Can You Be a Surrogate if You’re also a Birth Mother?

If you want to be a surrogate, you probably have a deep altruistic desire to help create a family. You may even have prior experience doing so — by placing a child for adoption.

Here at American Surrogacy, we salute the bravery of every birth mother who has placed a child for adoption. Our roots are planted firmly in the adoption industry, which means our specialists completely understand the journey you’ve been through to get to where you are today. And, if you want to help create another family in a different way, we’ll be happy to guide you through this upcoming gestational surrogacy adventure.

But, before you get started, there are a few things you should know about becoming a gestational carrier. While both surrogacy and adoption end up creating beautiful families, they are very different processes. Each requires unique emotional investments and preparation, and neither is a path to jump into without thorough research.

Fortunately, our specialists will be there to help you every step of the way. You can always contact us online or at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) to speak with a team member about becoming a surrogate. In the meantime, you can learn a bit more about being a gestational carrier as a birth mother below.

Requirements to Be a Gestational Carrier

Whatever your personal background may be, you must always meet certain requirements before you can become a gestational carrier. Our agency sets these requirements to protect your mental, physical and emotional health during the surrogacy journey, which means they are non-negotiable. Don’t worry — intended parents have to meet certain requirements before starting, too.

In order to be a gestational carrier, you must:

  • Be between the ages of 21 and 38
  • Have a BMI between 19 and 32
  • Not smoke or use illicit drugs
  • Have had at least one successful pregnancy, but no more than five vaginal births and no more than four cesarean-sections
  • Have waited at least six months since your last birth
  • Have no major complications from previous pregnancies
  • Be currently raising a child in your own house

This last requirement is where things can get tricky if you’re a birth mother. While, yes, you have successfully given birth, if you’re not currently raising a child in your home, you don’t meet the requirements to be a surrogate.

You may wonder: If I’ve given birth and understand the risks of pregnancy and childbirth, why can’t I be a surrogate — regardless of whether or not I’m raising a child of my own?

It’s a good question, which is why we’ll answer it below.

Possible Emotional Complications of Being a Surrogate and a Birth Mother

When you place a child for adoption, you have to overcome intense feelings of grief and loss. It’s all completely normal, but it can take months and even years for a woman to come to terms with those emotions and be comfortable with her adoption decision.

When you become a surrogate, it’s likely that those feelings will reemerge. While the child you carry will not be biologically yours, there will still be some sadness and grief knowing that you will not care for this child after birth and that you will go home empty-handed from the hospital. These feelings can be magnified by the prior experience of having gone through that experience already.

For that reason, surrogacy professionals require you to be raising a child in your own home. Then, when you experience difficult feelings during pregnancy or after birth, you will have a child waiting for you. This will help you rationalize some of the emotions you are having, as well as remind yourself of the challenges of raising a child — instead of focusing on the “baby fever” feelings stemming from hormones directly after childbirth.

You will also be required to complete a psychological evaluation prior to being approved for surrogacy. During this evaluation, you’ll talk with a licensed mental health professional about your personal history (including your adoption history) and what you expect out of being a surrogate. The professional will ask you about what you would do in certain situations and help you evaluate whether you are truly ready for surrogacy — including whether your feelings about your adoption will cause challenges as you move forward with being a surrogate. You will likely dive into your adoption history in detail, especially how you dealt with that initial loss.

It may seem invasive at first, but remember that your mental health professional is just trying to help you. They want you to be 100 percent prepared for the emotions of the journey ahead. It’s for your best interest, as well as the interest of the intended parents.

Learn More About Becoming a Gestational Carrier

Here at American Surrogacy, your mental and physical well-being is of the utmost importance. That’s why we require prospective surrogates to complete so many steps before they can start this journey.

Your history as a birth mother won’t disqualify you from working with us, as long as you meet all of our agency requirements. We’ll be happy to help you create another family in a beautiful, selfless way — one that’s just as honorable as your prior adoption journey.

Learn more about becoming a surrogate with American Surrogacy by giving us a call at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) or contacting us online today.

How Surrogacy May Change Your Friendships — and 5 Ways to Cope

Becoming a parent or helping someone else build their family though surrogacy is an exciting, joyful opportunity. But, as with every new adventure in your life, there are some changes that you won’t see coming until they happen. As you start to move further into an alternative family-building method, it can place some serious and unexpected stress on some of the closest relationships in your life: those with your friends.

If you start to feel like you’ve hit a wall with some of your favorite people, you’re probably unsure of what to do next. After all, these are connections that you’ve nurtured, some of them for many years, and you might not know how to turn the page of the next chapter of your life while still including them.

We want to reassure you that it’s normal to be scared of growing apart. But, the good news is that there are ways that you can cope with a changing friendship — and even ways that you can preserve it as you move forward in your surrogacy journey.

Below are five things to keep in mind if your friendship is evolving in a new way.

1. Expand Your Circle

It’s normal to gravitate toward people who share your own interests. Building a new support system — one filled with individuals who know exactly what you’re feeling — is the best way to cope with changes in your current relationships.

