Recommended Reading While You’re Waiting During the Holidays

For many people, the holidays come with a lot of free time — which means this is the perfect opportunity for you to check out some of the best reading resources for intended parents and surrogates.

We know that the wait can be tough, but there are plenty of things that you can do to take your mind off the surrogacy process. Take the time now to sit down with these books and informational resources.

Whether you’ve been thinking about starting the surrogacy process over the long break, or you’re already in the middle of a journey, we hope that you can find something helpful here.

Recommended Reading for Intended Parents

Becoming an intended parent is an exciting journey. Because surrogacy is still fairly new, there is a lot to learn about this process. While you’re enjoying your holiday break, here is some of the best reading resources for intended parents.

Recommended Reading for Infertility

Coping with the loss of infertility is one of the hardest parts about starting the surrogacy journey and moving toward parenthood. If you’re looking for books about the infertility journey and blogs written by couples in your situation, start here:

Books for Explaining Surrogacy to Your Child

Surrogacy should be talked about openly and honestly. If you’re looking for ways to explain the process to your child or for books that you can read together during the holiday break, here are some great options to get started.

  • The Kangaroo Pouch: A Story About Surrogacy for Young Children: The Kangaroo Pouch is a simple, beautiful book that all families touched by surrogacy will love reading together. Told from the prospective of a young child, this story presents a step-by-step look of one family’s decision to grow through surrogacy and what life is like during the pregnancy and after.
  • I LoVe My Family: I LoVe My Family is a great way to explain surrogacy and assisted conception to young children. Filled with diverse pictures and inclusive language, this is the perfect tool to answer any of your child’s questions.
  • Grown in Another Garden: Grown in another Garden introduces the idea of surrogacy to young children. Told from the perspective of a surro-born child, this story helps explain why some couples choose surrogacy to grow their family.

Recommended Reading for Surrogates

There’s no such thing as too much information when it comes to surrogacy. Whether you’re in the middle of your surrogacy journey or thinking about becoming a surrogate, here are some informational books you should check out.

  • Everything Conceivable: This book has great information for intended parents and surrogates. It includes personal stories from everyone involved in surrogacy, along with an in-depth look at the entire surrogacy process.
  • Birthing a Mother: The Surrogate Body and the Pregnant Self: If you’re looking for a book that explores how intended mothers and surrogates relate to once another throughout the process, this is what you want.
  • Labor of Love: Gestational Surrogacy and the Work of Making Babies: This book includes a series of interviews from intended parents, gestational surrogates, and their family and friends. If you’re looking for a book that covers multiple perspectives, along with an in-depth look at the history of surrogacy, this is one to check out.
  • My Mom is a Surrogate: If you’re a surrogate, your children are going to be naturally curious about the process. This book follows a pair of siblings as they watch their mother become a surrogate. If you’re looking for a helpful way to explain the surrogacy process to your child, this book is a great way to get started.

Find Your New Favorite Book

The holidays are one of the best times of the year. It’s the perfect chance to look back and appreciate how far we’ve come, make our favorite resolutions for the new year and just unwind.

Whether it’s a book or a blog post, there always something to read during the holidays. Take the time to read something new as you get ready for the next part of your surrogacy journey.

Is there anything that you’re reading for your surrogacy and parenting journey? Let us know in the comments!

10 Holiday Gift Alternatives for Those Going Through Surrogacy

Are you gearing up for the holiday season? If you’re like most people, then you’re probably struggling with what to give your loved ones — especially if they’re an intended parent or a surrogate and you’re not sure about what is appropriate.

It’s easy to stick with the usual just to be safe: gift cards to their favorite restaurants or to a movie, clothes, holiday money. But we know that you’d rather get them something that’s a little more special. If you’ve having a hard time figuring out what to give them that will really blow them away, you’re not alone.

If you’re tired of pacing the aisles of Target to find the perfect gift, or if you’re looking for something a little out of the box, check out 10 gift ideas that will really impress your loved one going through the surrogacy process.

1. Sending Ready-Made Meals

Even those of us who absolutely love to cook could use a break sometimes. If your intended parent or surrogate’s idea of a good time is spending the evening in the kitchen, ordering a meal-kit delivery service is a great way to take the extra burden of meal-prepping off their shoulders. And, now that meal kits are more popular than ever, you have plenty of options to choose from.

