your child equally, regardless of genetics. This question is frustrating because it places emphasis on blood over love, which, as you know, is an outdated way of defining “family.”

3. “So, who is ‘the dad’ and who is ‘the mom’ in your family?”

Get out of here with your weird gender roles, OK? It’s concerning that people have this image of “the male role” and “the female role” in LGBT relationships — and even in opposite-sex relationships! That’s an unhealthy construct for any family.

Besides all that, you and your partner are both equally “the mom” and “the dad,” if that’s what people need to call it. You’ll both take care of your children, love and nurture them, and you’ll both work to make sure your family is provided for. That’s just what good parents do.

4. “What will your child call you?”

Having two dads or two moms means you don’t have opposite-sex parent names of “Mom and Dad,” and people quickly realize this. So, they’ll want to know how your child won’t get confused — as if kids can’t tell the difference between his or her parents somehow.

Whether you’re a “Dad and Papa” kind of family, or you’re both “Mommy,” your child won’t care what you’re called — you’ll both be their favorite people in the world.

5. “I’m so glad you’re finally getting a baby.”

Whether through adoption or surrogacy, same-sex couples are often congratulated on “getting” a baby, not “having” a baby — as if a baby was something easily and casually picked up at the store instead of painfully fought for.

Additionally, the phrase “getting” a baby depersonalizes the whole process. It makes it sound as if the baby isn’t yours — which, again, whether through adoption or surrogacy, your child is always “yours” — because you’re the ones who will love and raise him or her for life. You’re not babysitting; you’re becoming a parent. That deserves all the celebration and respect that opposite-sex couples who are able to biologically have children receive.

What are some of the things people have said to you and your spouse during the surrogacy process as an LGBT family? Let us know in the comments!

5 Gift Ideas for a Surrogate During Her Pregnancy

Surrogates and intended parents form a special bond during the surrogacy process, one that will last a lifetime. Naturally, every intended parent wants to find the best way to express their feelings and heartfelt appreciation. After all, a surrogate spends all of her time and energy to give you the greatest gift of all: the chance to become a parent.

It’s important to show your surrogate how much her decision, and your relationship, means to you — and a thoughtful gift is the perfect way to do that! But, there’s probably one question on your mind: “What exactly is the perfect gift for our surrogate?”

There aren’t any hard and fast rules when it comes to gift-giving during your surrogate’s pregnancy. So, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. You also shouldn’t feel pressured to give a certain amount that you’re not comfortable with. With any present, the most important qualities are thoughtfulness and sincerity. If you have those, then we know that your surrogate will love whatever you pick.

Below, you’ll find five of our suggestions for gift ideas.

1. Start Your Search Online

There are plenty of great places, like Etsy.com, where you can easily find surrogacy-themed gifts. There’s so much to look at on this site that you might even have a hard time narrowing down your options. Shirts, mugs, and handmade cards are just some of the few great ideas that you might decide to go with.

If you’re thinking about going the extra mile, you could also get a piece of jewelry engraved from stores that specialize in personalization like Things Remembered.  A personalized gift is a great way to give your surrogate something that she’ll cherish for a lifetime.

2. Personalized Gift Boxes

Gift boxes and baskets aren’t exclusive to the holidays. A basketful of surprises tailored especially for your surrogate could be just what she needs after a stressful day. You could either look for a curated one online, or you could pick out the items yourself. Think about where she’s at in her pregnancy while you’re looking for the right items. For example, a heating pad, pregnancy pillows and a book she’s been dying to read are the perfect way to pamper her after a long, stressful day. If you know your way around a kitchen, you could add some delicious homemade sweets to the box, including what she’s craving, too.

3. Delivery!

Who wouldn’t be happy with a surprise delivered to their front door? A delivery gift can help take some of the stress off of your surrogate’s shoulders. A handpicked bouquet with some of her favorite flowers would be the perfect pick-me-up after a stressful day. You can also take advantage of meal kit delivery services from companies like Blue Apron or HelloFresh. This way, your surrogate won’t have to worry about meal prepping on top of everything else. A fruit basket, like one from Edible Arrangements, can also be a great way to add some fun colors to their home. Of course, any surprise delivery can make your surrogate’s day, so don’t be afraid to try out any other ideas you have.

