The Legal and Emotional Risks of Traditional Surrogacy

When choosing between the two types of surrogacy, traditional surrogacy may be an appealing option to many hopeful parents.

Traditional surrogacy — in which an intended parent’s or donor’s sperm is paired with the surrogate’s  egg — can appear to be an easier route, at least at first, due to its lower cost. While this is a completely understandable advantage, a deeper dive into the legal and emotional risks of traditional surrogacy reveals it to be a troubling choice for many.

The other option for intended parents pursuing surrogacy is gestational surrogacy. This type of surrogacy — when sperm and egg from the intended parents or donors create an embryo carried by the surrogate — has many safeguards in place that traditional surrogacy does not, which is why it is the preferred surrogacy option of nearly all professionals today.

If you are considering surrogacy as a family-building option, here’s what you need to know about the legal and emotional risks of traditional surrogacy.

The Legal Risks of Traditional Surrogacy

Starting a family is an emotional process. It holds the potential of your hopes and dreams. It’s easy, and totally natural, to get lost in the feelings of it all. But when you are considering something like surrogacy, you have to realize that starting a family is also a legal process.

And, when considering the legal process of traditional vs. gestational surrogacy, there are clear risks in the former.

The foremost concern that legal professionals have with traditional surrogacy is that, because of how the process works, the surrogate is the biological mother of the child. Since it is her egg that is used in the fertilization process, the child is technically her baby until consent is signed over to the intended parents. This leaves the door wide open for potential disruptions. It also adds another legal step, as intended parents sometimes need to complete a post-birth adoption once the surrogate has signed away her parental rights to the baby.

Should the surrogate become attached the baby she is carrying, the traditional surrogacy process leaves the legal option on the table for her to keep the baby. This is a serious risk.

A secondary concern, which is rooted in the same issue of biological relationship between surrogate and baby, is that the surrogate has much more power to make medical decisions during the surrogacy process without consulting the intended parents. Ideally, this is a cooperative partnership. However, traditional surrogacy allows the surrogate to go in her own direction, if she chooses to do so.

Additionally, you should know that because of these factors and others, some states have outlawed traditional surrogacy. Many surrogacy professionals will not perform traditional surrogacy, even if it is legal in their state.

The Emotional Risks of Traditional Surrogacy

The legal process does not erase the emotional aspects of family building. The two run side-by-side. After considering the legal risks of traditional surrogacy, it’s important to be aware of some emotional risks, too.

As stated above, the most concerning legal risk in traditional surrogacy is the surrogate’s biological relationship with the child. The most volatile emotional risk stems from the same fact.

If you’re an intended mother, you will be working through a lot of feelings during the surrogacy process. Jealousy is often one of those feelings — and traditional surrogacy can make it much worse.

It is fairly common for intended mothers to struggle with feelings of jealousy when the surrogate has a biological connection to the baby, while the intended mother does not. These feelings can sour the intended-parent-surrogate relationship, which can in turn be detrimental to the entire process. A good surrogacy involves a solid relationship, and traditional surrogacy can make that more difficult.

The emotional risks for the surrogate are also increased in traditional surrogacy. Anyone who offers to be a surrogate is doing something wonderful and does not have any intention of keeping the baby. However, by maintaining a biological connection to the baby, the surrogate is at a much higher risk of struggling with feelings of strong attachment. Of course, this is natural when you are carrying a child who is biologically yours.

Gestational surrogacy mitigates this emotional risk, while traditional surrogacy amplifies it.

How Gestational Surrogacy Can Reduce Risks

Gestational surrogacy is the preferred option for nearly all professionals. In some states, it is the only legal option. There are several distinctions that make the gestational surrogacy process safer for everyone involved, from a legal and emotional perspective.

In gestational surrogacy, the egg used for fertilization is either given by the intended mother or an egg donor. The potential downside to this is that it is more costly, and it can take more time. However, the benefits far outweigh the costs. Gestational surrogacy gives the intended mother the opportunity to be biologically connected to her baby — a connection many mothers cherish.

Because of this process, there is no biological connection between a gestational surrogate and the baby. Gestational surrogacy mitigates the risk of the surrogate changing her mind and wanting to keep the baby. Since the surrogate has no biological connection, there are no parental rights to argue over.

Additionally, removing this risky aspect of traditional surrogacy creates a better environment for the intended parents and surrogate to develop a healthy relationship — unburdened by complicated emotions.

For these reasons, among others, American Surrogacy only offers services for gestational surrogacy. It is our belief, and the overwhelming belief of all surrogacy professionals, that gestational surrogacy offers the safest path both emotionally and legally for everyone involved.

Contact American Surrogacy Today

American Surrogacy can be your partner in the gestational surrogacy process. We would be honored to support you as you fulfill your dream of becoming parents.

