7 Ways to Show Gratitude for Your Surrogacy Journey

If you’re at the end of or have completed your surrogacy journey, then you’ve probably experienced many of the ups and downs that come with this life-changing experience. No one said building a family or helping someone else build their own would be easy, and it can be hard to look around and feel thankful when you’re in the middle of the journey’s challenges.

But, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, we’d like to share some ways that you can show gratitude for the amazing experience your surrogacy has been. Whether you’re an intended parent or a surrogate, here are seven ways that you can show how thankful you are for this incredible journey.

1. Reach out to Your Former Surrogacy Partner

Surrogacy is a life-changing process that connects people for many years to come. The holidays are a perfect time to reach out to your surrogacy partner and tell them how much they mean to you, how this journey has changed your life, and anything else you want to share. You might even give them a thoughtful gift during this holiday season.  during this holiday season.

2. Send a Thank-You Note to Your Professionals

Surrogacy would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of the amazing specialists that work tirelessly every day to make your surrogacy dreams come true.

You can probably imagine just how much work they have on their plates. This Thanksgiving, take some time out of your day to write a thoughtful note letting your specialists know how much you appreciate them. Remind them that you’re thinking of them and let them know that their hard work has not gone unnoticed.  Remind them that you’re thinking of them and let them know that their hard work has not gone unnoticed.

You might decide to mail them a handwritten card or write them a nice email thanking them for all that they do. However, you decide to do it, it will mean more than you know.

Don’t forget your surrogacy attorney or reproductive endocrinologists, either!

3. Have a Virtual Get-together

There’s no better time than Thanksgiving to spend time together with your favorite people, and that includes your surrogate or your intended parent(s).

Over the last few months, we’ve had to rely on video-chatting to stay in touch with everyone, so you should be a pro at it by now. If it’s been a while since you’ve chatted with your surrogacy partner, take some time to set up a get-together when everyone is free.

There are all kinds of video platforms that you can use, like Zoom, Google Hangout, and FaceTime. And, in accordance with the Thanksgiving season, you might set up a time to chat when you can enjoy a (virtual) meal together.

4. Share Your Positive Story

It might be surprising, but surrogacy is still relatively new to many people. If you’ve been through the surrogacy process, you may have a lot of wisdom to share. Why not share it with others who are interested in hearing what you have to say?

If you’re comfortable with the idea, you might decide to make your own blog post or share your story on social media. The best way to promote gestational surrogacy is to spread awareness and educate those who are interested.

If you’d like to share your story for American Surrogacy’s website, we’d love to hear it! Email your specialist to get started.

5. Help Others Who are Preparing for Surrogacy

Surrogacy might be new, but there are many people who are interested in starting this assisted reproduction method.

It’s possible that, over the course of your journey, you’ve met someone who’s interested in becoming a surrogate or an intended parent. It’s also possible that you’re their first experience with surrogacy ever. If they’re interested, take some time today to walk them through your experience and share what you’ve learned and how it’s changed you. You might also serve as a reference for them once they’re ready to take the plunge.

6. Create a Gratitude Journal

Writing is a fantastic hobby, and starting your own gratitude journal can be a great way to remind yourself of everything you have to be thankful for right now. You might not be ready to share your experiences with others yet, and that’s OK. You can share it when your loved ones when you’re ready or just keep it for yourself.

Take the time to write down five things that you’re grateful for once a week or as often as you think of ideas. Look back on those lists in hard times to remind yourself of all the good things you have going.

7. Set Aside Time Every Day to Be Grateful

Even if you don’t make your own gratitude journal, try to carve some time out of your day to be thankful for all that you have because of surrogacy. You might do this every morning or before you go to bed as you reflect on the previous day.

It sounds small, but taking the time to recharge and recenter yourself will make a world of difference. Just close your eyes, relax, and think of five things that you’re grateful for today.

We know that the surrogacy journey can be challenging. But just taking a couple minutes each day to think about all that you’re grateful for can get you ready for tomorrow.

Don’t forget: It doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving for you to take stock of your gratitude.

What are You Thankful For?

Whether you’re an intended parent or a surrogate, this journey will touch your life in unimaginable ways. Even though this year has been full of unexpected challenges, there are still plenty of ways that you can show your gratefulness for the journey past and the journey that lies ahead of you.

Take some time today to consider everything that you’re grateful for, and you’ll thank yourself later.

10 Answers to Nosy Questions and Comments: Intended Parents

The holidays are coming up. Although we’re still in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we’re all trying to find ways to safely come together to observe family traditions, whether that’s virtually or in-person. On top of that, if you’re an intended parent in the middle of a gestational surrogacy journey you’re about to be on the receiving end of a slew of questions and comments from well-meaning (but sometimes insensitive) loved ones.

So, to help you handle the holiday season (and the resulting inquiries) as an intended parent, here are 10 things you might hear and some ways in which you can respond:

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

You wouldn’t casually ask each other how much someone makes in a year, or what their home cost. So why would it be appropriate to ask about financials now?

It can also be frustrating that so many people focus on the compensation aspect of surrogacy, when it’s such a small part of your experience. Gestational surrogates do this because they want to help a family, not because they’re making it rich (which they’re not).

Keep it simple with:

  • “That’s confidential, as per our surrogacy contract.”
  • “Surrogates aren’t in it for the money.”
  • “That’s not your business.” 

2. “Why didn’t you just adopt?”

This person clearly doesn’t know much about the intricacies of the adoption process. Plus, this kind of question is often asked because the person believes that adoption is “saving” a child, which is a problematic attitude.

 Stand your ground:

  • “Adoption is a lot more complex than you might realize.”
  • “Why don’t you adopt? Everyone has their reasons.”
  • “That’s not your business.” 

3. “How do you know the baby is yours?”

They don’t know the steps that are taken to avoid this situation. If you’re feeling especially patient, you can elaborate.

Or, close the case by saying:

  • “There are rules that gestational surrogates have to follow, which ensures that the baby she carries is not biologically related to her.”
  • “Our surrogate is working closely with our doctor. The baby is ours.”
  • “That’s not your business.” 

4. “It must be nice not to have to be the one who’s pregnant and giving birth!”

