6 [Surprising] Things That Could be Affecting Your Uterine Lining

As a surrogate, you’ll take medications to ensure a thick, healthy uterine lining — but what if yours is too thin? Why isn’t it as thick as it should be? Here are six common culprits to be aware of. 

The embryo transfer. It’s one of the most important and exciting milestones of the surrogacy process —the moment you actually become pregnant with the intended parents’ baby!

But before you can get to this point, you’ll work closely with fertility specialists at the intended parents’ clinic to prepare your body for the best possible chance of a successful pregnancy. That includes ensuring your uterine lining is the ideal thickness for the embryo to successfully implant. 

Here, we’ll explain how you can work with your medical professionals to thicken your uterine lining — and six common culprits that could be affecting that process.

Preparing Your Uterus for IVF

Everyone knows how much is riding on the embryo transfer. The intended parents you work with may have a precious few embryos with which to attempt surrogacy, and you’ll spend a lot of time before the procedure preparing your uterus for the best possible chance of success.

This preparation actually starts at the very beginning of your surrogacy journey. Before you are even accepted into our surrogacy program (or any other surrogacy program), you will go through a rigorous screening process to rule out any major concerns that could impact your uterine lining, such as fibroids, scar tissue, endometriosis and other conditions. You’ll also need to have a healthy BMI and be smoke- and drug-free — other factors that can impact uterine lining.

When it comes time to begin the medical process, your doctors at the fertility clinic will prescribe you a number of medications to thicken your uterine lining and prepare you for the embryo transfer, and you’ll be monitored closely to ensure everything progresses as it should.

Still, despite all of these preparations, there’s a chance that a woman’s uterine lining just isn’t quite as thick as the doctors would like it to be. There are a number of reasons why this could be — many of which are beyond your control (and some of which even doctors don’t necessarily understand).

6 Factors that Could Impact Your Uterine Lining

Remember, every woman’s body and situation is different. While the information in this article is meant to be informative and helpful, none of it is a replacement for qualified medical advice. As always, we recommend you speak with a fertility specialist or gynecologist for the most accurate information about your specific situation and any actions you should take to improve the thickness of your uterine lining.

With that being said, here are six things that may be affecting your uterine lining as a surrogate: 

1. Your medications

Obviously, the course of medication prescribed to you leading up to the embryo transfer will affect the thickness of your uterine lining. That’s what it’s designed to do! Hormones like estrogen and progesterone will help create a welcoming environment for the embryo to implant.

You’ll likely attend several monitoring appointments leading up to the embryo transfer to assess the thickness of your uterine lining, and your doctor may make changes to your medication protocol as needed to achieve the ideal thickness. Again, every woman’s body is different, and the exact course of medication that you will need to take will vary depending on your individual needs and circumstances — which is why it’s so important to always take all medications on time as directed by your doctor.

2. Physical activity

It’s a widely agreed-upon fact: One of the best things you can do to encourage a healthy uterine lining is to get moving! Regular, moderate exercise, like yoga, walking or riding a bike, can improve blood flow throughout the body, including to the uterus — which can, in turn, improve the thickness of your uterine lining.

The key is to get your blood pumping without putting too much stress on your body; strenuous exercise for four or more hours per week may actually reduce IVF success rates. Stick to a couple of hours of moderate exercise per week for the best results.

There may be other ways to improve blood circulation, too. Acupuncture has shown some promise as a treatment to help improve blood flow, and while the reviews are mixed, it may not hurt to treat yourself to a massage. If you are considering any of these treatments or taking up a new exercise routine, just run it by your doctor and surrogacy specialist first!

3. Certain substances

Caffeine and nicotine — substances you’re probably cutting out anyway, per your surrogacy contract — are known to restrict blood flow. But there are other, more surprising substances that you may want to avoid, like certain allergy and cold medications that stop nasal swelling. These are designed to constrict your veins to reduce swelling. And less blood flow = thinner lining.

4. Your diet

It’s always a good idea to strive for a healthy, balanced diet, but that may be especially important as you prepare for the embryo transfer. Iron-rich foods like red meat and dark leafy greens, as well as healthy fats like olive oil, avocado and raw nuts, help your body to produce blood — which is necessary to create a thick uterine lining. Your doctor might also recommend certain dietary supplements, like fish oil, vitamin E or iron supplements.

At the same time, there may be certain foods, spices or supplements to limit or avoid. For example, you may want to skip the turmeric tea; one study in mice linked curcumin (an anti-inflammatory substance found in turmeric) with a lower rate of implantation. Talk to your doctor about any alterations you may need to make in your own diet.

5. Exposure to chemicals

One small study suggests that phthalates, a group of synthetic chemicals used in plastics and cosmetics, can impact implantation in women undergoing IVF. The study looked at 231 IVF patients and tracked their exposure to four major phthalates. Almost all of the women had been exposed (phthalates are pretty hard to avoid), but those with the most phthalates in their systems were twice as likely to suffer from implantation failure as those with the lowest levels.

The author of the study acknowledged that it is extremely difficult to minimize exposure to these chemicals because they are found in so many products. But you can try to limit your exposure by avoiding scented products and cosmetics that list the following as ingredients:

  • Dibutylphthalate (DBP)
  • Dimethylphthalate (DMP)
  • Diethylphthalate (DEP)

When using plastic food containers or plastic wrap, avoid products with a recycling number of 3 or the letters “V” or “PVC” printed underneath the recycling symbol. Stick to plastics number 1, 2, 4 or 5 to ensure they’re phthalate-free.

6. About a zillion other variables

While you may be able to make some lifestyle changes to improve your chances of a successful embryo transfer, the thickness of a woman’s uterine lining is often largely out of her control. As with anything in nature, there may be many variables at play, some of which you just can’t change. Ultimately, it’s something that is regulated by your body, and it will naturally vary from one person to the next.

It’s also important to note that uterine lining isn’t the only factor that dictates the success of implantation. In fact, the quality of the embryos being used may be just as, if not more, important.

As a surrogate, you clearly care a lot about this journey and about helping intended parents, and you want nothing more than a smooth and successful process. But, don’t beat yourself up if your uterine lining isn’t quite where you (or your doctors) would like it to be. You’re doing an incredible thing by becoming a surrogate, and the fertility clinic you work with will do everything they can to help make you successful.

