4 Times Surrogacy is Great (and 4 Times When It’s Not) for Surrogates

The surrogacy experience has plenty of emotional ups and downs for surrogates. Even though it all ends with you being able to help create a family, it takes a lot to get there. So, it’s good to be prepared before beginning.

Without further ado, here are some of the best (and worst) moments for gestational surrogates along the way:

4 of the Best Parts of Surrogacy for Surrogates

There’s plenty to love about being a gestational surrogate. These are four of the best feelings:

1. Feeling Like You’re Paying it Forward… with Parenthood

A requirement for surrogates with American Surrogacy, like most professionals, is that you must be already raising at least one child. That means you already know what it’s like to be a parent.

One reason that a lot of women cite as a motivator for becoming surrogates? To help people who have been waiting for a child become parents — and for them to know that same joy a surrogate has in her own lives.

Many women love being able to pass on the blessing of parenthood to those who have been hoping to experience it themselves.

2. Working Toward Financial Goals Using Surrogacy Compensation

Most surrogates choose to accept some amount of compensation in exchange for the time and effort they dedicate to their journey. And most surrogates choose to use that compensation toward important financial goals. Whether you’re paying off student loans or your car, putting the money toward your child’s college fund, or using it as a down payment on a home, compensation can be a genuine advantage for surrogates.

But, not just you, either — your whole family can benefit from something your heart felt called to do.

3. A Greater Appreciation for Your Body

A gestational surrogate is keenly aware that they’re physically able to do something that intended parents are unable to, no matter how much they wish they could. This is a loss that many intended parents have to grieve before they even begin to consider surrogacy. The ability to grow and protect a baby within your body is a gift, and becoming a surrogate is one way to use that gift and to pass it on to someone else.

The connection you share with the intended parents’ baby during that time and the connection you have to your own body during pregnancy are also special — pregnancy symptoms, pain and all.

4. The Moment When You Unite a Family

This is probably an obvious choice for “The Best Several Seconds of Surrogacy,” but placing a child into the arms of their parents for the first time is a pretty incredible experience. All the ups and downs are made worthwhile then. It’s the reason why women become surrogates in the first place!

4 of the Worst Parts of Surrogacy for Surrogates

Surrogacy is rewarding, yes. But it’s also tough. There are plenty of frustrations and low moments. These are some of the not-so-great aspects of the process for surrogates:

1. The Medications

The side effects that women experience while taking the required surrogacy medications vary widely, but most women experience at least some. Even if you don’t have any side effects, the process of carefully organizing, timing and administering fistfuls of pills, patches, creams, injections and more is anything but enjoyable!

Gestational surrogates and women who have undergone fertility treatments can commiserate about the general unpleasantness of this aspect of the medical process. Fortunately, it’s all for an important purpose.

2. The Differences in Pregnancy Experiences

Getting pregnant as a surrogate is so different than getting pregnant in the “old fashioned” way. It was likely easy for you to become pregnant in the past but, when you’re a surrogate, there are so many steps, tests, boxes to check and even just time spent waiting and hoping that the transfer worked this cycle.

When you’re in the middle of this comparatively complex process, it can be disheartening and leave you daydreaming of how simple your non-surrogacy pregnancies seemed without all the clinical fuss.

3. Juggling Responsibilities

Not only are gestational surrogates responsible for growing a tiny person — someone else’s child at that — they’re also expected to continue caring for their own children, keep up with their non-surrogacy-related responsibilities and, if they work outside of the home, maintain a career.

Surrogates are superheroes, surely. But there are only so many hours in a day, and the surrogacy process involves more appointments, coordination and time commitments than many people realize.

4. The Emotional Weight

This is both a benefit and a burden, in many ways. Although you know you’ve been entrusted with something amazingly unique, and you get to experience a lot of beautiful moments in your surrogacy journey, this intense responsibility can take a toll. Many gestational surrogates struggle with taking on the emotions of their intended parents, or they may feel personally responsible if an embryo transfer fails or there’s another kind of medical complication.