…Ouch.

Here are some gentle-but-firm answers:

  • “I would give anything to be able to carry and deliver this baby.”
  • “Pregnancy and childbirth is tough, but not being able to have a child is harder.”
  • “That’s not your business.” 

5. “What if the surrogate decides to keep the baby?”

Nope. Defend your surrogate with all you’re worth, and just tell them it’s not even possible.

  • “That’s not legally an option.”
  • “Even if she technically could, she wouldn’t want to. She has her own children. She doesn’t want to raise ours.”
  • “That’s not your business.” 

6. “I don’t know how you can let someone else carry your baby. I’d be a nervous wreck.”

Of course you’d like to be the one carrying your baby. So, thanks a lot for the “encouragement?”

Big sigh. Tell them:

  • “We are nervous, but this is how we’re going to become parents.”
  • “This was the best option in front of us.”
  • “That’s not your business.” 

7. “So, who is the baby biologically related to?”

This. Is. Your. Baby.

Feel free to let them know they’re being awkward:

  • “Does it matter?”
  • “This baby is ours, regardless of genetics.”
  • “That’s not your business.” 

8. “How are you going to explain this to your kids someday?”

I don’t know, Janet, how did you explain where babies come from to little Bobby over there?

Tell them that you’ve got it handled, and that surrogacy is nothing to be ashamed of:

  • “We plan on talking about it together from day one, and we’re prepared to do so.”
  • “Everyone talks to their kids about their birth and coming into the family. This will be no different.”
  • “That’s not your business.” 

9. “Is it awkward? Don’t you get jealous?”

OK, sure. Maybe you’ve felt a little jealous or awkward at times. But 99.9% of the time you’re just really amped to be a parent.

Once again, it’s time to come to your surrogate’s defense:

  • “Our surrogate is our partner, not our rival.”
  • “We’re just excited to be parents, and our surrogate is helping us achieve that.”
  • “That’s not your business.” 

10. “I heard this story about a surrogate who…”

And I heard that you finally learned how to behave in social situations, Deborah, but clearly that was just a rumor.

  • “Cool story, bro.”
  • “Horror-story situations are the ultra-rare exception to the rule, and most occurred in situations of traditional surrogacy and usually happened before surrogacy contracts and agencies were a thing. This isn’t like that. At all.”
  • “That’s not your business.” 

One More Time, with Feeling: “That’s. Not. Your. Business.”

Because, honestly — it bears repeating. As long as you’re honoring your surrogacy contract and you’re respecting the privacy of your surrogate, it’s entirely up to you how much (or little) you choose to disclose. These types of questions and comments are always a great teaching moment when talking with your loved ones. But, nobody would blame you if you just respond with a plain old, “That’s not your business.”


Not sure how to navigate conversations with family during the holiday season? Reach out to your American Surrogacy specialist for information and support at any time.

15 Things Intended Parents Should Do Before the Baby Comes

After a long road to parenthood, those last few months before your baby is born can feel simultaneously like an eternity and a minute! Staying busy will help you pass the time (and keep you from losing your mind).

Here are 15 things that intended parents should do as they wait for their gestational carrier to deliver their baby:

1. Stock up on essentials.

No need to go overboard, but it’s always a good idea to have some boxes of diapers, a stash of bottles, wipes, cloths or rags, some clothes, formula, blankets and other baby basics! Remember that babies will grow quickly, so asking friends, family or community members for their gently-used items can be a great money-saver.

2. Prepare a nursery.

For some, decorating and stocking a nursery can be a fun way to get excited about your child’s arrival. For others, staring at an empty and waiting nursery can trigger stress and impatience.

However, it’s usually a good idea to have at least the essentials ready to go. You don’t have to paint the room or hang elaborate decorations if you don’t want to! Just setting up a crib and diaper-changing station is enough for now, if that’s all you want to do at the moment.

3. Baby-proof the house.

Walk through the house and make a list of what needs to be baby-proofed before your child is born. There are plenty of checklists that can help, and they may give you some tips that you hadn’t thought of yet!

Now is a great time to slowly start purchasing and installing things like covers for electrical outlets, tying up cords to the blinds, locks on cabinets, installing a gate in front of the stairs and more. As a newborn, your baby won’t be in a position to cause much trouble, but they’ll be finding ways to pull down anything and everything much sooner than you think!

Even just slowly implementing some of those safety checks and upgrades in advance can save you a few headaches several months down the road.

4. Tackle those projects.

Everyone has tasks that they’ve put off. You’ll be far less likely to ever get around to that task once your newborn arrives! So, now is the time to check those off your “I’ll do it later” list.

For you, that might be:

  • Cleaning the gutters
  • Updating your will and financial information in anticipation of your new child
  • Hang up those photos that are gathering dust
  • Finish painting the bathroom
  • Finish landscaping the yard
  • Or whatever project in your life that has been side aside

5. Deep clean and eliminate clutter.

The arrival of a newborn means you’ll have a tough time just keeping up with the messes they create! So, take advantage of this time and get your home ready.

Now is the time to finally go through your attic, basement, closets, garage and drawers. Downsizing and tossing out as much as you can will free up space for things like a stroller, toys and baby furniture!

Then, clean all those appliances, corners and baseboards that you never clean. You’ll feel soothed and more prepared with a nice, clean home.

6. Spend some quality time with your spouse.

If this is your first child, these will be your last few months together just the two of you. Take this opportunity to do some things you probably won’t be able to for a while! Enjoy a date night, sleep in late, take a weekend trip and spend time with your friends and family.

If you have older children, this is your last time together before your family changes and you introduce a new arrival. Spending some quality time with your children will be important before you leave to go be with your surrogate and before the chaos of a new baby begins. Relish in some one-on-one snuggles, participate in your child’s favorite activities and more.

As anxious as you are to welcome your child, be sure to savor this quality time.

7. Make child care decisions.

You and your partner have probably already talked about child care: Whether a parent will be home with the baby, a family member, daycare, etc.

If you are planning on daycare or hiring a child care provider, you’ll want to spend some time researching your options, interviewing prospective choices and more. We also recommend having a babysitter picked out, in case you need last-minute child care or just a night to yourselves!

