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

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

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

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

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

The Amount of Care Your Family Member Needs

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

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

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

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

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

How Intended Parents May Feel About Your Situation

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

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

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

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

What Preparations You’ll Need to Make

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

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

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

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

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

7 Questions You May Get from Your Kids When You’re a Surrogate — And How to Answer Them

When you’re considering becoming a gestational carrier, you may be unsure of how your children will respond to your news. You may be hopeful that they will share your excitement to help bring a child into the world — but explaining to them that child is not their sibling can get a bit confusing.

Don’t worry, because American Surrogacy is here to help. When you work with our agency, our surrogacy specialists can help you prepare for this conversation with tips and suggestions. We know having the support of your entire immediate family is important — kids included.

Remember, you can always talk to your surrogacy specialist anytime by calling her at 1-800-875-BABY(2229). But, in the meantime, here are some common questions you might get from your child during your surrogacy journey — and how to respond to them in an age-appropriate way.

1. “What is surrogacy?”

This will likely be the first question you receive from your child as you inform them of your surrogacy decision. Your answer will vary based on your child’s understanding of the reproductive process and how much information you want to give them.

Our suggestion? Try something short and simple. Most children will accept complicated concepts easily; over-explaining might only make things worse.

“Surrogacy is a way that Mommy can help someone else become parents. The people who I’m working with really want to have a baby, but they can’t because the mom’s tummy is broken/the dad(s) can’t carry a baby like I can. So, they’re going to make the baby themselves, and put it in Mommy’s tummy until the baby is old enough to be born. Then, the baby will go home with his or her parents!”

2. “Why can’t the baby be in their mommy’s tummy?”

Infertility can be a tough conversation for any adult to have. Explaining it to children can be easier or harder, depending on your child’s level of understanding.

“Sometimes, some women’s tummies don’t work the way Mommy’s does. They want really badly to be pregnant with their baby, but sometimes they need a little help from people like me.”

On the other hand, if you are carrying for an LGBT couple or a single man, you can take this opportunity to explain to your child about alternative ways people build families, if they can’t conceive naturally:

“You know how I’ve told you how people who want a baby very much can have one together? They don’t have to be just a mom and a dad. I’m carrying for two men who really want to have a baby, but they don’t have a woman to be pregnant for their baby. So, I volunteered!”

Similarly, you can say: “Even though the dad I’m carrying for hasn’t found someone to have a baby with, he still wants to be a dad very badly. So, I’m stepping in to help him! The doctors take a little bit from him and from another woman to make the baby, and the baby will live in my tummy until they are strong enough to go home.”

3. “Will the baby be my brother/sister?”

It can be complicated to explain in vitro fertilization and genetics to young children. As awkward as it may be, keep in mind that openness with your children about the reproductive process is proven to be much better than using euphemisms. Try to explain this process in an age-appropriate way, like so:

“No, the baby will not be your sibling. See, in surrogacy, doctors take a little bit from the woman who wants to be a mom and a little bit from the man who wants to be a dad. They put it together to make a baby, and they put that tiny baby inside of me. I’m just a babysitter; I’ll carry them until they’re big and strong enough to go home with their parents!”

4. “Why can’t the baby stay with us?”

If you’ve done your proper work to educate your child, they will understand that the baby you’re carrying is not your sibling — and will go home with their parents after birth. But that doesn’t mean you won’t get some pushback from your child if they really want a sibling. So, be honest with them:

“Your mom/dad and I decided that our family is complete the way it is! We just want to give all of our love to you (and your siblings)! The baby’s parents are very excited for him/her to come home; I’m just helping out by babysitting for a little bit.”

5. “Will you give me up like you’re giving this baby up?”

Sometimes, the idea of surrogacy can make your older children jealous. Knowing that you are not keeping the baby you carry, they may wonder if the same will happen to them. Reassure them with love and empathy:

“Of course not! Your mom/dad and I love you very much. We wanted you just as badly as these parents want their baby. I’m just babysitting until this little one is ready to go home. While I love them, I love them like I love your friends. At the end of the day, you’re my child, and I’m going to always be your mom and love you very much.”

6. “Will I get to meet the baby?”

Before answering this question, it’s important that you talk with the intended parents. Most intended parents would be thrilled about letting your children meet their child; after all, it can be tough for a child to visualize the end of the surrogacy process without seeing it firsthand.

If it will be too complicated for your child to meet the baby you’re carrying, offer some alternatives:

“You know, I don’t know if that will be possible, but I’ll tell you what — why don’t you and I put together something for the baby when he/she goes home? How about drawing a picture, writing a letter or picking out a special toy?”

Following these steps can help your child work through their feelings and bring a sense of conclusion to the surrogacy process.