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.

How to Speed Up Your Surrogacy Matching Process [3 Tips for Intended Parents]

As an intended parent, it’s only natural to get excited about finally starting the matching process. You’ve spent a lot of time waiting and dreaming for the opportunity to start your family and we know that you can’t wait to get the ball rolling.

But, as you may have discovered by now, getting matched with a surrogate isn’t always the fastest process in the world. And if you’re like many intended families, it can be hard to stay patient while you wait for the perfect opportunity to come your way. When this happens, it’s only natural to ask:

“Is there any way we can speed up the matching process?”

The answer is yes. While every situation is different, there are a few tips that can help minimize your wait time. In this guide, we’ll go over everything you can do to get through the matching process quicker so that you can get one step closer to meeting the newest member of your family.

If you’d like to talk to one of our American Surrogacy specialists about steps you can take, you can reach out to us at any time by filling out our online form to get more information. You can even meet some of the women who are waiting to become surrogates through American Surrogacy here.

In the meantime, keep reading below to learn more about the tips you need to speed up the matching process.

1. Increase Your Openness to Opportunities in Other States

When you fill out your surrogacy plan as intended parents, you’ll be asked a series of questions about what you’re looking for in a gestational surrogate. This is done to help your surrogacy specialist find a match that meets your preferences. Of the many questions you’ll be asked, you’ll be asked to decide your surrogate’s location.

Right now, you’re probably thinking that you’re limited to the surrogates within your area. But luckily, this isn’t something you have to worry about. Because of American Surrogacy’s national reach, you’re not limited to the surrogates in your area. You can find the perfect surrogacy match in any state.

Pursuing a long-distance surrogacy relationship might sound intimidating. After all, as the intended parent, you’ll want to be there as much as you can for every step of the process. But with American Surrogacy, your specialist will be there to help you through any challenges you come across. With a consistent communication schedule and plenty of patience, a long-distance surrogacy relationship is more than possible. In fact, it’s very common!

2. Be Flexible

As you work through your intended parent surrogacy plan, you’ll notice that have a lot of control to make sure it’s a good fit. This means that you have a lot of freedom to find a surrogacy match that fits your preferences.  But as you begin to envision what the perfect gestational carrier looks like, it’s important to not be so specific that you close yourself off to other opportunities.

As an intended parent, being flexible is one of the best things that you can do. Rigidity in what you’ll accept in a gestational carrier can significantly increase your wait time. When you open yourself up to more surrogacy situations, your intended parent profile will be seen more often, and you’ll have a better chance of finding the perfect match. So, if you’re trying to speed up the process, you might consider opening your preferences. For instance, you can increase the amount of contact you’re open to after your surrogacy journey is over, as long as everyone is comfortable. You might also start out looking for surrogate who is married, but are open to a single mom. Being as flexible as possible will make it easier to find a match.

3. Being Open to Pay for Surrogates Insurance

There are many reasons why a woman might not have health insurance. And if she does, she might have a policy that lists a surrogacy exclusion. Matching with a surrogate in these circumstances will increase your budget. But being open to women in these circumstances can make it easier to find a match.

The Importance of Patience

As an intended parent, we know how anxious it feels when it comes to finding a match. But we also don’t want you to feel so impatient that you’ll take the first opportunity that comes your way. More than anything, it’s important to be honest with yourself. Don’t be afraid to say no if you feel like a match isn’t what you’re looking for.

Finding the perfect match will take time. Don’t feel like you have to rush through it. It’s important to properly take the time to get to know a prospective surrogacy partner before you make any serious commitments.

How Does the Surrogacy Matching Process Work?

If you haven’t started your surrogacy journey yet, but you’re worried about how to find a match, here’s what this process typically looks like: 

When you start your surrogacy journey, one of the first things you’ll do is fill out our unique Surrogacy Planning Questionnaire (SPQ). This document is the key to finding the perfect match. Here, you’ll include information about yourself, such as the amount of contact you’re open to with your surrogate, your assisted reproductive history, and your surrogacy budget. Additionally, you’ll also include what you’re looking for in a surrogate.

Right now, start thinking about whether:

  • You’re open to a surrogate in your state
  • You’re looking for a surrogate in another state
  • You’re looking for a married surrogate
  • You’re looking for a single surrogate
  • And more

Once you’ve determined what you’re looking for, your American Surrogacy specialist will start sending out your preferences to potential matches. If you and the other party express interest in one another, then your surrogacy specialist will set up a conference call. There, you can start to get to know one another and talk about your surrogacy goals in more detail. If everyone decides to move forward, then you’ll start the process of drafting your legal contract with your surrogacy attorney.


Right now, we bet that you’re eager to find the perfect match. To learn more about ways that you can help speed up the surrogacy matching process, don’t forget that you can contact us through our free online form to get more information. Or, you can meet some of the women who are waiting to become surrogates through American Surrogacy here.

Can I Be a Surrogate if My First Child Was Adopted?

Becoming a surrogate is a rewarding and fulfilling journey. Like you, many women want nothing more than to help someone else start their own family. But depending on your situation, you might start to ask, “Can I be a surrogate if my first child was adopted?”

The answer to this question is complex. But in this guide, we plan to go over everything you need to know if you’re thinking of becoming a surrogate after your first child was adopted. If you’d like to learn more, you can always reach out to our free contact form to get in touch with one of our specialists.

In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about becoming a surrogate after your first child was adopted.

Can I Become a Surrogate if I Placed My Child Up for Adoption?

Adoption is an incredibly selfless decision. You’ve already seen the incredible way you can change a family’s life. And after giving someone else the opportunity to become a parent, you might be wondering about the possibility of sharing that gift again through surrogacy.

As you may already know, one of the requirements to becoming a surrogate is already having a child. And as a birth mother, you’ve already met this requirement, so you have one thing to check off your list. But can you become a surrogate if your first child was adopted?

The answer to that depends. Another one of the requirements for becoming a surrogate is that you’re currently raising a child or children in your home. If you have placed a child up for adoption, and you are not currently raising other children, then you may not be able to become a gestational carrier.