8. Take parenting classes.

No one is ever 100% ready for their first child. But, it doesn’t hurt to be as ready as possible!

Maybe you already know every way to handle a gassy baby and exactly what to expect when you’re in the delivery room, or maybe you’re not even fully clear on diaper-changing. No matter your current knowledge of babies, taking a parenting class can allow you to brush up on your skills, bond with your spouse and give you the opportunity to ask questions.

Local hospitals and family-planning centers often have parenting classes for you to attend, and there are even online webinars.

9. Find a pediatrician.

A good pediatrician is always worth it! You’ll be glad you took the time to research your options when your baby has their first cold or ear infection.

We recommend a couple things:

  • Interview prospective pediatricians to make sure they’re the right fit and will be a conveniently-located choice.
  • Start collecting medical information about gamete donors (if applicable), the pregnancy (and eventually, the delivery) to give to your pediatrician’s office.

10. Create a surrogacy baby book.

This will mean a lot to your child someday, and it’s also a great way to document the journey you took to meet your baby. Consider including:

  • Letters to your future child.
  • Photos of your child’s gestational carrier, and some information or stories about her.
  • Memories and milestones, like ultrasound photos or fun pregnancy information from the surrogate.
  • And more.

11. Collect surrogacy children’s books.

It’s important that you tell your child his or her surrogacy story from the first day your baby arrives home. That way, surrogacy will always be a normalized and celebrated thing within your home.

As they grow, those surrogacy books will help your child understand the unique way in which they joined your family.

12. Talk about spousal roles.

If you haven’t already, sit down with your spouse about who will be responsible for what, and when. You’ve probably spent no small amount of time dreaming of your life as parents together, but you may not have discussed some of the finer details.

Sit down and have an honest discussion about things like:

  • The plan for middle-of-the-night feedings
  • Who will stay home with the baby, and when
  • Who prepares meals, and at which mealtimes
  • How you plan to divvy up new tasks like the additional laundry and cleaning
  • Who is in charge of keeping the baby supplies in stock
  • And more

It can feel a little awkward or tense, but hammering out these specifics and getting on the same page will help your relationship in the long run, and it’ll keep your household running smoothly and peacefully during the chaos-to-come!

13. Make travel plans.

If your surrogate lives in a different city or state, you’ll want to make some flexible travel plans. Although it can be tricky (and ill-advised) to establish concrete plans, like purchasing plane tickets or booking a hotel when you don’t know when your surrogate will go into labor, it’s helpful to have a plan, plus a few backups!

We recommend that you:

  • Look into hotels or accommodations near the hospital where your gestational surrogate is going to give birth, and have that booking information ready to go.
  • Have local ground transportation plans if you’re going to be flying.
  • Have a babysitter, house sitter and/or pet sitter on standby, as needed.
  • Notify your employers, banks and immediate family members about your surrogate’s potential due date, so that they know you may be traveling on short notice during that time frame.
  • Bookmark some flight options, and try to fly with an airline that will be flexible about cancellations or changes.
  • If you’re driving, install a baby carrier in advance. Those can be tricky!

14. Pack a bag.

Just like any parent-to-be, you’ll want to prepare a “go bag” in advance. Remember that you’ll likely spend some time in the hospital with your surrogate, traveling and more, so pack accordingly.

Be sure to include:

  • Comfortable, layered clothing for yourself and the baby.
  • Some travel toiletries.
  • Medications.
  • Diapers, wipes, cloths, bottles and other basic baby essentials.

15. Support your gestational surrogate.

In your excitement about your baby, don’t forget to spend time loving on your surrogate! Express appreciation and support however you like, but many intended parents like to:

  • Prepare a little hospital or pregnancy care package
  • Give her a small gift
  • Sending a quick card or note in the mail
  • Spending some time together, if you live nearby
  • Text, call or video chat to ask how she’s feeling, or just to let her know that you’re thinking of her

This is a unique, life-changing journey and you’re on it together. You won’t regret the time you take to savor those moments with this special woman.

At American Surrogacy, we know that the time spent waiting for your baby’s birth can be both exciting and stressful. Continue to lean on your surrogacy specialist for support, and find little ways to make the most of this wait. Your baby will be home before you know it!

5 Things to Expect During a Repeat Surrogacy Journey

When you began your first surrogacy journey, either as an intended parent or as a gestational surrogate, you didn’t fully know what to expect! That’s normal — no matter how much you research and prepare, there is so much about surrogacy that you can only understand once you’ve actually experienced it for yourself.

Now you’re considering doing it all again.

First of all, congratulations! This is always an exciting time. And now, you have firsthand knowledge and experience on your side.

Right now, you might be a little worried about what will differ from your last surrogacy experience. A lot will remain the same. But there are a few things that may change.

Here’s what you can expect as you begin your latest surrogacy journey through American Surrogacy:

1. It Won’t Be Exactly the Same as Last Time

No two surrogacy journeys are exactly alike. You may be working with different people, a different agency, different doctors, gamete donors, etc.

Even if all of that is exactly the same as your last surrogacy journey, no two pregnancies are alike! It may take more (or less) time for the surrogate to get pregnant, she may have more (or fewer) IVF and pregnancy side effects and the delivery may be different.

The surrogacy process always involves a few unknowns, even for veterans. Be ready to roll with whatever comes next!

2. The Process May Be Faster

This is particularly true if you’re working with the same agency. If you’re working with American Surrogacy again, we’ll have a lot of your information on file from last time, so you may be able to skip some of the paperwork you filled out for your first surrogacy journey — you’ll just need to make sure everything is up-to-date and still accurate.

The screening and matching process may also be sped up for repeat surrogates and intended parents. If you’ve already met the screening requirements before, you may be able to skip a couple steps. So, because you’re generally able to be re-approved faster this time around, you’ll head to the matching stage in less time.

If you’re going to be partnering with the same surrogate or intended parents as last time, you’ll be able to skip the wait to be matched altogether! If you’ll be partnering with someone new, you’ll still spend less time on this stage, because now you know what you’re looking for in a prospective surrogacy partner.