When you’re so invested in helping another family, it’s easy to become entangled in some of these feelings, even though your intended parents would never want you to. Surrogates also experience heightened emotions due to fertility medications and pregnancy hormones. Access to emotional support before, during and after a surrogate pregnancy will be important for your wellbeing.

American Surrogacy will always be there for you.

Surrogacy is Worth It — Highs and Lows and All

When all is said and done, you’ll probably walk away with more stretch marks than you had before, an alarming knowledge of human anatomy, a lifelong bond with a family you helped create — and an unparalleled sense of pride. It will all be worth it.

Ready to start your surrogacy journey? Contact American Surrogacy at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) to begin.

Do Surrogates Get Paid for Failed Transfers?

After the time you’ve invested as a surrogate, as well as the physical and emotional efforts you’ve put into your surrogacy journey so far, you might be worried about what happens if an embryo transfer fails. Gestational surrogates of the past have asked us a few questions about this topic: Do surrogates get paid if they miscarry? Does a surrogate get paid if F.E.T. does not work?

The answer to both: Yes.

Here’s why.

What Happens In the Event of a Miscarriage or Failed Transfer

Generally, most surrogates who accept compensation are paid per milestone.

When your contract is signed, you’ll receive payments for milestones such as the start of medications and the embryo transfer. You’ll also usually receive a monthly allowance, depending on your contract.

So, you would receive those types of payments up until the point that an unforeseen event (such as a miscarriage or failed transfer) occurs. Your surrogacy contract would dictate from there whether or not you and the intended parents will attempt another transfer.

That means if you miscarried at two months, you would get paid for those two months of pregnancy. It’s nobody’s fault when these things happen, and you put your time and effort into that pregnancy, so you’ll absolutely receive fair compensation for that time.

A miscarriage or failed transfer can be a significant emotional experience for both the gestational surrogate and her intended parents. Most people take some time to process the loss of a hoped-for pregnancy before pursuing any next steps. It’s not unusual for everyone in the surrogacy partnership to need time to recover before attempting another transfer.

Remember: Your individual surrogacy contract will determine what happens in the event of a miscarriage or failed transfer in your situation, so always refer to your contract in this situation.

If You Miscarry Again, or if Transfer Fails Again

This situation is rare, but it’s possible. If you experience a second miscarriage or failed embryo transfer, you would again look to your surrogacy contract first.

When you and your intended parents negotiated your contract, you determined how many embryo transfer attempts you would attempt. You probably also discussed what would happen if you experienced more than one medical setback.

That being said, there could certainly be instances where you would all agree to deviate from the original contract. For example, if you’ve now miscarried twice and your medical providers are concerned about your health, their recommendations would take precedence over any previous agreements you’d made in your contract. Your intended parents will understand.

Your physical and emotional health will always take first priority in situations of multiple miscarriages or embryo transfer failures.

Failed Transfers and Miscarriages in Surrogacy are Fortunately Rare

Miscarriages occur in about 1 in 4 recognized pregnancies. But, surrogacy professionals take certain steps to reduce those odds as much as possible with a gestational carrier.

Because gestational surrogates are carefully screened to ensure your chances of successfully carrying a pregnancy are high, and embryos are genetically tested to ensure their chances of successful implantation are high, the likelihood of you experiencing one of these medical setbacks is low.

However, it is still possible, which is why it’s important that you discuss these scenarios with your attorney and your intended parents when you create your surrogacy contract. That way, you’ll have a plan in place, just in case.

If you do experience a miscarriage or failed transfer, you would be compensated to that point as per your contract, so don’t worry about having to front any expenses related to the pregnancy.

If you have any more questions about surrogacy payment schedules, you can ask to review your contract with your attorney or your American Surrogacy specialist. You can also reach out to us at 1-800-875-BABY (2229).

7 Ways Being a Surrogate Can Change Your Life

Clearly, being a surrogate is something that can turn your life upside down for a year or more — in a good way! But, did you know that your decision to be a surrogate can change your life for months and even years after you hand the intended parents their little bundle of joy?