4. Gift Cards

Gifts cards are the perfect way to let your surrogate treat herself! Massages to help her relax and relieve some stress, a movie night, a mani-pedi, or a night out at her favorite restaurant are all great options. If your surrogate is looking for some new maternity clothes or other pregnancy-related items, you could also give her a gift card to her favorite store. Remember that any amount you give, even if it’s not a large amount, is a great way to make her feel special.

5. Handmade Gifts

If you’re thinking of taking a page out of Etsy’s book, you might make your own handmade gift. Not everything has to cost money, and it will mean so much more to your surrogate for her to know that you made it yourself. A hand-knitted scarf, quilt, or a blanket are just a few of the great ways to show your surrogate how much you’re thinking of her. You could even make themed items for Christmas and Halloween! When your surrogate holds your gift, she’ll always remember how much thought and care you put into making it special. This is a great opportunity to get creative and make something memorable that will last for years to come.

If you’ve found something that you think your surrogate will really like, go for it! As long as it’s something that you picked out from the heart, we’re sure that she’ll love it. Knowing that you’ve been thinking of her during their pregnancy will mean more than you know.

Don’t forget that you can also reach out to your surrogacy specialist if you’re having trouble picking out the perfect gift. Happy searching!

8 Questions Kids May Get About Their Surrogacy Story — and How to Answer Them

When your child’s peers hear his or her surrogacy story for the first time, there are bound to be some questions. This may be the first time many of them have ever heard of surrogacy or even of families being created in a different way from what they’re used to.

The best thing you can do for your child is to talk about surrogacy often enough at home that he or she will have plenty to draw from when asked questions. Giving them the tools and terms they need to answer questions honestly and simply will satisfy curious kids and keep your own kid from feeling the heat of the spotlight.

Here are eight commonly asked questions from kids and some responses you can use to help your child prepare:

1. “What’s a surrogate?”

Explaining surrogacy to children for the first time always seems tough, but it can be done! The answer can be adjusted to suit your family dynamic, but keeping the answer short and simple is usually best. Suggest something along the lines of:

“When two people aren’t able to have a baby together, a surrogate carries the parents’ baby for them in her tummy until the baby is born.”

2. “Do you know who your surrogate is? Do you know your egg/sperm donor?”

If you used donors, other kids may be curious if your child knows their identity as well as the surrogate’s. Answer honestly for your family’s situation.

“Yes, I know my surrogate. Her name is (First Name). I don’t know my sperm donor, but that’s okay.”

3. “Is your surrogate your ‘real mom’?”

Like adoptees, kids born via surrogate will likely get the “real parents” questions, and they’ll be preoccupied with biological connections. So, teach kids the correct terminology:

“My mom is a ‘real mom.’ I have an egg donor that I’m biologically related to. Ellen, my surrogate, isn’t related to me — she just carried me until I was born because my mom wasn’t able to. I know that’s a lot of people, but my mom is my only mom.”

4. “Are you related to your brother/sister?”

Again, kids will be hung up on “blood” connections, because it’s what they’re familiar with and they’re trying to put it in a context they understand. However, it’s important that they understand that biological ties are less important than family ties.

“My brother and I are both biologically related to our mom and dad, but even if one of us wasn’t, he’d still be my brother.”

5. “How did your parents make a baby with your surrogate, then?”

Sometimes, even younger kids will have a very basic understanding of how babies are made. When a surrogate is added to the mix, it’s understandably confusing, because they don’t know anything about IVF or embryo transfers. So keep it simple, and adjust it for your family:

“Doctors took a little bit of my mom and a little bit of my dad, and it became a baby. Then they put the tiny baby inside of a surrogate, so she could carry the baby until it was ready to be born.”

6.“Why did your surrogate give you away?”

It’s hard for kids to wrap their heads around the idea that the person who gave birth to your child was not your child’s mom, in any way. Reassure them:

“She gave me back to my dads — she was just helping them for a little while by carrying me because they couldn’t do it themselves. Like a babysitter. After I was born, she went home to take care of her own kids, and my dads took me back home to take care of me.”

7. “Isn’t that just like adoption?”

