What to Pack for Your Surrogacy Hospital Stay – Surrogates

The moment when you place the baby you’ve been carrying for nine months into the arms of his or her parents is an incredibly special one. Now it’s time to get ready for that moment! Here’s what you should pack in your hospital bag as a surrogate:

Paperwork

These are probably the most important items you’ll pack. The hospital will usually have things like extra toiletries on hand, but especially with a surrogacy birth, only you’ll be able to supply some of this information.

It’s best to try to prepare your hospital by letting them know about your birth plan in advance, as they may not have had any experience with a surrogacy birth. Your American Surrogacy specialist will work with you, your intended parents and your hospital to create a hospital plan that you’re comfortable with and to make sure that everything is ready, so that everyone is prepared and on the same page.

Bringing more information than less is a good idea, just in case. Some things you should pack include:

  • Your insurance cards
  • Your driver’s license or I.D.
  • Your surrogacy contract
  • The pre-birth order (if possible)
  • Copies of relevant prenatal medical information (if necessary)

The hospital should have a way to identify you and your family (like your spouse and children if they visit you) as well as the baby and the intended parents. Most hospitals are accommodating of the intended parents once they understand your special birth plan, so check with your surrogacy specialist to confirm what paperwork you should have ready.

Clothes

Comfort is definitely key. Some hospitals tend to keep the temperature uncomfortably low, while others set it too high. You can’t go wrong with light layers. A few essentials you should pack include:

  • A robe to put on over your hospital gown
  • Socks or slippers
  • A couple of loose and comfortable outfits that you could go home in
  • Extra underwear
  • Nursing bras

Toiletries

Again, the hospital will likely have spares of anything you might need, so don’t over pack, but you might have preferences about brands. Think back to your last delivery and what would have made you more comfortable. Helpful things to pack include:

  • Your toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush
  • A hair tie, headband, or whatever you prefer to keep your hair out of the way
  • Breast pads
  • Pads for post-partum bleeding
  • Nipple cream or Lanolin if your breasts get tender
  • If you plan on pumping breast milk for the baby, a breast pump
  • Post-partum ice packs

Miscellaneous

Don’t stress too much about packing. If you forget something, ask your spouse to run home and grab it for you. Your past deliveries will be your most helpful guide when considering what to pack for your hospital stay. Some additional things you might want to toss in your bag before you forget include:

  • Your phone charger
  • Anything from home that’ll make you more comfortable (a book, headphones, a specific pillow, blanket, sleep mask, etc.)
  • A little gift or memento for the child, like a photo album of your pregnancy or a special stuffed animal if you’d like them to have something to mark the nine months you spent together

Giving birth as a surrogate is an incredible and unique experience. Packing your hospital bag may seem small, but it’s all part of something exciting. Enjoy it!

American Surrogacy is here to help you create a hospital plan that you can feel confident about, and is with you every step of the way, preparing you for what to expect at the hospital with a surrogacy birth. Contact us now at 1-800-875-BABY (1-800-875-2229) to learn more about how to become a surrogacy and to make a surrogacy birth plan.

4 Tips for Pregnant Surrogates During the Holidays

You may be feeling somewhat overwhelmed when you’re taking care of the intended parents’ growing baby and your family, especially in the midst of craziness of the holiday season. Now more than ever, it’s important to care of yourself.

Here are four tips that can help you navigate the upcoming holidays as a surrogate so that you stay healthy, sane and actually enjoy yourself:

1. Take Care of Yourself

Pregnancy is physically, mentally and emotionally tough. Surrogacy adds extra pressure to what you’re experiencing. Combine that with the holidays, and you probably need a break. Here are few self-care tips that might seem obvious, but are no less important:

  • Sleep! Need a nap? Take a nap. Whenever. Go to bed early if you need to. If you (and baby) say “sleep,” everyone else can say, “sweet dreams.”
  • Stay hydrated. There will be (non-alcoholic) punch, cider, soda and all sorts of delicious holiday indulgences. However, keep drinking plenty of plain old water so that you’ll both stay healthy throughout the winter.
  • There will be plenty of temptations, but it’s best to avoid some holiday foods. You probably know to stay away from soft cheese, alcohol and undercooked meats, but you should also skip the eggnog, cookie dough and caffeine. Make sure you eat lots of healthy fruits and veggies if you indulge in holiday treats.
  • Ask for help, delegate tasks and take time for yourself. Whether that’s letting your partner or spouse take over your half of the holiday to-do list or having a friend or family member pitch in so that you can get some rest, let others know when you need a hand.

Be honest and firm about your needs this holiday season. Taking care of yourself (mentally, physically and emotionally) as well as the baby is priority number one. Once you and the baby are taken care of, you can take care of your family and holiday matters.

