What to Pack for Your Surrogacy Hospital Stay – Intended Parents

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

Paperwork

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

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

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

Occupation

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

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

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

Clothes

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

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

Toiletries

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

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

Miscellaneous

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

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

For Baby

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

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

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

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

7 Questions You Have About Your Surrogate’s Delivery

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

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

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

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

1. Will we be present during childbirth?

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

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

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

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

2. Will we get our own room?

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

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

3. Will our baby get to stay with us?

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

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

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

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

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

5. Can I breastfeed my baby in the hospital?

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

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

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

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

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

7. How do we start planning our hospital stay?

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

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

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

Should You Consider Embryo Donation After Surrogacy?

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

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

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

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

Signs Embryo Donation is Right for You

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

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

1. You want to help someone else become parents.

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. You are comfortable with being an identified donor.

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

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

Signs Embryo Donation is Not Right for You

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

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

1. Your embryos are not high-quality.

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

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

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

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

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

3. You would rather dispose of your embryos.

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

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

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

5 Things to Look for in Gestational Carriers

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

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

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

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

1. Someone Who Shares Your Surrogacy Goals and Preferences

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

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

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

2. Someone Who Meets Your Expectations

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

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

3. Someone Who is Adaptable

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

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

4. Someone Who Wants a Relationship with You

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

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

5. Someone Who Gives You that Gut Feeling

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

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

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

5 Tips for Managing a Relationship with Your Gestational Surrogate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Show interest in her life and her family.

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Offer to help however you can.

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

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

5. Continue your relationship after delivery.

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

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

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

What Happens if My Baby is Born Prematurely During Surrogacy?

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

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

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

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

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

What are the Risk Factors for Premature Delivery?

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

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

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

What if My Surrogate Goes into Preterm Labor?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Explain your situation ahead of time.

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

2. Redirect with a joke or lighthearted comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Make your discomfort known.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can I Find a Free Surrogate Mother for My Surrogacy Journey?

If you’re considering building your family through surrogacy, you know that you have an expensive route ahead of you. Surrogacy can be a complicated journey, and there are many moving parts and professionals required in order to complete this process safely and legally. There is not a great deal of options when it comes to making surrogacy more affordable, but there is one big one — deciding to find a free surrogate mother.

Often, the base compensation paid to a gestational carrier can be one of the largest aspects of an intended parent’s surrogacy cost. By eliminating this compensation, intended parents can pursue a significantly cheaper family-building journey.

However, the path to find a free surrogate mother is not as easy as it may seem. There are many things to consider before embarking on this kind of surrogacy journey and, when you learn more about it, you may even discover that it is not the right path for your family.

Below, we’ve tackled a few of the important facts about working with a surrogate mother for free to help you decide what is best for your family-building journey. Remember, our surrogacy professionals are always available at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) if you have any more questions about surrogacy costs, surrogate compensation and the possibility of working with an uncompensated gestational carrier.

Can a Surrogate Mother Do It For Free?

As you research surrogacy, you’ll likely first learn about the most common surrogacy path — compensated surrogacy. In this situation, a gestational carrier is paid base compensation (as well as reimbursement for any medical and pregnancy costs) in exchange for her services and sacrifice in carrying an intended parent’s baby. This process is available through most of the United States, depending on the laws of the state where the gestational carrier lives and will give birth.

However, you may also stumble across another surrogacy process: an altruistic surrogacy. During this process, intended parents find a free surrogate mother — someone who is willing to carry a child without receiving a base compensation. A woman’s medical and pregnancy costs will still be covered in this kind of surrogacy arrangement.

It is perfectly legal for a gestational carrier to carry a child altruistically. In fact, it is required in certain states that prohibit paid surrogacy contracts.

Are There Any “Pro Bono” Surrogate Mothers?

While it is certainly possible for a surrogate mother to do it for free, altruistic surrogacy is far less common than compensated surrogacy. Understandably, many women desire compensation when becoming a gestational carrier. After all, they are sacrificing their own time, energy and body to help someone else, and they often don’t feel comfortable doing so without some token of appreciation.

However, there are still women who are willing to complete altruistic surrogacies. Often, these are women who know the intended parents they wish to carry for. Perhaps a gestational carrier is a sister or friend of an intended mother, and she is happy to make this sacrifice for her loved ones. On the other hand, a woman may wish to become a traditional surrogate (in which she is related to the baby she carries) — a path which, in many states, cannot be legally completed if she receives base compensation. However, traditional surrogacy can be a risky legal and emotionally process that is uncommon today — and, even if you find a traditional surrogate for free, you should seriously consider the risks before moving forward with this path.