If children have an understanding of adoption, you can see where they’d notice similarities. Talking about adoption with your child is important, so they can explain other types of “alternative” family-building in a positive way to their peers. It’s tricky, but help them explain the similarities and differences in a simple way:

“It’s a little different. Kind of like in adoption, my parents didn’t give birth to me. But I’m not biologically related to the surrogate who gave birth to me. In adoption, kids are biologically related to their birth mothers, who gave birth to them.”

8. “Can you go live with your surrogate?”

Most kids likely have some experience with blended families or kinship arrangements. Or maybe they think your child has some fantasy about running away from home and living with their surrogate. But they probably don’t realize that your child’s surrogate isn’t as active in your family as a birth family would be in an adoption triad. Clear that up:

“No, my surrogate has her own kids, husband and house. She lives in another state. She’s nice, but she’s not my mom.”

Some Other Tips

Your child will likely find that when kids ask questions, they’re worried for him or her. It’s hard for kids to imagine something so different from how their own family was created. It helps to reassure the questioner that everything is okay! Surrogacy is a normal, happy thing — not a source of sadness.

The answers you help your child provide can be adjusted to suit age and level of understanding, but in general, keeping it simple is always best. It’s also good to practice answering some of those common questions together at home, so your child never feels put on the spot when they’re inevitably met with curiosity regarding their surrogacy story. Your child may already have good ideas for how to respond! This is another reason why it’s so important to keep surrogacy as an ongoing topic of conversation in your home rather than a one-time discussion.

It’s natural for other kids to be curious about your child’s surrogacy story — this is likely the first time they’ve heard of this family-building path. As long as normal curiosity and questions don’t turn into teasing, let your child handle it themselves as much as possible. You’ll likely be proud of how well they respond.

What questions has your child received about their surrogacy story? How did he or she respond? Let us know in the comments!

When Family Members Don’t Understand Your Surrogacy Decision

Building a family through gestational surrogacy is often a decision made after months or years of difficult fertility treatments and soul-searching. So, when you finally decide to add a child to your household in this way, you probably want to shout the news from the rooftops.

Unfortunately, not everyone may see your surrogacy decision in such an awesome light. Sadly, it’s not uncommon for intended parents to receive harsh questions and criticisms from extended family members when announcing their decision. Whether the response comes from a place of ignorance or personal grief, it can still be difficult for intended parents to hear.

Your specialist at American Surrogacy will always celebrate your surrogacy decision, but we also know it can be hard not to get the support from your family you’ve been expecting. That’s why we’re here to help you prepare for these conversations and help your family understand the journey you’ve chosen. You can always contact your specialist at any time during the journey for advice on these topics and more.

So, what can you do when your family members don’t accept your surrogacy decision?

1. Explain the Basics

Most of the time, a negative reaction about surrogacy comes from a place of ignorance. Many people don’t understand exactly how modern surrogacy works. They may think your surrogate will be the biological mother of the child or that she can, or will, want to “take back” the child once he or she is born. In many cases, when you take the time to explain the basics of gestational surrogacy, those initial fears disappear.

But, before you go into a conversation educating your family members about surrogacy, it’s a good idea to do a little research of your own. Take some notes on exactly what you want to say, and try to anticipate their most likely questions. Make sure they don’t interrupt you until you’re done; that way, you can share everything you want to and give them the best chance to learn.

2. Give Them Time

While it would be great if your loved ones changed their tune right away after hearing your explanation, expect to give them some time and space to process your information. Remember how long it took you to understand the gestational surrogacy process? Your loved ones are in that step right now. While you can express your excitement for their support of your family-building journey, let them know you know it may take some time to get there. In the meantime, communicate that you will not appreciate any negative comments about your chosen way to build a family.

3. Answer Their Questions

Similarly, you shouldn’t expect your loved ones to understand all the ins and outs of gestational surrogacy right away. So, be prepared to answer their questions in an informative way. Be prepared: Some of these questions may be ignorant or insensitive, but try to control your emotions and be as educational as possible when answering them. Even if your loved ones get emotional, stay calm and remember that nothing they can say should influence your decision. After all, it’s already been made.

Be aware that your loved ones may have questions throughout the surrogacy process, so it’s important to make surrogacy an ongoing conversation as you move forward. If you have a spouse, you two should share the responsibilities of answering these questions and educating others about your journey — but only if you’re comfortable doing so.