These services are an easy way to ensure that the person you’re buying them for has healthy meals all week long without having to drive to the grocery store. Many of them also have options for specific diets   like vegan or vegetarian. Some, like Snap Kitchen and Fresh and Easy, even provide ready-made meals, which takes away the stress of getting dinner on the table ready. The options range in price, so you should be able to find one that fits perfectly in your budget.

A few favorites?

2. Meal-Prepping for Surrogates Who are Pregnant

There’s nothing better than having a meal made ahead of time. If you like the idea of meal-kit services, but you’d like to put your own spin on things, you might think about meal-prepping for your surrogate during her pregnancy.

Being pregnant isn’t easy, especially when carrying a child for someone else. With so much to worry about, it can be stressful to keep the fridge stocked and dinner on the table. During this holiday season, take the load off a surrogate’s shoulders by doing some of the heavy lifting for her. If you start early on Sunday morning, she’ll have plenty to enjoy throughout the week.

3. Donating to an Intended Parent’s Surrogacy Fund

Everyone loves getting gift cards during the holiday season. They’re simple, and you can find them just about anywhere. But this year, you might think about donating to something other than your local restaurant’s or movie theatre’s cash fund.

If your friend or loved one is pursing surrogacy, even just a little bit of your financial support goes a long way toward making a difference in their surrogacy expenses. Like adoption, surrogacy is an expensive endeavor. It takes a lot of time, money and resources to make intended parents’ dreams of building a family a reality. If you decide to donate to their surrogacy fund, you could take a financial burden off their shoulders.  burden off their shoulders.

4. Donating Your Time

The holidays are all about spending time together. It might seem like a small gift, but just your time can make a huge difference during someone’s surrogacy journey. Run their errands, offer babysitting services for their other children as they make their way to medical appointments, and more.

This can be a priceless gift for super busy people like your surrogate or intended parent. And having one stress-free day will make their surrogacy journey so much easier.

5. Giving Something Sentimental

The surrogacy journey will connect intended parents and surrogates together for years to come. If you are wondering what to give each other, it might be nice to either make or commission a gift that will remind you of your journey together. Consider a necklace that has the baby’s birthdate, a bracelet with the family’s initials, or some other personalized present.

6. Making a Homemade Treat

Over the last year, we’ve all had plenty of time to practice our baking and cooking skills. You’ve probably seen people on social media showing off their bread-making skills in the comfort of their own home. If you fall into that category, now is the time to show your loved ones how much you’ve learned.

Bring over some delicious bread, some handmade jam, or anything else that you think they might like.

7. Organizing a Personalized Gift Basket

You’ve probably seen gift baskets like Edible Arrangements, but you can also make your own gift basket for the special person in your life. Remember, it doesn’t need to be expensive or extravagant.

While you’re making your gift basket, think about where your loved one is at in their surrogacy journey. For example, if this is the intended parents’ first Christmas with their baby, they might want a few special items — like an ornament or figurine — that will help them commemorate this special day.

Likewise, think about where a surrogate is at in her pregnancy. If she’s just delivered, she might like something to commemorate the experience with the intended parents, as well as items for her postpartum recovery.

8. Putting Together a Memory Book

The surrogacy journey is full of ups and downs — just like any family-building experience. For this holiday season, you might decide to look back and create your own memory book of your surrogacy journey. Make a collection of your favorite pregnancy photos and or pictures of your child and put them in the book to share repeatedly.

Don’t forget a copy for your surrogacy partner!

9. Choosing Something for the Surrogate’s Family

If you’re the intended parent or the family of an intended parent, it could be nice to include a small gift for the surrogate and her family. Whether it’s something handmade or something you plan on buying, we’re sure you’ll find something special — like tickets to a local zoo or a movie night out.

10. Just Spending Time Together

Giving gifts is a wonderful part of the holidays. But it’s not the most important thing.

If you can, carve out some time to spend with the intended parents or the surrogate. Even if you choose to not spend any money, you can still have a great time with fun, family-friendly activities. Hold a talent show, a concert, or just watch a movie together from a distance.

It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday cheer and go all out with elaborate, expensive gifts. But the best gifts are the ones with the most thought put into them.

No matter what you decide to give your intended parents or surrogate, we know that they’ll appreciate it. If you put in the time and care to think about what they really want, you will make this holiday season one to remember.