There are plenty of intended parents and surrogates who have been in your shoes and are looking for a new connection. No matter where you live, you can always reach out to other families online or through a local support group. A network of supportive friends can make all the difference during your surrogacy journey, so don’t hesitate to start making new connections. If you’re looking for the best place to start, contact our agency.

2. Give Your Relationship Room to Breathe

If you feel stressed and overwhelmed trying to talk to your friend about your decision, it could be a sign that the two of you need some space. It’s unlikely that your friend will be able to support you 24/7, but this doesn’t mean they don’t care about you anymore. It probably just means that they need room to grow, too. The surrogacy process is a big change, and your friend is probably trying to make sense of everything while still trying to be supportive. After you’ve given them some time to adjust, we’re sure they’ll come around.

3. Teach Them About Surrogacy

Education is one of the best ways to bring the two of you together. This method of family-building is still new enough that many people, including your friends, might have a hard time wrapping their heads around it. Your friends will probably have a lot of questions they aren’t sure of how to ask, and they’re probably worried about coming across as rude or insensitive. Let them know that it’s okay to come to you with any concerns or questions they might have.

4. Cherish Your Supportive Friends

Big life changes — like college, marriage, or parenting — are really when the strength of a friendship is tested. As you progress further into the surrogacy process, you might start to realize that not everyone is as ready for the next step as you are. While we hope that you’ll have the unwavering support of your friends, it doesn’t always pan out that way.

With plenty of big changes coming your way, you’ll find out pretty quickly who your real friends are. We know that it’s hard, but keep in mind that if someone pulls back from your relationship, it is not a reflection of you. Everyone you meet is on their own journey. That’s why it’s even more important to cherish the special people who make an effort to continue to be a part of your life.

5. Stay Positive

The truth is that changing friendships are a normal part of life. Some friendships are meant to last a lifetime, while others are only here for a season. But, that doesn’t make their impact in your life any less special or meaningful. We know that it’s hard, but try to take care of yourself. Exercising, eating well, and finding new hobbies can help take your mind off the stress of your relationship. Staying optimistic during this difficult transition is one of the best things you can do for your mental health.

When some of the most important relationships in your life are changing, don’t forget that you always have people in your corner. No matter how hard it seems, there will always be people who love and support you and your new journey. If you ever need someone to talk to, don’t forget that you can reach out to a surrogacy specialist today.

National Birth Defects Prevention Month: Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

When you become a surrogate, you’re tasked with one of the most important jobs of all: carrying someone else’s unborn baby. This is a weighty responsibility, and you’re probably wondering about everything there is to know. As January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month, this year, we’d like to put our focus on everything a surrogate needs to know for a healthy pregnancy.

First, here’s what you need to know about potential factors that cause birth defects.

What Causes Birth Defects?

A birth defect can either be very mild or severe.  While the causes of one can vary, some of the most common risk factors are:

  • Genetic or hereditary traits
  • Lifestyle choices
  • Untreated infections during pregnancy
  • Being over the age of 35
  • A pre-existing medical condition
  • Exposure to certain chemicals

Finding out that the baby you’re carrying has a birth defect can be scary and overwhelming. But, if this were to happen, your surrogacy specialist will be there for you every step of the way. Your legal contract will also detail what happens moving forward if this unfortunate situation should occur. Remember: As long as you’ve followed your contract, this situation will never be your fault.

Thankfully, there are ways to reduce the likelihood of potential birth defects. Below are some tips to keep in mind during your gestational pregnancy.

7 Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

1. Eat Right

It’s hard to make time for a healthy meal in the middle of your busy schedule. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a priority. Watching what you eat is one of the most important ways to ensure a healthy pregnancy. It’s also great for you, too! Make sure your plate is full of fresh fruits and veggies, and watch out for some of the most unsafe foods to eat during your pregnancy.

2. Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking enough water isn’t just good for you; it’s also essential for the baby. Water helps carry nutrients, flushes out toxins, and more. Not drinking enough water is also one of the leading causes of premature labor. Generally, you should drink about eight glasses of water a day. If you’re having trouble remembering to drink enough, try setting a reminder on your phone to stay hydrated.

3. Get the right amount of sleep

Your body needs sleep more than you think. You should try to get eight hours of sleep, but it’s okay if you need to take more. After the first trimester, you’ll probably need to start sleeping on your side. It’s common to have sleep problems during your pregnancy, in which case there are some suggestions on how to overcome them.  If you have any other questions, don’t forget that you can always reach out to your doctor.

4. Exercise

If you can, try to get at least 30 minutes of activity in a day. We know it’s hard to keep moving, and exercising is probably the last thing you want to do right now, but staying active will help you sleep better and keep your stress levels low. It can also help ease your pregnancy symptoms and make pregnancy and delivery easier on your body. If you can, try to get at a healthy weight before your pregnancy. Some good ideas include walking, swimming and jogging. As long as you don’t overdo your workout, you should be perfectly safe.

5. Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins ensure that you and the baby are getting all of the nutrients you need. Don’t forget that these vitamins need to be taken alongside a meal, not as a substitute. We know that taking your vitamins can be hard to remember, so try setting an alarm on your phone at the same time every day so that you don’t forget. (Don’t forget: All of your medical costs will be covered by the intended parents.)

6. Stay away from harmful substances

There are a few substances that every pregnant woman should know to avoid. Drinking, drugs, and smoking should never be consumed while pregnant, as outlined in your surrogacy contract.  There are also a few medications and chemicals that pregnant women need to avoid. Remember to talk to your doctor first before trying any new medication, as it could affect you and the baby.

7. Keep your stress low

With some much going on, and with your body changing in new, unexpected ways, it’s hard to stay positive. An important part of keeping the baby healthy is prioritizing your own mental and emotional health. If you find yourself struggling, remember that you can reach out to a surrogacy specialist or a counselor if you need someone to talk to. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, remember that there people here to help.

These tips are essential for any pregnancy, but they’re especially important when you’re a surrogate. By following just a few steps, you can ensure that your pregnancy will be a safe, healthy experience for you and the baby.

Following these guidelines are extremely important to have a healthy pregnancy. Most of the rules and suggestions will be outlined in your legal contract, too, but please don’t hesitate to reach out to a surrogacy specialist today.

Being a Surrogate With a History of Sexual Assault: What to Know

As you research becoming a gestational carrier, you may be surprised to see one requirement in particular — that every surrogate should not have any “untreated abuse (child, sexual or physical).”

It may seem like common sense that a prospective surrogate should be emotionally and mentally ready for the challenges of surrogacy, but how does a history of sexual assault play into that?

We know this can be a sensitive and complicated topic, so our specialists are always willing to address it personally when you call us at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) or contact us online. In the meantime, there are a few things we want you to know — for your own protection as a prospective surrogate.

The Sensitivity of the Surrogacy Process

When you become a gestational carrier, you agree to share the most intimate workings of your body and your life with people who are (at the beginning) complete strangers. It’s a great commitment for anyone, but especially so for someone who is dealing with complicated feelings over the control of their body.

It’s common for survivors of sexual assault and trauma to feel like their body is out of their control. Some women feel that, by becoming a surrogate, they can take back control of their bodies and use them to give an incredible gift to someone else. But, for some, gestational surrogacy can exacerbate those feelings.

The medical process of surrogacy revolves around a surrogate’s cycle, health and overall physical state. It can be frustrating for any woman to feel like her body is being discussed with insensitivity, and the clinical, no-nonsense nature of fertility treatments and procedures can make that worse. These steps can trigger negative experiences for many survivors, even those who generally feel they have successfully moved forward from their trauma. It can be a violating experience for anyone.

If you are a woman who is thinking about being a surrogate, but you have a history of sexual assault or trauma, you need to seriously evaluate your emotional state before moving forward. How will you feel when people talk about your menstrual cycle and the workings of your reproductive system with each other in such a straightforward way? How will you feel having doctors performing procedures on the most vulnerable parts of your body? How will feel having people talk about you — and not necessarily to you?

This is why treatment is so important prior to starting the surrogacy process. It will help you cope with the trauma you have experienced and prepare yourself for the reality of the upcoming experiences you may have.

Rule #1: Be Honest

Here’s what we want you to know: You can absolutely be a surrogate if you have experienced sexual assault or other kinds of sexual trauma in the past. You just have to make sure that trauma is treated and resolved prior to starting the surrogacy process.

Whether or not you’ve been through extensive treatment for a history of sexual assault or trauma, you need to let your specialist know early on in the process about this history. That way, she can ensure you get the support you need and that the intended parents you match with are aware of your situation.

It’s normal to feel nervous or uncomfortable talking about a history of sexual assault — but you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. When it comes to surrogacy, hiding this history is not a good idea. Whether consciously or not, the truth will come out.

Every surrogate must undergo a mental health evaluation with a trained psychologist. During this evaluation, it’s important to be as open and honest as possible about your history, so your mental health professional can determine whether you are truly ready for the process ahead. Even if you try to avoid the topic, these psychologists can commonly pick up on a history of sexual assault or trauma based on indicators you are not even aware of. That mental health professional will inform your surrogacy specialist, who will likely disqualify you from the rest of the process.

Being honest with your specialist from the start gives you a better chance at successfully reaching your surrogacy goals. Remember, your surrogacy specialist will always be there to help you and will never judge you. They want you to be comfortable and successful in your surrogacy journey, and they want to support you in that however they can. But, for them to do that, it’s important that they’re aware of your personal situation from the beginning.

So, don’t be afraid to apply as a surrogate if you have a history of sexual assault or trauma, but keep in mind the specific challenges this path may hold for you.

For more information on becoming a surrogate with our agency, please contact our specialists at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) or submit an informational form online.