That’s right — being a surrogate is a life-changing journey for many women. It can be for you, too.

You can always learn more about becoming a surrogate when you contact our surrogacy specialists online or call 1-800-875-2229(BABY). In the meantime, find out seven ways your life can change when you make the leap into the surrogacy world:

1. You create parents where there weren’t any before.

The first big difference you’ll make as a gestational carrier? You will help a worthy individual or couple become the parents they’ve always dreamed of being.

It’s a knowledge that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. You helped make someone’s dreams come true — with something that probably comes easily to you. Who knew that your uterus could make such a difference in someone’s life? Knowing this can change your own perspective for many years to come.

2. You help bring a new life into the world.

On top of helping your intended parents reach their dream, you’ve changed the world. Now, it has one more beautiful baby in it — and it’s all because of you.

Without you, your intended parents’ baby would not exist. They would still be just a dream. But, because you choose to give the gift of surrogacy, you have brought a child into the world that wasn’t there before. This child will leave their own impact on their community as they grow up, and you will always have the knowledge that you were the one of the first people to make that happen.

3. You can make friendships that last a lifetime.

The relationship between surrogates and their intended parents is a special one. In many cases, it’s a relationship that continues long after the surrogacy process is complete.

When you become a gestational surrogate, you share an intimate journey with your intended parents that few get to experience. It’s a journey that will bond you together for life. You get to know each other better than anyone else, and you will both carry evidence of your partnership for life (for you, stretch marks; for them, a tiny bundle of joy).

The best surrogacy stories are the ones in which surrogates and intended parents have a genuine friendship with each other. Not only will this make the awkward parts of your surrogacy more manageable, but it will help both of you be more comfortable from start to finish. If you establish this kind of relationship, it’s only natural that it will continue for months and years to come!

4. You may become a better communicator.

Surrogacy is all about organization and communication. There are many moving parts involved, and it’s important that both parties are on top of their responsibilities to be as successful as possible.

Prior to surrogacy, you may have been a “c’est la vie” kind of woman. Surrogacy will force you to become more organized (think: medication schedule, doctor’s appointments, and more) and to stay in frequent contact with your intended parents. In your personal life, you may have fallen into the trap of taking weeks to return phone calls or texts — but being a gestational carrier will snap you out of that quickly.

In turn, when it comes time to end your surrogacy journey, you may find some of those habits hard to break — and your friends and family will likely thank you for your new sense of focus and organization.

5. You become more familiar with your body and health.

By the time your surrogacy is over, you will be an expert in all things pregnancy and reproductive health. It takes many complicated steps to become pregnant as a gestational carrier, and you’ll need to be in tune with your body’s needs and responses every step of the way. What before may have been a passing knowledge of how your body works will now be an intimate understanding of your unique body system.

Both during and after your surrogacy, you may find yourself picking up healthier habits than your life before surrogacy. You may feel better than you did even before this last pregnancy — and your gestational pregnancy itself might be a more enjoyable experience than your previous ones!

Overall, surrogacy allows carriers to learn to be more vocal about their medical needs and better recognize their own body’s health.

6. You can give yourself a new financial start.

When you become a surrogate, you have the right to receive surrogate base compensation. This compensation will depend upon your personal situation and your experience as a surrogate, as well as any compensation preferences you may have.

While surrogate base compensation is not necessarily a “life-changing” amount, it is often enough for a surrogate and her family to take a big financial step. She may be able to pay off the rest of her student loans or save money for her children’s college education. She may be able to put a down payment on a house or a new car for her family.

Money should not be the reason you pursue surrogacy, but compensation is certainly a benefit of this path. To learn more about our agency’s base compensation policy, please call our specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

7. You may be inspired to do surrogacy again — and again.

A single surrogacy journey can be life-changing for a gestational carrier — but it can also inspire her to keep doing surrogacy as long as she’s able.