Contact us today or call 1-800-875-BABY(2229) for more information and to start your gestational surrogacy process.

The Best Insurance Options for Gestational Carriers

It’s no secret: Pregnancy is expensive. And, when you add in the additional medical costs of gestational surrogacy, those numbers can seem astronomical.

Fortunately, medical insurance exists to mitigate those expenses.

But, what if your surrogate’s personal policy excludes a gestational pregnancy?

This is becoming more and more common for insurance policies, and we’ve seen it happen often with our clients. Fortunately, your specialist will always help you find additional coverage for your gestational carrier — to protect her and the baby in the months ahead.

Often, the first step is searching the Affordable Care Act marketplace. Open enrollment takes place Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 each year, and you will have a variety of plans to choose from. Policies can run anywhere from $200–$700 a month (plus application fees), based on the level of coverage you choose. Your surrogate’s coverage will begin Jan. 1 of the next year.

Whether your surrogate’s policy excludes gestational surrogacy or they lose coverage through a job loss during pregnancy, your specialist will always be available to guide you through this process. We also recommend every intended parent purchase back-up insurance. To learn more, call your specialist anytime at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

In the meantime, here are some options for surrogacy-friendly insurance.

1. ART Risk Solutions

American Surrogacy frequently recommends ART Risk Solutions to intended parents looking for a surrogate insurance policy. Whether as a stand-alone insurance policy or a back-up policy, ART Risk Solutions can provide the coverage you are looking for at a fair price.

ART Risk is an insurance provider that exists solely to serve those pursuing assisted reproduction technology methods. They partner with other insurance companies to provide customer service and financial risk and case management to patients and medical professionals. The company works with more than 150 agencies and law firms across the globe, including many of American Surrogacy’s clients.

When you contact ART Risk Solutions, you’ll speak with an agent who will evaluate your personal situation and determine which coverage options are right for your surrogate. While your specialist will not directly interact with your insurance agent, they will be happy to provide any paperwork ART Risk Solutions may need to create your personal policy.

2. New Life Agency

Like ART Risk, New Life Agency is an insurance provider that works solely with clients pursuing assisted reproduction. They provide policies for fertility patients, intended parents, surrogates, egg donors and professionals in the ART industry.

New Life also offers fertility financing to assist intended parents through their family-building journeys.

3. SurroPlans

Another option for insurance is SurroPlans. This company provides both backup medical and full-coverage medical policies. Whether or not your surrogate currently has insurance, SurroPlans can provide services to protect you financially, just in case.

This provider also offers emergency medical planning and assistance with taxes and visas for international intended parents.

4. ArcLight

ArcLight is another surrogacy-insurance provider; however, it only operates in nine states. These agents will review your surrogate’s health insurance and search for a surrogacy-friendly option in her state, if necessary.  They will manage every step of the application and deductible process.

ArcLight also offers surrogate life insurance and disability insurance options, both of which will be required as part of your legal surrogacy contract.

We know surrogacy insurance can be a complicated subject, so remember that your specialist is always here to answer your questions and provide guidance as you go through this process. Don’t hesitate to email or call your specialist at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) for professional advice.

What’s the Deal with Donated Breastmilk?

Not everyone who wants to breastfeed their child can, and not every woman who produces breastmilk makes only enough for the child she is feeding. When an overabundance of breastmilk and the inability to produce meet, breastmilk donation steps in.

Breastmilk donation has existed in some form or another for centuries. Where wet nurses used to physically breastfeed extra children in the past, parents today have the convenience of having donated breastmilk shipped to their house.

Donated breastmilk is commonly used even among women who conceive and carry their own children, but it’s doubly important in surrogacy. If an intended parent doesn’t want to or cannot induce lactation, but still wants to give their child the benefits of breastmilk, milk banks step in to help out.

We know this topic can be confusing, so we’ve tackled some of the biggest concerns and questions you may have below. For more information, please call our specialists at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) or contact a local milk bank.

How Does Breastmilk Donation Work?

When it comes to donated breastmilk, safety is always the number one priority. It’s ill-advised to donate or obtain breastmilk outside of an official milk bank; there is simply too much possibility for contamination that could ultimately hurt the baby.

Official milk banks such as the Human Milk Banking Association of North America and La Leche League International require donors to pass certain screenings and requirements prior to giving their breastmilk. Typically, donors must:

  • Commit to a minimum donation amount (usually around 200 ounces)
  • Complete a phone interview and written health history questionnaire
  • Receive doctor’s approval from their personal doctor and the baby’s pediatrician (if applicable)
  • Meet certain health requirements, including abstaining from smoking and drinking
  • Submit breastmilk for screening and testing, to confirm its safety and quality

After a donor passes the screening tests, the milk bank will send her an insulated box with materials to collect and freeze the milk. Once it is collected back at the bank, it is typically thawed and mixed with milk from other donors to get the optimum balance of nutrients. The milk is then tested again, put into bottles, pasteurized and screened for bacteria.

