New Report Highlights Risks of International Surrogacy for LGBT Parents

A new report from the Daily Beast reveals a change in U.S. immigration policy that impacts U.S. citizens whose children are born abroad — such as American intended parents who complete an international surrogacy.

A new policy within the U.S. State Department has changed the department’s interpretation of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Act, which codifies eligibility for U.S. birthright citizenship, has previously been used by U.S. citizens to obtain citizenship for their children born abroad. But new developments reveal that LGBT intended parents whose children are born in another country face extra difficulties. Even if a child is genetically related to at least one U.S. citizen, if they are born through gestational surrogacy or another form of assisted reproductive technology, they are considered “born out of wedlock” — even if the parents are legally married.

Today, internationally born children who are “born out of wedlock” to LGBT intended parents face additional hurdles for birthright citizenship — and are subject to deportation or statelessness in the meantime.  While a lawsuit is currently in action against the State Department, LGBT families created in the meantime through international assisted reproduction are increasingly at risk.

The recent report only highlights what we at American Surrogacy have known for years — that international surrogacy for American intended parents is a dangerous path. Whether you are an LGBT intended parent who can be affected by the State Department’s new policies, or you’re a heterosexual intended parent considering international surrogacy, you should be familiar with the risks of this process.

In addition to the new risks stemming from the “out-of-wedlock” immigration policy, there are a few reasons that we advise intended parent to pursue domestic surrogacy instead of international surrogacy:

1. Undefined or Restrictive Surrogacy Laws

It’s true — there are no federal surrogacy laws in the United States. But, there are plenty of states with laws that are surrogacy-friendly for all types of intended parents. The same can’t be said about all other countries.

Many once-popular surrogacy destinations for American intended parents have closed down their borders for international surrogacy, and many other countries out there set strict limits on the process. In many countries, a surrogate cannot be paid for her surrogacy services or can only work with intended parents whom she is related to.

Still other countries have no defined surrogacy laws at all. While the low costs in these countries may be attractive to intended parents, surrogacy in these countries can be legally risky. There may be no set precedent for an intended parent’s rights, and you may have no clue about what unethical situations are occurring to a lack in surrogacy legislation.

Throw in the current situation with LGBT parents’ children not being automatically granted birthright citizenship, and you have a very complicated legal situation on your hands.

2. Ethical Complications with Gestational Carriers

Save for in a few states, every American gestational carrier has the right to receive compensation for her services. This ensures that she is properly appreciated for her decision and experiences no financial burden from her decision to carry for intended parents.

But international surrogates often don’t get the same protection. In fact, compensation frequently causes ethical problems in other countries. Many surrogates are financially forced into surrogacy because of the draw that compensation creates, and not all women are 100 percent aware of the challenges of gestational surrogacy before they begin.

While the lower costs of international surrogacy may be attractive to American intended parents, it should give them pause. Lower costs mean that the same level of services and protection are not being provided — and, with a surrogate being located halfway across the world, American intended parents will likely not have the same knowledge of her pregnancy’s course as they would with a surrogate closer to home.

3. Lower Medical Standards

On the same note, a gestational carrier in another country — especially if she is located rurally — may not have the same access to quality care as an American gestational carrier. She may not also be screened as thoroughly as a surrogate in the United States would be. Intended parents who pursue this kind of surrogacy put her and their baby at risk simply because they wish to save on their surrogacy expenses.

Many popular countries for international surrogacy do not have the same medical standards as the United States, and this can understandably be worrisome for intended parents. The distance and uncertainty involved in the medical process can be risky, especially for intended parents who may be using their last few viable embryos.

Clearly, there have always been reasons why an international surrogacy is dangerous for American intended parents. The news regarding LGBT intended parents and international surrogacy is just one more.

American Surrogacy is dedicated to helping intended parents — regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity — safely bring home the child they’ve always dreamed about. To pursue a surrogacy in the United States, give our surrogacy specialists at call at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) or contact us online today.

Uncover the Financial Truth About Family-Building During National Infertility Awareness Week

Infertility is a struggle that affects millions of Americans. But, despite how common it is, it is still very much a taboo subject for many people — but National Infertility Awareness Week is here to change that.