If you are looking to find a free surrogate mother, you might start by looking within your own network for an eligible friend or family member who wishes to carry for you. Otherwise, finding an altruistic surrogate is often a path you must take on your own. Many agencies (including American Surrogacy) typically work with gestational carriers who wish to receive compensation. So, to find a surrogate mother for free, you may need to search online and identify a surrogacy situation yourself.

Things to Consider About an Altruistic Surrogacy

For you, as an intended parent, working with a free surrogate mother may seem like the perfect path. It allows you to cut down on your surrogacy costs, of which there will be many. However, before you decide to pursue an altruistic surrogacy, it’s important that you think about this path from the perspective of the woman who will carry your child.

Surrogacy is a lot of work for a gestational carrier. Not only is she sacrificing a year or more of her time and energy to help you, she will also incur certain risks during the surrogacy process. A traditional pregnancy is risky for a pregnant woman, and a gestational pregnancy is no different — especially when you think about the extra medical procedures and medications required to impregnate a gestational carrier.

If a woman does not receive compensation as a token of her intended parents’ gratitude, she may feel taken advantage of — which can greatly impact your relationship with her. Similarly, if you are an intended parent in an altruistic surrogacy, you may feel incredibly indebted to your gestational carrier. These kinds of feelings can quickly cause tension in a relationship, even between friends and family members.

So, before you go looking for any “pro bono” surrogate mothers, we encourage you to reach out to our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY). Our specialists can discuss with you the pros and cons of this path, including the responsibilities you will have to take on if you choose to find a free surrogate mother instead of a compensated one. We can also explain the benefits of finding a compensated gestational carrier with our agency and help you get started whenever you are ready.

For more information, contact American Surrogacy today.

Is It Possible to Get Twins from a Surrogate Mother?

In many cases, the people who pursue surrogacy had dreams of a large family — but found it was something they couldn’t achieve on their own or through infertility treatments. Looking into surrogacy, they may still have hopes of having more than one child as quickly as possible. Therefore, they may ask, “Is it possible to get twins from a surrogate mother?”

The answer is yes.  Whether it’s because of a natural split in the uterus, resulting in identical twins, or transferring two separate embryos that implant, having twins during the surrogacy process is definitely a possibility — but it does come with certain considerations.

Here at American Surrogacy, we are experienced with gestational pregnancies of twins, and our team is happy to help you start your surrogacy process today. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) but, in the meantime, keep reading to learn more about how it is possible to get twins from a surrogate mother.

Why Intended Parents Want Twins

It’s no secret that the surrogacy process is expensive. Intended parents who pursue this family-building path may have spent months or years saving up to afford the costs of a gestational surrogate carrying their biological child. So, it’s fairly common for them to ask, “Is it possible to get twins from a surrogate mother?” to get more “bang for their buck,” so to say. Rather than simply hoping for one healthy, biological child, they wonder if they can have a gestational carrier carry twins. This way, they can have the bigger family they dreamed about without having to go through the surrogacy process more than once.

In other situations, having twins via surrogacy may provide a genetic connection for both parents that would be otherwise impossible. Take, for example, a gay male couple. In a singleton surrogacy, only one of the fathers could be genetically related to a child. But, when a surrogate carries two children, each parent could have a genetically related child. For some parents, genetic connection isn’t always important — but a twin gestational pregnancy provides that option for those who want this advantage.

How a Multiples Gestational Pregnancy Occurs

There are two main ways in which it is possible to get twins from a surrogate mother.

The most common way is through multiple embryo transfer. In the majority of surrogacy journeys, reproductive endocrinologists evaluate the quality of intended parents’ embryos to ensure only the healthiest embryos with the best chance of implantation are transferred to a woman’s uterus. If more than one embryo has a high enough quality, two embryos may be transferred. The odds that both will implant are usually low but, when they do, a twin gestational pregnancy occurs.

The decision to transfer multiple embryos in one procedure will always be determined before the medical process of surrogacy begins. Because there are important things to consider about a multiples pregnancy (more on that below), intended parents and their gestational carrier will discuss this in depth and finalize their decision in their surrogacy legal contract.

Another less-common way that a multiples gestational pregnancy occurs is when a single embryo is implanted in a carrier’s uterus, only for that embryo to naturally split and create identical twins. In the general population, identical twin pregnancies only occur about 0.45 percent of the time, but there is evidence that using in vitro fertilization can increase that possibility to an overall 0.95 percent. Regardless, having identical twins via surrogacy is still rare — but not impossible.

The Cons of a Multiples Pregnancy

Before asking, “Is it possible to get twins from a surrogate mother?” ask yourself this: “Do I really understand the risks of a multiples gestational pregnancy?”

If you are an intended parent, it may be a bit easier to look to the advantages of having multiple children at once — but you need to think seriously about the risks you ask a gestational carrier to take on if you are interested in this path. There is a reason why many reproductive endocrinologists today recommend transferring a single embryo to a woman’s uterus during IVF, whether or not it’s a gestational pregnancy. When a woman carries more than one child, her risks of complications and potential dangers during her pregnancy greatly increase. Are you comfortable asking someone else to accept those risks on your behalf?