3. You May Not Be Partnered with the Same Intended Parents or Gestational Carrier

Many intended parents and surrogates who are interested in completing another surrogacy journey will approach one another for a repeat performance. This is a beneficial option if you already trust one another and enjoyed your last experience together.

However, your previous surrogacy partner may not be ready for another round! Or, you may just wish to work with someone new this time.

If you won’t be partnering with the same surrogate or intended parents as your last journey, don’t worry — your American Surrogacy specialist will help to match you with someone who fits what you’re looking for.

4. Repeat Surrogates Receive More Compensation than First-Timers

Women who have already completed at least one journey as a surrogate will receive a higher base compensation than women who haven’t been a surrogate before. This is because these women have proven themselves to be exceptional gestational carriers. Physically, mentally and emotionally, they have had a relatively easy time with surrogacy in the past.

American Surrogacy offers competitive surrogate compensation for first-time surrogates starts, and our experienced surrogates typically receive an additional sum per pregnancy on top of that.

5. It’ll Come More Easily Now You Know the Ropes

Surrogacy is never easy, for the intended parents or the surrogate. However, this time you have the benefit of personal experience and knowledge. You can apply that knowledge and experience as you move forward.

Your first surrogacy journey was likely full of first-time nerves and no small amount of confusion. It is, after all, a complicated process — even with an American Surrogacy specialist walking you through things. But now you have a stronger understanding of the medical process, insurance, financials, the emotions and all the details that newbies haven’t encountered. You’re coming back better than ever!


Ready to begin your next surrogacy journey? Reach out to an American Surrogacy specialist now to get started.

How to Explain Alternative Family-Building to Kids

All parents should take the time to normalize “alternative” family-building methods to their kids. And we do mean all parents.

The parents of children who came into their family through adoption, surrogacy or gamete donation shouldn’t be the ones who are solely responsible for educating children about the various ways that a family can be formed.

So, whether or not your own family was created through the most “traditional” path, here are some ways to talk about those “non-traditional” families and why it’s important:

Why Should You Talk to Your Kids About Alternative Family-Building?

Any and all parents should talk to their children about things like surrogacy, adoption and IVF because:

  • If you’re planning on growing your own family through one of these paths, your older children will need to understand how their sibling is going to arrive.
  • Children should have a positive and accurate understanding of the people involved in these paths, like gestational carriers, gamete donors, or birth parents.
  • Educating this generation will prevent myths and misinformation from spreading to the following generation.
  • Your children will encounter peers who came into their own families through these “non-traditional” paths sooner or later, if they haven’t already.
  • Normalizing these family-building methods will ensure that they respond appropriately and kindly when they meet children who were born via surrogacy, gamete donation or adoption.
  • Giving them the language and tools they need to talk about these family-building methods will help them to accurately answer questions from curious peers.
  • It will expand their worldview and increase their empathy toward all types of families, not just families that resemble their own.

Although talking to your children about the various ways a family can be formed is particularly important if your own family is pursuing surrogacy or adoption, it’s important for all kids to understand how their friends and family members may have come into the world.

Where Can You Find Resources to Start the Conversation?

While talking one-on-one with your children is important, you might not be sure where to start or how to introduce what feels like a complicated concept. So, utilizing kid-friendly resources is a great first step. Start with:

  • Reading books together about surrogacy, adoption and other family-building methods. There are lots of books for different age groups which show families of every type.
  • Watching movies that portray different types of families. Keep in mind that most movies dramatize situations far beyond accuracy, so you might want to do some research to find movies or TV shows that other parents have recommended for this exact purpose.
  • Using play to normalize different types of families. Child often play “house” to help themselves understand the concept of families and babies. The next time you play together, your child’s toys can “adopt” a “baby” toy, or a toy can represent a pretend gestational carrier. Play can be a powerful tool for helping a child process a complex concept.

What Terms Should You Use for Each Family-Building Path?

Things like IVF and donor conception are a new and confusing concept even for most adults, so it’s understandable if you’re unsure how to explain these concepts in a digestible, age-appropriate way. But with a simple and clear explanation, anyone can grasp the basics, no matter their age. Here are some ways to talk about different family-building methods:

Talking About Surrogacy

Here are a few examples that you can tweak and adapt to suit your situation and your child when talking about surrogacy and donors:

  • “Babies need to be carried in a mommy’s tummy until they’re ready to be born. But Mommy’s tummy is broken. So, the new baby is going to stay in another mommy’s tummy for now, until they’re ready to be born. Then, the baby will come home and be a part of our family forever.”
  • “Babies are made from a little bit of a man and a little bit of a woman, and then that baby needs to be carried inside a woman’s tummy until the baby is ready to be born. But your daddy and I are both men, so we need a woman’s help to make our new baby. So, we found a nice woman who is going to help us. She’s going to carry our new baby until the baby is ready to be born and come home.”
  • “Remember how I carried you inside of my tummy until you were ready to be born? Some mommies have broken tummies and they aren’t able to carry their baby like that. They need help from a mommy like me. So, I’m going to help someone else’s mommy by carrying the baby. Then, when the baby in my belly is born, he will go home to his own mommy.”

Talking About Adoption

Here are a few examples that you can tweak and adapt to suit your situation and your child when talking about adoption:

  • “Somewhere out there, a mommy and daddy have a baby, but they aren’t able to take of that baby. But, your uncles are able to take care of a baby right now. So, that mommy and daddy are going to trust your uncles to take care of the baby forever and be the baby’s daddies.”
  • “Most kids live with the parents who gave birth to them, like you. But some kids can’t live with the parents who gave birth to them. Those parents love their kids so much, but they aren’t able to take care of them right now. They make a hard decision — they decide that their kids need to be with parents who are able to take care of them. So, a family who has been waiting for that child will then adopt them, and they’ll be together as a new family forever.”
  • “There’s a woman we know, and she is about to have a baby. But, she isn’t ready to take care of that baby. So, she’s looking for someone who is ready for a baby. Your mommy and I are ready to take care of that baby. When the baby is born, he or she is going to join our family forever and be your little sibling.”