Only after all of this is completed can donated breastmilk be distributed. It may be sent to hospitals or purchased by individuals for use. Some nonprofit milk banks will only offer donated milk to individuals once they have met the needs of premature babies and babies with other serious medical conditions currently hospitalized.

If You’re a Surrogate:

If you are considering donating your breastmilk after your surrogacy journey, we encourage you to speak with your surrogacy specialist. If you haven’t already talked to your intended parents about this desire, it’s a good idea to discuss it with them, too — they may be willing to accept your donation and pay you extra compensation for it.

Not all intended parents want donated breastmilk, and that’s OK. Their decision is not a comment on you as a surrogate. If they decline your offer, you can still help other new parents by donating your breastmilk through your hospital or a nonprofit milk bank.

Before you make this commitment, talk to your doctor. They can evaluate your health and ensure that this path is the best one for you.

You should also ask yourself these questions:

  • Can I commit to pumping a minimum of breastmilk as defined by the milk bank I use?
  • Am I ready for the time commitment of pumping throughout the day and the night?
  • Am I prepared for the extra steps of washing and sanitizing pumps and bottles more than I might when pumping for my own child?
  • Am I mentally and physically healthy enough for this commitment?

Not every surrogate chooses to pump and donate her milk, and that’s OK. If you would rather stop your production, let your doctor know during your pregnancy. She can help you get the medication you need to safely and comfortably suppress lactation.

If You’re an Intended Parent:

If you are an intended mother, it’s likely that you want to try inducing lactation before buying donated breastmilk. After all, you’ve already missed out on the pregnancy experience, and don’t want to miss out on the bonding experience of breastfeeding, too.

It’s actually very common for intended parents to breastfeed their own children. But, just as women who naturally produce breastmilk do, intended parents can have difficulties lactating, as well. It’s a good idea to have a backup plan if this occurs with you: Will you switch to formula, or would you like your surrogate to pump milk for you?

Many surrogates are happy to pump milk for their intended parents. You will be expected to compensate her for her time and effort, and this should be a discussion that happens as part of your surrogacy contract. Asking your surrogate to donate her breastmilk will likely be a better path than trying to buy breastmilk from a donation bank, due to supply and demand inequalities in the industry.

If you are interested in having your surrogate pump for your baby, please reach out to your surrogacy specialist. They can help mediate this conversation and ensure all parties are comfortable with the agreement going forward.

What to Consider Before Using a Family Member’s Gametes

Thinking about using a family member’s sperm or egg to create your embryos? It may seem like an easy and obvious solution in a long and complex journey to become a parent.

There are a number of reasons you might be considering partnering with a family member as part of the surrogacy process. Maybe:

  • you’d rather talk to someone you know and trust about an intimate genetic donation.
  • you hope that by using gametes from within the family gene pool, the baby will look more like the intended parents.
  • you want to cut costs by not having to pay gamete donor fees.
  • you worry about working with a donor you don’t know.

However, this type of gamete donation requires more thought than an outside-the-family donation. The Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) advises that “programs that choose to participate in intra-familial arrangements should be prepared to spend additional time counseling participants and ensuring that they have made free, informed decisions.”

Fertility clinics and professionals such as American Surrogacy take extra care to educate people who are considering using a family member’s gametes as part of the surrogacy process. You can always contact our specialists anytime to learn more about this kind of surrogacy journey.

In the meantime, learn about a few unique aspects to this type of gamete donation.

Emotional Considerations

Gestational surrogacy and gamete donation within the family can be an intimate experience that brings family members closer together forever. But, despite the potential for benefits, these experiences can also be emotionally challenging and put strain on even the strongest family bonds.

Family members should be counseled about the ways in which gamete donation could affect their relationships, including how to prepare and work to preserve their bonds. The emotional implications of gamete donation should not be downplayed. Remember:

  • Your family relationships will be permanently changed.
  • The relationship of your child with some family members will change because of unique biological connections.
  • Existing insecurities, jealousies and tensions are often heightened, possibly permanently.

With proper counseling from a surrogacy professional, family members can decide if they’re ready for the benefits and challenges they may face with this specific type of gamete donation. They can also learn how to appropriately prepare themselves.

Financial Considerations

Using a family member’s donated gametes rather than selecting a donor from a cryobank, for example, may save you some time and money. This is one reason why intra-family gamete donation is often considered.