Each year, RESOLVE chooses a theme to address during National Infertility Awareness Week. This year, we’re focusing on the significant lack of access to affordable family-building options and emotional support for the men and women struggling with infertility every day. As much as family-building options have expanded over the last few decades, there’s still a long way to go for making assisted reproduction and other non-traditional family-building methods affordable for every single person.

American Surrogacy is proud to help educate as part of National Infertility Awareness Week. Anyone struggling with infertility and considering gestational surrogacy can always talk to our specialists for free at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

In the meantime, here’s what you need to know for this important week:

Infertility Treatments Often Break the Bank

Coping with infertility struggles is a difficult emotional journey. But it can also be an extremely stressful financial journey for those who wish to become parents.

When a couple can’t conceive in a traditional manner, they often go through a long series of tests to determine their infertility issues. These tests often include physical exams, semen analyses, blood tests and other special procedures. Before a person even starts alternative family-building treatments, they have often sunk thousands of dollars into finding out what is “wrong.” Even more unfortunate? Sometimes these tests don’t reveal a cause of their infertility struggles.

Whether or not a “cause” of infertility is discovered, hopeful parents often move onto assisted reproduction methods next. These can be as simple as intrauterine insemination or as complicated as in vitro fertilization. Donor gametes may be involved, and intended mothers may go through several rounds of failed implementation and/or miscarriage before a successful pregnancy — if they get pregnant at all. And, with the average cost of a single IVF cycle at $12,000, intended parents often spend tens of thousands of dollars on treatment before getting pregnant or deciding on another family-building method.

When Infertility Treatments Don’t Work

If pregnancy is not achieved through basic assisted reproduction, hopeful parents are often left with one decision: surrogacy or adoption. Most parents who choose private domestic infant adoption or gestational surrogacy will spend at least $30,000 more on building their family. If they’ve previously gone through several rounds of IVF, the costs can become overbearing — forcing the parents to take out loans and be otherwise burdened during what should be the happiest time of their lives.

While many parents will tell you that it is all worth it when they bring their little ones home for the first time, there’s no denying just how expensive alternative family-building paths are. Getting pregnant is not simple for those struggling with infertility — and it’s not cheap, either.

Financing Options for Hopeful Parents

For this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week, we want everyone to be aware of the financial burden of alternative family-building today. But, in response, there is also an increasing demand for affordable family-building options — and more and more businesses are taking note.

One of the easiest ways to make alternative family-building more affordable is through employer support. Insurance coverage of infertility tests and treatments can be a lifesaver for hopeful parents. While more than 400 companies in the U.S. offer benefits for fertility treatments, the range of benefits from company to company vary greatly. Unfortunately, the majority of IVF patients still have to pay for all or some of their treatment out-of-pocket.

With infertility affecting 1 in 8 American couples, many family-building professionals wholeheartedly believe that infertility coverage should be included in modern insurance plans. Whether you’re a hopeful parent yourself or a supporter of these parents, speak with your employer about adding infertility coverage to your company policy. Advocate for those who may not be able to do so themselves for this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week.

Even with some degree of insurance coverage, many hopeful parents find themselves financially burdened during this family-building process. After all, they are trying to save up for the expenses of a new child at the same time they are paying a great deal to bring that child into their life! To aid these parents, many financial companies have started offering specific loans and grants to those looking to build their families.

Many intended parents also look to family and friends for personal, low-interest loans to make their family-building journey possible. If you can afford to, consider offering loans to your family and friends struggling with infertility or donating to a project that offers loans to intended parents.

There are many ways you can support hopeful parents during National Infertility Awareness Week. In addition to the methods mentioned above, you can get involved by sharing your story, hosting or participating in awareness walks, and fundraising for infertility research. Although it can be a silent struggle, infertility is an issue that affects all of us in one way or another. That’s why American Surrogacy supports intended parents during this week and throughout the year as they determine the best path forward for their family.

Want to learn more about our gestational surrogacy program? Contact our surrogacy specialists today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

No, Pregnancy Announcement April Fools’ Jokes Aren’t Funny

April Fool’s Day — a day of harmless hijinks and misadventures that some of us love, some of us hate. But, not all April Fool’s Day pranks are harmless. Today, we’re focusing on a growing trend of fake “announcements” that are the opposite of fun — and can instead be reminders of real sadness and grief for many people.