Can I Become a Surrogate if I Adopted My Child?

If you’re an adoptive mom, then you already know the joys of becoming a parent. And if you’re like many women who consider becoming gestational surrogates, then you want to use this opportunity to spread that love to someone else. But can you be a surrogate if your first child was adopted and if you haven’t given birth yourself?

Not exactly. Right now, you do meet the requirement of raising a child in your home. But if you are an adoptive mother who hasn’t given birth yourself, then you are not eligible to be a gestational carrier.

If, however, you’ve given birth to a child in addition to adopting a child, then yes ­– you may meet the requirements to become a gestational surrogate.

Having a history of a previous successful pregnancy is an important step to becoming a gestational carrier. It’s also one of the first requirements that every surrogate must meet before they start their journey. The reason for doing so is to make sure that every surrogate is ready for the physical challenges of carrying a child for someone else. If you’ve never been pregnant or given birth before, then you can’t be certain how your body might handle surrogacy. And most importantly, you might not be sure if you can even get pregnant at all.

Additionally, being pregnant is an extremely emotional experience. You would be dealing with hormonal changes that you won’t be able to control. If you don’t know what to expect, you’ll have no idea how you’ll feel after you give birth and how you’ll cope once you hand the child over to their intended parents.  

To sum it up, becoming a surrogate without successful previous pregnancy and childbirth experience is a risky endeavor. And not knowing how your mind and body will handle a pregnancy can be dangerous for you, the intended parents, and the surrogacy professional.

What are the Requirements to Become a Surrogate?

If you’re thinking about becoming a surrogate, there are a few requirements that you’ll need to meet. Before you can officially become a surrogate, you’ll need to meet the agency’s qualifications and pass their screening process. Below are just a few of the traits that you’ll need to have to become a gestational surrogate:

  • Have completed at least one previous successful pregnancy
  • No more than five vaginal births or three cesarean sections
  • Have no complications from previous pregnancies
  • Have no history of postpartum depression
  • Have a strong support system
  • Have a healthy BMI of 30 or less
  • Be within a certain age range
  • Require no government assistance

If you do meet the agency’s requirements, then you can take the first steps of your journey as a gestational carrier. The next step will be for you to pass the agency’s screening process. Typically, this includes:

  • An application that asks you some general questions along with your reasons for becoming a surrogate
  • A social and medical history form
  • A physical examination
  • An in-home assessment
  • Background checks
  • A mental health evaluation

We know that these steps look like a lot of work. But they’re an essential part of the process that helps ensure that you are ready for the surrogacy journey. We need to be certain that you’re physically, mentally and emotionally healthy enough to safely be a surrogate. Becoming a gestational carrier is not easy, but for many women, it’s the most rewarding thing they ever do.

To learn more about your eligibility to become a surrogate, you can reach out to our agency and speak with one of our specialists. There, we’ll go over in more detail what you need to know if you’re thinking about going on this journey. To speak to a specialist today, please fill out our free information form.

5 Things Women Wished They Knew Before Becoming Surrogates

The opportunity to become a surrogate is a life-changing experience, not only for yourself, but for the family whose lives you’ll touch in countless ways. By now, you’ve probably starting doing your own research about what to expect from the surrogacy process. But there are probably a few things that you haven’t come across yet that can make your experience a whole lot easier.

If you haven’t started your surrogacy journey yet, but you’d like to learn more about the process, we’d be happy to answer your questions. Please call 1-800-875-2229 to get more information from our specialists. Before you start this journey, we’ve compiled a list of 5 things other women wished they knew about what it’s really like to become a surrogate.

1) You Won’t Get Paid ASAP

There are a lot of misconceptions about surrogacy, and some of it surrounds the compensation you’ll receive. It might seem obvious, but signing up to become a surrogate is not something that just any woman can apply for, be approved for and get paid for right up front. In fact, most surrogacy agreements are spread out over the course of the pregnancy.

2) The Screening Process is Surprisingly Intense

The process and requirements to become a surrogate takes a lot longer and is more intense than most people expect. On average, for every 20 women who apply to become a surrogate only two will actually qualify. In this long list of requirements, some of the things your agency will be checking are:

  • Proof that you’re financially secure
  • That you already have children who you are currently raising
  • If you have a partner that you have their consent to start the process
  • That you have a strong support system
  • And much more

Signing up to become a surrogate basically means that everything in your life will be under a microscope. It’s safe to say that going through all of these steps can be kind of daunting.

3)  There are a Ton of Steps to Prepare Your Body

Not only do you have to go through an arduous screening process that involves tons of paperwork, on top of mentally and emotionally preparing yourself to become a surrogate you’ll also have to get your body ready for the embryo transfer.

Like the screening process, preparing your body will involve a lot of steps. Once you start the process, you’ll be going through different medications to prepare your body for pregnancy, so think pills, patches and injections. The injections, which you’ll have to administer yourself, have to be taken on a very strict schedule for the first 12 weeks. Additionally, you’ll have to undergo weekly blood tests and ultrasounds to make sure everything looks okay. All of this physical stress can be a lot to go through, and it’s just one of the many reasons why surrogacy is definitely not an easy job.

3) You’ll Become Attached to the Intended Parent’s Journey

Building a relationship with your intended parents is an exciting step. So, it only makes sense that, over time, you’ll become personally invested in their journey to become parents. This means that you’ll feel for them throughout the rollercoaster of emotions during the embryo transfer process, the pregnancy and beyond. Many surrogates and intended parents are surprised to find that, at the end of the journey, they not only brought a person into the world together — they formed lasting friendships.

4) You’ll Need to Be Ready to Communicate

Due to the nature of surrogacy, there are a lot of things out of the intended parents’ control. While they’re going to be trying to keep themselves busy so that the pregnancy isn’t the only thing they’re thinking about, and of course building a relationship with you, it never hurts to communicate as much as you can. And doing what you can to reassure them can help you build a stronger relationship, too.

5) You Might Decide to Pursue Surrogacy Again

The feeling of being able to help another family grow their own is indescribable. After seeing how they’ve changed someone else’s life, many women come out with a positive experience with gestational surrogacy, and might even come back multiple times to help someone else build their family. If you were initially only planning to pursue surrogacy once, you might be surprised with to find that you’re ready to do it again.