The costs of working with a donor through a gamete donor bank will vary, so ask your fertility clinic if they have an in-house gamete donor program or if they offer discounted rates when you work with a certain donor bank. Often, fertility clinics will have at least one donor bank that they frequently work with. They can provide advice about minimizing costs if you’re interested in that route.

If you do decide to work with a family member, remember that intended parents should cover the costs of the necessary procedures. This usually includes screening for health concerns, the cost of egg harvesting and the related fertility medications (if applicable), and more.

Legal Considerations

You already know and trust your family member, so why would you need to involve a lawyer?

The fact is many custody disputes in surrogacy occur when an extended family member is the biological parent of the child involved and the participants fail to receive proper legal counseling or contracts.

The ASRM recommends that “participants in these arrangements, including partners of donors and surrogates, should seek independent legal advice from attorneys with specific expertise in third-party reproduction to determine their legal rights and duties in entering into these relations.”

Surrogacy professionals, including American Surrogacy, also always encourage everyone involved in these arrangements to retain separate attorneys experienced in assisted reproduction law. Even when you’re entering into a donation agreement with a loved and trusted family member, it’s important that you establish a legally binding donor contract, just like you would with anyone else. This protects everyone involved (including the child) from future legal complications.

In family gamete donations, the donor is literally closer to home. Therefore, there should be additional discussions in the legal contract regarding inheritance, biology and the donor’s social role in the child’s life.

Always remember: Third-party reproduction laws vary by state and situation, so it’s even more necessary that you consult an experienced ART lawyer about this type of gamete donation, regardless of family ties.

The Takeaway

At first, using a family member’s gametes to create your embryos for surrogacy may seem like the obvious choice. But you should spend some time talking with an American Surrogacy professional about it to make sure that everyone involved is truly ready.

The ASRM agrees: “Providers should be prepared to spend more time screening and counseling participants compared to anonymous or unrelated known collaborative reproductive arrangements.” It goes on to say that, “Programs should strongly recommend that prospective participants, including partners of donors and surrogates, undergo psychological counseling by a professional experienced in surrogacy or gamete donation. These visits should focus attention on how participants will cope with the unique aspects of the proposed arrangement and on the consequences for the prospective child.”

American Surrogacy is equipped to talk to you and your family member about gamete donation, so you can mutually decide whether or not it’s right for you. If you decide against family member gamete donation, we can talk to you about finding a gamete donor from outside your family to help you complete your surrogacy journey.

Call us now at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) to learn more.

How to Save Money on Surrogacy Fertility Meds as an Intended Parent

It’s well-known that surrogacy can be an expensive family-building choice for hopeful parents, often costing in the $60,000–$150,000 range. It’s only normal that intended parents look for ways to bring those costs down.

One of the costs that intended parents have to worry about is the fertility medications that their gestational surrogate takes in preparation for the embryo transfer procedure. If an intended mother plans on using her own eggs to create the embryos used in this process, she’ll also be prescribed a course of fertility medications prior to an egg retrieval procedure.

The costs of the required medications can certainly add up, and they’re not cheap. There are, however, a few ways you can try to save on the costs of those fertility medications:

Talk to Your Surrogate and Your Doctors

Your gestational surrogate doesn’t want you to have to pay a fortune for medical expenses, so she’ll help you out whenever possible. Ask her if she’ll talk to her fertility specialist about money-saving tips on meds. Her clinic might have recommendations for lower-cost brand substitutions that are equally effective, or offer medication promotions or discounts and other helpful suggestions.

Fertility clinics don’t always offer you the lowest-cost medications unless you specifically mention your budget desires. That means you need to ask, and ask early on!

You can talk to your own fertility specialists, but it’s a good idea if your surrogate does this, too. Her doctors will have her medical history, so they can make sure any brand swaps won’t interact with what she’s currently taking, won’t trigger an allergy she may have, or cause another harmful result.

Wait for a List of Your Surrogate’s Prescribed Medications

Remember that not every gestational surrogate will be prescribed the same medications or dosages, so there’s only so much price research you can do in advance. But, once your surrogate has been prescribed her regimen of fertility drugs and has been given a list of supplies to purchase by her fertility clinic, you can use that list to look for potential deals.

Doing some price-scouting and research ahead of time won’t hurt — just as long as you know that your surrogate might not end up taking certain types or brands of medications.

Resources for Fertility Medication Comparison Shopping

Your fertility clinic’s pharmacy partners aren’t always the cheapest option, although the clinic may have some recommendations about places you can look. Checking around for discounts can yield some decent results.

Here are some websites where you can compare medication and pharmacy prices and check for discounts. These specialty pharmacies may have cheaper meds than traditional pharmacies:

If your surrogate has a local specialty pharmacy, check there, as well. Specialty pharmacies tend to carry the correct medications and supplies — and at a better price than the place you go for your everyday medication!