We’re talking about those fake social media pregnancy announcements. You know the ones: Someone posting a fake sonogram photo they’ve found online, captioning it with some lengthy pregnancy news — only to follow it up with a “clever” comment about it being April’s Fools and, psych, the pregnancy isn’t actually real.

We want to ask: Who thought this was a good idea?

And who can we get to shut this trend down for every April Fool’s Day in the future?

Why Joke Pregnancy Announcements Aren’t Funny

First off, we’ll start with the obvious: Fake April Fool’s pregnancy announcements aren’t new. They’re not original and likely won’t garner more than an eye roll from your social media friends. Why not go for something more tried-and-true, like the classic saran-wrap-on-the-toilet-seat trick?

That said, there’s been a growing backlash against joke pregnancy announcements for years, especially in the age of social media. The fact is that, for many people, pregnancy is a private and sacred thing, and it doesn’t always recall positive thoughts and celebrations. It’s certainly not a joke.

Today, about 1 in 8 American couples struggle with infertility. That means the odds are that 1 in 8 of your Facebook friends has, had or will have trouble conceiving when they want to have a child. There are also plenty of would-be parents out there who have suffered miscarriage or infant loss, whether they coped with their grief publicly or privately.

Whether or not they share their infertility struggles with their loved ones (which is completely their right), infertility and pregnancy is likely a sensitive topic for them at some point in their lives.

So, when they see your joke pregnancy announcement, they don’t see “funny.” They see a disregard for what it actually takes for many Americans to get pregnant today — the countless negative pregnancy tests, the in vitro fertilization hormone shots and gamete harvesting, the loss of pregnancies in their early stages, and even the acceptance that a biological pregnancy is not in the cards for their family. To them, pregnancy is not a joke; it’s a long-sought-after wish that may or may not eventually be granted.

So, what some may intend as funny and playful is actually offensive and distasteful. Some will argue that you can’t control what other people feel about your announcements (real or not) — but why not at least try to make the world a kinder place by avoiding this sensitive topic?

 

There are a lot of emotions involved in infertility and pregnancy. If you have never had this experience before, it’s easy for the potential psychological harm of this kind of April Fool’s joke to never even cross your mind. For many people struggling with infertility, seeing authentic pregnancy announcements is hard enough — but fake pregnancy announcements are like a gut punch.

As one woman trying to conceive told ABC News, “Try and put yourself in my shoes…. You wouldn’t make a joke about losing your child or your child getting injured. It feels the same way. People don’t realize that.”

That’s not even taking into consideration another subset of people: biological parents who aren’t raising their own children. For birth mothers and birth fathers, pregnancy announcements can remind them of the time they learned of their own unplanned pregnancies — and the emotions they went through in eventually choosing adoption for their children. They certainly might have wished that their pregnancy was a “joke” at one point — another April Fool’s Day prank to scroll past — but their pregnancy and the path they took is likely something that impacts them every single day, both positively and negatively.

Here at American Surrogacy, we know the complicated emotions that many of our clients (both intended parents and gestational carriers) associate with the pregnancy process. We empathize with those emotions, and our specialists are always here to provide emotional support and counseling throughout your family-building journey.

So, this April Fool’s Day, take our message to heart. Share this blog post on your social media to let people know that it’s not okay to use pregnancy as the butt of a joke, even today.

Thank You to Our Staff During National Social Work Month!

Social workers play a huge role in many different aspects of life. For those who build their family in a non-traditional way, social workers are the ones who ease them on their path and guide them through the complicated and emotional steps of adding to their family. Whether it’s through adoption or assisted reproduction, the help of social workers can be invaluable to those who have been dreaming of welcoming a child into their homes.

At American Surrogacy, we are so proud of the work that our amazing social workers do within our agency. Our team is headed by director Angie Newkirk, LBSW, who leads a group of social workers in daily activities aimed to make your surrogacy journey easier. We know how complicated surrogacy can be — for both intended parents and gestational carriers — and we are proud to be here to help in whatever way we can.