It’s not uncommon for first-time gestational carriers to find out that they love every part of surrogacy. As soon as they are able to, they sign up again with their surrogacy agency and get ready to work with another set of intended parents. When they realize how much of a difference they can make doing something that comes so easily to them, they often want to do it all over again!

Ready to start your surrogacy journey today? Contact our specialists for more information.

What are Travel Restrictions All About in Surrogacy?

There’s a reason why surrogacy professionals encourage gestational carriers to clear their family calendars for the year or so of the surrogacy process. As part of your surrogacy requirements, you may be subject to a travel restriction during certain parts of your pregnancy.

On top of delaying any family vacations or travel plans, travel restrictions can seem like a bit of a nuisance — until you understand exactly why they’re a thing.

The best person to talk to about the restrictions of being a gestational carrier will always be a surrogacy professional. At American Surrogacy, our specialists are happy to answer all of your questions about the surrogacy process, including any you have about travel “do”s and “don’t”s. You can give them a call anytime at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

In the meantime, you can learn about the basics of travel during a gestational pregnancy below.

Why Do Surrogacy Contracts Set Travel Restrictions?

You’ve been pregnant before, so you should be aware of the realities of traveling while pregnant. But, in case you need a refresher, here’s a recap:

In general, it’s safe to travel throughout your pregnancy, although many doctors will recommend you stay local once you reach 36 weeks. (There’s no telling when that baby will decide to come!) For most women, the safest time to travel is during the second trimester — after the morning sickness of your first trimester and before the fatigue that comes with your third trimester.

However, there are certain risks that come with traveling with pregnant, especially if you have a history of complicated pregnancies. Sitting for long periods in the area can increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis, a condition in which blood clots form in the legs or other areas of the body. Women who have a history of anemia, respiratory disease, or cardiac disease should be wary of traveling while pregnant. Pregnancy is hard enough on your body, and travel can only increase the physical stressors on your body during this time.

For this reason, many surrogacy lawyers and professionals will advise that a gestational carrier stop traveling once she reaches a certain point in pregnancy. After all, the baby she is carrying is not hers, so any additional risks she incurs will tend to make the intended parents nervous. Remember: The goal of gestational surrogacy is to maximize the chance that the intended parents will have the healthy baby they’ve been dreaming about — and that you will have as healthy a pregnancy as possible. For that reason, certain sacrifices must be made, including your ability to travel at a certain point.

Intended parents are giving up a great deal of control by choosing gestational surrogacy, and stipulations over your pregnancy are some of the only ways they can play a part in their unborn baby’s development.

What Should You Expect in Your Surrogacy Contract?

That said, every surrogacy is different — and so is every set of intended parents. That’s why the negotiating of your surrogacy contract will be a back-and-forth conversation. This will ensure you and the intended parents come up with terms that you are both comfortable with. Don’t forget that you will have a personal surrogacy attorney protecting your rights and interests during this negotiation.

When it comes to travel restrictions, most surrogacy contracts will leave the decision up to the surrogate’s obstetrician. After all, things can change drastically as a pregnancy progresses; unforeseen occurrences can make what seemed fine early on impossible in the third trimester. Most gestational carriers and intended parents will be comfortable with this kind of travel arrangement. After all, they only want what is best for the health of the baby.

On the other hand, some intended parents will have specific ideas about their surrogate’s travel during pregnancy. Some intended parents will specifically request that their surrogate not travel in her third trimester; others will be okay with travel, but only if it is within her state. The latter is for several reasons — states have different surrogacy laws (which can be an issue if a surrogate delivers unexpectedly) and a surrogate will be far away from her obstetrician. All of this can make an intended parent nervous, which is why they may suggest certain travel rules.

Other intended parents may be stricter in their travel desires. If an intended parent requests that you not travel at all during your pregnancy, you may not be comfortable with that kind of restriction. What happens if there’s a family emergency and you have to travel on short notice? The resentment you would feel toward them would likely harm your relationship.