Always talk to your doctor about any specialty pharmacies to ensure they provide legitimate products. American Surrogacy cannot ensure the validity of or endorse the specialty pharmacies listed above.

Save on Supplies

Some of your surrogate’s medications will need to be administered using specific medical supplies, and you may be able to save some money by shopping around for those supplies. She’ll likely need a stash of particular syringe sizes, alcohol wipes to clean injection sites, and more. Talk to her fertility clinic about what she’ll need, and be sure to get your surrogate’s input on products she prefers. You may be able to find your surrogate some coupons for her supplies, or discount offers for options like bulk purchasing or recurring deliveries.

Again, do your research to ensure the supplies you receive from non-traditional pharmacies are new and safe to use.

Other Options

The fertility drugs themselves can be extremely costly, yes. But keeping medical costs low starts at more immediate sources: your insurance and benefits.

Ask your employer if a flexible spending account (FSA) or a health savings plan (HAS) is available to you. These plans allow you to use your pre-tax income for medical expenses, and fertility treatments are usually a permitted spending use for these types of plans by most employers.

If you aren’t already, make sure you’re working closely with your insurance provider to get the most out of your plan throughout the surrogacy process. Your American Surrogacy specialist can help guide you through this to make sure you’re as covered as possible.

Saving money on IVF medications themselves is often possible; there’s no doubt about that. Just make sure you first double your efforts on getting medications covered by insurance whenever possible and see if there are any benefits available through your employer you may have missed.

Need more help financing your surrogacy journey? Learn more cost-saving strategies here, or reach out to American Surrogacy at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) to talk to a surrogacy specialist.

4 Ways to Choose the Best Surrogacy Clinic for You

Just as selecting the right surrogacy partner and primary surrogacy professional is integral to a successful surrogacy experience, choosing the right surrogacy clinic is an important decision. Whether you call them “surrogacy clinics,” “fertility clinics,” or “IVF clinics,” intended parents and their gestational surrogate will all need to coordinate with this type of professional to complete the medical steps of the surrogacy process.

Here are four things you should always take into consideration when choosing a fertility clinic:

1. Location

Typically, both the gestational surrogate and the intended parents will work with the same fertility clinics individually in coordinating for certain appointments. The intended parents will work with a fertility clinic to create and prepare embryos, using gametes from the intended parents or donors. There may also be egg retrieval involved for the intended mother in some surrogacy situations.

Meanwhile, the surrogate will work with the intended parents’ fertility clinic to prepare for embryo transfer by taking the necessary fertility medications. She’ll need access to the clinic for scheduled testing, monitoring and more. For a surrogate, a conveniently located surrogacy clinic is a very important consideration, because she may be traveling back and forth to this location for appointments regularly until she’s pregnant.

Convenient and consistent access to a reputable surrogacy clinic isn’t always easy to come by, especially if you live in a rural area. Does a larger national clinic have a branch or an affiliated doctor at a local hospital near you? Can you realistically travel back and forth to a certain location? Location is something you’ll need to consider at the beginning of your surrogacy journey.

At, you can find local surrogacy resources listed by state, including surrogacy clinics. Just click on your state, and go to the “Surrogacy Professionals” page listed there.

2. Cost

Surrogates will have the medical costs of their surrogacy journey covered, but finding a cost-effective fertility clinic that accepts your insurance is an important consideration when choosing a surrogacy clinic. Intended parents have probably invested a large sum of money toward having a child already, and they’ll need to budget their expenses at the fertility clinic carefully.

Your reproductive endocrinologist can help walk you through different IVF package options that a prospective clinic may offer, so you can choose what’s most cost-effective (and what’s most likely to be successful) based on your individual situation. That way, you’ll know you aren’t paying for anything you don’t need. We’ll also help intended parents and surrogates sort out their insurance policies, so everyone is covered as much as possible before you begin.

Of course, choosing a clinic exclusively on cost isn’t a good idea. The cheapest options aren’t always going to be the best options. You can always ask American Surrogacy for recommendations when you’re comparing costs of fertility clinics.

3. Success Rates

You’ll likely see intended parents and gestational surrogates discussing statistical success rates of fertility clinics in online forums. Another quick scan of these discussions, and you’ll also learn that some fertility clinics consistently accept patients with a lower (or higher) chance of success, which can skew their overall success rates.

There are organizations in the U.S. that track the reported success rates of surrogacy clinics, but you always have to take those reports with a grain of salt. Those numbers often don’t reflect the types of patients they work with, the cases they’re best qualified to handle, the experience of the providers, how many cases they take on, and other factors — so choosing a surrogacy clinic based solely on their statistical rate of success is never a good idea.