Looking for more holiday gift ideas for your surrogacy partner? Contact your surrogacy specialist for suggestions!

The Importance of Grieving Infertility Before Pursuing Surrogacy

Becoming a parent is one of life’s greatest joys. As you start the surrogacy process, the last thing you want to think about is your infertility journey. After all, your dreams are finally coming true. Now that parenthood is your destination, you can put those painful memories in the rearview mirror and move forward. What is there to worry about?

A lot, actually.

Before you dive headfirst into the surrogacy process, you need to come to terms with and fully grieve your infertility journey. There’s just no way around it. Any unchecked feelings about your infertility journey will impact your mental health, your parenting experience and your relationship with your child. If you haven’t already accepted your infertility grief, it’s going to be hard to move forward from your loss and give the surrogacy experience your all.

Many intended parents have successful parenting experiences after infertility, but you do need to be aware of the challenges that arise when it comes to parenting after infertility.

Why Accepting Your Infertility is a Crucial First Step

The grief of infertility is a heavy burden to carry. It’s so heavy, in fact, that it will be easy for your child to pick up on any negative emotions that you’re trying to keep bottled up.

Even if you think that you’re doing a good job handling your grief and loss, any resentment you have toward not being able to carry your child yourself will affect your relationship with them and their self-esteem. And often, it can hurt your child for many years to come.

We know that you’re excited to become a parent and that you’re more than ready for this experience. However, becoming a parent when you’re not 100% emotionally ready is not fair to you or your child.

The way you feel about your surrogacy experience will shape how your child sees themselves and how they see the surrogacy process. If you continue to carry around resentment about the surrogacy process, or if you only see surrogacy as the second-best option, your child could start to feel like they’re like they’re the backup plan or like the way they came into this world wasn’t enough for you.

Of course, we know that you never want your child to feel this way. It’s OK if surrogacy wasn’t your first choice, but to prevent your child from ever feeling these painful emotions, you need to heal and fully accept your own fertility loss before moving forward.

You’ll never be able to fully embrace the idea of surrogacy when your heart is still yearning for that pregnancy experience. You might feel like you’re “giving up” by choosing surrogacy instead of sticking with IVF treatments. That’s absolutely not the truth. But, if you’re going to put so much time and energy into this family-building process, then you need to be 100% on board in order to become the best parents a child could ever ask for.

How to Cope with Infertility

Learning how to cope with infertility is the first step toward moving forward. On your journey to parenthood, there are a few ways that you can cope with and eventually accept your infertility.

  • Share your feelings: We know that it’s hard to talk about, but infertility affects more families than you know. If you’re one of the many couples coping with infertility, we know that it can be tough to talk about and be open about what you’re experiencing. But just know that you’re not alone. About 1 in 8 couples experience the devastating heartbreak of infertility. There are people ready to listen to what you’re going through. You can always reach out to an infertility counselor when you need advice.
  • Allow yourself to truly feel your emotions: Going through infertility is already hard enough, so don’t feel like you must keep everything bottled up. You’re not doing yourself or your partner any favors when you pretend that everything is OK when it’s not. Fully embracing each of the stages of grief is the key to moving forward.
  • Be honest with your partner: Your partner will be your closest source of support. What you’re going through right now is incredibly difficult, but it’s important that you don’t suppress feelings that can easily turn into resentment and frustration. Share your fears and worries, and work together to come up with a plan to address them.

Becoming the family you’ve always dreamed of is an incredible feeling. But know that parenting after infertility is not as easy as you might think — especially when you haven’t fully dealt with the loss.

Grieving this loss is often the hardest part about becoming a new family after infertility. It’s not uncommon to have lingering emotions of grief and loss long after infertility. Practice self-care and reach out to professionals to keep yourself as mentally healthy as possible. And, remember, there’s nothing wrong with waiting until you are ready to start your new dream as a family through surrogacy.

Your Child’s Differences Should Be Celebrated

Being born through surrogacy is not something that just happens every day. Your child is going to be curious about this process as they get older, and it is something that should be talked about openly.

Children who are born through surrogacy need to know that their unique story is something to be celebrated and embraced. They need to know their story, and they need to hear it from you.

As they learn more about surrogacy, they’re going to come to you with any questions they may have, and it’s up to you to answer them. It will be hard for you to talk about your struggles with infertility if you haven’t yet healed from that experience.