This is why being honest and open about your surrogacy preferences is so important. If you match with intended parents who request a strict travel policy, and you don’t think it will work for you, you’ll need to bring that up before your final contract is signed. If need be, you can find another match with parents who better share your ideals for the surrogacy journey.

Travel restrictions in a surrogacy contract are a sensitive subject, which is why having a surrogacy professional by your side from day one is so important. Your specialist and attorney should speak with you at length about this topic, so you are fully informed before starting your surrogacy journey. Remember: Surrogacy is not right for every woman at every period in her life, and the possibility of travel restrictions may highlight that for you during this time in your life.

Want to learn more about surrogacy contracts and what is expected from you as a gestational carrier? Contact our specialists today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

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:

Do:

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.

Don’t:

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).

What Can Surrogates Do to Make Their Intended Parents’ Journey Easier?

Everyone knows: Being a surrogate is hard work. But, between all of the focus on your health, pregnancy and well-being, intended parents can sometimes get lost. And that’s not fair!

While intended parents may not go through the same physical process as their gestational carrier, they go through an equally difficult emotional process. It’s hard to give up control of their baby’s development in utero, even to a woman that they trust deeply. For them, surrogacy is the last step in the long, hard journey they’ve taken to become parents — and this step can sometimes be the hardest yet.

If you’re a surrogate, you want to make your intended parents’ part of the surrogacy journey as easy as possible. That’s a very generous and selfless thing to do, and we commend you for it. But, how can you go above and beyond to help them during your pregnancy?

Below, find a few tips for doing exactly that. Remember, you can always speak with your surrogacy specialist for more advice on what is and is not appropriate in your surrogacy relationship.

1. Keep them informed of your pregnancy and the baby’s development.

The biggest thing you can do to ease your intended parents’ minds? Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Your intended parents are giving up a great deal of control by using the surrogacy process. Even though they trust you to carry their child safely, there are still a great deal of questions and concerns that will pop up before and during your pregnancy. When you’re a surrogate, the best way to help them out is by anticipating those needs. Share your pregnancy experience, and share often.

Frequent updates — such as how you’re feeling, whether the baby is starting to move and more — are extremely reassuring to your intended parents. Phone calls and texts are easy for you to do, but they will mean more to your intended parents than you could ever know.

2. Involve them in your medical appointments and important moments.

If possible, don’t just tell your intended parents about your baby’s development — let them be an active part in it.

Many intended parents are thrilled when invited to a surrogate’s medical appointments. Keep them up to date on your scheduled ultrasounds and other important appointments. That way, they can make the decision to attend if it is in their power.

On the same note, make sure to inform your intended parents about some of the smallest medical changes. If you see a different doctor at one appointment, tell them. If your doctor anticipates changes in your delivery plans, make sure to let your intended parents know. Even something as small as a minor illness should be known by your intended parents, especially if you have to take a prescription to clear it up.

Trust us: The last thing you want is for your intended parents to hear about your medical situation secondhand.

3. Share special experiences with them.

While telling your intended parents about the day-to-day details is important, you can also try to include them in special ways!

Remember that your intended mother (if applicable) would give anything to experience pregnancy the way you are. So, find a way to replicate those experiences for her. Have your obstetrician record your sonograms or the baby’s heartbeat, and you can create a sweet DVD gift for your intended parents to cherish. Try to capture their baby moving on film or, better yet, arrange a date with the intended parents when you anticipate the baby being particularly “active.” Giving them the opportunity to feel their baby move will be a priceless gift.

4. Stay open to their suggestions and wants.

While it’s important that you talk about your experiences with the intended parents, it’s equally important that you listen to them throughout the surrogacy journey. Even though they are not the ones carrying their child, their preferences and desires should be respected at every step along the way.

In most surrogacies, what your intended parents expect of you will be discussed as part of your surrogacy contract. But, it’s not uncommon for intended parents to think of something new they want during the pregnancy. You should make all efforts to abide by those wishes.