If your gestational carrier is pregnant with twins, there is a higher likelihood of:

  • Preterm labor and delivery
  • Low birth wright
  • Preeclampsia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Placental abruption
  • Cesarean section
  • And more

So, yes, transferring multiple embryos to your gestational carrier’s womb can seem like the perfect way to complete your family in one IVF procedure, but this decision involves much more than that. You will need to speak at length with your fertility professional to determine what options are available in your situation and what the safest path is for your gestational carrier.

For more information about having twins via surrogacy, please reach out to our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) and your personal reproductive endocrinologist.

5 Things to Know About Raising a Donor-Conceived Child

Surrogacy can be a scary enough concept for hopeful intended parents — but, if you are in need of a sperm or egg donation to complete your surrogacy, you may be even more nervous about the path ahead. Raising a child born from surrogacy comes with its own unique challenges, and raising a child born from a gamete donation is no different.

Fortunately, there are many resources available to you if you are considering surrogacy with a donated gamete. Many intended parents have been in your situation, and they are successfully raising children born from a donated gamete in a healthy and positive way. You can, too.

Know that the surrogacy specialists at American Surrogacy can always discuss this situation in more detail with you. We can answer all your questions about surrogacy and donated gametes, as well as help you move forward with the process whenever you are ready. To learn more today, please contact our agency at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

In the meantime, we’ve gathered a few things that every intended parent should know if they are considering surrogacy with a donated gamete.

1. Identified gamete donors promote positive self-identity in children.

One of the first decisions that intended parents considering surrogacy with a donated gamete have to make is whether to use an anonymous or identified donor. Many fertility specialists and surrogacy professionals encourage the use of an identified donor — for many reasons.

Choosing an anonymous sperm or egg donor may seem like the easiest way to go about this process, but intended parents need to consider their child’s future well-being. What will happen when their child has questions as they grow up? How will they answer them? What happens if a medical emergency occurs, and a child does not have their full updated medical history?

If you choose an identified donor, you will have access to medical history and more. An identified donor is always available for contact and information if necessary, as well as to provide answers to your child that you may not have as they develop their identity.

2. You should not keep the gamete donation a secret.

Even if you choose a sperm or egg donor who looks similar to your family, gamete donation should not be a secret. Your child deserves the right to know their full history. Imagine a day where your child might develop a dangerous genetic disease; if they are operating under false assumptions about their genetic heritage, their life could be in danger.

This isn’t even to mention the situations in which children find out about their gamete donor later in life. It can severely impact a child’s self-identity to feel betrayed or lied to by their parents. They will have created a self-identity that may be based on completely false information. Being honest about a sperm or egg donation from the beginning is much more preferable than this circumstance, which can destroy relationships between children and parents.

3. Your child will have questions — and this is completely normal.

Even if you make your child’s surrogacy and gamete donation story an open topic of conversation as they grow up, your child will always have questions. You may not be able to answer all of them. A child goes through normal phases of interest and disinterest about their history as they grow up; it’s all a part of developing their self-identity. Therefore, intended parents need to be ready for the day that these questions about a sperm or egg donor come.

If a child starts asking about their genetic history, it is not a sign that they are looking for their “real parents.” In fact, that’s not it at all. If you have been open and respectful with your child about their genetic history, they will continue to respect and love you. Questions about background are normal for anyone to have; in the case of donor-conceived children, they just have to go to someone else to find the answers. Don’t ever take it as a sign that you aren’t “enough” of a parent for your child.

4. The Donor Sibling Registry can be an invaluable tool.

As your child learns more about their genetic history, they may have questions about extended biological family members. Remember: Your child finding their biological family is not a bad thing. If anything, it’s a positive to gain more family members!

To aid your child in your future search, you could choose to sign your child up in the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR) as soon as they are born. That way, your child and your child’s half-siblings and genetic relatives can contact each other to share personal relationships and provide up-to-date family medical information. Signing your child up for this registry in advance will show them your commitment and respect for their personal surrogacy and donor-conceived story.

5. Gamete donation is a lifelong journey for parents and their children.

Finally, keep this in mind if you are considering surrogacy with a donor gamete: Many forms of assisted reproductive technology are a lifelong journey, and surrogacy and gamete donation are no different. While you may think your journey in these processes will be over once your child is born, you will need to make these topics an open conversation and a source of pride as long as your child lives. Respect any decisions they make to seek out biological relatives and support them in that journey. Answer any questions they have and help them find any you can’t answer. You will always be your child’s parent; it will be up to you what kind of parent you choose to be for them.

To learn more about surrogacy with a donated gamete, please contact American Surrogacy today.