Talking About Gamete Donation

Here are a few examples that you can tweak and adapt to suit your situation and your child when talking about donor conception:

  • “Your aunt wanted to have a baby, but she didn’t have an important ingredient needed to make a baby on her own. So, a doctor gave her that missing ingredient, and now your aunt is going to have a baby! Not all babies have two parents — some children have one very special parent, like your aunt.”
  • “Some men and women’s bodies don’t make what it needs to have a baby. Those men and women can ask for the help of someone called a ‘donor.’ A donor’s body makes what some peoples’ bodies are missing. The donor then gives away that special missing ingredient to help other people have babies.”
  • “Your friend’s dads had the sperm needed to make a baby, but they didn’t have the egg or the uterus that a baby also needs. So, they asked for the help of two different women: The first woman gave them the egg they needed. A doctor combined that egg with their sperm to make a baby. Then, the second woman carried that baby inside of her uterus. Both of these women helped your friend’s dads to have a baby, because they saw how badly they wanted to be parents.”

What are Some Do’s and Don’ts?

As you prepare to talk to your child, here are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • Be honest while still using age-appropriate language, and don’t wait until they’re “old enough.”
  • Talking about different types of families should be a continued and ongoing topic, not a one-time conversation.
  • Give them a safe space to ask questions.
  • They may have concerns or fears — for example, they may worry a gestational surrogate will “keep the baby.” Address these types of fears and reassure your child.
  • Always use positive terminology, and encourage your child to do the same.
  • Talk about all family-building methods with positivity, so that your child understands that “non-traditional” does not mean “bad” or “less than.”
  • Remind them that no matter how a family is made, they all love each other the same.
  • Children understand more than we give them credit for! With a little time, your child will quickly accept concepts that adults sometimes fear are too complex.

Now that you have a starting point for your own conversations with your children, encourage other parents to talk to their kids, too! Share this guide to help other parents explain and normalize different types of families.

4 Ways to Introduce Your Newborn to Family During COVID-19

Socially distancing ourselves from one another this year, especially our own family members, has been hard. If you welcomed a baby in 2020 (or are about to), the inability to enjoy the magical meet-the-baby moments is especially disappointing and isolating for everyone — even more so if you’ve waited a long time for those experiences.

We understand how badly you and your family members want to hug each other and hold the newest member of the family. And we know that new parenthood is always a little lonely and isolating, even before those feelings became heightened by new parenthood in a global pandemic.

Right now, you’re all eager to share in your excitement and love. But, as you know, now just isn’t the safest time to celebrate together in person.

Your infant isn’t the only one considered high-risk for COVID complications; your older or immunocompromised loved ones are also at risk. For everyone’s safety, things are going to have to look a little different.

While it’s still not safe for your friends and family to hold your newborn, there are a few creative ways in which they can meet and see your child while still prioritizing everyone’s health:

1. A Virtual Party

Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and other video call platforms have been a saving grace for all of us during the pandemic. With these tools, there’s no reason to cancel your baby shower or “welcome home” party.

It may not have the same feel as an in-person party, but there are some upsides to a virtual meet-and-greet:

  • No need to have a bunch of people in your home when you’re already juggling the chaotic messes and sleeplessness of a newborn.
  • You won’t have to clean up the mountain of spit-up rags and stray bottles scattered everywhere.
  • Everyone can attend, even if they live far away.
  • You’ll limit your family’s exposure to the seasonal flu, colds and other common illnesses in addition to serious illnesses like COVID-19.

You were probably already going to ask a friend or family member to help you organize a party pre-pandemic. So now, just ask that person if they’d be willing to schedule a virtual party and help coordinate the tech aspects with attendees.

2. A Drive-By Parade

One fun, lively and creative solution that has arisen in the age of COVID-19 is the drive-by parade. People throughout the world have lined up from inside the safety of their cars and slowly driven past the houses of friends and family members in honor of a celebration: birthdays, graduations, marriages, important anniversaries and, yes, to meet children for the first time.

If you invite your friends and family to participate in a drive-by parade past your home, you should probably ask them to skip the horn-honking — your baby wouldn’t appreciate the noise. However, this is a way for your loved ones to view your baby through their rolled-up car windows and offer their congratulations from a safe distance.

If they want to drop off gifts or food while they’re in the area, you probably don’t need to worry about disinfecting those items. As you know, COVID-19 is primarily spread through in-person contact (so keeping a rolled-up car window in between one another will do the trick) but it’s also completely fine to request that your visitors refrain from delivering gifts if you’re worried.

3. A Photo Shoot

Many parents-to-be were planning on having a newborn photo session long before COVID-19 struck. Now, those photos may be the only way for your friends and family to see your baby at the moment.

We know looking at a photo is a poor substitute for your loved ones cuddling your new baby, but it will give them the opportunity to see your baby closer than they would safely be able to right now.

Plus, scheduling a photo shoot with your newborn during this difficult time will someday serve as an amazing reminder of your child’s entrance into a world that felt a little upside-down. Someday, you’ll be able to show those photos to your child and explain to them what a blessing they were in the midst of such a scary and dark time.

When booking your photo session, make sure that your group is limited to the parents, the baby and the photographer. Talk with your photographer about precautions that you’ll all want to take, including but not limited to:

  • Quarantining before your photo shoot.
  • If available in your area, getting yourselves tested for COVID prior to the session, to be certain that you’re all negative.
  • Wearing masks as often as possible during your session — put them back on after you smile!
  • Taking photos outdoors rather than at home or in a studio.
  • Staying at least six feet apart from the photographer when possible. They may want to bring a zoom lens!

Don’t forget to take at least one photo with your masks on, if only to commemorate the strangeness of this moment in time!

Once your photos are ready, be sure to send an online link, physical prints, or a keepsake album of your family photo session to your loved ones, so that they can see your baby up close without being close.

4. A Safe In-Person Meeting

We understand that it may be a priority for certain loved ones to meet your baby in person and that waiting until this pandemic is completely over just isn’t an option. You may feel that it’s important enough for people like your parents or siblings to hold your baby that you’re all willing to take the necessary precautions, as well as accept some level of risk.

Not everyone will feel comfortable with an in-person visit right now, so always remain respectful of everyone’s individual levels of comfort and health concerns. However, if you and a few close family members mutually decide that an in-person meeting can’t wait, we recommend that you all take some important precautions, which can include but are not limited to:

Meeting at home.