What Else Should I Know?

Becoming a surrogate is a huge and monumental journey and it’s one that will change your life in many unexpected ways. If you’re thinking about starting this journey, we hope that this list of things to know has helped. And as always, if you have any questions about what it’s like to become a surrogate, we’d be happy to help answer them.

The Gestational Surrogate’s Guide to Taxes

The due dates for taxes are just around the corner, which means that it’s time to start gathering all the essential forms. But before you get started on filling out your important information, you’re probably starting to wonder if surrogate mothers have to pay taxes on any compensation they receive. 

The answer to that question can be a little tricky. After all, figuring out what you need for your taxes can be frustrating even without having to throw gestational surrogacy into the mix. But with the help of this guide, we’re sure that you’ll find the answer you’re looking for.  

Before we get too deep into the article, we want to give a quick word of warning: While we have tried our best to provide most if not all the information you need for this busy season, this article should not be taken as legal or financial advice. We strongly recommend that you speak with a local tax accountant before making any decisions.  

Looking to talk to someone who can offer help right away? We’re here to help! Please call 1-800-875-2229 or fill out our free information form to get information from one of our specialists.  

Do Surrogate Mothers Have to Claim Income?  

If you’ve already received your surrogacy compensation recently, then it’s normal to start wondering about potential taxes on them – especially considering that the typical amount you can receive is tens of thousands of dollars. Now that April is almost here, figuring out whether or not you have to claim it as income will make a huge difference in how you do your taxes.  

The answer to this question really comes down to whether or not you receive a 1099 — the form commonly used by independent contractors and those who are self-employed. If you receive a 1099-MISC from your intended parents, your surrogacy specialist, or escrow service, then you will definitely need to claim to your compensation as income. And once it is claimed as income, it’s considered taxable.  

But What Happens if I Don’t Receive a 1099? [What You Should Know] 

If you end up receiving a 1099, then a lot of the guesswork is taken out for you because you’ll know you’ll need to claim your compensation as income. But if you don’t receive a 1099, is that money still considered taxable? 

The answer to this question really depends. Ideally, you’ll want to start talking about potential taxes with your attorney way before you receive your actually compensation, which should happen when you draft your surrogacy contract. A good surrogacy attorney will talk with you in depth about what you need to know about what taxes (if any) you’ll need to pay on your compensation and about the legal process.  

Most of the time, a surrogacy attorney will be able to find a reason to prevent a gestational surrogate from needing to pay taxes on their compensation. But it all comes down to how your compensation is addressed in your contract.  

But Can’t Surrogacy Compensation be Considered a Gift? [Other Questions to Ask] 

If you’ve gotten a head start on your research for tax season, then you might have come across different terms that might make it so that you’re exempt from having to pay taxes on surrogacy compensation. These situations vary widely, as some surrogate agencies and sources cite one opinion over the other.  

However, there are a few instances in which your compensation might not be tax-exempt. These are: 

Gift: In some cases, your account can avoid some of the taxes by claiming them as a gift from the intended parents. But it’s important to keep in mind that the amount of compensation that you’ll receive is usually higher than the amount you’ll be exempt from. So, you might end up paying a portion of your taxes from your compensation.  

Pain and Suffering: There are some sources, surrogacy professionals, and accountants that believe that if any compensation was received for pain and suffering, then the income can be considered non-taxable under Sec 104 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). However, surrogacy doesn’t exactly meet the list of excludable injuries listed under the section, such as someone who has experience some form of bodily injury or another type of accident, such as a burglary. So, whether or not surrogacy compensation can actually be claimed for “pain and suffering” and is therefore tax-exempt if a surrogate enters her contract willingly is still pretty divisive.  

Pre-Birth Child Support: Because child-support payments are exempt from taxes, there are some attorneys that word surrogacy compensation as pre-birth child support in order to avoid tax liability. But how well this reason will hold up in court is still debatable.  

Who Should I Talk to Next?  

Getting your taxes done can be frustrating at the best of times. But just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. Before you get started on your taxes, it’s a good idea to speak with a financial advisor, or a surrogacy specialist who can help answer your questions about any potential taxes for your compensation.  

Should You Get the COVID-19 Vaccine If You’re Pregnant?

On December 16, 2020, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) released a statement for people who are pregnant or who are planning to get pregnant regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. This has significant meaning for gestational surrogates and intended parents, who were previously in a wait-and-see holding pattern.

The statement says that pregnant people, and anyone planning to get pregnant, cango ahead and get vaccinated — as long as your health provider gives you the OK to do so.

Ultimately, you’re free to choose whether or not you get vaccinated. It’s a discussion that intended parents and gestational surrogates should have, along with their American Surrogacy specialist.

If you’re (understandably) nervous about COVID or about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, this guide will help gestational surrogates and intended parents to make a decision on what’s best for them, and for the baby. Please note: You should still talk to your doctor first! They can offer you medical advice based on your individual situation.

COVID-19 Vaccine Basics

Here’s a brief introductory lesson on the COVID-19 vaccine, and some considerations for surrogates and intended parents:

  • As you probably know, pregnant women are at a greater risk for becoming seriously sick as a result of COVID-19.
  • Two different pharmaceutical companies, Moderna and Pfizer, have produced COVID-19 vaccines — both are about 95% effective. You probably won’t be able to choose which one you receive.
  • More vaccines are on the way, and they will also probably be safe for pregnant women.
  • The vaccine requires two doses, administered 21-28 days apart, depending on which vaccine you receive.
  • You will need to receive both doses of the vaccine in order for it to be effective.
  • The first shot is a primer and then the second is a booster shot.
  • The vaccine does not contain the live virus itself, and cannot give you COVID-19.
  • You will need to continue wearing your mask, practicing good hand-washing and hygiene habits and social distancing even after you’ve received both doses of the vaccine.
  • Common side effects include injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle and join pain. A handful of people have experienced fevers or allergic reactions. You may want to consider taking a day off to rest up after receiving the booster dose — some recipients say they feel a bit tired and achy for a day or two.
  • Vaccine side effects are a sign that your immune system is working as it should, not a sign that a vaccine isn’t working or that something is wrong. However, monitor how you feel after receiving the vaccine, and call your doctor if you’re worried.
  • If you’ve had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine in the past, you should check with your doctor before getting the COVID vaccine.
  • Pregnant people were not included in the testing groups for the vaccine, which was why health organizations were initially wary to conclusively state that the vaccine was safe for pregnant women. However, so far there have been no harmful effects for pregnant women or for fetuses, and these organizations have concluded that the likely benefits outweigh the unlikely risks. Because the vaccine does not include the live virus, experts have little reason to believe that the vaccine would be harmful to pregnant women or to unborn babies. But, we understand the lack of data may be too great a worry for you.
  • There are still some unknowns, like how long the vaccine protects you, whether it can protect you against an asymptomatic infection, or if you can transmit the virus if you do become infected and are asymptomatic.