Our social workers are an implemental part of the surrogacy journey from start to finish. They work tirelessly day-in and day-out tackling the biggest responsibilities of managing a surrogacy journey:

  • Answering questions and explaining the process to prospective surrogates and intended parents
  • Screening intended parents and surrogates to make sure they are physically, mentally and emotionally ready for surrogacy
  • Finding the perfect surrogacy matches for intended parents and surrogates based on their personal preferences
  • Offering references for fertility clinics, gamete banks, surrogacy attorneys and other necessary professionals
  • Mediating contact between gestational carriers and their intended parents
  • Coordinating case details like medical coverage, insurance and other important details
  • Providing emotional support and counseling from start to finish of the surrogacy process
  • Advocating for intended parents and gestational carriers every step of the way
  • Creating a hospital and birth plan with intended parents and gestational carriers
  • Managing financial details such as surrogate compensation
  • And more

It’s a lot of work, but our social work team loves what they do. More importantly, they love being a part of your surrogacy journey and helping your surrogacy dreams come true.

So, for this year’s National Social Work Month, we’re sending our thanks out to our tireless team of social workers who have helped many intended parents and gestational carriers reach their personal surrogacy dreams. Want to get to know our social workers better, or start your own surrogacy journey today? Don’t be afraid to reach out by calling 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

What You Need to Know Endometriosis Awareness Month

Throughout the month of March, a spotlight is placed on the biggest cause of infertility in women: endometriosis. Not only does endometriosis affect a woman’s ability to carry a child, it’s an extremely painful disease that can be debilitating in many ways. Endometriosis, however, is still widely misunderstood and dismissed by many.

Join American Surrogacy in taking part in Endometriosis Awareness Month!

What You Need to Know About Endometriosis

If you know someone who deals with this condition, or if you think you may have endometriosis, here’s what you should know:

  • Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory condition that can affect the uterus, pelvic peritoneum, ovaries, recto-vaginal septum, bladder and bowel.
  • Symptoms are usually very painful, and can include pain during periods, ovulation, during or after sex; persistent pelvic pain; chronic fatigue; heavy bleeding; and infertility.
  • This condition affects about 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years (approximately 176 million worldwide).
  • Endometriosis symptoms can occur as early as a first period, but menopause may not end the symptoms, especially if scar tissue or adhesions have accumulated as a result of the disease.
  • Surgery is the only option for removing endometriosis lesions and scar tissue, although success rates can vary.
  • There are treatments to help with endometriosis, but there is no known cure.
  • There is no known cause for endometriosis, although genetic predisposition currently seems to be the most consistent factor.

Who Endometriosis Affects and How it Affects Them

Because this is an unfortunately common condition, you or someone you love is likely directly affected. Here’s how lives are changed by endometriosis:

  • Intimate relationships can be a source of physical pain for women who suffer from endometriosis, which can be frustrating and emotionally alienating for both partners.
  • Some women who suffer from endometriosis may grieve aspects of their femininity, as a woman’s menstrual cycle, sexual health and ability to carry children is often part of her self-formed identity.
  • Sufferers often have to spend a lot of time at home, missing work, school or important events due to painful symptoms.
  • In some cases, endometriosis can cause infertility, which primarily affects the woman with the condition but can also affect her spouse or partner and her family.
  • Many people don’t understand the condition, believing endometriosis to be merely “a difficult period,” and women who suffer from the disease are left feeling belittled and having their symptoms dismissed by friends, family, doctors or employers.

How You Can Help Raise Awareness This March (and All Year Long)

Whether you suffer from endometriosis yourself or you want to help raise awareness on behalf of someone you love, Endometriosis Awareness Month is a great time to start. Here’s what you can do this March to spread the word:

Even just sharing facts about endometriosis with others throughout the month of March on social media can reach a surprising number of people. Here are the social media accounts of a few good resources to use (be sure to check out their full websites, too):

What Surrogacy Has to Do With Endometriosis

So, what does American Surrogacy have to do with endometriosis? A number of intended parents choose surrogacy as their way to have a family following a struggle with endometriosis and/or infertility as a result of the disease. For those who are ready to pursue different family-building methods after receiving a diagnosis of infertility, surrogacy can be an amazing way to have the family that they’d always dreamed of. Other families choose to pursue adoption through our sister agency, American Adoptions.