You can certainly take a clinic’s reported success rate into account when selecting the clinic you’d like to work with, but it shouldn’t be the only criteria you examine. You can view reports of IVF success rates for fertility clinics in the U.S. with these resources:

4. Ability to Meet Your Needs

Finding a surrogacy clinic that offers the services you’ll need may take a little research. For example, you may need to check to make sure a particular clinic offers:

  • Medical screening
  • Cryopreservation
  • Genetic screening of embryos
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Connections to gamete banks
  • Gamete retrieval
  • Pregnancy testing for gestational surrogates
  • And more

What you’re looking for in terms of services will depend on your individual surrogacy situation, but take note that not all fertility clinics or endocrinologists will offer the same range of services. Know what you’ll need, and what you can do without. Your American Surrogacy specialist can be a good voice of experience here.

Asking plenty of questions will be a good way to assess whether or not a surrogacy clinic is going to be the right fit for you and your surrogacy partner, so write down everything you can think of! Not sure what to ask? Your American Surrogacy specialist and former surrogates/intended parents who have been through this process themselves can give you suggestions to start with, so ask others for their advice. It’s a big decision, but you don’t have to make it alone.

Need some help finding the right surrogacy clinic? Ask an American Surrogacy specialist now by calling 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

Tips for Surviving a Failed Transfer: Surrogates

You’ve spent weeks preparing for your embryo transfer date. You’ve taken the pills, given yourself the shots, gone to the appointments and “thought sticky thoughts” at your transfer procedure. Now, you learn that this transfer failed.

Every gestational surrogate will have a different reaction to a failed embryo transfer. However, the following general tips may help you cope with this loss and begin to take the next steps in your journey as a surrogate:


Acknowledge your intended parents’ feelings.

If your intended parents struggled with infertility or pregnancy loss prior to pursuing surrogacy, this failed transfer may come as a serious emotional (and financial) blow to them. They may pull away for a while, or they may turn to you for support. Try to be aware of their needs, and acknowledge the importance of this loss for them. It can be tempting to want to “fix” this for them, but letting them know that you’re there for them will be more important.

Acknowledge your own feelings.

The intended parents aren’t the only ones who will need to grieve a failed transfer. Gestational surrogates often say they feel a sense of guilt or failure, in addition to sadness and disappointment. You put so much effort and hope into this transfer, and finding out that it failed is a loss for you, too. Talking through what you’re feeling can help you begin to process this. Talk to your loved ones, your surrogate specialist, a counselor or other gestational surrogates who have been in your shoes. You’re not alone!

Understand the many reasons why this happens.

An embryo’s failure to implant can happen for any number of reasons, but ultimately, this particular embryo would not have been able to survive a pregnancy. All of the conditions have to be absolutely perfect for a human being to be created — on a chemical level, within an embryo, within a woman’s body and more. This is nature’s way of trying to create only healthy babies. That doesn’t make this loss any less sad; it’s just important to remember that this was out of your hands.


Blame yourself.

Again, those feelings of guilt are not uncommon for surrogates (and women in general) who have experienced a failed transfer. You may feel as if you’ve let your intended parents down somehow. You might wonder, “Did I do something wrong? Could I have done something more carefully?” The answer is, emphatically: No.

You’ve done (and are doing) an amazing job! Failed transfers are not uncommon, and they’re not anyone’s fault. If you’re struggling with a sense of guilt, please reach out to your surrogate specialist and your support system. We’re always here for you!

Lose sight of the big picture.

After weeks of a careful routine, medications, preparation and excitement, only to be let down by a failed transfer, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and a little lost. In the emotions of a failed transfer, you can become caught up in second-guessing and questions like, “Is this worth it? Will this work?”

It’s not always easy in these low moments, but try to remember why you wanted to do this in the first place: to help your intended parents. Don’t forget that a failed transfer doesn’t mean a failed surrogacy journey.

Rush into another cycle if you’re not ready.

The preparation necessary for an embryo transfer is physically and emotionally taxing. You may still be recovering from the physical effects of the medication involved in the last cycle, and you may still be emotionally recovering from this failed transfer. Regardless, you might feel like you need some time before you try again.

This is something you’ll need to talk about with your intended parents, surrogate specialist and fertility clinic. That way, your next transfer attempt can be timed correctly with your cycle while still giving you space to rest.

Need to talk to someone after a failed embryo transfer? You can always contact a surrogate specialist at American Surrogacy by calling 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

Tips for Surviving a Failed Transfer: Intended Parents

You’ve waited for this moment and put a significant amount of hope and money on the line — only to find out that this embryo transfer failed and your gestational surrogate is not pregnant this time. Now what?

Everyone’s reaction to a failed transfer is going to be different. But, these general tips may help you cope with this loss, so you can start to move forward with the next steps in your surrogacy journey:


Allow yourself a moment to feel whatever you’re feeling.