Start Your Parenting Journey

The grief of infertility is not something that will disappear overnight or when you become a parent. These emotions may come back when you least expect it. But, if you are doing the work that’s needed to cope with these feelings of grief and loss, then you should have no problem moving forward and becoming an amazing parent.

To learn more about how American Surrogacy can help you reach your parenthood goals, please contact our specialists today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

The Hardest Part of Bringing Home a Baby Born Via Surrogacy

Bringing your child home for the first time is a thrilling moment. But, like many intended parents before you, you probably have one big question on your mind: How will you bond with your baby when they’re born through surrogacy?

Everyone has something that they think is the hardest part about being a new parent. But for parents who weren’t able to carry their own child through pregnancy, fears about not being able to bond with baby right away can feel like the hardest part of bringing a baby born via surrogacy home.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible or that it will never happen.

Here, we’ll focus on these bonding worries, as well as other difficult aspects of parenting every new parent should be prepared for.

Why Am I Not Bonding with My Baby?

Every intended parent dreams of the moment they hold their child for the first time. It’s been a long nine months, and the wait is finally over. But, when you haven’t been the one carrying your child, you might feel a bit of a disconnect and even guilt if you don’t feel that sense of overwhelming love right away.

It can be hard when your hopes don’t live up your expectations. But the truth is that many new parents — even those who carry their baby through pregnancy — can have trouble bonding after birth. This can happen for many reasons, but none of it is your fault.

No matter how a child comes into a family, having a baby is a big adjustment. It will take some time to get used to your new normal. If you don’t feel that instant connection that you’ve heard so much about, rest assured that you’re not alone. It does not in any way mean that you’re a bad parent, or that you’ll never be able to bond with them properly. It just means you’re having a hard time at the moment.

Try to be patient with yourself as you and baby get to know each other. Surrogacy means bonding with your child may take some more time and effort. But it will happen over time.

In the meantime, follow the tips and the suggestions from your specialist and pediatrician. Keep up skin-to-skin contact, frequently communicate, and pay attention to your baby’s needs. While you’re getting used to your new role, you might use this time to look at some more helpful tips for bonding with your baby as an intended parent.

If you’re worried about bonding with your baby after birth, don’t forget to check out some tips for bonding with them while they’re in utero to make the transition easier.

Other Things to Know About Bringing a New Baby Home

Bonding with a new baby will be tough, but there are some other important things that you should prepare for. Below are some more hard moments that many first-time parents go through as they begin their parenting journey.

This is all brand new to you.

For almost every new parent, taking care of a newborn can be downright exhausting. For the first time, you have a human being that is totally dependent on you. You will be responsible for absolutely everything, and that can be pretty scary at first. You might feel like you’re doing everything wrong or like you don’t have a clue about how to be a parent — even with all the work you’ve been doing.

Remember to be gentle on yourself. Every parent makes mistakes when they’re just starting out. It doesn’t mean that you’re doing a bad job at all. It just means that you’ve got some learning to do.

You’re running on empty.

Sleep deprivation is no joke. The lack of enough or quality sleep can make you feel like you’re barely holding it together. But at the same time, you’ve got this tiny little life who is dependent on you for everything. There’s no time to be exhausted when your baby needs you.

If you can, take power naps while your baby is sleeping. Just 10–20 minutes is all your body needs to get the benefits of napping so that you’re up and ready to go. If you have a partner, take turns napping so that both of you can get some much-needed rest.

You’re going to be on high alert.

If you’re already an anxious person, becoming a parent will make those feelings spike. The best thing you can do is be prepared ahead of time. If you’re worried or if you need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a medical professional.

You could suffer from postpartum depression.

It might be surprising, but postpartum depression can happen to any new parent, even if you didn’t give birth to your own child.

A few important signs to watch out for are:

  • Mood swings
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Difficulty sleeping or eating

If you experience any of these signs, or if you’re struggling to bond with your child, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor.

Remember, being a first-time parent is difficult for everyone. You’re not alone if you feel overwhelmed.

If you’re struggling to adjust to life as a new parent, don’t hesitate to reach out to your surrogacy specialist for advice.

Do You Need to Purchase Newborn Insurance for Your Surrogacy?

Bringing your baby home is one of the most exciting parts about becoming a new parent. But figuring out your insurance details? Not so much.