2. Holiday Stress Can Be Tough on the Baby (and You!)

All the planning, shopping, traveling and expectations of the holiday season can be fun, but it can also be stressful. That stress now affects both you and the baby. Staying relaxed is healthier for you and for the baby, but that can be trickier during the heightened emotions of the holidays.

Remember:

  • Ask for help when you need it, whether that’s with everyday tasks or holiday chores like decorating and shopping.
  • Cut out excess stress wherever you feel it’s possible or needed, like skipping that party you don’t feel like going to, buying fewer presents, or making fewer travel plans.
  • The holidays aren’t about commitments or gifts, so take a breath if you feel overwhelmed.

The holiday season can bring us so much joy and warmth, or it can make us feel overwhelmed and frustrated. A lot of that depends on how we choose to approach it. Don’t feel bad about cutting out things that cause you stress this season. This is an opportunity to reconnect with what’s important to you as you celebrate.

3. Focus on Your Family

You’re doing an amazing thing for someone else’s family — you’re growing a child for them! It can be easy to get caught up in the feelings of your intended parents while you’re on this journey together, but you deserve some time to focus on your own family during the holidays. Here are a few tips for making the most of this time with your family:

You don’t have to go overboard with gifts or special plans… just spend some undistracted time together as a family. As a surrogate, you mean a lot to someone else’s family. But your family comes first.

4. Take it Easy this Year

Maybe your house is normally the one festooned with the most lights on the block each year. Maybe it’s an annual tradition to stay up all night carefully basting a turkey. Maybe you usually host a bunch of people for a party, or you travel to several different family celebrations.

This might be the year to take things easy. You’ve got a lot going on, and it’s ok to say “no” to obligations, even if those commitments are self-imposed.

Your pregnant body will probably thank you if you’re not traveling, staying up late, stressing or overexerting yourself. Changing things up and adopting a more laid-back holiday schedule this year will allow you to spend some relaxed time with your family and also maybe give you a couple new traditions.

Instead of more elaborate holiday traditions, consider these stress-saving holiday ideas:

  • Have the family’s favorite simple meal (think spaghetti or tacos) instead of a fancy holiday meal.
  • Have a staycation with hot cocoa and a holiday movie marathon instead of traveling across the country for holiday get-togethers.
  • Book a post-surrogacy family trip as a gift instead of giving traditional presents and save yourself some shopping trips.
  • If you normally cook or bake a lot, opt for store-bought this year.
  • If you don’t feel like going to the usual holiday parties, don’t go! Put yourself first.

The holidays can bring a certain amount of pressure, but there’s nothing wrong with keeping things simple and low key. Spending your holidays pregnant can be frustrating, depending on how you’re feeling, but it can also be a chance to change things up and get back to the basics of the season. Remember the wonderful reason why you’re doing this, and how you’re about to give the best gift ever to your intended parents! If you’re struggling with the stress of the holiday season as a surrogate, you can always reach out to your surrogacy specialist for support at 1-800-875-BABY (875-2229).

What to Expect After Your Gestational Pregnancy Delivery

When you’re a gestational carrier, a lot of thought and preparation will go into your gestational pregnancy and your delivery plan. But, what happens after you return home from the hospital? What can you expect?

It’s normal to have questions about the postpartum period of a gestational pregnancy. If you’re like most gestational carriers, this is your first time being pregnant for someone else, and you may not be sure what it will be like to return home without a baby. Being educated about what to expect and all the possibilities during this time is the best thing you can do to be prepared.

That said, every postpartum recovery from a gestational surrogacy is different. You know your body the best, and it’s important that you stay in tune to how you’re feeling during this time. If something feels off, don’t hesitate to call your medical professional. Your pregnancy- and postpartum-related medical bills will always be covered by your intended parents, and your personal well-being is always of the utmost importance. Remember, your surrogacy specialist can answer any questions and support you through this time, too.

If you’re wondering what to expect from your postpartum experience, there are a few things you should be aware of:

Post-Delivery Recovery Time

The time that it takes to recover from the childbirth experience of a gestational pregnancy is much different than your recovery period from your own pregnancies. Yes, you will be experiencing much of the same physical pain and exhaustion you’ve felt before, but there is one major difference — you get the chance to focus entirely on healing.

When women give birth to their own children, they often don’t have the luxury of taking their time to recover. After all, there’s a new baby in the house demanding attention. Gestational carriers are luckier; they don’t have a new baby to care for 24/7 and, thus, are more likely to take the time they need to recover from labor. Every woman is different, but many gestational carriers report they feel back to normal a few days or even a few hours after labor.

As great as you may feel after your delivery, don’t forget to take it easy on yourself. Your body will have gone through a tremendous experience in childbirth, and it will need time to recover. Even if you feel fine, take precautions. Take naps frequently, don’t attempt any extreme physical activity, and delay your return to your normal routine for a few weeks. The last thing you will want to do at this point is “overdo it.”

To Pump or Not to Pump?