Why It’s Important to Be Honest with Your Surrogacy Application

We understand — when you’re applying to be a surrogate, you want to put your best foot forward. No one is perfect, and you may have personal history or circumstances that are less-than-ideal. You may think omitting or lying about them in your surrogate application is no big deal.

It’s actually the complete opposite. It’s a huge deal.

Here at American Surrogacy, we are dedicated to providing a safe and successful surrogacy journey for those women who are eligible. But that’s the key — a safe surrogacy experience is only possible for those who meet certain requirements.

You may think you will be fine moving forward with surrogacy, even if you don’t meet surrogacy requirements, but this is a dangerous situation for all involved. Why? Learn more below.

Why We Set Certain Surrogacy Requirements

American Surrogacy, like all reputable surrogacy professionals, demands that all prospective surrogates meet certain requirements before being approved for this process. Surrogacy is not an easy journey; it requires a great deal of time and energy from a woman, and she must be mentally and physically healthy enough to withstand potential challenges along the way.

Every requirement that our agency sets has an important explanation behind it. They serve to protect you from the emotional and physical risks of surrogacy.

How?

  • Surrogates must have had one successful previous pregnancy to demonstrate their experience with the pregnancy process and the risks and challenges associated with it.
  • Surrogates must be done completing their family in case they lose their fertility during the surrogacy process.
  • Surrogates must have no untreated trauma or abuse, because the intimate dealings of their body will be exposed during surrogacy and allow them little control over what many see as an extremely private process.
  • Surrogates cannot be on antidepressants or antianxiety medication because of the potential emotional stressors of the surrogacy journey.
  • Surrogates must not be on state financial assistance to ensure they are not choosing this path simply for the compensation.
  • Surrogates must be raising their own children at home to alleviate some of mood swings that may result from returning home without a child after childbirth.

These are just a few of the requirements we set at American Surrogacy. Believe us when we say that every little requirement you must meet to become a surrogate has a purpose. Our specialists will be happy to explain them to you and evaluate the possibility of exceptions to be made for your circumstances.

We understand the desire to be a surrogate can seem like enough to overlook some of these requirements, but trust us — they are non-negotiable for your own safety.

Why It’s Important to Be Honest

As mentioned, surrogacy is not easy. It will require you to give up a year of more of your time and a great deal of your energy to become pregnant with and carry an intended parent’s child. There are many moving parts, which means there are also many opportunities for mistakes or delays.

But, when surrogates and intended parents are honest about their backgrounds and hopes and desires for surrogacy, the process moves much more smoothly. The success of surrogacy often centers on the strength of the relationship between the two partners. And that relationship is built on trust and honesty.

To protect yourself and the intended parents you will match with, you must be honest about not only your expectations but also your personal background. That is the only way our team can match you with intended parents who share your preferences and give you a surrogacy experience you are happy with.

The Truth Will Come Out

Every now and then, a woman will apply to our agency. Her paperwork will show that she meets every requirement to become a surrogate — but, upon screening by medical and mental health professionals, it becomes obvious that her personal background and history is not what she says it is. Often, she knows that she does not meet one of the requirements to become a surrogate, and so she instead lied about that requirement on her initial application.

Our surrogates go through extensive screening prior to being approved for the surrogacy process. While we trust our surrogates, it’s for liability reasons that we can’t just accept a woman based on her application alone. Intended parents are looking for a surrogate who can give them the best chance of a successful pregnancy, and it’s our team’s responsibility to ensure that prior to any matching of surrogacy partners.

What we’re trying to say? That at some point along the line, the truth about your personal and medical history will come out. It’s so much better to be honest from the very beginning. If you are, our specialists might be able to work in an exception to the rule. If you wait until later on to tell us — or we find out from a medical professional — you will have wasted a great deal of time and energy, and our team would be very unlikely to let you move forward with the surrogacy process.

We know surrogacy requirements can be frustrating and confusing, especially if you are new to the surrogacy process. Please contact our specialists anytime online or by calling 1-800-875-BABY(2229) for more information on what exceptions may be made for your circumstances.

How Long Do You Have to Wait After Giving Birth to Be a Surrogate?

If you’re a fan of being pregnant, it’s often not long after your last delivery that you start thinking about doing it again. But, while you can get pregnant naturally as soon after childbirth as your body allows, the same rules don’t apply when it comes to gestational surrogacy.

If you want to become pregnant right away again as a gestational carrier, you’re going to have to wait.

Surrogacy professionals, including American Surrogacy, want to ensure all surrogates and intended parents are protected during the surrogacy journey. That starts with giving a woman ample time to recover postpartum before becoming pregnant again.

To learn more about pregnancy gap requirements at our agency, we encourage you to call our specialists anytime at 1-800-875-BABY(2229). In the meantime, learn a bit more about this topic below.

Why Most Professionals Require a 12-Month Gap

Before jumping into surrogacy, a woman should always be 100 percent physically and mentally ready for the challenges of the process. Postpartum recovery can delay that significantly.