Meeting outdoors is preferable to an enclosed space, but it might not be an option in your situation — caring for a newborn as well as local weather conditions may necessitate an indoors meeting. If you do meet inside, stay at home rather than meeting up in a public place to avoid contact with non-family members.

Quarantining before the visit.

Ask your loved ones to stay at home and avoid contact with non-household members for two weeks, and practice the same quarantine measures yourself. It may seem extreme, but it’s the best way to keep everyone (including your newborn) safe.

It may not be possible for you and your family members to get tested for COVID-19 in preparation for the visit, so quarantining in advance is the best way to prevent potential spread of the illness.

Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) during the visit.

Everyone but the baby should be wearing a mask throughout the entirety of the visit. Remember: Try not to touch your mask while you’re together. Wearing a mask won’t do anyone any good if you’re not using it properly!

Washing hands and sanitizing.

It may seem simple and it’s been said countless times, but you and your visitors should wash your hands in accordance with CDC guidelines before, during and after the visit. Even if visitors aren’t planning on touching the new baby, they’ll still probably touch a few shared surfaces or objects. Sanitizing frequently touched areas (doorknobs, tables, your phones, etc.) before and after the visit will also limit the risk of COVID-19 exposure.

Keeping your distance.

As tempting as it is to pass your baby around for long-awaited cuddles, everyone should try to maintain a six-foot distance as often as possible. If your loved one must hold your baby, ask that they refrain from kissing your newborn or removing their mask.

Additionally, make sure that you and your loved ones maintain a safe distance from one another. We know it’s hard not to touch, hug, kiss, or be physically close to your family during this important moment, but safely needs to come first right now. Remind everyone to keep touching to a minimum.

Celebrating the arrival of a child can feel strange in the middle of so many unknowns and stressors. But, it absolutely still deserves celebration and joy — even if those celebrations are a little bit different from how we had originally imagined!

Our Tips for Choosing a Hospital for a Surrogacy Delivery

The surrogacy process is a unique experience in many ways. One example of this is making important medical decisions as a team. Working together, the surrogate and intended parents choose which doctors to see, the type of prenatal care to receive and, of course, the hospital for labor and delivery.

Finding the right hospital for labor and delivery can make this important and climatic step of the surrogacy process better for everyone. Your hospital should make you feel safe and have all of the available resources you could possibly need. Proximity to the surrogate’s home could be a big factor, as could other common concerns about hospitals.

If you’re preparing to begin the surrogacy process, this guide will give you the step-by-step process and information you need to make this important decision.

How to Choose a Hospital for Delivery

Choosing a hospital for delivery in the surrogacy process will follow a few steps:

Step 1: Start a Conversation

Choosing a hospital for delivery in surrogacy is a collaborative process. Coordinating with your surrogate and your agency, start talking about what you’re looking for in a hospital. Set your standards and make any non-negotiable items clear.

Step 2: Research Options

Now that you’re on the same page with your surrogate and agency, you can begin searching for hospitals that meet the criteria discussed in step one. Put a list together, starting with online research, and then talk over the list with your surrogate and agency.

Once you have it narrowed down to a few locations, schedule time for consultations with those hospitals to get a personal feel for the staff and ask specific questions. In some cases, the intended parents or surrogate (or both) may be able to take a tour of the maternity ward before making a choice.

Step 3: Choose Your Hospital

Once everyone has reached an agreement about the best location for labor and delivery, you can choose that hospital and move forward with the process.

Seems simple, right? While there may not be that many steps involved in choosing a hospital for surrogacy, the tricky part of this process is working collaboratively on an important and personal medical decision.

Working with Your Partner

Surrogates and intended parents are partners in this life-changing journey. Each has distinct desires and needs. For the best outcome, everyone involved should respect the desires and needs of everyone else involved.

Choosing a hospital is the type of thing that can become contentious if one person tries to take over. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. For the best hospital choice that makes everyone feel safe, supported and encouraged, make sure to do the following:

Listen First

Approach the conversation with the goal of understanding what the other person wants. Of course, you will always need to be clear about what you are looking for in a hospital for labor and delivery, too.

If both the surrogate and intended parents approach the conversation with this posture — eager to listen and also prepared to clearly state their needs — then you’ll be well on your way to making a good decision.

Remember the Goal

It can be common, in the midst of a close game, for a team’s two star players to get into a heated disagreement. This doesn’t happen because one wants her team to win and the other wants the opponent to win. They both want what is best for their team. The disagreement comes from passion, but the goal is the same.

This is how it is with surrogacy. When you’re in the middle of a conversation where you want different things, it can be easy to assume you are fighting for different outcomes — essentially playing for different teams. If you can’t come to an agreement, stop and remind yourself that everyone is playing for the same team and trying to reach the same goal. You all want what is best for the process.

This simple reminder — we’re all working toward the same goal — can help ease tension and resolve disagreement.

Turn to the Experts

Having a hard time with this choice? Your surrogacy specialist can help. Remember, you aren’t in this process alone. Your specialist has helped many other intended parents and surrogates make choices like this.

If you’re stuck between two hospitals or you can’t agree on what’s most important while making your choice, bring your specialist into the conversation. Their professional guidance can bring clarity to your choice.

Things to Consider in Prospective Hospitals

Now that we’ve covered the steps to choosing a hospital and the conversation tools needed to make this decision as a team, let’s take a look at the important practical considerations you’ll need to keep in mind when evaluating locations for labor and delivery.

Insurance

The intended parents cover the costs associated with the medical process of surrogacy, including the hospital stay for labor and delivery. You will want to make sure, as the intended parent, that your insurance offers assistance in cost coverage for any of the hospitals that you’re considering.

Capabilities of the NICU

You never want to believe that your child will spend extra time in the NICU, but it’s always a possibility. If there are complications around the birth, does the hospital have the staff and resources in the NICU to provide adequate care?

Location of the Hospital

Ideally, the hospital will be a short drive from the surrogate’s home. This may not be possible in some situations. In cases like this, you will want to come up with a travel plan so that the surrogate is able to get to the hospital as quickly as possible.