Ultimately, when weighing the potential pros and cons, experts say that it’s fine to get the vaccine when it’s available to you. That being said, you should always consult with your doctor before getting vaccinated, especially if you are pregnant or are planning to get pregnant as a gestational surrogate!

Gestational surrogates and intended parents should also talk about the choice to get vaccinated with their American Surrogacy specialist. It’s important for you all to be on the same page.

What the ASRM Says About Pregnancy and the Vaccine

In the statement released December 16 of 2020, the American Society for Reproductive had this to say to anyone who is pregnant (or plans to become pregnant):

  • “The Task Force does not recommend withholding the vaccine from patients who are planning to conceive, who are currently pregnant, or who are lactating. These recommendations are in line with those of the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM).”

What that means for you: The general consensus among professionals who are responsible for the health of pregnant women and fetuses is that the vaccine can be administered to surrogates.

  • “Patients undergoing fertility treatment and pregnant patients should be encouraged to receive vaccination based on eligibility criteria. Since the vaccine is not a live virus, there is no reason to delay pregnancy attempts because of vaccination administration or to defer treatment until the second dose has been administered.”

What that means for you: Getting vaccinated is still likely safe for surrogates who are currently undergoing, or are planning to undergo fertility treatments, IVF, embryo transfers and pregnancy. It’s also probably safe for intended parents planning to harvest their gametes for the surrogacy journey. Wherever you’re at in your surrogacy journey, that journey will not be affected or delayed if you choose to receive a COVID vaccine.

  • “Recent studies have suggested that pregnancy is a risk factor for severe COVID-19 disease. Furthermore, many women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy have additional risk factors such as obesity, hypertension or diabetes which may further increase the chance of severe disease from COVID-19 infection. These considerations should be included in decisions regarding vaccination.”

What that means for you: As you probably know, pregnant women have a higher risk of experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms. This will be a factor in the conversation with your doctor about getting vaccinated.

  • “Because COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are not composed of live virus, they are not thought to cause an increased risk of infertility, first or second trimester loss, stillbirth, or congenital anomalies. It should be noted that pregnant and lactating women were excluded from the initial phase III trials of these two vaccines, so specific safety data in these populations are not yet available and further studies are planned. However, the mechanism of action of mRNA vaccines and existing safety data provide reassurance regarding the safety of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines during pregnancy. The FDA EUA letter permits the vaccination of pregnant and breastfeeding individuals with a requirement that the company engage in post-authorization observational studies in pregnancy.”

What that means for you: Even though pregnant women weren’t included in the original trials of the vaccine, this type of vaccine has been extensively studied and is generally considered safe for pregnant women and for the pregnancy itself. However, we understand the lack of data may give you pause.

  • “While COVID-19 vaccination can cause fever in some patients (up to 16% of those vaccinated and mostly after the second dose), this risk should not be a concern when deciding whether to vaccinate a pregnant individual or a patient desiring pregnancy. While fever in pregnancy (particularly the 1st trimester) has been associated with an increased risk of neural tube defects, a recent study demonstrated the association no longer remained significant if the patient is taking >400 mcg of folic acid daily. Another large Danish cohort study did not demonstrate any increased risk of congenital anomalies of those who reported fever in the first trimester. Additionally, the most common symptom of COVID-19 infection itself is fever (83-99% of affected patients). Patients who experience fever following vaccination should take an antipyretic medication, like acetaminophen.”

What that means for you: Even if a gestational surrogate experiences vaccine side effects like a fever, it shouldn’t harm the surrogate or the pregnancy, especially if you’re taking your recommended folic acid.

  • “Patients who conceive in the window between the first and second dose of the vaccine should be offered the second dose of the vaccine at the appropriate interval.”

What that means for you: It’s OK if you become pregnant in between your first and second dose. Go ahead and get your second vaccine dose as scheduled.

  • “Physicians should promote vaccination to patients, their communities, and to the public. Preliminary data suggests that those populations at greatest risk of severe disease from COVID-19 may also be the most hesitant to be vaccinated, and specific efforts to increase vaccine uptake in these communities should be undertaken.”

What that means for you: We know you’re worried about the health and safety of this pregnancy, as well as your own safety. But, after checking in with your doctor, you’re free to schedule your COVID vaccine as soon as it’s available to you. The benefits may outweigh the risks.

What American Surrogacy Recommends

We know that if you’re a gestational surrogate or an intended parent, or if you’re thinking about starting your surrogacy journey as a surrogate or parent, you’re probably worried about how COVID-19 affects your surrogacy journey. During a surrogacy journey, the gestational surrogate and intended parents worry about everything that goes into the surrogate’s body — everyone’s priority is the health and safety of the surrogate and baby.

With that top priority in mind, and with the recommendations of trusted health organizations, American Surrogacy joins in recommending that gestational surrogates can receive the COVID-19 vaccine, as long as the surrogate, the intended parents and the surrogate’s doctor are all comfortable with this. However, a COVID-19 vaccine is not currently required for our surrogates — the decision to receive the vaccine is still at the discretion of the surrogate, the intended parents and the surrogate’s doctor.

Wherever you’re currently at in your surrogacy journey, we suggest speaking to your doctor about getting vaccinated. Ask your doctor when a COVID-19 vaccine might be available to you, and ask if they think you might have any health conditions or risk factors that would make the vaccine inadvisable in your situation.