A woman’s body naturally slows the return to fertility after she gives birth. It makes sense; she is typically giving a great deal of her time and energy to the care of a baby and, to best do that, she should give her full attention to that child only. Breastfeeding is one factor in this; the act of producing breastmilk during your baby’s first six months of life often prevents you from becoming pregnant.

Your body goes through a lot during the pregnancy and childbirth process. You may have stitches or other tears from delivery that need to heal, and your body needs to build up its supply of nutrients that were depleted during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The microbiome of your birth canal needs to be reset, and your body overall needs to heal from inflammation and potential infections. Jumping into pregnancy right away is simply not advised.

That’s why many medical professionals advise women to wait at least 12 months after delivery to get pregnant again. The World Health Organization even recommends a minimum of 18 months.

Therefore, to ensure a surrogate has the best chance of success in passing her medical screening and eventually getting pregnant, surrogacy professionals follow these same recommendations. While they may be frustrating at first, remember that these rules are created with your safety in mind.

American Surrogacy’s Policies on Pregnancy Gaps

So, if most medical professionals recommend a 12-month gap between pregnancies, why does American Surrogacy allow prospective surrogates to start the process at only six months postpartum?

That’s a good question. Here at American Surrogacy, we are just as dedicated to your safety as any other surrogacy professional. However, we recognize that your time is precious — which is why we maximize it as much as possible.

The surrogacy process can take a year or more to complete. The preliminary screening and matching stages by themselves can take a few months; therefore, we allow our surrogate candidates to apply six months postpartum to start tackling these ahead of time.

When the time comes around that a candidate is 12 months postpartum, she’ll be ready to start the medical process right away — having already completed the preliminary logistical steps and screenings. She can jump right back into trying to get pregnant again, and our specialists already have the knowledge to support her through this journey.

For more information on our pregnancy gap policies, please contact our specialists today. They can answer your questions and help you decide when you are eligible to start the surrogacy process.

What to Consider Before Becoming Pregnant Again

It’s one thing to adhere to a professional recommendation about time between pregnancies — but it’s even more important to evaluate your personal situation. You may be excited at the possibility of being pregnant and helping to bring a child into the world, but have you really thought about what this process will demand from you?

Pregnancy and childbirth is a major medical experience, and it’s not something that you can get up and walk away from the day after. You’ll feel the effects of pregnancy and delivery for months after. You may feel like your body is not your own, and you may struggle to get back to the physical condition you were in prior to your last pregnancy. This is totally normal.

Whether you are six months postpartum or later in your recovery process, you should ask yourself whether you are really ready to become pregnant again. Start with these questions:

  • Are you ready to stop breastfeeding? Because breastfeeding delays a woman’s return to fertility, prospective surrogates must stop breastfeeding before they can begin the medical process. They must resume their regular menstrual cycle, which can take a few months after breastfeeding stops. Are you ready to wean your child in order to become a gestational carrier?
  • Can you care for a newborn on top of your surrogacy responsibilities? Being a surrogate is no joke — and neither is being a new parent. They both require discipline, time and energy. Handling both together is not impossible, but it can be difficult. Think about your current schedule and everyday routine; can you handle the added responsibilities of being pregnant and maintaining a relationship with your intended parents? There’s no shame in waiting until your child is a bit older to start the surrogacy process.
  • How emotionally ready do you really feel? You may feel like you have to put on a brave face after pregnancy, saying how everything is OK — but your postpartum time will be an extremely emotional one. And don’t forget the risk of postpartum depression. You need to be 100 percent honest with yourself about how emotionally ready you are for another pregnancy and the commitment of surrogacy. All prospective surrogates must undergo a mental health evaluation prior to approval, but it’s a good idea for you to see a professional on your own after pregnancy. That way, you can honestly evaluate your emotional state before you get started.

Ultimately, you are the only one who can decide when the best time to start the surrogacy process will be. If you are excited and prepared for being a surrogate six months after delivery, great — our team will be happy to help you get started!

Whatever you do, don’t rush yourself into a decision you’re not ready for. American Surrogacy will always be here for you, no matter how long it takes.

Contact our specialists today to learn more about becoming a surrogate with our agency.

5 Things Every Surrogate Needs from Her Friends

If your friend has told you she’s becoming a surrogate, you’re likely thrilled for her. She’s probably wanted this journey for a while now, and you’re excited to watch her achieve her dreams of helping to create a family.

But, if you’re unfamiliar with the surrogacy process, you may be unsure of how to help her during the journey to come. What’s appropriate and what’s not? How do you know the best things to say and do to support her through fertility medication, pregnancy and postpartum recovery?

Don’t worry — American Surrogacy is here to help. We’ve gathered a few things every surrogate can benefit from during her surrogacy journey.

Friends and family, listen up: Here’s where you can start.

1. A Listening Ear

While surrogacy can certainly be a complicated practical process, it can also be draining on a woman’s emotions and mental health, too. Even when surrogates are 100 percent ready for the ups and downs of being a surrogate, it can be overwhelming to balance their everyday lives and intended parent relationships with the wild emotions of pregnancy hormones.