One of the things you’ll need to decide before you even enter your last trimester is what you plan to do with your breastmilk. Whether you plan to pump or not, there are certain preparations and steps you’ll need to take.

When you work with American Surrogacy, your surrogacy specialist can mediate a conversation between you and your intended parents about pumping breastmilk after the baby is born, if the parents want that. If so, this will be included in your legal surrogacy contract. Keep in mind, when you pump for intended parents, you will need to need to commit your time to pump every few hours.

If you decide not to pump for the intended parents, you will need to take certain steps to halt your lactation. Your medical professional can talk in depth about this process and what you should avoid to prevent complications such as mastitis and plugged ducts. Many gestational carriers say that halting lactation helped them return “back to normal” more quickly.

Postpartum Depression

Another thing to consider about your post-delivery recovery period is the hormones and the emotions you will be feeling after childbirth. Even when you emotionally prepare for your gestational delivery and are ready for the emotions you may experience, it can still be a difficult adjustment during your recovery period.

Like all pregnant women, gestational carriers have the chance of developing postpartum depression after delivery. Sometimes, a gestational pregnancy reduces the chance of baby blues; a carrier can focus on her own recovery without the added stress of caring for a baby. However, with all the different hormones lingering after pregnancy, sometimes a degree of depression occurs.

Being proactive (for example: taking care of yourself, recognizing when you need a mental health day) can do wonders in helping stave off “the baby blues.” If you’re experiencing a greater degree of depression, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Postpartum depression is never a woman’s fault; it’s simply a response to the hormones in her body after she delivers.

If you are feeling sad, irritated, or experiencing other emotions out of the norm that last for longer than six weeks, reach out to your obstetrician.

Remember, every gestational carrier’s postpartum experience is unique, just like her pregnancy will be. But, when you work with American Surrogacy, your surrogacy specialist will make sure you receive the support and education you need to be prepared for whatever happens, both during and after your gestational pregnancy. You can even be connected with former surrogates who can answer your questions about their postpartum experience and help you prepare for the upcoming emotions you may feel.

For more information on how American Surrogacy will support you as a gestational carrier during this time, please call our specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

5 Things to Look for in Intended Parents

Deciding who to carry for when you’re a gestational surrogate is a big choice. After all, these are the people who you will spend a year or more getting to know intimately and sacrificing so much of your personal time, effort and energy to help become parents. You shouldn’t choose just anyone to be your intended parents; American Surrogacy is here to help you find the perfect partner for this upcoming journey.

When you work with our agency, your surrogacy specialist will guide you through every process of locating prospective intended parents — but the ultimate decision of who to carry for will always be up to you. So, how do you know that certain intended parents are “the ones” for you?

As a gestational carrier, you likely have a few things you are looking for in your surrogacy partner. But, if you’re not sure what else to keep in mind, know there are a few common aspects that all good intended parents should have. Here’s what you should look for during your matching process:

1. Someone Who Shares Your Surrogacy Goals and Preferences

The first thing that every prospective surrogate should look for in intended parents is the same surrogacy goals and preferences. Every surrogacy journey is different; you will have different expectations than another gestational carrier. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure you match with a surrogacy partner who not only is comfortable with those desires but also wants the same thing in their surrogacy journey.

Some of the issues that you and your intended parents will want to align on include:

When you work with American Surrogacy, your surrogacy specialist will help you create a plan for your surrogacy journey. They will use this plan to identify intended parents who share the same desires.

2. Someone Who Meets Your Expectations

You will also need to create a list of desired characteristics for the intended parents for whom you carry. The surrogacy matching process is a mutual one, but you will have a say in what kind of parents you are comfortable carrying for. As part of your surrogacy plan, you will create a profile of your ideal intended parent, including characteristics such as:

  • Marital status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Location
  • Smoking or non-smoking
  • Family makeup
  • And more

Your surrogacy specialist will do all they can to present you with families who meet your expectations. Don’t feel like you have to agree to carry for a family who doesn’t have the characteristics you want; you can always wait longer for the perfect intended parents.

3. Someone Who Respects Your Opinions

Surrogacy is a partnership, so it’s important that your intended parents are ready to form a respectful relationship with you. If prospective intended parents disregard your personal preferences or try to change your mind about certain conditions you want, be wary. You have as much right to determine your surrogacy journey as intended parents do. Sometimes, you may need to say “no” to intended parents if they make you feel uncomfortable about your surrogacy preferences and goals.

4. Someone Who Wants to Get to Know You

On the same note, you’ll want to find intended parents who are genuinely interested in a positive relationship. Surrogacy has the potential for many ups and downs along the way, and having a strong relationship with intended parents will make a big difference.  If your intended parents are taking the steps to get to know you, your family and your surrogacy preferences, it means they wish to form the kind of relationship that will benefit you both during this journey.

During your initial conversations with intended parents, pay close attention to your conversation. Are they asking you questions about yourself, or does the conversation seem more about their own desires? That will clue you in to what these intended parents will really be like as the process continues.