As long as your doctor and your surrogacy partners agree with this choice, you’re free to get the vaccine when it’s available to you. But, when in doubt, consult your American Surrogacy specialist!

Recommended Reading While You’re Waiting During the Holidays

For many people, the holidays come with a lot of free time — which means this is the perfect opportunity for you to check out some of the best reading resources for intended parents and surrogates.

We know that the wait can be tough, but there are plenty of things that you can do to take your mind off the surrogacy process. Take the time now to sit down with these books and informational resources.

Whether you’ve been thinking about starting the surrogacy process over the long break, or you’re already in the middle of a journey, we hope that you can find something helpful here.

Recommended Reading for Intended Parents

Becoming an intended parent is an exciting journey. Because surrogacy is still fairly new, there is a lot to learn about this process. While you’re enjoying your holiday break, here is some of the best reading resources for intended parents.

Recommended Reading for Infertility

Coping with the loss of infertility is one of the hardest parts about starting the surrogacy journey and moving toward parenthood. If you’re looking for books about the infertility journey and blogs written by couples in your situation, start here:

Books for Explaining Surrogacy to Your Child

Surrogacy should be talked about openly and honestly. If you’re looking for ways to explain the process to your child or for books that you can read together during the holiday break, here are some great options to get started.

  • The Kangaroo Pouch: A Story About Surrogacy for Young Children: The Kangaroo Pouch is a simple, beautiful book that all families touched by surrogacy will love reading together. Told from the prospective of a young child, this story presents a step-by-step look of one family’s decision to grow through surrogacy and what life is like during the pregnancy and after.
  • I LoVe My Family: I LoVe My Family is a great way to explain surrogacy and assisted conception to young children. Filled with diverse pictures and inclusive language, this is the perfect tool to answer any of your child’s questions.
  • Grown in Another Garden: Grown in another Garden introduces the idea of surrogacy to young children. Told from the perspective of a surro-born child, this story helps explain why some couples choose surrogacy to grow their family.

Recommended Reading for Surrogates

There’s no such thing as too much information when it comes to surrogacy. Whether you’re in the middle of your surrogacy journey or thinking about becoming a surrogate, here are some informational books you should check out.

  • Everything Conceivable: This book has great information for intended parents and surrogates. It includes personal stories from everyone involved in surrogacy, along with an in-depth look at the entire surrogacy process.
  • Birthing a Mother: The Surrogate Body and the Pregnant Self: If you’re looking for a book that explores how intended mothers and surrogates relate to once another throughout the process, this is what you want.
  • Labor of Love: Gestational Surrogacy and the Work of Making Babies: This book includes a series of interviews from intended parents, gestational surrogates, and their family and friends. If you’re looking for a book that covers multiple perspectives, along with an in-depth look at the history of surrogacy, this is one to check out.
  • My Mom is a Surrogate: If you’re a surrogate, your children are going to be naturally curious about the process. This book follows a pair of siblings as they watch their mother become a surrogate. If you’re looking for a helpful way to explain the surrogacy process to your child, this book is a great way to get started.

Find Your New Favorite Book

The holidays are one of the best times of the year. It’s the perfect chance to look back and appreciate how far we’ve come, make our favorite resolutions for the new year and just unwind.

Whether it’s a book or a blog post, there always something to read during the holidays. Take the time to read something new as you get ready for the next part of your surrogacy journey.

Is there anything that you’re reading for your surrogacy and parenting journey? Let us know in the comments!

10 Holiday Gift Alternatives for Those Going Through Surrogacy

Are you gearing up for the holiday season? If you’re like most people, then you’re probably struggling with what to give your loved ones — especially if they’re an intended parent or a surrogate and you’re not sure about what is appropriate.

It’s easy to stick with the usual just to be safe: gift cards to their favorite restaurants or to a movie, clothes, holiday money. But we know that you’d rather get them something that’s a little more special. If you’ve having a hard time figuring out what to give them that will really blow them away, you’re not alone.

If you’re tired of pacing the aisles of Target to find the perfect gift, or if you’re looking for something a little out of the box, check out 10 gift ideas that will really impress your loved one going through the surrogacy process.

1. Sending Ready-Made Meals

Even those of us who absolutely love to cook could use a break sometimes. If your intended parent or surrogate’s idea of a good time is spending the evening in the kitchen, ordering a meal-kit delivery service is a great way to take the extra burden of meal-prepping off their shoulders. And, now that meal kits are more popular than ever, you have plenty of options to choose from.

These services are an easy way to ensure that the person you’re buying them for has healthy meals all week long without having to drive to the grocery store. Many of them also have options for specific diets   like vegan or vegetarian. Some, like Snap Kitchen and Fresh and Easy, even provide ready-made meals, which takes away the stress of getting dinner on the table ready. The options range in price, so you should be able to find one that fits perfectly in your budget.

A few favorites?

2. Meal-Prepping for Surrogates Who are Pregnant

There’s nothing better than having a meal made ahead of time. If you like the idea of meal-kit services, but you’d like to put your own spin on things, you might think about meal-prepping for your surrogate during her pregnancy.

Being pregnant isn’t easy, especially when carrying a child for someone else. With so much to worry about, it can be stressful to keep the fridge stocked and dinner on the table. During this holiday season, take the load off a surrogate’s shoulders by doing some of the heavy lifting for her. If you start early on Sunday morning, she’ll have plenty to enjoy throughout the week.

3. Donating to an Intended Parent’s Surrogacy Fund

Everyone loves getting gift cards during the holiday season. They’re simple, and you can find them just about anywhere. But this year, you might think about donating to something other than your local restaurant’s or movie theatre’s cash fund.

If your friend or loved one is pursing surrogacy, even just a little bit of your financial support goes a long way toward making a difference in their surrogacy expenses. Like adoption, surrogacy is an expensive endeavor. It takes a lot of time, money and resources to make intended parents’ dreams of building a family a reality. If you decide to donate to their surrogacy fund, you could take a financial burden off their shoulders.  burden off their shoulders.