4. Do What’s Right For You

Sometimes, no matter how much effort we put into educating our loved ones, they simply don’t want to change their minds. It can be tough to not have a loved one involved in your family-building journey, but ultimately you have to do what is right for you — even if it means stepping away from that relationship.

When you choose surrogacy, you are already dealing with a number of practical and emotional challenges. The last thing you need is an unsupportive loved one weighing on you. If your family member can’t say anything nice about your family-building journey or can’t refrain from saying anything at all, don’t feel guilty about putting a pause on that relationship. If they ask why, be honest: “I can’t involve you in this pregnancy if you won’t be supportive of it.”

Hopefully, with time, they will come to recognize the error of their ways and commit to being a supportive loved one for your child. In the meantime, you will have saved yourself a great deal of stress and pain by focusing solely on your surrogacy journey — the only thing that really matters right now.

For more tips on talking about surrogacy with your family members, contact us online or call your specialist at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

3 Complicated Questions You Have About Becoming an Intended Parent

Becoming an intended parent is an exciting time. You’re steps closer to having the child you’ve always dreamed about — and becoming the parent you’ve always wanted to be.

But, when you go through the application process, you may be surprised at the depth at which you need to answer questions. Why does the surrogacy agency need to know your full history? Why can’t they focus on the last few years, when you first started your family-building journey?

The paperwork and screening can seem intrusive, but it’s important to ensure you are ready for the physical and emotional challenges of gestational surrogacy. American Surrogacy always encourages prospective intended parents to be honest; that way, we can talk to you in detail about how your personal history might affect your upcoming journey.

But, if you have a complicated personal history, you may be worried how our specialists will react to this information. Don’t worry — we’ve seen it all before. You can always call our specialists at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) to discuss whether you are personally eligible for surrogacy. We’ll always be happy to answer your questions.

In the meantime, we’ve gone ahead and answered a few of the ones we receive most often below.

1. Can you be an intended parent if you have a criminal history?

No one is perfect. We’ve all made mistakes at some point in our lives. But if your mistakes are permanently recorded in a criminal charge or case, you’re probably worried about their effect on your upcoming surrogacy journey.

Every intended parent must undergo a criminal background screening prior to being approved with our agency. This is to ensure you can provide a safe and stable home for a child born via surrogacy. If you have a criminal history, it will show up during this screening — but it’s not an automatic disqualification for the process.

In most cases, you can still be an intended parent, even if you have a criminal history. Your specialist will discuss the charge or situation in detail with you, so we can better understand your personal history and whether you’ve learned from your mistakes. We may ask you to write a detailed letter about the situation and the outcome for our records. We make decisions on a case-by-case basis but, as long as you have learned from your mistakes and are no threat to a surrogate or a baby born via surrogacy, you should be approved by our agency.

It’s important that you are 100 percent honest with your specialist from the start. That is the only way we can help you. Remember, your background will come out during your screenings, so keeping us in the loop from the beginning allows us to stay ahead of the situation and work much easier with you.

2. Can you be an intended parent if you have a history of addiction?

Similarly, you may worry that a history of addiction will disqualify you from surrogacy — or make a prospective surrogate less likely to work with you. This is not the case at all.

We know that addiction is a terrible disease to overcome. But, if you’ve come out on the positive side after a history of substance abuse, we trust that you are stronger than your disease. You should know this will likely be a topic discussed during your mental health screening. A licensed professional will talk with you about this history, how you overcame it, and how you plan to stay clean in the months and years to come. After all, surrogacy is a stressful, complicated journey, so it’s important that you stay committed to your sobriety during this time — and in your upcoming parenting journey.

Again, we request that you are completely honest about any substance abuse history you may have. If you are, we can work with you to keep it from affecting your family-building journey. We may require a letter from your therapist or from you about this history and your plans for maintaining sobriety, for our records.

3. Why does my personal history matter?

We know the screening process for becoming an intended parent can be intrusive. You might even think it’s unfair, given that millions of people around the world can have a biological child without going through anything like this.

We understand your frustration — but remember that gestational surrogacy is about more than your desires. It’s about keeping your surrogate safe, too. Every prospective surrogate goes through similar background checks and mental health screenings prior to working with our agency. They have a right to request the same of their intended parents, too. We set these requirements to protect everyone’s best interest. We also reserve the right to request an in-home assessment of intended parents, as well.