Your friend will be emotionally committed to the surrogacy process through every step — but that doesn’t mean there won’t be some hard times along the way. A surrogate may not feel comfortable sharing her stress with her intended parents, so you should be there to serve that role. Be her shoulder to cry on, if she needs it, and empathize with the emotions she’s feeling during this time.

Pay close attention to your friend, too. Like any pregnant woman, she will have the chance of developing antepartum depression. If she seems like she’s reaching out for help instead of just venting, help her get the professional assistance she needs.

2. Practical Support — Like Childcare

Emotional support won’t be the only help your friend needs. Managing her surrogacy responsibilities and her everyday responsibilities as a mother can be difficult. Your help will be much appreciated.

You can step in by providing childcare when she has to attend medical appointments or appointments with the intended parents. Offer to take her and her family out for dinner, or cook them a meal they can eat during the week.

Don’t wait to be asked — think about what you or other loved ones wanted most during their pregnancy. Take the initiative to offer those to your friend who’s a surrogate. The last thing she wants to do is make a list of things you can help her with, but it’s unlikely she’ll refuse when the specific help is right in front of her.

3. A Welcome Distraction

For a year or more, surrogacy will be the most important part of your friend’s life. She’ll be paying close attention to her fertility medication, pregnancy, and intended parents’ wishes. Sometimes, she’ll just want a break.

Be there for her in this situation. The next time she seems overwhelmed, offer to take her out for the evening. Go to your favorite dinner spot and then see the movie you’ve both been dying to see. Take her on a spa day to get a pedicure, especially if she can no longer reach (or see) her toes.

While her surrogate pregnancy is certainly something she is proud of, your friend probably doesn’t want to talk about it all the time. Give her a mental break, and she’ll feel more refreshed — and ready to dive back into the day-to-day of being a surrogate.

4. Interest and Understanding

When your friend becomes a surrogate, she becomes an automatic ambassador for the process. She’s going to receive the same questions and comments over and over again — but don’t let them come from you.

One of the best things you can do for your friend is to research surrogacy and understand exactly what the process is like. Not only will this show her you’re interested in this important part of her life, but it will save her from having to explain the basics to you every time you discuss her journey.

You can even go the extra step and start educating others — your family, your group of friends — about gestational surrogacy. That way, there will be fewer questions from your friends’ circle of loved ones. She’ll feel more supported knowing they took the time to learn about something that is so important to her.

5. Postpartum Care

While a surrogate will not bring home the child she delivers, she will still need time to recover from pregnancy and childbirth. As her friend, you can step in to make the recovery easier.

Your friend will appreciate many of the same services that you might give to a new parent. A home-cooked meal can help feed her and her family when she’s too tired to cook. Offering to watch her children can give her the rest she needs to recuperate. And, of course, don’t forget the importance of emotional support — even though surrogates don’t raise the children they deliver, they can still develop postpartum depression. Keep a close eye on your friend’s moods and emotions, and help her get the assistance she needs if you feel like she is reaching out.

Yes, a surrogate’s postpartum recovery period is typically much shorter than any other new mother’s is (because she’s not caring for a newborn), but that doesn’t exclude her from emotional and practical support during this time. Again, don’t wait for her to ask for it; offer your assistance as early and as frequently as possible to ensure her mental and physical recovery.

Supporting a friend through surrogacy can be complicated, especially if you have no experience with the surrogacy process. But, by following these steps, you can make sure she receives the support she needs.

For more information on the surrogacy process and suggestions for helping your friend through her journey, contact our surrogacy specialists anytime.

Can You Be a Surrogate if You Are Absolutely Against Termination?

If you didn’t already know, gestational surrogacy often involves complicated medical procedures. Selective reduction and termination of embryos can frequently be a part of the medical process.

But, what if you are wholeheartedly against the termination of embryos? Can you still be a surrogate and help create a family?

It’s a bit complicated. We encourage any prospective surrogate in this situation to call our specialists at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) for more information. They will discuss with you the possibilities of surrogacy without these procedures and help you determine whether it’s really the right path for you.

In the meantime, learn more about the basics of this kind of journey below.

Can You Be a Surrogate if You are Against Termination and Selective Reduction?

While selective reduction and termination is possible in any given gestational surrogacy journey, these procedures aren’t necessarily completed in every medical process. So, if you are considering being a surrogate — but you’re completely against any kind of termination or selective reduction — there may be a path ahead for you.

The majority of intended parents want a pregnancy with the best chance of success. That often includes accepting the possibility of selective reduction or termination, especially if a fetus develops abnormally or has a condition that makes life outside of the womb impossible. To have the best chance at a healthy child, these intended parents determine exactly in which situations they are comfortable using these procedures.

If you’re a surrogate, you’ll have a say in these situations, as well. If you know you will never be comfortable with termination or selective reduction in any situation, it’s a good idea to speak with a surrogacy professional soon. They can determine whether or not there is a path available for you.