5. Someone Who Gives You that Gut Feeling

Finally, when you’re choosing intended parents, it’s important to pay attention to your instincts. Many gestational carriers say they “just know” when intended parents are the right match — they just click. While you should keep all the other aspects mentioned above in mind, don’t underestimate the importance of a natural connection. That may be the final sign that you’re ready to move forward with your match.

Remember, every intended parent presented to you by your surrogacy specialist will have undergone screening to ensure they are ready for the surrogacy process. When you decide an intended parent is the right surrogacy partner for you, they will be ready to begin whenever you are.

Want to learn more about finding intended parents with American Surrogacy? Contact our surrogacy professionals for free by calling 1-800-875-2229(BABY) today.

7 Misconceptions You May Have About the Embryo Transfer Process

There are a lot of things to consider if you are thinking about becoming a gestational surrogate. This journey will require a great deal of your time and energy (not to mention your body), and it’s not a commitment that any woman should take lightly.

One of the big requirements of surrogacy is the medical process you will subject yourself to. Before you even carry a child for nine months with the risks and responsibilities of pregnancy, you will need to undergo fertility medication and the embryo transfer procedure. You already know what to expect from your pregnancy, but you may be completely unaware of what the embryo transfer process really entails. There may even be a few questions on your mind:

  • How bad do the fertility shots hurt?
  • How long does the process take?
  • Do you have to have sex with the other person’s partner in order to become a surrogate mother?
  • How many embryo transfers will I have to go through?

These are all common questions to have. Fortunately, the surrogacy specialists at American Surrogacy are here to help. They can answer every question you have about the medical process of surrogacy to alleviate your concerns and, when you’re ready, help you get started with your surrogacy journey. To learn more today, you can always call 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

In order to know what to expect, it’s first important to recognize any misinformation that you may have heard about this process. Below, find seven common myths about in vitro fertilization and the embryo transfer process as they pertain to becoming a gestational surrogate.

  1. Surrogacy requires “natural” ways of conceiving.

Sometimes, prospective surrogates unfamiliar with the medical process of surrogacy ask, “In order to be a surrogate mother, do you have to have sex with the other person’s partner?”

While this method of surrogacy was common in earlier centuries, the advance of in vitro fertilization and artificial insemination eliminated this practice. Today, the practice of conception in surrogacy is achieved in a laboratory setting, all under the watchful eye of a reproductive endocrinologist. Surrogates do not have to be intimate with the intended father; this kind of relationship would cause far more harm than good. In fact, during the process to become a surrogate, you will have to abstain from all kinds of sexual intercourse — even that with your own spouse or partner.

  1. You have to take a lot of painful shots to become a surrogate.

Preparing for the embryo transfer process does take a lot of time and energy — but for good reason.  A reproductive endocrinologist wants to make sure a potential carrier is as healthy as possible before transferring an embryo, to give all parties the best possible chance of success. In many cases, a prospective surrogate will take certain pills and shots in order to achieve the best conditions for pregnancy.

However, every surrogate’s medical protocol is different. Some surrogates may need to take more shots than others, while some women may not take any at all. While it can be helpful to speak with other surrogates about their medical experience, the only person who can tell you what to expect in your pre-transfer medical protocol is your reproductive endocrinologist.

  1. Fertility medication causes cancer.

This myth has existed for a while, mostly from fear that ovarian stimulation would stimulate cancer cells, as well. The fact is fertility medication has not been proven to cause cancer; otherwise, professionals would not prescribe it. Your medical professional will always explain the potential side effects of your medication before beginning the protocol to ensure you are comfortable moving forward.

  1. Your reproductive endocrinologist will transfer several embryos for the best chance of success.

As recent as a decade ago, it was common for fertility doctors to transfer as many embryos as possible for the best chances of a successful pregnancy. Today, it’s a bit different. New methods of screening embryos have emerged, giving medical professionals the ability to determine which are the healthiest embryos before transfer occurs. By choosing only the best embryo for transfer, fertility doctors today improve the chances of conception and reduce the risks associated with multiple births.

As a surrogate, you always have the right to choose how many embryos per transfer you are comfortable with. This will be addressed in your surrogacy contract.

  1. The embryo transfer process is painful.

Actually, the embryo transfer process is fairly quick and easy — it only takes about five minutes! The process of transferring an embryo to a uterus is a fairly quick one. Many women compare it to the feeling of a pap smear. It may be a bit uncomfortable, and you may feel slight pressure, but it will be over before you know it and you will likely experience minimal side effects.

  1. Your embryo transfer will succeed the first time around.

While fertility doctors do their best to ensure a successful embryo transfer, the odds are often against you as a surrogate. Even when all factors are advantageous, the live birth rate for each embryo transfer is around 40 percent for women under 35 years old, and that probability decreases the older a woman is. You may have to undergo more than one embryo transfer before becoming pregnant, and it’s usually a situation out of your control. As a surrogate, you will also get the chance to determine how many embryo transfers you are comfortable with in one surrogacy journey before you even begin.