Ultimately, remember that these background checks are in place for your protection. They’re also an important reason why we can offer such a smooth, safe surrogacy process.

Our specialists are always happy to discuss our background check requirements for intended parents. Feel free to contact us online or call us at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) to speak with a specialist today.

7 Types of People You Need On Your Surrogacy Team

Nobody completes a surrogacy journey alone. It takes a lot of people to have this baby — various medical and legal professionals, the intended parents, donors, the surrogate and her family and more!

Accepting the help of your surrogacy “team” can be hard for some people at first, but once you open your heart to that team effort, you won’t regret it.

Surrogates and intended parents alike will need key support from certain types of people. Here are seven people you’ll definitely want on your surrogacy team:

1. The Veteran

This is a former intended parent or surrogate who has been there and done that. Every person’s experience with surrogacy is going to be unique. After all, there are many types of surrogacy journeys, and no two partnerships are alike. However, the veteran on your team can often offer valuable insight on “do”s and “don’t”s, even if you listen to their stories with a proverbial grain of salt. They may have helpful suggestions regarding insurance, professionals and more.

Most veterans are happy to help, even if you don’t personally know them. They’ve been in your position, too. A good way to connect with former and current intended parents and surrogates is through support groups, or through your primary professional.

2. The Counselor

We mean this literally. Many agencies, including American Surrogacy, require prospective surrogates and parents to meet with a counselor before the surrogacy process even begins. This is done to ensure that you’re 100% emotionally prepared for this step. It’s also helpful for surrogates and intended parents to have access to a counselor who is familiar with surrogacy.

Maybe you never need to talk to your counselor again, maybe you check in with them sometime during your surrogacy journey, or maybe you need post-surrogacy support from him or her. It’s always good to have a licensed and experienced counselor on your team for ready access to support, should you need it now or in the future.

3. The Expert

Your American Surrogacy specialist will be your primary point of contact throughout your journey. They’re also the best all-around expert on surrogacy at your disposal. We’re always here if you need us for support or if you have questions!

You can look to the expert for anything, from help finding the best possible insurance coverage for all of you to managing communication. Even if we don’t offer a specific service ourselves, we’ll be able to put you in touch with the right people and help you to find the best providers in your area. Everybody needs an expert on their team.

4. The Doctor

The medical processes of surrogacy are complex and high-stakes. It’s understandable if everyone involved is nervous about what’s going on and whether or not things are working! However, it can be easy to over-worry and overwork yourself, especially for intended parents who have never experienced pregnancy before.

It’s good to have someone on your fertility team who is available to answer those nervous questions, present options honestly and soothe unnecessary anxiety. Someone you connect with at your clinic or your OBGYN may be able to be that go-to person for medical questions in between appointments.

5. The Shoulder to Cry On

Someone who can listen without trying to fix the situation will be your best shoulder to cry on. Because, sometimes, we all just need to vent, talk it out or even cry it out! Choose someone who won’t fly into a panic if you need to come over and be upset for a while. Mourning losses or frustrations in a surrogacy journey doesn’t mean that it’s going badly or that you want to quit. Ups and downs are natural.

Surrogates and intended parents alike will need someone they can talk to about the emotions of surrogacy. This is an emotional time, and you’ll need a comforting presence on your team.

6. The Reinforcements

These are the friends, family and neighbors that you can count on to call for practical help at any time. They’re ready and willing to drop everything to babysit your kids for a couple of days if labor begins suddenly. They know that you’ll need a casserole in the fridge when you don’t have time to cook after the baby is born.

Surrogates will need an extra hand around the house as they juggle pregnancy and their normal responsibilities, plus they’ll need a little help during postnatal recovery. Intended parents will likely need to travel at the drop of a hat, and when the baby comes home, they’ll be busy with their new addition. Everyone needs to be able to call for their reinforcements!

7. The Teammate

Your surrogacy partner — the intended parents or surrogate — will be your ultimate teammate. You’re both in pursuit of the same goal, and you’re both there to cheer each other on. Your losses and successes are shared. This often extends to one another’s immediate families — spouses and children. Include them as part of the team! You’re all in this together, so go ahead and look to each other for support.