However you decide to have a family, American Surrogacy and American Adoptions supports those who are affected by this condition and joins you in your mission to improve public knowledge throughout Endometriosis Awareness Month and beyond.

National Birth Defects Prevention Month

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. This month focuses on raising awareness of birth defects, how they’re caused, the affect they have and how some can be prevented. Through National Birth Defects Prevention Month, the hope is that those who are affected by birth defects can live healthier, longer lives, and that those who are growing their families remain unaffected by birth defects.

What Is a Birth Defect?

There are many kinds of birth defects, and they can affect people in many different ways. Here are some important facts that everyone should know about birth defects:

  • Any complication that is presented at birth that alters the body’s appearance, function, or both is considered a birth defect.
  • One in 33 babies is born in the United States with a birth defect.
  • The severity of birth defects can range from moderate to critical, even causing death.
  • Birth defects are a leading cause of infant mortality.
  • Most birth defects occur during the first trimester.
  • Although some defects are detectable during gestation or at birth, some defects may not be identified until later in the person’s life, especially if the defect hadn’t caused noticeable health problems for the person.

How Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) is Helping to Decrease Birth Defects in Surrogacy

In gestational surrogacy, preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) is routinely conducted to help prevent birth defects. PGS checks the embryos used in surrogacy for potential genetic diseases or disorders that could result in a birth defect before they’re transferred to a surrogate to carry. Here’s how PGS works:

  • A few cells are microsurgically removed from the embryos being tested after they’ve been developing for about five days, at which point the embryos are frozen.
  • The DNA of those cells is examined to see if certain genes which could cause harmful defects are visible. This stage takes a minimum of one week.
  • If the embryos have no concerning genetic issues, an embryo (or multiple embryos) will be transferred to the gestational surrogate in the hopes of a successful implantation.

In addition to PGS, prenatal screening is also routinely done later in the gestational surrogate’s pregnancy to catch any other potential health concerns. The health and safety of gestational surrogates as well as the baby are the two primary goals in surrogacy, so PGS and prenatal screening are both important to achieving that.

What You Can Do

Many of the causes behind birth defects are unknown, but there are always efforts being made to better understand and prevent birth defects whenever possible. Here’s what you can do:

As a Surrogate…

Gestational surrogates must meet a fairly strict list of physical requirements. This is designed to limit the risk of health problems for the surrogate as well as the baby. Surrogates must be generally healthy, have already given birth with no pregnancy complications, have a healthy BMI, be free of STDs, be smoke- and drug-free, be financially stable, meet age requirements and meet other important health criteria.

These health requirements may make it less likely for birth defects to occur, but even the healthiest gestational surrogate can’t guarantee that a child she carries won’t develop a birth defect, as much as she’d like to protect the baby from health issues. If you’re a surrogate, most of the strategies for preventing birth defects are the basics of maintaining a healthy pregnancy. This includes:

  • Seeing your OBGYN for regular prenatal checkups. Some defects can be caught early and treated or prevented before birth.
  • Staying healthy by eating right, drinking lots of water, exercising regularly (light to moderate), getting plenty of sleep and of course avoiding smoke, drugs, alcohol and other unhealthy habits.
  • Taking your prenatal vitamins, especially daily iron, which can reduce the risk of anemia, as well as daily folic acid, which has been shown to reduce the occurrence of birth defects in the baby’s spine and brain.
  • Reducing your stress. Stress hormones can be transferred to the baby through amniotic fluid and can negatively affect development, so rest, meditate and try to stay relaxed.

Remember that you can do everything right and a child may still be born with a birth defect. Although this is a frightening thought for surrogates who feel responsible for the safety and health of the intended parents’ child, understand that most of the time, these things are out of anyone’s control. Keeping yourself healthy is the best thing you can do for the intended parents’ baby!

As an Intended Parent…

Again, there is no 100 percent guarantee that a child will be free of birth defects. However, there are a few things that you can do as an intended parent to reduce the risk of birth defects when you’re having a child via surrogacy, including:

  • Using donor gametes if you or your spouse has a genetic disorder that you’re worried about passing on.
  • Obtaining a detailed family health history on both sides whenever possible.
  • Having PGS completed on your embryos prior to embryo transfer with your gestational surrogate to ensure your embryo(s) are healthy and free of potential defects.