  1. Any unused embryos will be destroyed.

The issue of unused embryos in IVF can be a sensitive one, even if you are not an intended parent. Keep in mind that the storage and use of any extra embryos will always be up to the intended parents — but not all intended parents will automatically dispose of leftover embryos.

If embryos are deemed healthy enough, they may be donated to other families in need for an embryo adoption. Embryos deemed unhealthy (that is, they would not survive if implanted in a woman’s uterus) are likely disposed of. Intended parents may also choose to store their embryos indefinitely while they make a decision. Wherever you stand on the debate about when life starts, remember that this will be not your concern as a surrogate, although it is something to consider your feelings on before starting the IVF process.

For more information on the medical process of surrogacy and whether surrogacy is right for you, please reach out to our surrogacy specialists today.

What Happens If a Surrogate Gets a New Partner During Her Journey?

Many of the women who choose to become surrogates have a supportive spouse to assist them along the way. However, being married or in a committed relationship is not a requirement to become a surrogate. Many single women have become surrogates and successfully helped to bring a child into the world — and you can, too!

The process of surrogacy can take a long time, but we never ask gestational surrogates to feel like they have to put their life on hold during this journey. Single surrogates are no exception. If you have been dating prior to your surrogacy journey and feel like continuing that process, we have no restrictions on you doing so.

If you do choose to continue dating during your surrogacy journey, you may find that you meet a great potential partner after you have begun your surrogacy process. But, this can be a complicated situation — how do you explain your decision to your new partner? How will your journey affect your budding relationship?

Remember, your surrogacy specialist will always be there to support you through your entire surrogacy process, even complicated situations like this one. Building a new romantic relationship and being a surrogate don’t have to be mutually exclusive, but there are some important things you should know ahead of time.

Do I Have to Tell My Surrogacy Professional?

At American Surrogacy, we don’t want to micromanage your life as a surrogate — and neither will your intended parents. However, bringing a new romantic and sexual partner into your surrogacy journey is something that will affect all parties. As soon as your new relationship has the potential for sexual contact, you will need to inform your surrogacy specialist right away. You won’t have to ditch your new partner, but there are a few steps you’ll have to take moving forward.

When you first become a surrogate, you will have been tested for communicable diseases. This is to ensure that the baby you carry will not contract any of these diseases or infections during your pregnancy or delivery process. Any surrogate who is married or in a committed relationship at the time of her screening would have included her partner in these medical checks. If you gain a new sexual partner during your surrogacy, it is no different.

Before you have any sexual contact with your new partner, it’s important that he or she is tested for any communicable diseases or infections. This will make sure you and the baby you’re carrying stay safe through every step of the process. If your new partner tests positive for any infectious or communicable diseases, it doesn’t mean you have to break up — it just may mean that any sexual relationship between you will need to be delayed until after the baby is born.

For more information about this, reach out to your surrogacy specialist or your fertility clinic.

How Do I Explain My Surrogacy Journey to My New Partner?

Now that you know this, you may be anxious about how to bring up that testing — not to mention your surrogacy journey in general — with your new partner. We understand that surrogacy can be a damper on a new relationship, but it’s an important part of your life for a year or more. It cannot be a secret.

Dating while being a surrogate is an interesting situation, and it’s one you should prepare for if you are a entering this process while single. Fortunately, there are helpful stories from women in similar situations; you can usually find them on surrogacy boards and support groups.

There’s one thing to keep in mind if you’re dating while taking the surrogacy journey: If that partner is really interested in you, they will be okay with your decision.

But, how do you tell them about it?

In many ways, telling prospective partners about your upcoming or current surrogate pregnancy is the same as telling family and friends about your surrogacy decision. You’ll want to make sure they fully understand the process, that you discuss your reasons, and that you give them the chance to ask questions. If they seem to accept and support your decision, you may find that pursuing this relationship will be easier than expected. You don’t necessarily have to bring up the idea of screening right away, just as soon as the idea of a sexual relationship seems likely.

Being a surrogate is a relatively short period in your life, but it is one that will affect every aspect of your life — even your dating life. Your surrogacy specialist will always be here to help you navigate these complexities, and there are plenty of surrogacy support groups that you can turn to for more advice. With proper preparation, you can continue to balance your dating life with your life as a surrogate — and be fulfilled in each journey, too!

Carrying for Two Couples at Once: Is it Possible?

Oftentimes, the women who wish to become surrogates are the most selfless, generous women out there. If you’re one of them, you’re probably excited at the opportunity to help intended parents reach their parenthood dreams — dreams they’ve been waiting for years to finally come true.

In an effort to help as many people as possible, you may even wonder, “When being a surrogate, can you have two different couples’ embryos implanted?”