If you experienced infertility prior to pursuing surrogacy, then you already had to grieve that loss. For some, a failed transfer can feel like an IVF failure all over again. It’s OK if you’re feeling hopeless, frustrated and disappointed. Talk to your spouse, partner, surrogacy specialist, counselor or whoever you lean on for support to help you deal with this loss in a healthy way.

Connect with your surrogate and with other intended parents.

Your surrogate is also grieving for, and with, you. It wasn’t her embryo, but her hopes were high for you, and she’s probably going through some guilt and sadness of her own. Turning to one another for support can be comforting — you’re in this together, after all. Talking to parents via surrogacy or IVF who experienced similar setbacks can also be reassuring, and they can often offer perspective and tips for coping.

Focus on your surrogacy plan.

When you created your surrogacy contract, you agreed on a maximum number of embryo transfers with your gestational surrogate. This wasn’t your only chance. Failed transfers aren’t at all unusual. Your fertility clinic and surrogacy specialist know that, and they’ll help you to stay focused on your next step.


Indulge the urge to jump ship.

It can be tempting to switch fertility clinics, gestational surrogates, surrogacy professionals, or even run from your surrogacy journey altogether when something goes wrong. It often takes more than one transfer to become pregnant, and failed transfers aren’t a sign that any person within your surrogacy team is failing you. Stick with it, and stick with them for a while longer. Everyone is doing their utmost for you.

Blame yourself.

You might look for someone else to blame, or you might try to blame yourself. Ultimately, there’s no one at fault. Somehow, it’s more frustrating to shrug and say that, “These things just happen,” but unfortunately, it’s true. You’re doing everything you can for your future baby, and nothing you or anyone else could have done would have made this transfer magically successful.

Become overwhelmed by this loss.

Again, a failed embryo transfer can be incredibly devastating — even more so if you have experienced pregnancy losses in the past. However, it’s important that you don’t lose sight of something important: If you stick with this, you will become a parent. This is easier said than done when you’re grieving a loss, and it sometimes feels like it’ll “never happen,” but it will.

If you’re struggling after a failed transfer, or you need some guidance about emotionally moving forward with your surrogacy journey, you can always contact a specialist at American Surrogacy for help.

Dual Transfers: What to Know Before Considering This Path

As you consider your medical options for surrogacy, you may have heard one phrase pop up: “dual embryo transfer.”

If you’re an intended parent, the promise of a dual transfer may seem exciting. But, there are a few things to know before you decide to take this path.

Below, find out a bit more about this medical option. Remember, our surrogacy specialists are always available to answer your questions, as well.

Keep in mind: In this blog post, “dual transfer” and “double-embryo transfer” are two separate things. Read more about the latter here.

What is a Dual Transfer, and Why Do People Choose this Option?

A dual transfer occurs when both a gestational carrier and her intended mother undergo an embryo transfer at the same time. Usually, it’s a way for an intended mother to have one more chance at getting pregnant. It also sets up the possibility that both women will experience pregnancy together.

While there are no official statistics on dual transfers in gestational surrogacy, it’s reasonable to assume that this occurrence is fairly rare. After all, many intended mothers come to surrogacy after failed IVF attempts; that’s why they’ve chosen someone else to carry their child for them.

For the women with the means to do so, however, dual transfers are one final way they can try to become pregnant and carry their own child. This can be a complicated process, though, so it’s only one to be pursued after much discussion with surrogacy and medical professionals — not to mention a prospective surrogate.

What are the Pros and Cons of a Dual Transfer?

The decision to pursue a dual transfer should only be made after intended parents and their gestational carrier have talked at length about it. The worst thing you can do is surprise your gestational carrier on embryo transfer day when you get prepped for the procedure, too.

As you discuss the possibility of dual embryo transfer with your prospective surrogate, refer to these advantages and disadvantages:


  • There is a higher chance of a successful pregnancy. Looking solely at numbers, having both a gestational carrier and an intended mother undergo an embryo transfer increases the chance that there will be a successful pregnancy. However, if a reproductive endocrinologist has determined that an intended mother is highly unlikely to become pregnant, a dual transfer may not increase the overall chances of pregnancy that much.
  • An intended mother gets another shot at carrying her own child. If an intended mother has unexplained fertility or a doctor has determined she may be able to get pregnant, a dual transfer gives her one more chance at becoming pregnant. In this way, she can pursue her own pregnancy dreams with the simultaneous “backup” that her gestational carrier may become pregnant instead.
  • There are fewer “leftover” embryos. One of the biggest questions for intended parents is what to do with their remaining embryos. It can be emotionally difficult to discard or donate them, but frozen storage is not a permanent solution. If an intended mother undergoes an embryo transfer, she may feel like she “used” all of her embryos, even if a pregnancy does not result.