An important thing to consider as an intended parent: what would you want to do if one or more of your embryos had a genetic disorder that would lead to a birth defect? This possibility can be difficult to think about, but it is something you’ll need to consider before you complete PGS.

As a Person Who Cares…

If you’ve been affected by birth defects, know someone with a birth defect, or you simply want to help raise awareness and offer support, everyone can step up during National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Here are a few simple ways you can join the cause:

  • Join the #Prevent2Protect Thunderclap to raise awareness of National Birth Defects Prevention Month and to sign up to share a unified, simultaneous message of support across social media.
  • Share your story with the hashtag #1in33 This is Me if you or someone you love has been affected by a birth defect, and help others to feel supported and understood.
  • Share factual information about health, and how steps can be taken to prevent some birth defects by using the hashtag #Prevent2Protect when you share that information.

How will you participate during National Birth Defects Prevention Month? Let us know in the comments.

Washington State Welcomes New Year with New Surrogacy Laws

This year marks the beginning of a new era for surrogacy in Washington, thanks to newly enacted legislation regarding the gestational surrogacy process.

Starting this month, intended parents and gestational carriers in Washington state will follow a set of standards and regulations that makes their surrogacy experience safer than ever before. While the state’s laws were severely anti-surrogacy prior to 2019, the new laws passed last year (and being enacted this month) provide a clear path ahead for those interested in gestational surrogacy.

So, what are the biggest changes that this new legislation brings? Find a breakdown of some of the most important points below:

1. Compensated surrogacy is now legal and enforceable.

Up until this month, compensated surrogacy in Washington was illegal. But, the passage of the Uniform Parentage Act last March changed all that. Today, intended parents and gestational carriers can enter into legally binding compensated surrogacy contracts for the benefit of all involved.

Washington contracts can now provide for surrogate “payment of consideration and reasonable expenses and reimbursement of specific expenses if the agreement is terminated.”

For more information about surrogate base compensation, contact our surrogacy specialists today.

2. Enforceable contracts must meet certain standards.

Following other states, Washington state requires intended parents and gestational carriers to meet certain requirements for their surrogacy contract to be legally enforceable.

In order for a woman to become a gestational carrier, she must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Previously have given birth to at least one child, but not have entered into more than two surrogacy agreements
  • Complete a medical evaluation
  • Complete a mental health consultation
  • Have independent legal representation

In order for intended parents to enter into a surrogacy contract, they must:

At least one party to the agreement must be a resident of Washington. The surrogate’s spouse must be a party to the agreement, and the agreement must be executed before any medical procedures can occur.

A legal gestational surrogacy contract will include:

  • The acknowledgement that a surrogate and her spouse have no claim to the child born
  • The acknowledgement that the intended parents will take custody of and responsibility for the child
  • Information on how the intended parents will cover the expenses of the carrier
  • Information on surrogate base compensation
  • And more

For more information on what a legal contract in this state requires, speak to a local Washington surrogacy attorney.

3. Both parents of children born via gestational carrier are treated as legal parents from the start.

The new legislation states “on birth of a child conceived by assisted reproduction under a gestational surrogacy agreement, each intended parent is, by operation of law, the parent of the child.” This means that all intended parents can receive pre-birth orders that will be enforced once the child is born.

This eliminates the complicated business of post-birth parentage orders and adoptions that some unrelated or unmarried intended parents previously had to complete in Washington.

4. Traditional surrogacy remains legal but with additional requirements.

Traditional surrogacy, denoted as “genetic surrogacy” in the new legislation, is available in Washington state. However, new stipulations have been established for intended parents and surrogates taking this route.

All traditional surrogacy contracts must meet the same standards as gestational surrogacy contracts. In addition to these terms, there are specific rules regarding termination of contracts. Intended parents may terminate the surrogacy contract any time prior to the embryo or gamete transfer. A traditional surrogate may withdraw consent any time before 48 hours after the birth of the child. When she does so, she waives all right to compensation, and her parental rights may be upheld, depending on the legal situation. However, she is not automatically assumed to be the legal parent of the child.