4. Donating Your Time

The holidays are all about spending time together. It might seem like a small gift, but just your time can make a huge difference during someone’s surrogacy journey. Run their errands, offer babysitting services for their other children as they make their way to medical appointments, and more.

This can be a priceless gift for super busy people like your surrogate or intended parent. And having one stress-free day will make their surrogacy journey so much easier.

5. Giving Something Sentimental

The surrogacy journey will connect intended parents and surrogates together for years to come. If you are wondering what to give each other, it might be nice to either make or commission a gift that will remind you of your journey together. Consider a necklace that has the baby’s birthdate, a bracelet with the family’s initials, or some other personalized present.

6. Making a Homemade Treat

Over the last year, we’ve all had plenty of time to practice our baking and cooking skills. You’ve probably seen people on social media showing off their bread-making skills in the comfort of their own home. If you fall into that category, now is the time to show your loved ones how much you’ve learned.

Bring over some delicious bread, some handmade jam, or anything else that you think they might like.

7. Organizing a Personalized Gift Basket

You’ve probably seen gift baskets like Edible Arrangements, but you can also make your own gift basket for the special person in your life. Remember, it doesn’t need to be expensive or extravagant.

While you’re making your gift basket, think about where your loved one is at in their surrogacy journey. For example, if this is the intended parents’ first Christmas with their baby, they might want a few special items — like an ornament or figurine — that will help them commemorate this special day.

Likewise, think about where a surrogate is at in her pregnancy. If she’s just delivered, she might like something to commemorate the experience with the intended parents, as well as items for her postpartum recovery.

8. Putting Together a Memory Book

The surrogacy journey is full of ups and downs — just like any family-building experience. For this holiday season, you might decide to look back and create your own memory book of your surrogacy journey. Make a collection of your favorite pregnancy photos and or pictures of your child and put them in the book to share repeatedly.

Don’t forget a copy for your surrogacy partner!

9. Choosing Something for the Surrogate’s Family

If you’re the intended parent or the family of an intended parent, it could be nice to include a small gift for the surrogate and her family. Whether it’s something handmade or something you plan on buying, we’re sure you’ll find something special — like tickets to a local zoo or a movie night out.

10. Just Spending Time Together

Giving gifts is a wonderful part of the holidays. But it’s not the most important thing.

If you can, carve out some time to spend with the intended parents or the surrogate. Even if you choose to not spend any money, you can still have a great time with fun, family-friendly activities. Hold a talent show, a concert, or just watch a movie together from a distance.

It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday cheer and go all out with elaborate, expensive gifts. But the best gifts are the ones with the most thought put into them.

No matter what you decide to give your intended parents or surrogate, we know that they’ll appreciate it. If you put in the time and care to think about what they really want, you will make this holiday season one to remember.

Looking for more holiday gift ideas for your surrogacy partner? Contact your surrogacy specialist for suggestions!

7 Ways to Show Gratitude for Your Surrogacy Journey

If you’re at the end of or have completed your surrogacy journey, then you’ve probably experienced many of the ups and downs that come with this life-changing experience. No one said building a family or helping someone else build their own would be easy, and it can be hard to look around and feel thankful when you’re in the middle of the journey’s challenges.

But, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, we’d like to share some ways that you can show gratitude for the amazing experience your surrogacy has been. Whether you’re an intended parent or a surrogate, here are seven ways that you can show how thankful you are for this incredible journey.

1. Reach out to Your Former Surrogacy Partner

Surrogacy is a life-changing process that connects people for many years to come. The holidays are a perfect time to reach out to your surrogacy partner and tell them how much they mean to you, how this journey has changed your life, and anything else you want to share. You might even give them a thoughtful gift during this holiday season.  during this holiday season.

2. Send a Thank-You Note to Your Professionals

Surrogacy would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of the amazing specialists that work tirelessly every day to make your surrogacy dreams come true.

You can probably imagine just how much work they have on their plates. This Thanksgiving, take some time out of your day to write a thoughtful note letting your specialists know how much you appreciate them. Remind them that you’re thinking of them and let them know that their hard work has not gone unnoticed.  Remind them that you’re thinking of them and let them know that their hard work has not gone unnoticed.

You might decide to mail them a handwritten card or write them a nice email thanking them for all that they do. However, you decide to do it, it will mean more than you know.

Don’t forget your surrogacy attorney or reproductive endocrinologists, either!

3. Have a Virtual Get-together

There’s no better time than Thanksgiving to spend time together with your favorite people, and that includes your surrogate or your intended parent(s).

Over the last few months, we’ve had to rely on video-chatting to stay in touch with everyone, so you should be a pro at it by now. If it’s been a while since you’ve chatted with your surrogacy partner, take some time to set up a get-together when everyone is free.

There are all kinds of video platforms that you can use, like Zoom, Google Hangout, and FaceTime. And, in accordance with the Thanksgiving season, you might set up a time to chat when you can enjoy a (virtual) meal together.

4. Share Your Positive Story

It might be surprising, but surrogacy is still relatively new to many people. If you’ve been through the surrogacy process, you may have a lot of wisdom to share. Why not share it with others who are interested in hearing what you have to say?

If you’re comfortable with the idea, you might decide to make your own blog post or share your story on social media. The best way to promote gestational surrogacy is to spread awareness and educate those who are interested.

If you’d like to share your story for American Surrogacy’s website, we’d love to hear it! Email your specialist to get started.

5. Help Others Who are Preparing for Surrogacy

Surrogacy might be new, but there are many people who are interested in starting this assisted reproduction method.

It’s possible that, over the course of your journey, you’ve met someone who’s interested in becoming a surrogate or an intended parent. It’s also possible that you’re their first experience with surrogacy ever. If they’re interested, take some time today to walk them through your experience and share what you’ve learned and how it’s changed you. You might also serve as a reference for them once they’re ready to take the plunge.

6. Create a Gratitude Journal

Writing is a fantastic hobby, and starting your own gratitude journal can be a great way to remind yourself of everything you have to be thankful for right now. You might not be ready to share your experiences with others yet, and that’s OK. You can share it when your loved ones when you’re ready or just keep it for yourself.