This is a great question to ask, and it shows your desire to assist as many intended parents as possible. However, the answer to this question is always no. Whether you work with a surrogacy professional like American Surrogacy or complete an independent surrogacy, you can only work with one intended parent or couple at a time — for the safety and best interest of all involved.

Why You Can Only Complete One Surrogacy Journey at a Time

If you’re asking, “When being a surrogate, can you have two different couples’ embryos implanted?” you probably have another question when you find out the answer to the previous one: “Why not?”

Surrogacy is a very complicated process — emotionally, physically and mentally. It can be challenging enough to have a successful pregnancy and surrogacy process with one intended parent or couple of intended parents. Bringing another couple into the mix, even hypothetically, can severely compromise the safety of each party and the success of the overall surrogacy journey.

There are a lot of steps required to complete a single surrogacy journey at a time, including:

  • Screening and background assessments for both parties
  • Medical and psychological testing for each party
  • Finalized legal contract (with separate attorneys)
  • Establishment of the intended parents’ parental rights
  • Negotiation of surrogate compensation
  • And more

All of these steps often add up to a surrogacy journey of a year or more. Thinking about adding another couple to the mix? This will not only increase that overall time but also complicate every other step involved in the process. Not only will the preferences and goals of the surrogate have to be considered but the two separate sets of intended parents’, as well!

Every person pursuing surrogacy has different hopes and goals for their surrogacy journey; including two sets of intended parents in one surrogacy journey is logistically impossible.

The Medical Dangers to the Surrogate

You may think, “But my intended parents and I can handle those challenges. Why can’t I carry two children at once and help as many people as possible become parents?”

Completing a surrogacy with more than one set of intended parents isn’t just complicated — it’s much more dangerous for a surrogate like you.

In modern surrogacy (and in vitro fertilization), fertility specialists highly recommend only transferring one embryo to a woman’s uterus. While medical professionals used to transfer as many embryos as possible to ensure success, better screening and preparation allows professionals today to implant only the highest-quality embryo into a woman’s uterus. There’s a big reason for this: Carrying multiples has been proven to cause many more risks for a woman and is strongly advised against.

Carrying more than one child leads to an increased likelihood of:

  • Preterm labor and delivery
  • Low birth weight
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia
  • Placental abruption
  • Fetal death
  • Cesarean section
  • And more

Therefore, carrying two children for the same couple comes with enough risk as it is. If you carry two children for separate couples, you not only take on these risks but also the complication of two different sets of parents having different priorities when it comes to medical treatment.

Don’t Worry — You Can Be a Surrogate More Than Once

If you’re asking, “When being a surrogate, can you have two different couples’ embryos implanted?” we encourage you to do some more research about the surrogacy journey and what it will require of you. This path may seem easier at first glance, but it’s not only more difficult and riskier — but also impossible. You can quickly run into legal and medical trouble if you try to work with more than one intended parent couple at a time.

Fortunately, you can certainly be a surrogate more than once. As long as you remain healthy and meet the requirements to be a surrogate, you can help many intended parents add to their family and reach their parenthood goals. At American Surrogacy, you can be a surrogate as long as you have had no more than five vaginal births and no more than three Cesarean births. This means you can be a surrogate multiple times — just like other women have been!

For more information about becoming a surrogate and finding intended parents to work with, please contact our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) today.

Helpful Tips for Managing a Relationship with Intended Parents

For most surrogates, the relationship with intended parents is a source of mutual support and positivity. You are each other’s partners in this exciting event! But sometimes, like in all relationships, there are some difficulties to navigate.

Here are a few scenarios you might have encountered with even the best intended parents, and how you can have a stronger relationship with your intended parents:

How to Handle Well-Meaning But Overbearing Parents

Most intended parents have waited for years to have a child, potentially struggling with infertility, miscarriages and disappointments. When so much of the surrogacy process is out of their control, some parents try to control anything that they can in an effort to feel less helpless. This may mean that they overstep personal boundaries, pepper you with lots of questions and concerns, or even try to micromanage how you care for your pregnancy.

Feeling like your intended parents are overreaching or smothering you can be frustrating. But, consider why they might be responding to the emotions of surrogacy this way, and try to stay patient. There are lots of reasons why your intended parents might be a little overbearing:

  • They may have never experienced pregnancy before.
  • They want their baby to be as healthy and safe as possible.
  • They may feel indebted to you and want to make sure that you’re well.
  • Their excitement for their baby is showing itself as nervous energy.

But “helicopter” parents can still be distracting and demanding for you. Try to set clear boundaries, and let them know that you have everything well in hand. Set a schedule for when you’ll update them and stick to that schedule. Showing them that you’re consistent may help them relax and put more trust in you.

Still feel like the parents are putting too much pressure on you? Reach out to your surrogacy specialist for advice. They can always talk to your intended parents about respecting your space and decisions.