How Your Views May Affect Your Wait for a Match

The good news is that there are intended parents out there who share your views — who are totally against selective reduction and termination, no matter what.

The bad news? It will likely take you much longer to match with intended parents with these views, as they are rare to find.

As mentioned above, many intended parents recognize the important purpose that selective reduction and termination can play in the surrogacy process. While they may be open to creating a contract that details situations in which neither of these procedures may be used, they may be more hesitant to match with a surrogate who is dead-set against both procedures, no matter the circumstances — just in case of the worst.

If you are 100 percent against selective reduction and termination, regardless of the circumstances, it’s important to be honest with your surrogacy professional (and intended parents) from the start. Only that way will you find a partner who shares your views. Your surrogacy professional might have to expand the search beyond their network, or you may find better luck searching for intended parents independently.

Therefore, talking to a surrogacy professional is the best way to learn what to expect from this kind of journey.

How to Protect Your Beliefs and Rights During the Process

Remember: As a surrogate, you are an active participant in the surrogacy process. You should never feel forced into a journey you are uncomfortable with, which means you should clearly identify all of your needs and preferences — not just your thoughts on selective reduction and termination.

However, your opinions on these procedures can make a big difference in the journey ahead of you.

There are two main ways you can ensure your beliefs and rights are respected when you become a surrogate:

  1. Be honest about your desires. The last thing any intended parent or surrogate wants is to enter a surrogacy agreement under pretense. You may feel that agreeing to these procedures in certain circumstances is fine; you may doubt that situation ever comes to be, and your beliefs won’t be tested. But, this is a terrible thing to do. What would you do if that situation were to occur? You would need to adhere to your contract, which means following through with a procedure you believe to be wrong. Save yourself and the intended parents the heartache by being honest about your desires from the beginning — even if it means you’ll wait longer for a match.
  2. Don’t let a professional force you into a decision you’re uncomfortable with. As a surrogate, you always have the right to work with the professional you feel is right for you. So, don’t let a professional try to change your mind on selective reduction or termination if you have strong contrary beliefs. They may try to sway you with shorter wait times or try to convince you that you will never find a match with these requirements, but stand strong. After all, is it worth pursuing a surrogacy journey that you will be unhappy with and ashamed of?

We know selective reduction and termination can be a sensitive topic in any surrogacy journey. That’s why we encourage you to contact our specialists anytime for more information. They can help you understand the logistics of your decision and choose the path that is best for your desires moving forward.

5 Tips for Talking to Family About Surrogacy: Surrogates

When it comes to the holiday season, nothing can be as fun as catching up with loved ones you haven’t seen in a while. But, when you’ve recently made the decision to become a surrogate, these family gatherings can hold another purpose — telling your family about your upcoming surrogacy journey.

But, how do you casually drop into conversation that you’re going to become a gestational carrier?

American Surrogacy is always here to help. When you work with our agency, you can always prepare for these conversations with the help of your surrogacy specialist. In the meantime, check out some tips to prepare yourself below.

1. Clear up misconceptions about surrogacy.

First, you should remember that not everyone is as well-versed in the surrogacy process as you are. You’ve likely spent a great deal of time researching gestational surrogacy before you applied with an agency. Remember the confusion and misconceptions you had before? Your loved ones probably have similar thoughts.

If you are planning to share your news with family, you should be prepared to educate them about the process. Don’t just drop your news casually into your conversation; follow it up with a basic explanation of what this journey will mean for you. Explain that you and the intended parents were fully screened before starting, that you will be compensated for your services, and that the baby you will carry will not be related to you.

A basic understanding of the process will go a long way to helping your loved ones get excited about your announcement.

2. Explain your reasoning for becoming a surrogate.

Many times, when surrogates share their news with family members, they are met with the same response: “Why didn’t you tell us you were financially struggling? We could have helped!”

Unfortunately, many people unfamiliar with the surrogacy process believe women choose this path only for the compensation. It’s a myth that persists, despite education otherwise. You can play an important role in teaching your loved ones about the reality of your situation.

Be confident in explaining your reasoning for this path. Talk about your love of motherhood and how you want to help someone else experience that. Mention how much you love being pregnant and how you want to use your healthy uterus to aid someone who can’t have a child on their own.

3. Give your loved ones a chance to ask questions.

When you share your surrogacy announcement at a family get-together, you’ll be able to answer many of our loved ones’ questions at the same time. It can save you from having to answer the same questions over and over again if you tell everyone individually.

However, keep in mind that you may receive some insensitive and ignorant comments and questions during this conversation. It will be likely be stuff that you’ve heard before and will continue to hear, so prepare yourself by doing your research.

Your surrogacy specialist can help by listing some of the most common responses you may get. She can also provide answers that you have ready-to-go when these questions inevitably come up.

4. Protect your intended parents’ privacy.

Some of the questions you get from your family and friends will likely be about the intended parents you’re carrying for. They are naturally curious about the family you are helping to create; in a way, they may seem like extended family to your loved ones.