While insurance is often a confusing process, surrogacy insurance is even trickier — especially if you’re an international intended parent. Every insurance company has their own polices about how they will cover a surrogate pregnancy, and every situation is different, which makes it hard to figure out what you need for your gestational surrogacy.

If you’re like most families, then you’ve probably got a lot of questions. We plan to answer them in this guide to newborn insurance for international intended parents and surrogacy insurance for domestic parents. However, please speak with your insurance provider for the most accurate and personal advice.

Do Domestic Intended Parents Need to Purchase Newborn Insurance?

This is often the first question intended parents ask about their insurance when they live in the United States. If you have to purchase an extra policy for your gestational surrogate, then it’s natural to wonder if you need to purchase newborn insurance for your baby, as well.

The good news is that, as a domestic intended parent pursuing surrogacy in the United States, you don’t need to worry about this extra step. The insurance you already have will cover your baby at birth, so you shouldn’t have to look elsewhere for your baby’s coverage.

The process of adding your child to your insurance may vary from provider to provider. We encourage you to reach out to your provider early on to ensure your child is adequately covered after they are born.

As a domestic intended parent, you may only have to worry about buying an extra policy for your gestational surrogate, if necessary. Your gestational carrier will usually have her own insurance separate from yours, and she may be able to get some coverage for her medical expenses. In the event that she can’t, surrogacy insurance is a separate policy intended to cover her medical costs.

Keep in mind that any out-of-pocket medical costs incurred will be your responsibility as the intended parent. Your gestational surrogate will never be financially responsible for any medical costs for your newborn baby.

Your surrogacy specialist will go over the ins and outs of your policy in more detail before you begin. Before you buy separate surrogacy insurance, reach out to your specialist first. They will assess your own insurance coverage and inform you of any additional required costs.

What About International Intended Parents?

Becoming an international intended parent is exciting, but figuring out insurance for another country can be confusing — especially in the United States.

Because international intended parents’ insurance won’t carry over to the United States, newborn insurance is typically purchased in these journeys. When you’re an international intended parent, it is your responsibility to ensure that your newborn has coverage in the U.S. from the moment of birth.

Newborn claims and expenses can be the most overwhelming part of the process for parents who do not have coverage in the United States. Insurance is already tricky enough for domestic parents, so you’re not alone if you’re confused.

After your child is born, you should be soaking up every minute with your little one — not on the phone dealing with hospitals and providers. Buying newborn insurance in advance takes some of the weight off your shoulders. Surrogacy is already expensive enough, so make sure that you have your insurance sorted out to save as much money as possible.

While American Surrogacy only works with domestic intended parents, there are many surrogacy agencies that work with international families. To learn more about newborn insurance for international surrogacy, please contact one of the following professionals.

Where Can I Find Newborn Insurance as an International Intended Parent?

When you travel to the United States, there are several options for purchasing newborn insurance before your baby is born. Because there are many different types, research your options to figure out which one is right for you. Below are a few that you might consider:

  • Expat insurance: If you’re already a U.S. citizen and living abroad, there are options that will cover you and your newborn when you return to the United States.
  • Travel insurance: If you’re traveling in the U.S., consider travel insurance for you and your baby. Some companies, like Allianz, require both parents be insured., require both parents be insured.
  • Newborn resource plan: If you’re only planning on insuring your newborn, you can use a newborn resource plan, such as the International Newborn Care Card. Be aware, however, that this is technically not insurance. This card only allows for significant discounts on any claims. There is no cap on the financial responsibility of the parent, and it is your responsibility to pay for any additional costs. This card also excludes any and all claims related to your surrogate. Another option for newborn insurance is a discounted hospital cash payment. An insurance broker can help you determine which option is less expensive.

It is important that you speak with an insurance representative to understand the specifics of each plan and to decide what is best for you.

Get the Protection You Need for Your Surrogacy Journey

We know that insurance can be confusing while you’re in another country or in the United States. But making sure that you have the right protection is imperative to making sure that your baby and your surrogate are covered during this journey. The last thing that you want to do is pay more than you have to.

If you have any questions at all about insurance as a domestic intended parent, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of your surrogacy specialists, your attorney or an insurance representative. They want to help you save as much as you can during this journey so that you can put it toward what’s important: your new family.

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!”


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.