Take the time to write down five things that you’re grateful for once a week or as often as you think of ideas. Look back on those lists in hard times to remind yourself of all the good things you have going.

7. Set Aside Time Every Day to Be Grateful

Even if you don’t make your own gratitude journal, try to carve some time out of your day to be thankful for all that you have because of surrogacy. You might do this every morning or before you go to bed as you reflect on the previous day.

It sounds small, but taking the time to recharge and recenter yourself will make a world of difference. Just close your eyes, relax, and think of five things that you’re grateful for today.

We know that the surrogacy journey can be challenging. But just taking a couple minutes each day to think about all that you’re grateful for can get you ready for tomorrow.

Don’t forget: It doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving for you to take stock of your gratitude.

What are You Thankful For?

Whether you’re an intended parent or a surrogate, this journey will touch your life in unimaginable ways. Even though this year has been full of unexpected challenges, there are still plenty of ways that you can show your gratefulness for the journey past and the journey that lies ahead of you.

Take some time today to consider everything that you’re grateful for, and you’ll thank yourself later.

10 Answers to Nosy Questions and Comments: Surrogates

Even in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, friends and families will be finding ways to come together this holiday season, whether virtually or in-person. And, if you’re a woman in the middle of a gestational surrogacy journey, that means you’ll likely be on the receiving end of a slew of questions and comments from the family members you haven’t seen in a while. Unfortunately, their curiosity and opinion on your status as a gestational surrogate can get a little grating, or can even be downright insensitive.

So, help you handle the holiday season (and the resulting inquiries) as a gestational surrogate, here are 10 things you might hear and some ways in which you can respond:

1.    “How much are you getting paid?”

It’s not considered polite to discuss financials in most situations. Most people wouldn’t casually ask each other how much they make in a year, or what their home cost.

It can also be frustrating that so many people focus on the compensation aspect of surrogacy, when it’s such a small part of your experience. Your motivations were altruistic and you want people to recognize that you’re doing this because you want to help a family.

Here are a few go-to responses:

  • “That’s confidential, per my surrogacy agreement.”
  • “I’m not actually doing it for the money.”
  • “That’s not your business.”

2.    “Who’s baby is it?”

People are often curious about who the baby is biologically related to. Whether the intended parents are both biologically related to the baby or gamete donation was involved, it’s against your surrogacy agreement to breach their privacy. That question is also just something you wouldn’t ask people, normally, so it’s a bit annoying.

End the discussion with:

  • “Does it matter?”
  • “It’s the intended parents’ baby, regardless of genetics.”
  • “That’s not your business.”

3.    “I could never carry a baby for 9 months and then give it up.”

This comment comes across as a little judgemental, self-centered and ignorant: All at once.

Feel free to answer with a firm:

  • “I’m just babysitting. Do you find it hard to give someone else’s kids back after babysitting?”
  • “Well, then, I guess that’s why you’re not a gestational surrogate and I am.”
  • “That’s not your business.”

4.    “So, do you breastfeed the baby?”

People always want to know about how some of the more intimate aspects of childbirth play out in surrogacy situations. And then, they sometimes want to place their own opinions on these matters, even though it doesn’t concern them in any way.

You can just succinctly say:

  • “The intended parents have a nutrition plan set in place.”
  • “No. I may decide to pump for a while if they ask me to, but that’s our decision.”
  • “That’s not your business.”

5.    “Can you keep the baby if you wanted to?”

Oh, boy.

Make sure you’re clear when you say:

  • “It’s not my baby. I’m giving it back, not ‘giving it away.’”
  • “No. It’s illegal and I wouldn’t want to, anyway.”
  • “That’s not your business.”

6.    “Isn’t it hard on your kids and husband? Do they understand?”

If your family wasn’t on board with your decision to be a gestational surrogate, you wouldn’t even be answering these questions. But, most people don’t know that the support of a surrogate’s children and spouse are required to even start the gestational surrogacy process.

So, briefly explain:

  • “They understand perfectly well, and support me.”
  • “Their support was required and given before I even signed on to become a surrogate.”
  • “That’s not your business.”

7.    “Why didn’t they just adopt?”

This question always betrays the person’s ignorance about the intricacies of the adoption process. Not to mention the fact that it seems to equate adoption with “saving” a child, which is a problematic attitude.

Break it down for them with a quick:

  • “It’s not as easy as ‘just adopting.’ Adoptive parents must meet a series of strict requirements before they can be approved to adopt a child.”
  • “Why don’t you ‘just adopt?’ Everyone has their reasons.”
  • “That’s not your business.

8.    “How did you get pregnant?”

Either they don’t understand how the science works, or they (horrifyingly) believe that gestational surrogates need to conceive the baby with the intended father in “the old fashioned way.”

Give them the short version with:

  • “Go research the IVF process.”
  • “Embryos are implanted with a lot of careful planning and the help of doctors.”
  • “That’s not your business.”

9.    “I don’t know why you’d want to go through pregnancy and childbirth if it’s not your kid.”

…Ok.

Shrug off that unsolicited opinion with:

  • “Good thing you’re not a gestational surrogate, then, huh?”
  • “I’m fine with being pregnant and giving birth if it helps someone else become a family.”
  • “That’s not your business.”

10. “I heard about this surrogate who….”

Honestly, a good eye-roll is probably enough to express how you feel about this type of comment.

Or, you can use your grown-up words, like:

  • “Cool story, bro.”
  • “Horror-story situations are the ultra-rare exception to the rule, and most occurred in situations of traditional surrogacy and usually happened before surrogacy contracts and agencies were a thing. This isn’t like that. At all.”
  • “That’s not your business.”

One More Time, with Feeling: “That’s. Not. Your. Business.”

As long as you’re respecting your surrogacy contract and the privacy of the intended parents, how much (or little) you disclose about your gestational surrogacy process is entirely up to you. If you’re feeling particularly patient, you can use these types of questions and comments as a teaching moment for your loved ones. But, if you don’t feel like being the ambassador to all-things-surrogate, there’s nothing wrong with telling them the tried-and-true, “That’s not your business.”


Not sure how to navigate the holiday season as a surrogate? Worried about staying safe and healthy? Reach out to your American Surrogacy specialist for information and support at any time.