5. Children born of gamete donors have new rights.

The Uniform Parentage Act doesn’t just address surrogacy; it addresses many different aspects of assisted reproduction technology. Now, any child conceived by assisted reproduction has the right to request identifying information about their biological parent and/or notify their biological parent of their request. Even if the donor is anonymous, the child born of a gamete donation and their parent has the right to access non-identifying medical history.

American Surrogacy is thrilled to help intended parents and gestational carriers in Washington reach their surrogacy dreams under this new surrogacy-friendly legislation. For more information about working with our agency, or to start your surrogacy process today, please call 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

A Year in Review: The Biggest Surrogacy News from 2018

As 2018 comes to an end, it’s always helpful to look back on the last 12 months.  Whether your year included a surrogacy journey or not, you probably had some ups and downs along the way. Reflection can be incredibly helpful before looking to the future.

At American Surrogacy, we take that ideal to heart. While our agency has grown a lot in the years since we were created, we know there is always room for improvement — both for our team and for our intended parents and gestational carriers. We are proud of the journey we took through 2018, and we are even more excited for what 2019 will hold for our agency.

As the year winds down, we take a look back at some of the most memorable moments in the surrogacy industry over the last 12 months — just in case you missed them.

At American Surrogacy…

Our surrogacy specialists have been hard at work all year helping intended parents and gestational carriers prepare for the surrogacy process. Since January, they have guided many of our clients through the steps of this journey, from screening to matching to delivery. In fact, we have many gestational carriers and intended parents at different steps in this process as we close out the year.

We are also happy to announce that American Surrogacy helped to bring more babies into the world in 2018 than we did in 2017 — and we are on track to do the same in 2019!

In U.S. Legislation…

This year was a big year in terms of changes in U.S. surrogacy law. While there still remains no federal legislation overseeing this family-building process, a few states have taken important steps to making gestational surrogacy more widely available to those who wish to pursue this path.

The most notable changes in state laws came from one of the states with the most complicated relationship with surrogacy — New Jersey. It was in New Jersey back in 1985 that a traditional surrogate went on to sue for custody of the intended parents’ child in what would be known as the “Baby M.” case. Shortly after, New Jersey laws were put into place banning surrogacy of all kinds. But, this year, legislators now allow for enforceable gestational surrogacy contracts in the state, as long as they meet certain legal requirements.

Other states have also taken steps to make surrogacy more readily available. Starting Jan. 1, intended parents and gestational carriers in Washington will be able to enter into enforceable compensated gestational surrogacy contracts, as per a law signed last March. A New York state task force also issued a recommendation that the state do away with its ban on commercial surrogacy, although no further steps have yet been taken toward this goal.

In Pop Culture…

Gestational surrogacy became a household name in 2018, thanks to Kim Kardashian West and husband Kanye West. Kardashian West had announced late in 2017 that she and West were expecting a child via gestational carrier after her previous two pregnancies had complications that would make a third incredibly dangerous.

In January, the couple’s third child, Chicago, arrived via gestational carrier. The most recent season of “Keeping Up with the Kardashian” documented parts of the couple’s gestational pregnancy, and Kardashian West opened up to several publications about their decision and their experience during the family-building process. She even took the chance to educate her audience about the reality of gestational surrogacy:

“I refer to her as a surrogate, but it’s completely my and Kanye’s DNA, so technically that’s called a gestational carrier,” she told Elle. “A surrogate is when they use the husband’s sperm and the surrogate’s egg.”

She lauded the gestational surrogacy process on “Live with Kelly and Ryan”:

“I really, really enjoyed the surrogacy process,” she said. “I will say, when it came to the breastfeeding time, I was like, ‘Okay, this is the best decision I have ever made…’ I can spend so much more time with the older kids and getting them used to the baby.”

Kardashian West wasn’t the only celebrity to announce their surrogacy journeys this year. Olympian Tom Daley and husband Dustin Lance Black welcomed a son through gestational surrogacy in June, and actress Gabrielle Union and her husband Dwayne Wade welcomed a baby girl in November. TV personality Maria Menounos has also been open about her consideration of gestational surrogacy as a family-building method (with guidance from Kardashian West, no less).