While their interest is a sweet sentiment, your intended parents’ privacy should always come first. We encourage surrogates to talk with their intended parents prior to sharing news with family members. That way, they can both come up with a list of details they are comfortable telling others. The last thing you want is to break your intended parents’ trust by sharing private information with others.

Don’t be afraid to lean on the old “My surrogacy contract doesn’t let me talk about that” line if your family members won’t stop asking about details you’re uncomfortable sharing.

5. Share only what you’re comfortable with.

And, on that note, think hard about this conversation with family before you have it. What are you willing to tell them? Which details do they need not know?

What you decide to share during this conversation is entirely up to you. Surrogacy is an exciting journey but it is also an intimate one. While you may want to share your announcement with family members, you may not want to share every detail – and that’s OK. Your loved ones should understand and support you, no matter what.

We know the holiday season can heighten family relationships and get-togethers. So, whether you’re dreading or looking forward to this conversation about surrogacy, know that your surrogacy specialist is here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out today to prepare for sharing your surrogacy news.

Can You Be a Surrogate if You Have a Family Member with Disabilities?

Surrogates come from all different types of life circumstances — and why shouldn’t they? The desire to help another person become a parent is one that transcends all demographics, and it’s an admirable choice for every woman who follows this path.

If you are thinking of becoming a surrogate, you probably have a lot of questions about your eligibility. And, if you’ve come to this article, you are probably asking a big one: Can I be a surrogate if my spouse or child has mental or physical disabilities?

There are some important considerations to make with this kind of situation, but it’s not an automatic disqualifier for your surrogacy dreams. We’d encourage you to contact our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) for more information. Our team will be happy to evaluate your situation and answer your questions to help you make the best decision for your family.

In the meantime, if your spouse or child has disabilities, here are a few things you’ll want to consider before moving forward with the surrogacy process:

The Amount of Care Your Family Member Needs

As you probably know, there is a lot of variation when it comes to the severity of disabilities. Ultimately, your ability to become a surrogate will depend on the severity your family is affected by your family member’s special needs.

Being a surrogate requires a lot of time and energy. You will need to attend regular doctor’s appointments and maintain a relationship with your intended parents. And don’t forget how difficult pregnancy can be — you should be prepared to be more physically exhausted than normal during those nine months.

So, how will your family member’s disabilities impact your pregnancy?

It all depends on how much your family member relies on you in their day-to-day life. If their disabilities are minimal, and they can mostly take care of themselves independently, their condition likely won’t cause problems in your surrogacy journey. However, if your daily routine involves 24/7 care (including physically moving or restraining your family member), pregnancy will make those responsibilities much harder.

In general, the more severe your family member’s disabilities, the less likely you will be able to become a surrogate. While your desire to help another family is generous, your own family must always come first.

How Intended Parents May Feel About Your Situation

As you consider the surrogacy journey, remember that intended parents have a say, too. Intended parents are able to choose the surrogate candidate they are comfortable with, and that includes a home environment where their unborn baby will be safe and well cared for.

Understandably, a surrogate whose family member has disabilities may give them pause. They may be concerned about the safety of a surrogate’s pregnancy if she is physically and emotionally caring for her child 24/7. They might also worry about the stability of the household; for example, abrupt changes in a chronic medical condition can put a lot of financial and emotional stress on a family. To have this happen during a surrogate pregnancy would be overwhelming for all involved.

If you are eligible to be a surrogate but care for a child or spouse with special needs, your surrogacy specialist will always be honest about your situation with prospective intended parents. You should be prepared to answer questions from the intended parents about your plans for family care during your journey (more on that below) and how you plan to commit yourself to the surrogacy process with your other obligations.

Finding intended parents to work with may take a little longer but, if you are approved through our agency, our surrogacy specialists will work with you to find the perfect match, however long it takes.

What Preparations You’ll Need to Make

If you are eligible for the surrogacy process and understand the extra requirements of choosing this path with a disabled family member, your surrogacy specialist will be there to help. Before you can be matched with intended parents and create a legal surrogacy contract, you will need to make a plan for your upcoming surrogacy journey.

Because of your unique situation, you will need to consider how your spouse or child with disabilities will get the care they need during your pregnancy. As a surrogate, you will need to be committed to the partnership with intended parents; you can’t be solely focusing on your family member when you’re carrying someone else’s baby.

So, before you get started, you and your surrogacy specialist will make a plan based on these questions:

  • Who will care for your spouse or child when you attend doctor’s appointments?
  • What will happen if you are placed on bedrest during the last few months of your pregnancy?
  • Who will care for your family member if you have to travel overnight to the intended parents’ fertility clinic?
  • What steps will you take if your family member has a health scare during your surrogacy journey?
  • Who will take over your personal responsibilities when pregnancy makes it difficult or dangerous to carry them out?
  • Who will be your support system should you need last-minute assistance?

Just because your family member has certain disabilities doesn’t mean you are automatically disqualified from surrogacy. To find out if gestational surrogacy is right for, please reach out to our specialists today.