For example, even though it may require extra time and effort from you, be enthusiastic about playing recordings of music and their voices to the baby in utero. Read stories to their baby, if they desire, and try to incorporate their pregnancy preferences into your everyday routine — as long as it is safe for you to do so.

Remember: While this is your pregnancy, this is not your baby. Your intended parents will appreciate you having as close a pregnancy to their own desires as possible.

5. Be organized with your financial needs.

Finally, one of the most helpful things you can do for your intended parents involves a more sensitive topic: financial issues.

Your intended parents are responsible for all of your medical expenses during your surrogacy, whether they have set up an escrow service or will reimburse you for your expenses as they occur. Either way, organization is key. Having all of your expenses itemized will prevent headaches for your intended parents.

For example, when it comes to your fertility medication, it’s a good idea to keep an inventory of all the medication you are on, how much is left, when you’ll need a refill, and how much it costs. Similarly, when you start attending medical appointments, keep all of your itemized receipts in a clearly marked folder, organized by date. Your intended parents will thank you — and it will be less likely that you’ll have to pay for certain expenses out-of-pocket.

Remember that your surrogacy specialist will be by your side to support you through the entire journey, and that includes mediating complicated conversations about finances and compensation. But, the more organized you are, the easier these conversations will be!

Want more tips on maintaining a positive relationship with your intended parents? Speak with our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) today.

Will Being a Surrogate Affect Your Job?

If you’re thinking about being a gestational surrogate, you’ve probably thought about a lot: how your pregnancy will affect your body and mind, how your family will feel, whether you’re ready for the challenges ahead.

But, have you thought about how being a surrogate may affect your job?

Just like being pregnant with your own child, being pregnant with an intended parent’s child will require a great deal of time and energy from you. As you focus on a healthy pregnancy and strong relationship with your intended parents, you will also need to focus on your everyday family and career responsibilities. It’s easy to forget how much pregnancy can affect your career, but it’s an important thing to think about before starting down this path.

We encourage you to talk in depth with your surrogacy specialist about how surrogacy may impact your job. Remember, we’re always available to talk at 1-800-875-2229(BABY). In the meantime, keep reading to prepare yourself for how surrogacy may affect your career.

The Challenges of Surrogate Pregnancy

As you know, pregnancy takes a great deal of energy and effort. Keeping yourself healthy during nine months — while simultaneously managing your everyday responsibilities — can quickly take a toll on your body and mind.

How much your career will be affected will depend on a few things. First, how much physical and mental energy does your job take? If you are in a position that requires a great deal of physical movement, you will have to cut back on your responsibilities while pregnant. This, in turn, may affect your work performance. While there are legal protections for working while pregnant, you should still think hard about how your pregnancy may affect your current and future pay — and whether your family can afford that while you are pregnant.

At the same time, you may be required to take time off work for important appointments and meetings. For example, you may need to travel to the intended parents’ clinic for your embryo transfer. That may require you to take a few days off work. Do you have the time off you need, or can you afford to take a hit to your paycheck for those few days?

Breaking the News to Your Boss

As you prepare to take time off of work, you’ll eventually need to speak with your supervisor. Not only will you need to take time off for the embryo transfer process, but you’ll also need to take maternity leave for your delivery and postpartum recovery. While there shouldn’t be any difference in time off for a gestational pregnancy or a pregnancy of your own, you’ll still need to keep your boss in the loop as early as possible.

How much detail you share with your supervisor will be up to you. It’s a good idea to explain that you are carrying a gestational pregnancy to avoid misinformation spreading around the office. This is also a good time to mention that you will likely be taking a shorter maternity leave because you won’t have a child to look after.

Before you meet with your supervisor, you might want to review your company policies or talk to your human resources manager. That way, you will be as informed as possible about your maternity leave policy and know what to expect in your conversation.

What to Say to Coworkers

If you plan to work through your pregnancy, you’ll also need to think about your conversations with your coworkers. You won’t be able to keep your pregnancy a secret but, if you keep secret the fact that the baby is not yours, you may find yourself facing some uncomfortable situations — congratulations or even a work baby shower.