Comfort Level

Does the maternity ward and birthing suite make you feel comfortable and safe? An environment that increases comfort and decreases anxiety can lead to a better birthing experience. This is why it can be a good idea for the surrogate to request an in-person tour of a location before making a final choice.

Speak with a Surrogacy Specialist

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to choosing a hospital for surrogacy. Sometimes, it can be helpful to speak with a surrogacy professional if you have more specific questions about your own decision-making process.

You can contact us online or call 1-800-875-BABY (875-2229) at any time to speak with a specialist. This free consultation can provide the answers you are looking for about surrogacy and, if you’re ready, we’ll always be happy to help you get started with your own journey.

5 Things Every Intended Parent Should Be Ready For

The surrogacy process can be confusing. But, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, it’s relatively easy for someone who is interested in the process to learn how it works.

The American Surrogacy website features in-depth guides to every step of the process, and we do our best to answer all of the biggest questions that intended parents have about surrogacy.

Still, there are some things that you won’t find in most articles online — subtle nuances about the process that intended parents should be ready for, but aren’t always mentioned in how-to guides.

Today, we’re going to focus on those little things that most intended parents should expect to experience during the journey. Here are five things every intended parent should be ready for during the surrogacy process.

1. The Amount of Appointments

Get your calendars ready. Your schedule is about to fill up. It can be easy, when looking over the steps of the surrogacy process, to miss just how many appointments and conversations have to happen along the way.

Whether it’s a video call with your surrogacy specialist or a physical appointment with the fertility clinic, the surrogacy process can take up more of your time than most people realize. All of the little things pile up, and before you know it you’ve got several hours a week reserved for surrogacy-related phone calls and appointments.

Being caught unaware by the demands of the process can become stressful, but this doesn’t have to feel overwhelming if you prepare for it.

2. The ‘Legalese’ of the Contract

This is an emotional journey for you, but it’s a binding legal agreement for your attorney. And that’s a good thing!

Your surrogacy contract can’t reflect the personal nature of this journey because it needs to be an airtight legal agreement. A good surrogacy contract ensures that everyone involved — intended parents and surrogate — are legally protected. This is key to a successful surrogacy process.

Because of this, the language in the contract can feel cold and even, at times, confrontational. We promise it’s not. Those of us who are not legal professionals just aren’t used to the common vernacular of contracts like this. What might feel harsh to us is actually thorough legal work.

If you do have any questions about the contract or are bothered by some of the language, you can always ask your attorney for an explanation.

3. Feelings of Jealousy

This is a beautiful journey. You’re on your way to starting a family. Why would you feel jealous?

Surprising and challenging emotions often sneak up on intended parents. This can be especially common for the intended mother, who might begin to feel jealous of the surrogate for carrying the child.

The long-lasting impact of infertility can affect you in surprising and unsettling ways. Even though you are grateful for the surrogate and happy about your match, you may still experience strong feelings of jealousy.

Instead of feeling ashamed of these emotions, you can prepare for them, accept them as a natural and normal part of the process, and create a plan for how you will address them in a healthy way.

4. The Intensity of the Vetting Process

Hard questions and criticism are no fun. During the surrogacy process, intended parents may experience both sides of this.

While going through the surrogacy agency’s vetting, you may feel like you are under the microscope. You’ll be asked a lot of personal, challenging questions. You need to be prepared to answer them honestly.

Conversely, you may be the ones asking the questions during the matching process. You will need to think critically about any potential matches to ensure that the one you do accept is the perfect fit.

This will probably be uncomfortable, but it’s important that we get this right. It can be helpful to remember that everyone is on the same team. From your agency to your attorney to a potential surrogate match, everyone wants what is best for everyone else. That’s why you may have to ask and answer the hard questions.

5. The Wait to Find a Match

Waiting for a match can stretch out over weeks or months. Finding the surrogate who is just right for your family rarely happens overnight. Your surrogacy specialist will be working hard to find the perfect surrogate for you, but it’s not always easy.

A long wait for a match may be frustrating, but it’s not a bad thing. So many little factors contribute to this relationship, and it’s natural for something this delicate to take time.

While it can be hard to find patience for this part of the process, waiting for the right match will make the whole experience better and more rewarding. If you do find your patience wearing thin, you can always speak with your surrogacy specialist. Just remember that they’re doing everything they can to put you in the best situation to start your family with a successful surrogacy match.

Speak with a Specialist

You’re already on the right track for a successful process by educating yourself and preparing for the journey. Along with online research, it can be helpful to speak with a specialist. If you are an intended parent who is interested in learning more about surrogacy or in beginning your surrogacy process today, you can contact us online at any time or call 1-800-875-BABY (875-2229). This consultation is always free, and our specialists would be happy to answer your questions.

How Adoption After Birth in Surrogacy Works

The surrogacy process can be a bit confusing. While it is primarily experienced as an emotional journey on the part of the intended parents, it’s actually a legal and medical process, too.

All of the little nuances associated with surrogacy law and parental rights can come as a surprise to some intended parents. That’s why it is so important to work with an agency — like American Surrogacy — that can ensure your process follows all the necessary legal requirements.

One potential requirement that catches intended parents off guard is adoption after a surrogacy birth.

Wait — adoption? Isn’t that a totally different family-building option?

Yes, it is. But, due to some state laws, there is a chance you will have to legally adopt your child after birth.

If you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic. It’s totally normal. We’ve created this guide to explain how adoption after birth in surrogacy works, why it might be necessary, and how you can ensure that yours is completed successfully.

What Is an Order of Parentage?

Parentage is a legal term that refers to legal rights to parent a baby. So, an order of parentage is a legal document that declares which people have those parental rights for the newborn child in the surrogacy process.

While laws differ from state-to-state, most laws make an assumption that the woman who gives birth to the baby is the child’s mother. In surrogacy, this is clearly not the case. So, an order of parentage is necessary to set the record straight and grant parental rights to the intended parents.

In many instances, this order can be secured before birth and is appropriately known as a pre-birth order. Your surrogacy agency and attorney will help you file the pre-birth order so that parental rights are already taken care of when the baby is born.