We love the openness with which these celebrities have discussed their personal surrogacy journey in the past year, and we look forward to more conversations about non-traditional family-building from those in the spotlight!

As we wrap up 2018, our team at American Surrogacy wishes everyone a happy New Year and only the best in the surrogacy journeys to come in 2019!

Is starting your surrogacy journey your New Year’s Resolution? Contact our surrogacy specialists today to get started.

Happy Holidays from American Surrogacy!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from American Surrogacy & American Adoptions

From all of us at American Surrogacy, Merry Christmas and happy holidays! This time of year reminds us how incredibly lucky we are to help create families through surrogacy as well as adoption at our sister agency, American Adoptions.

Every year around the holidays, our families send us cards, notes and photos. We love seeing your families get bigger, your kids grow up and hearing about how you’re all doing.

No matter how your family came to be, we’re glad to have been a part of yours. You’ll always be a part of ours!

The holidays can be a difficult time for those who haven’t completed their family yet. You can talk to a surrogacy specialist at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) or an adoption specialist at 1-800-ADOPTION if you’re ready to begin your journey to becoming a parent.

Learning About Gestational Diabetes for World Diabetes Day 2018

This Wednesday, Nov. 14, is World Diabetes Day — a day designed to bring awareness to the millions of people around the world living with different types of diabetes. As a surrogacy professional, American Surrogacy recognizes the importance of this day for many of our intended parents and gestational carriers, and we join with the International Diabetes Federation to help bring attention to this important issue.

But, because we are professionals who frequently deal with pregnant women, there is one important type of diabetes that we wish to highlight today: gestational diabetes.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

Like other forms of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects how well your cells can convert sugar — leading to a high blood sugar and other potential complications. The key difference is that gestational diabetes develops only during pregnancy.

There is no clear reason why some women develop gestational diabetes. Some doctors believe the elevated levels of hormones during pregnancy interfere with the action of insulin — the hormone that helps convert glucose into energy. Therefore, some women will experience a rise in blood sugar that can put themselves and the unborn baby at risk.

Often, pregnant women can control gestational diabetes with diet, exercise and medication. Controlling this condition is imperative; left unchecked, gestational diabetes can have serious effects on a woman’s health.

In most cases of gestational diabetes, blood sugar levels will return to normal soon after the baby is delivered. But, if a woman has previously had gestational diabetes, she is more at risk for developing it again during pregnancy or developing type 2 diabetes. Early intervention from a doctor is key to reducing the risks of this condition during pregnancy.

Who is at Risk for Gestational Diabetes?

Any pregnant woman can develop gestational diabetes, which is why a proper prenatal screening is so important in all pregnancies, including gestational pregnancies. But, there are a few important risk factors to be aware of:

  • Being over the age of 25
  • Having prediabetes or a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Having gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy, previously delivering a baby more than 9 pounds, or having an unexplained stillbirth
  • Having a BMI of 30 or higher
  • Being of a nonwhite race

If you choose to become a gestational carrier, your reproductive endocrinologist will review your medical history and complete certain screenings to determine your risk of developing gestational diabetes during this journey.

How Does Gestational Diabetes Affect the Surrogacy Process?

Gestational diabetes can be an unpredictable condition, and some gestational carriers develop it during their surrogate pregnancies. Rest assured: Your surrogacy and medical professional will always be there to support you through this challenge, should it emerge.

But, you may be asking: If I have a history of gestational diabetes, can I still become a gestational carrier?

The answer to this question always depends upon your personal medical history. While women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes will often be disqualified from the surrogacy process, women who have had gestational diabetes may still be eligible. If your condition was successfully managed with a change in diet and exercise during your previous pregnancy, it will be more likely that a fertility clinic will approve you to move forward with this journey.

If you have a history of gestational diabetes, make sure to be honest with your surrogacy professional about your health history. Moving forward with a gestational pregnancy without acknowledging this fact can put you and the intended parents’ baby in real danger.

Diabetes affects about 9 percent of the U.S. population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. World Diabetes Day is one of the ways advocates work to spread awareness about this number — and the work being done to reduce this number in the future. We at American Surrogacy are happy to share information about this day and how you can get involved.

For more information about gestational diabetes and how it could affect your surrogacy journey, please call our specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).