  • Dual transfers are emotionally complicated. If an intended mother is interested in a dual transfer, it’s usually because she has not properly grieved the loss of the pregnancy experience. In the best case scenario, she gets pregnant during her dual transfer — but what if she doesn’t? She may be devastated by another failed pregnancy, and her emotions will likely be compounded if her gestational carrier becomes pregnant. What should be a happy time will be a sad one — not a wonderful start to their partnership together.
  • Dual transfers will cost more. It seems obvious, but just because you are doing two transfers at the same time doesn’t mean you will get two-for-one pricing. And, with the average IVF cycle costing $12,000, an intended mother is looking at a huge increase to her overall surrogacy costs.
  • Many surrogates will not agree to a dual transfer. Intended mothers who are thinking about a dual transfer should be upfront with their surrogate about their desires — before even signing the legal contract. Ideally, your plans to do a dual transfer should be a part of your initial search for a surrogate. Many women will not be comfortable with the complexities and unknowns of carrying a pregnancy at the same time as their intended mother, so it may be harder for you to find a surrogate with whom to take this path.
  • Intended parents can get more than they bargain for. Those who consider dual transfers often don’t consider the possibility of both transfers being successful — but it can happen. Are you prepared to care for two babies if so? Or four, if you both receive a double-embryo transfer?

Choosing to move forward with a dual transfer is a highly personal decision — but it is one that must be approved by your reproductive endocrinologist and your surrogacy professional. To talk to one of our surrogacy specialists about our agency policies on this and other procedures, please call us at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) or contact us online.

Surrogacy Medication: Advice from a Former Surrogate

Every gestational surrogate’s medications and timeline will vary somewhat, depending on what a fertility clinic prescribes. Still, most women who are thinking about becoming surrogates want to know what that medical process is like — including side effects from medications, the types of medications they might have to take, and more.

Here, Chelsea, a former American Surrogacy surrogate, explains the surrogacy medications she took, some tricks she found helpful, and more:

Chelsea’s Medication Experience

The first medication that the clinics will generally put you on is birth control pills. Even people who have their tubes tied are required to use this. This helps the clinic manipulate your cycle to line up with your transfer date. They’re very precise and tell you when to begin the pills and when to discontinue them.

Next, I was on Lupron. The needle size didn’t faze me at all. It was an easy shot to take, and one or two equated to the feeling of a bee sting. I was on this for 26 days. The Lupron did give me some killer headaches. I wanted to stay in a dark room, and I was very sensitive to sounds. Drinking a lot of water helps.

After 12 days, I began taking estrogen, as well. I took estrogen in the form of Estrace pills (two pills, twice a day) and an estrogen patch called a Vivelle Dot. I switched this patch every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They leave behind a lot of sticky residue that is impossible to clean off. I had sticky marks until I was done with my meds at 14 weeks. The estrogen caused a lot of discharge. I had even emailed the clinic about it at one point to make sure it was normal.

My clinic was stricter about monitoring so, on day 22, I was required to have my ultrasound and blood work done at the clinic. This was the only ultrasound and blood work I had during the cycle. They checked my ovaries to make sure they were “quiet” and checked my uterine lining. I was good to go at 8mm. Then, they checked my blood estrogen level.

I began taking progesterone five days before transfer. This lines up with the age of the embryo(s). The needle is quite large: 22-gauge. This is due to the fact that it’s an intramuscular injection. You really only feel that initial poke; the length of the needle isn’t felt. The size of the hole of the needle is because the medication is in oil (sesame, olive, ethyl oleate). I actually had to switch from sesame to ethyl oleate after weeks on the injections because you can develop a delayed allergic reaction, which was a large rash in my case.

Some tips for this medication:

  • Warm the vial in your bra, on a heating pad or in your hands prior to injection. The oil is thick, so warming it helps inject easier.
  • Rub the area after injection thoroughly. The oil needs to be dispersed. I was on 2cc of PIO (progesterone-in-oil) so it was quite a large amount to put into the muscle daily.
  • You will develop lumps so massage, massage, massage. (Yes, rub your butt!)

I used a cheap Walmart drawer container to store my medications. I’m very type A, and it helped organize things. I was constantly getting new shipments and refilling it. I also downloaded blank calendar pages to fill in what medications I took each day. I marked them off as I took them. It was taped to my bathroom mirror.

All of these medications need to be taken at the same time every day. So, if you have a job, plan to take them when you know you will be home!

We’re so grateful to Chelsea for sharing her experiences and advice with future surrogates and for being such a great ambassador for American Surrogacy! If you’d like to talk to Chelsea about what it’s like to be a surrogate with American Surrogacy, contact us now at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).