How to Handle Distant Parents

There are a number of ways you can feel distant from your intended parents during your surrogacy journey:

  • They’re not communicating consistently with you and you’re feeling left adrift.
  • You’re struggling with physical distance in a long-distance surrogacy match.
  • You’re feeling disconnected from your intended parents because they don’t seem as excited as you.

Sometimes intended parents’ hopes for a child have been crushed before through miscarriages or failed IVF, so they may keep you at arm’s length to emotionally distance themselves in case embryo transfers don’t work, there’s a pregnancy complication, or something else unexpected happens. They may be afraid to hope for the best, so they come across as distant or unengaged.

Being clear and honest about your needs in the surrogacy partnership can help. It can also help to keep checking in with pregnancy updates and expressing your excitement for them. They may relax and feel more engaged as your pregnancy progresses. If you and your intended parents live far apart, try video chatting. Asking about the nursery they’re preparing or telling them about their baby’s movements can help you feel connected, even if you’re far apart.

5 Things That Can Help

In many ways, you’re the expert here! Your intended parents have likely never given birth themselves. You’re the one who understands your pregnancies and knows what to expect. You’re the main player from the moment you become pregnant until the time you deliver their baby.

This means that you’re also the one who will be best at easing the minds of your intended parents. If you think your intended parents are feeling anxious and it’s affecting your relationship with them, these tips can help them (and you) to stay sane throughout your pregnancy:

  1. Be honest with them about what you need. Do you need them to give you some space, or do you need a little more feedback from them? Do you have any concerns or need them to be more supportive of you? Let them know!
  2. Set a consistent schedule for pregnancy updates. Your surrogacy specialist can help you with this. Decide how you want to communicate updates to the parents, and then let them know when they can expect to hear from you. This can give them something to look forward to and prevent them from asking you for constant updates.
  3. Offer to share some of the little things. They might find some comfort in hearing about your pregnancy experience. When does their baby kick the most? What kind of foods does he or she seem to react to? How are you feeling? Many intended parents are interested in getting to know their child, even during pregnancy, so offer to share details.
  4. Keep your promises. If you told the parents that you’d send them an ultrasound on a certain day, be sure to follow through. Staying consistent with what you promise can help them feel more at ease, so they might put less pressure on you. Don’t break their trust with small things like forgetting to send them a scheduled update.
  5. Be gentle but firm about your boundaries. Remember that intended parents don’t have much control at this stage, and remember how that might feel. That being said, it’s OK to be clear and firm about things you feel strongly about. Feel like the parents are overstepping themselves, or like they’re not hearing your wishes? You are all equal partners in this surrogacy journey, so let them know what you’re uncomfortable with and what’s important to you.

Don’t forget that your surrogacy specialist is a great resource for advice. A big part of their job is to help manage the relationships between surrogates and intended parents, so let them know if you need some help.

For more details on how your specialist can help you manage your surrogacy relationship, please call 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

Can You Get Pregnant with Your Own Child as a Surrogate?

Before becoming a surrogate, you likely have a lot of questions. In your research, you have probably come across a fair number of dramatic, sensationalized stories from former surrogates. They may even make you nervous about moving forward with this process.

One such story that gained traction last year was that of Jessica Allen, a California surrogate who became pregnant with twins — only to find out that one of the children was her biological son. Critics of surrogacy took this story as an opportunity to emphasize the dangers of surrogacy, and the fact that Allen had to “fight for her own son.”

Understandably, this story may worry you. The good news? A situation like this is extremely rare and can easily be avoided by following proper protocols.

When you become a surrogate, you will be required to go through screening and assessments to ensure you are physically and emotionally capable of the journey ahead. During these screenings, your surrogacy professional will describe in detail the medical process of surrogacy — and exactly how it will work to eliminate complications like this from happening.

But, how exactly do you make sure you don’t get pregnant with your own child along the way? The precautions to take are pretty simple:

1. You will be on a strict fertility medication schedule prior to embryo transfer.

Before you can even be approved for an embryo transfer, you will need to prepare your body for the process. You will work with your intended parents’ fertility clinic to create a medication schedule that regulates your cycle and maximizes your chances for a successful embryo transfer. Your medication will likely include the birth control pill, which will stop your ovulation and prevent pregnancy in the period before your embryo transfer process.

2. You will be required to refrain from sexual intercourse leading up to and after the pregnancy is confirmed.

This is perhaps the biggest prevention of an unplanned pregnancy during the surrogacy process — and the step that Allen and her husband likely disregarded.

After you complete your medical routine, your body will be hyper-fertile and ready to receive a transferred embryo. This will mean your body is also more likely to conceive if you engage in sexual intercourse. For this reason, surrogacy professionals will require that you refrain from sex for a certain amount of time. This will be outlined in your surrogacy contract, as well. Breaking this agreement, as Allen presumably did, could lead to extreme legal consequences.