Who’s on your surrogacy team? Let us know in the comments!

How to Cope With Feelings of Jealousy During the Surrogacy Process

The surrogacy process comes with all kinds of unique challenges that most people haven’t faced. There are unique joys, as well. But, as an intended parent, you are likely to feel a whole range of emotions on this journey to parenthood.

One of the more difficult obstacles for many intended parents, especially intended mothers, is the feeling of jealousy. It can come on quickly and without warning, leaving you wondering why you feel this way and what to do about it. This is what you wanted, after all. You chose surrogacy. So why do you feel jealous of the surrogate carrying your baby?

There’s a lot to unpack here, but the most important thing for you to know is this: What you are feeling is completely natural.

Feelings of jealousy during the surrogacy process are common. It is okay to feel the way you are feeling. As you process your emotions and find the best way forward, here are several things to consider.

Don’t Deny What You Are Feeling

Desiring the special connection that comes with carrying your child is completely natural. That desire may manifest in the form of jealousy during a surrogacy process. Don’t try to squash that feeling or pretend it doesn’t exist. Acknowledge this completely normal emotion and give yourself grace as you deal with it.

Attempting to ignore your feelings with just leave them to fester and grow, which could create a rift in your relationship with the surrogate, making the whole process much more difficult and frustrating.

Set Boundaries in Conversations

People are going to have a lot of questions about your surrogacy process. On the one hand, they are asking because they care. Of course, you want to be kind and, to the extent you are comfortable, let people into your life. They can be there to provide support and encouragement for you.

It’s also important to set boundaries on these conversations. Some feelings are best kept private. It’s up to you where this line is. Listen to your emotions. What makes you uncomfortable to discuss? You always have the right to not answer questions.

Remind Yourself of the Positives

You’re about to be a parent! This is an exciting time in life. You shouldn’t deny the hard parts of the process or pretend those challenges don’t exist. But focusing solely on the bad erases all of the good. There’s a lot of good right now, too!

The joys of parenthood bring some of the most fulfilling moments in life. The memories you are making now, and the many memories you will make in the years to come, will be amazing. Meditate on the many blessings this process will ultimately bring to your life. Focusing on the positive can help your feeling gradually shift.

Find Ways to Create Excitement

The surrogacy process is going to feel all-consuming when you are in it. However, you still have the rest of your life. Find ways to remind yourself of all the other things you have going for you. Go on a date with your partner. Spend time with family and friends. Grab a happy hour drink with coworkers.

Whatever you need to do to remind yourself that life is big, beautiful and fun — do it. Taking your mind off the process, even if only for a couple hours, can be refreshing and rejuvenating.

You Can Have a Great Relationship with Your Surrogate

One of the best ways to thwart jealousy is having a strong relationship with your surrogate. You shouldn’t expect to be best friends. But, you can be friends. As you develop a bond, you’ll begin to see your surrogate for who she really is — a complex person with strengths and flaws, not just a woman carrying your baby. This perspective will make it easier to avoid feelings of jealousy because you care about who she is as a person, not just as a surrogate.

There are many strategies for developing this relationship, and American Surrogacy would be happy to talk through them with you.

Have Questions?

These are challenging feelings to figure out. If you have more questions and would like to speak with us, you can call 1-800-875-BABY(2229) or contact us online at any time. We would be happy to talk with you about what you are experiencing. Or, if you are still considering surrogacy and doing your research, we’d be happy to answer any of your questions.

Is Sperm Donation Right for You?

There are many amazing ways to start a family.

Your options today are more abundant than ever before. Even just a few years ago, medical technology and cultural understanding of alternative family-building options through assisted reproductive technologies were much more limited.

With choices come responsibility. A plethora of options requires substantial research. This is a life-changing decision. What’s the best way to start your family? Everyone is in a unique situation, which means the answer for you is going to be personal.

As you ponder your options, you may be considering sperm donation. It can be a great option. However, it’s not right for everyone.

How can you know if it’s right for you? We’re here to help.

This article will inform you on key points of sperm donation and give you several important things to consider about this family-building option.

What Is Sperm Donation?

Sperm donation is a medical procedure in which a man donates semen to help a hopeful parent (or hopeful parents) conceive.