As always, how much you decide to share about your surrogacy journey will always be up to you. When explaining your decision to be a surrogate, you might take this opportunity to answer your coworkers’ questions — or you might simply give only the information they need. It is your decision. But, if you feel comfortable doing so, telling your coworkers about your surrogacy allows you to educate others and clear up some of the misconceptions that still exist.

Of course, you will likely need to keep your coworkers updated about your plans for time off and maternity leave. This way, you will ensure that your responsibilities are covered while you are gone.

Maternity Leave

While you will likely take less time to recover from a gestational pregnancy than a pregnancy of your own (because you won’t be caring for a newborn at home), you will still need to take some time off after delivery. Fortunately, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects your ability to have 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave for the birth of a child.

However, before becoming a surrogate, think about how your maternity leave may affect your family’s financial situation. Can you afford to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave? Do you want to use your paid vacation for your recovery period? Will your surrogate base compensation provide enough to support your family during this time?

While it may not be something at the top of your mind when you first become a surrogate, your career should play a role in deciding whether this is the right time for this journey or not. If you’re not sure how your job will affect being a surrogate, or you want to learn more about the demands of surrogacy, don’t hesitate to contact our surrogacy specialists today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

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).

How to Honor Your Intended Mother on Mother’s Day

6 Things Surrogates Can Do to Make Their Intended Mother Feel Appreciated

By helping your intended mother to become a mom through surrogacy in the first place, you’re already giving her the best gift possible. Want to make sure she feels included in the “mom club” with some extra gestures? That’s fine, too — go ahead and share the love! Just remember that what you’re already doing is incredible.

Here are six ways you can show your intended mother-to-be some additional Mother’s Day appreciation, if you’re so inclined:

1. Send a Card or a Text

Send her an almost-first Mother’s Day card or a text telling her why you picked her to be your intended mother and the reasons why you think she’s going to be a great mom. If this is her first child, she may be feeling nervous right now. Some encouragement from you can be great to hear.

2. Call Her

Having a long-distance surrogacy partnership can be tough, but a quick phone or video call to wish her a “Happy Mother’s Day” can let her know you’re thinking of her. Check in, catch up, ask how she’s feeling, and let her know what a great mom she’s going to be. This is extra fun if you currently have a baby bump that she can “say hello” to.

3. Get a Small Gift

If you’re the type of person who loves giving gifts, and if you (and your surrogate specialist) think it’s appropriate in your surrogacy relationship, go ahead! Some ideas:

  • A stuffed animal or blanket for the baby, which can also be used to help with emotional transfer
  • A framed photo of you and the intended parents, or a sonogram.
  • A meaningful piece of jewelry or keepsake.

4. Involve Her in Your Experiences

Nothing says motherhood like watching your child’s every move, right? Even if you’re in a long-distance surrogacy partnership, invite her to doctor’s appointments whenever she’s able to come, and send texts letting her know how you’re feeling and giving updates about the baby’s progress if you’re pregnant at this point.

5. Spend Some Time Together

If you’re both able to, invite her out to lunch, go out for a spa afternoon, or just have her over for a cup of tea and a chat. It can be nice to get to know each other outside of your “surrogate” and “intended parent” roles. She might appreciate some of the conversation and focus being shifted away from you and onto her for a bit. Treat her like a new friend, and you might find that you have one!

6. Keep Doing What You’re Doing!

If you’d like to do something special for your intended mother, that’s wonderful. However, what you’re doing for her right now is already the most amazing thing you could do for anyone.

You are making an entire lifetime of future Mother’s Days possible for her. Let that sink in, and take a moment to be proud of yourself for that. She’s certainly aware of it.

Continuing to take care of yourself and her baby (if you’re already pregnant) will be a great gift to her.