If you do as requested and refrain from sex, there is no way that you will get pregnant with your own biological child during the surrogacy process. Therefore, it’s important that your spouse is on the same page with you about the requirements of surrogacy (including this) before starting the journey. Your choice to be a surrogate will impact him, as well as the rest of your immediate family. It truly is a family journey that you take together.

3. Your medical professional will support you every step of the way.

When you become a surrogate, there will be several professionals acting to protect your rights and interests every step of the way. In addition to your surrogacy specialist and your surrogacy attorney, your medical professional will provide the physical and medical support you need during this journey.

Your medical protocol will always be tailored to you, and your medical professional will make sure you are comfortable. They will be there to answer your questions and ensure everything goes as planned — including your pregnancy. If there is any sign that an embryo transfer or a potential pregnancy may be compromised, you will have the support you need.

So, when you read the dramatic “horror stories” about surrogacy, be reassured that these are very rare cases indeed — and, as long as you follow your professionals’ instructions, your surrogacy journey will be very likely to succeed. You need not worry about becoming pregnant with your own child during the surrogacy process; the child that you give birth to will be the intended parents’, and you will have no responsibility to take custody of another child upon delivery.

To learn more about the medical process of surrogacy, you can always contact our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

What You Need to Know About Uterine Lining in Surrogacy

There are many different things involved in a successful embryo transfer, whether it’s a part of a surrogacy or in vitro fertilization process. Therefore, it’s important that all intended parents and surrogates talk in detail with their fertility specialist about the path ahead of them — everything that they should know before starting this complicated medical process.

If you are a surrogate, you may have come across a lot of information about uterine lining in your research. Many surrogates religiously track their uterine lining up until their embryo transfer process, which may make you wonder, “What is the big deal about uterine lining in surrogacy?”

As always, we recommend you speak with a fertility specialist or gynecologist for the most accurate information about what the thickness of uterine lining will mean in your situation. In the meantime, you can find the basic things you need to know below.

What Role Does Uterine Lining Play in IVF?

Every surrogacy (and every IVF) process requires the transfer and eventual implantation of an embryo to be successful. While the quality of the embryo plays a large role in whether it implants in the uterus, one of the other important factors in this process is the thickness of a woman’s uterine lining.

If a uterine lining is too thin, it can lead to failed implantation or even early pregnancy loss. A thick uterine lining provides a safe and welcoming environment for a transferred embryo, making it easier for the embryo to implant into the walls of the uterus. This thicker lining will provide nourishment to the embryo as it grows, making it more likely that a successful pregnancy can be carried to term.

Before you start your journey as a surrogate, your fertility specialist will likely conduct a few tests beforehand to ensure your uterus is ready for this process. These tests will also be completed again before an embryo is transferred to your uterus.

What Numbers Should You Look for in Your Uterine Lining?

Remember, every woman is different, and only your doctor can accurately explain what your uterine lining should look like before implantation. In general, studies have shown that a uterine lining should be 6 or more millimeters for successful implantation. An ideal lining is at least 7 to 8 millimeters thick.

The quality of a uterine lining refers to more than just thickness, however. In order for the correct thickness to be present in the first place, there must be the correct tissue structure, the right receptors within the uterus, and the right balance of hormones. This is why surrogates are often required to take estrogen and progesterone prior to embryo transfer — to regulate the proper hormone balance for a hospitable womb.

You may also hear the phrase “triple stripe” from others going through the IVF and surrogacy process. This refers to the structure of the lining in the uterus. A more receptive lining has a tri-laminar appearance, usually three lines right on top of each other. Again, your medical professional will look for this three-layer appearance before beginning the embryo transfer process.

How Can You Improve Your Uterine Lining?

In most cases, the thickness of a woman’s lining is out of her control. It’s something that is regulated by her own body and hormones prescribed by her doctor. Every body is different, which means that one woman may naturally have a better uterine lining than another.

Before you start researching ways to improve your uterine lining, we encourage you speak with your fertility specialist or medical professional. You should not take medical advice from anyone other than this professional.

That said, there are a few things that may help improve your uterine lining — and certainly won’t harm it:

  • Partake in regular, moderate exercise to get your blood flowing throughout your body.
  • Eliminate or limit substances that may restrict blood flow, such as caffeine, nicotine, seasonal allergy medications and cold remedies to stop nasal swelling.
  • Consider acupuncture.
  • Think about your body weight; extra weight and fat cells can promote pelvic blood flow and additional estrogen.
  • Look into nutritional supplements such as vitamin E and L-arginine.

Your doctor can give you the best idea of what steps might be helpful in your situation. At the end of the day, however, stressing out about the thickness of your uterine lining will do more harm than good. What will be will be — an important thing to learn early on in a surrogacy journey.

To learn more about the medical process of surrogacy, we encourage you to contact a local fertility specialist or one of our agency’s surrogacy specialists today.