There are two different ways that donated sperm can be used:

  1. The sperm is injected into the intended mother, who will use her own eggs in the fertilization process.
  2. The sperm is medically paired with a donor’s or the intended mother’s eggs, and the resulting embryo is placed in a surrogate through in vitro fertilization.

As a professional surrogacy organization, American Surrogacy has helped many intended parents using sperm donation as a part of the surrogacy process. While we are not medical professionals and cannot perform the medical procedures required for sperm donation, we can provide guidance during this part of the process and help create a plan for the rest of the surrogacy process.

One of the most important parts of this process is identifying a sperm donor. There’s much to consider, like genetics, appearance, medical history, intelligence and more. We can help you identify the character traits most important to you and guide you through this life-changing decision.

If this sounds like it could be the right choice for you, you can always contact us online.

Who Might Use Sperm Donation?

Hopeful parents in many different situations may discover that sperm donation will be an important part of their family-building process.

Female same-sex couples or single female parents often use a sperm donor as a way to start a family. Additionally, heterosexual couples who, for various medical reasons, have unhealthy sperm quality and have struggled to conceive may look into sperm donation. Couples who have genetic conditions they are concerned about passing on to their child may also consider sperm donation.

Things to Consider Before Choosing Sperm Donation

If you find yourself falling into a category listed above, or are experiencing something else that has led you to sperm donation, there are several things to consider before committing to this option. Your answers to these questions will be unique to you. Take your time thinking about them before making such an important choice.

Have you studied the unique situations that come with raising a donor-conceived child?

We believe strongly that family is more than biology. We also believe it is important to be honest about the unique situations any parent will face when raising a donor-conceived child. These are not necessarily struggles or negatives, but they are special to this circumstance.

For instance, it is important to be honest with your child about how they came into the world. A child who learns they were donor-conceived later in life can deal with a lot of shock and confusion that leads to a negative self-perception. Are you prepared to have age-appropriate conversations with your child about being donor-conceived?

With sperm donation, a donor-conceived child is likely to have many biological siblings (more on this later). Have you considered this and what it could mean for your child?

There’s a lot to think about. Raising a donor-conceived child can be a beautiful and amazing journey. It will also have unique situations and circumstances.

Are you prepared for the cost associated with the sperm donation, IVF and surrogacy processes?

If you’ve been researching assisted reproductive technologies, then you already know that there is a high cost associated with the process. It is a delicate, complicated process with legal and medical components. While there are emotional elements to consider if you hope to start a family, there are also practical ones.

Are you capable of bearing the financial responsibility that comes with sperm donation, IVF, surrogacy and then the parenting journey ahead? Take an honest assessment of your finances before committing to any process.

Are you aware of the Donor Sibling Registry?

When a man donates sperm, he often donates more than once. This is why, as mentioned earlier, it is likely that any child conceived using sperm donation will have biological siblings out there in the world. This can be a beautiful situation, but it’s also very unique and can be hard to know how to approach.

Many sperm donors will register with the Donor Sibling Registry, making it possible for children conceived using their sperm to locate each other, if they wish to. This is important to be aware of and discuss; it’s a topic that will someday come up with your child.

Have you identified a trustworthy professional to work with?

American Surrogacy has a proven track record of success. We work passionately to help you fulfill your dream of starting a family. While we are unable to perform any medical aspects of sperm donation, we can provide guidance and direction throughout the process. If sperm donation will be a part of a surrogacy process, we can provide excellent services throughout.

Working with a trustworthy professional is the key to a successful sperm donation and surrogacy process. If you have more questions about sperm donation, you can contact us online at any time. You can also call us at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) now.

8 Responses to Invasive Surrogacy Questions: Intended Parents

Your gestational carrier will be a more obvious target for strangers’ questions — that baby bump will start to show eventually! But those who know you’re pursuing surrogacy will likely be curious about your side of the process, too. It’s still a relatively uncommon way to build a family, after all, and most people simply don’t know how it works.

However, that also means that people are even more likely to ask questions about the process that are accidentally insensitive or sometimes plain rude. Here are some questions you may receive and some ways you can choose to respond in a pinch:

1. “How much money are you paying your surrogate? How much did this cost?”

You don’t go around asking people how much money they make, how much their house cost, etc. That’s because financial questions are just sort of impolite. If you really want to shut someone down, let them know you won’t be discussing those matters.