Not sure how to address Mother’s Day as a gestational surrogate? You can always ask your American Surrogacy specialist for advice by calling 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

Feeling Depressed During Your Surrogate Pregnancy?

It’s no secret — pregnancy is hard. You are often emotionally and physically exhausted along the way, and it’s completely normal for you to experience feelings of sadness, anger or frustration during these nine months. In most cases, those hard parts are all worth it when you get to bring your little one home.

But, in surrogacy, it’s a bit of a different situation. All of the discomfort that you go through during your pregnancy is to help someone else become a parent. While you are probably just as excited for them to meet their baby as you were to meet yours once upon a time, it can also cast a different shade on the emotions that you feel during your pregnancy.

It’s 100 percent normal to have conflicting feelings while you are pregnant with your intended parents’ baby. Remember that your surrogacy specialist will be there for you whenever you need her support, and she can guide you through the more difficult emotions of your surrogacy, if you need it.

But, how do you know when your pregnancy feelings are a sign of something more serious? Is it possible to experience depression during pregnancy, instead of the postpartum depression you hear more about?

The answer is yes. Learn more about this important topic below.

Why You May Be Depressed as a Surrogate

There are many reasons why women experience confusing feelings of sadness, grief, frustration and more during pregnancy. This process requires a lot from a woman, and she may often feel like her experience is not validated by those who have never been through the pregnancy journey themselves. She may be tired from the everyday responsibilities she usually deals with, and the stressors of pregnancy only exacerbate those challenges.

A surrogate pregnancy often causes the same emotions, but they are compounded by the fact that a pregnant woman is not carrying a child for herself — but for someone else. While this can actually be a source of relief for some surrogates, it can make things more emotionally complicated for others. A woman may feel even worse knowing that she is struggling through all these challenges without a “tangible” end result for her family (aside from surrogate compensation).

It can also be grating for a surrogate to hear the same insensitive comments and questions over and over during her pregnancy, or to feel like her family is losing out on time together during her later stages of her pregnancy. There is no “right” or “wrong” reason for you to feel depressed or upset during pregnancy; it all depends on your personal situation.

Signs of Antenatal Depression

While it’s 100 percent normal to experience “baby blues” both before and after pregnancy, there can come a point where the normal sad feelings of pregnancy become something more. Just as you should when you were pregnant with own child, you should pay close attention to your mental health during your surrogate pregnancy, too.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for two weeks or longer, it’s a sign that something may not be right with your mental health:

  • Persistent sadness
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Recurring thoughts of death, suicide or hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of interest in activities that you usually enjoy
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Change in eating habits

If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or the child you are carrying, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline right away: 1-800-273-8255.

What to Do Next

If you think you are coping with depression during your surrogate pregnancy, a lot of thoughts may go through your head. In addition to worrying about your own family, you may also worry about how the intended parents will react to this news. You may worry that they’ll blame you or that this situation will irreparably harm your relationship.

The only thing that you should be concerned with right now is your mental health and the health of the child growing inside of you. Do not hide what you are feeling for fear of backlash from your intended parents; they only want what is best for you, which means getting you the help you need during this vulnerable time. You are not alone; statistics suggest that between 14 and 23 percent of women suffer from some form of depression during pregnancy.

Your first point of contact if you are worried about your potential for antenatal depression will always be your doctor. They can test your physical status to ensure there are no underlying physical conditions that may be causing these symptoms. Your doctor is also the only one who can diagnose clinical antenatal depression.

Whether you are diagnosed with clinical depression or not, remember that your surrogacy specialist is always here to support you, and that your feelings are still just as real. Our specialists are very aware of the emotions that gestational carriers go through, and they know that surrogacy is not always easy. You should never feel afraid to reach out to your specialist, whatever your situation, because she can help you get the support you need during this time. She can also help mediate a conversation with your intended parents about your feelings, if necessary.

No two pregnancies are the same, but feelings of depression during pregnancy are more common than you may think. Whatever your situation, you deserve to get the help you need during this time to keep yourself and the baby inside of you healthy and happy.