However, some states do not allow for pre-birth orders, and that’s where adoption comes into play.

How Adoption After Birth in Surrogacy Works

Instead of obtaining a pre-birth order, some intended parents will need to work with their agency and attorney to file a post-birth parentage order. Within surrogacy, this is the term we use for this action. But in the eyes of many states, a “post-birth parentage order” is, legally speaking, an adoption.

How does this work? Once again, it can depend on the laws of your state. Generally, the surrogate must execute her official consent to adoption after the child is born. This involves either a written consent to the adoption (witnessed and signed by a public notary) or a petition for relinquishment of parental rights that is filed by the attorney.

During this period of waiting for the official post-birth order of parentage, the surrogate is considered the legal parent in the eyes of the state. But, this doesn’t mean that the intended parents cannot act as the parents they are. You can still hold the child and personally assume your role as mom or dad while the state sorts out the legal roles.

Additionally, it’s important to know that while their may need to be a post-birth adoption order, the surrogate cannot just “keep” the child if she has a change of heart. The surrogacy contract is a binding legal agreement that both parties will have already signed. That contract makes any worst-case scenario fears impossible.

Why Adoption After Birth in Surrogacy is Necessary

Ultimately, it comes down to state laws. Some states do not allow pre-birth orders to be filed. If you live in one of these states, your attorney will need to help the surrogate follow the required adoption laws after birth, which can involve a waiting period and mandatory counseling before officially signing the consent to the adoption.

This may seem confusing. Why would the surrogate have to receive counseling or wait for a certain amount of time?

Keep in mind that, in the eyes of the state, this post-birth surrogacy order is actually an adoption. Adoption laws were written to protect the rights of prospective birth mothers, who are in totally different situations than a surrogate. The waiting period and counseling are in place to ensure that these women are fully informed before making their choice in an adoption process. It just so happens that post-birth orders in surrogacy may have to follow these same steps.

Once again, it’s important to stop and realize that this is very common. Many surrogacy placements go through post-birth orders. There’s no reason to be worried if you have to take this additional step due to your state’s laws. Everyone is on the same page, and your process will be completed successfully.

Who Can Help with Adoption After Birth in Surrogacy

Your surrogacy process will include several different professionals. When it comes to pre- and post-birth orders of parentage, your most important resources are your surrogacy attorney and agency. These legal professionals and counselors will help you understand what’s happening, ensure that all legal requirements are met, and guide you to the completion of a successful surrogacy process.

Would you like to speak with a specialist today about this part of the process or any other questions you have? Contact us online at any time or call 1-800-875-BABY (875-2229). We’d be happy to help you understand the process and get started on your surrogacy journey.

Life After Infertility: Infertility, Pregnancy Loss and Infant Loss Awareness Month

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. The tragedy of losing a pregnancy or newborn takes many forms and is experienced by thousands every year.

Talking about something as personal as the loss of pregnancy or of a child can be incredibly uncomfortable. This month is an opportunity to push past that discomfort in the hope of offering solidarity and help to those who are struggling with the lasting effects of devastating loss.

There are many aspects of pregnancy and infant loss that are worth discussing. Here, we want to look ahead to life after infertility and pregnancy and infant loss. Even in the darkest moments, there can be a spark of hope ahead.

Giving Grief its Time

Although it may seem counterintuitive, we need to talk about grief before we can talk about hope.

Grief is complicated. It’s not as simple as feeling sad, talking about it and moving on. The weight of grief — and specifically that of infertility and pregnancy loss — can stick with you for years.

We say this not to be discouraging, but to acknowledge an important reality: Although there is hope for a beautiful life after infertility, its impact will never fully disappear. We can’t have an honest discussion about life after infertility and pregnancy loss without honoring the very real and challenging grief of this experience.

Real hope is found in confronting pain, not avoiding it. That’s the first principle of life after infertility and pregnancy loss. Give yourself time to honestly face the loss you’ve experienced — to wrestle with it, feel it deeply and process it fully — before jumping to the next step.

Good is coming, but it can’t be rushed.

When you are on this journey, you may realize that you cannot do it alone. Many others have come to the same breaking point. There’s no shame in this. Reaching out to a counselor or other form of professional help could provide the support you need to carry on. You can use this guide from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine to find counselors who specialize in infertility and pregnancy loss.

Rebuilding Your Dreams

Alternative family-building options are becoming more popular and accessible. This means that your dream of starting (or growing) your family can take on a new shape in life after infertility.

Before we go on to family-building options, it’s important to stop and consider if this is really what you want. Life after infertility looks different for everyone. That could mean that, in your life, your new dreams are not related to building a family. Whatever passions bring your joy, that’s what you should pursue.

If your dream of starting a family is as strong as ever, then there are two primary ways to do that:

Adoption: There are several different ways to adopt. For hopeful parents choosing between adoption and surrogacy, domestic infant adoption is often the route that makes the most sense. This type of adoption involves a prospective birth mother creating an adoption plan for her unborn baby. She then chooses the adoptive parents (that could be you!) and, after birth, the newborn is placed with the parents.

The adoption journey is rarely easy, but it can be a beautiful and life-changing way to build your family. If you’d like more information about adoption, you can contact our sister agency, American Adoptions.

Surrogacy: The surrogacy process can be an amazing way to become parents. There are several different ways to go about finding a match, choosing a gamete donor, and completing other aspects of the process. The most important step to a successful surrogacy process is finding the right agency to work with. If you’d like to learn more about surrogacy, you can contact us at any time to speak with a specialist.

You’re Not Alone

Life after infertility and pregnancy and infant loss will always be impacted by the pain you’ve experienced. But, as you can see above, there are available options that create the opportunity for new life in the midst of the pain.

If you find yourself in a place where moving forward feels impossible, it may help to read the stories of others. You are not alone. Others have carried the same weight, and they can testify to the promise of a bright future.

Everyone is on a unique path. As you can see from these courageous stories, there’s always the chance that, despite the pain of the past, the future is full of goodness.

Contact Us Today

Would you like to speak with a surrogacy professional about surrogacy after infertility? Please contact us online today or call 1-800-875-BABY (875-2229).