But it’s probably helpful to remind them that you can’t put a price tag on the ability to have a family. It’s also important to let this person know that surrogates aren’t in this for the money. They sacrifice a lot, and it’s fair to accept reasonable compensation for this round-the-clock job.

2. “So who is the baby related to? Are you going to be the real parents? How do you know it’s yours?”

Like in adoption, the “real parents” are the parents who raise the child — in this case, the intended parents. Feel free to remind them that this phrase is harmful, especially to children. Give them the correct phrases to use, like “biological ties,” “intended parents,” “donors,” “gestational carriers” and whatever else you feel is appropriate.

As to whom the baby’s biological parents will be, you can disclose that at your own discretion and repeat that biological connections are not as important as familial bonds. If you like, you can explain how IVF works and how your fertility clinic and surrogate will be part of that process.

3. “Why didn’t you just adopt?”

Adoption, like surrogacy, is not an easy road to parenthood. Nor is it the right fit for every hopeful parent. There’s no right or wrong way to have a family, and viewing one path as morally superior or somehow easier than another option is damaging to all families.

You can leave it at that or, if you like, you can briefly explain some of the reasons why adoption wasn’t the right option for you. Just remember that they may push back with arguments why your reasons aren’t valid. It’s okay to stay firm and to again remind them that flippantly suggesting adoption disregards the incredibly difficult process that adoptive families face, just like all families who have children through “alternative” means.

4. “How does the surrogate get pregnant?”

There are an alarming number of people who think that the surrogate has intercourse with an intended father. If you feel that anyone is asking that, shut that down quickly and explain how embryo transfers work!

However, they might simply be curious about IVF and embryo transfers, so walk them through the process. They may also be interested to hear about the surrogate’s side of the medical experience, and how meticulously planned it all is.

5. “Are you glad you don’t have to go through being pregnant yourself?”

They probably think they’re saying a cheerful or funny thing. You can always smile and say, “I still wish it were me — it’d be worth it!”

If you want, you can explain to them why that comment is insensitive. Explain how, even though you’re grateful for your surrogate’s help and you know pregnancy can be difficult, you still wish you could carry your baby yourself and experience that journey together. These comments are hurtful to anyone who has experienced infertility or child loss, or who is unable to carry a pregnancy themselves.

6. “Aren’t you worried the surrogate is going to keep the baby?”

Explain: No, you’re not worried. Not only is this legally not an option, it’s also not something that gestational surrogates are interested in.

Giving a brief rundown of the differences between traditional and gestational surrogacy may help. Let them know that a gestational surrogate has no biological tie to the baby, and her motivations for surrogacy are to help you complete your family. Her own family is already complete! Your surrogate cannot, and will not want to, keep your baby.

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

Many intended parents struggle with feelings of jealousy throughout the surrogacy process. But it’s important that you stand united with your surrogate and let your family and friends know that you and her are on the same side and want the same things.

If you’re comfortable doing so, you can talk about any jealous feelings that you’ve had. Just be sure to let them know that your feelings of love, hope, respect and gratitude toward your surrogate outweigh any of those painful feelings.

8. “How are your kids ever going to understand this someday?”

Just like any child who came into a family through “unconventional” means, children who were born via surrogate don’t seem to mind! As long as children grow up hearing their personal story from day one, they’ll grow into the understanding of that experience as they age.

Children come to understand all different types of family makeups — those created through marriage and blending, adoption, IVF, surrogacy and more. Explain that you’ll talk about their surrogacy story early and often, so it will always feel natural and celebrated. Kids understand a lot more than we give them credit for.

Respond However You Feel Is Appropriate

Maybe you just don’t have the emotional energy to be a surrogacy educator that day. That’s okay! It’s totally fine if you just smile and nod in response to an invasive question.

If you’re really hurt and upset by someone’s question, it’s also okay to tell them so. If you need to steer clear of toxic people during your surrogacy journey, then so be it. Always try your best to be gentle with your response, and aim to educate rather than to fight fire with fire.

People don’t always know how to talk to intended parents about surrogacy, so try to stay patient. Remember that your American Surrogacy specialist is always there for you if you need help responding to these types of questions or if you just need support!