7. “I hate the baby! Why can’t they just go home with their parents now?”

While some children can get too attached to the child in their mother’s bellies, others go the other direction. It’s totally normal for children of surrogates to feel jealousy and other conflicting emotions about the intended parents’ baby. After all, they are likely seeing less of their mother as she attends to her surrogacy duties — and that can be jarring for a child who has never experienced that before.

If your child lashes out or expresses negative emotions about the intended parents’ baby, you need to quickly and seriously tell them their anger is not appropriate.

“Listen to me: Hate is a very strong word. Are you sure you mean that? Or are you just upset that the baby is taking up more of my time than you’re used to? Remember, as soon as the baby is strong enough, he/she will be going home with their parents, and I’ll be all yours again. In the meantime, remember that it’s our job to keep this baby safe and loved — and I will not tolerate any kind of comment like this again, do you understand?

At first, kids and surrogacy can seem complicated — but many of our gestational carriers have successfully navigated this journey with the support of all of their immediate family.

Have more questions about explaining surrogacy to your kids or the surrogacy process in general? Reach out to your specialist anytime at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

Can You Be a Surrogate if You’ve Smoked Marijuana?

With the recent legalization of marijuana across many states in the U.S., prospective surrogates are increasingly asking: Will a history of marijuana use impact my chances of becoming a surrogate?

It’s certainly a complicated question. Where recreational marijuana is legal, adults over 21 can indulge in this substance in very much the same way they can with alcohol. And women who have drunk alcohol aren’t disqualified from being a surrogate, so is it the same when it comes to using marijuana recreationally?

Not exactly. There is still some unknown when it comes to marijuana’s effect on pregnant women, and many physicians are hesitant to completely clear marijuana use during pregnancy. The previous use of marijuana before surrogacy, however, is a different story.

If you are curious how a history of marijuana use may impact your eligibility to be a surrogate, we encourage you to contact our surrogacy specialists today. We can evaluate your personal situation and help you start your medical screening process — which will be the ultimate decider of whether or not you can continue on your surrogacy journey.

In the meantime, there are some important things we want all prospective surrogates to know about this topic.

How Intended Parents’ Preferences Play a Role

Even if marijuana is legal in a surrogate’s state, that doesn’t mean that potential intended parents will be okay with a historical or current use of the substance. Ultimately, intended parents will have the right to choose what medical and personal history they are comfortable with in a surrogate candidate.

If you are a surrogate who currently uses marijuana, you will likely be hard-pressed to find intended parents who are comfortable with this — even if you plan to stop using during your pregnancy. If someone in your family uses marijuana, this could also disqualify you from the process. Remember that you will need to provide a safe home environment for the intended parents’ baby; marijuana odor or presence could make intended parents uncomfortable, and they can decline to work with you if this is detected during your home visit.

The time and frequency of your marijuana usage will likely be the deciding factor for intended parents. If you used marijuana once as a teenager, you’ll probably be able to proceed with the surrogacy process, no problem. Intended parents know that was a long time ago; as long as you are not using it at the moment, they should be comfortable with a short, distant history.

However, if you used marijuana frequently in the past, it will be the intended parents’ prerogative to decide their comfort. Some will be okay with moving forward with you; others will request another surrogate candidate.

Talking to your surrogacy specialist honestly about your substance use history will give you a better idea of how likely you will be to match with intended parents.

What About Prior Convictions?

During your application to be a surrogate, our surrogacy specialists will complete criminal background screenings. If you have a prior conviction for possession of marijuana, you may be worried that will prevent you from surrogacy.

However, surrogacy professionals and intended parents are increasingly forgiving of these kinds of convictions. With marijuana being legal in so many states now, previous marijuana convictions don’t hold the weight they used to. Some cities and states are even clearing previous convictions in the best interest of their citizens.

The bottom line? If you have a previous marijuana conviction on file, don’t let it dissuade you from applying to be a gestational carrier. In most situations, American Surrogacy will be able to work around this record and help you reach your surrogacy dreams.

Remember: You Will Be Medically Screened for Eligibility

If there’s one thing we want you to learn from this article, it’s that honesty is important. Marijuana can be a complicated subject, whether or not it’s legal in your state, but it should never be something you hide. Surrogacy is an intimate partnership based on trust. Being honest about your history is the first step.

After you have matched with intended parents, you will undergo medical screening at their fertility clinic. Drug tests will be inevitable, either at this step or before. Surrogates must refrain from substance use during this journey, and drug screenings are just a normal part of this process.

If you want to learn more about the process to become a surrogate, we encourage you to contact our surrogacy specialists anytime. We know determining eligibility can be a complicated conversation, especially when marijuana use is involved. We are happy to answer your questions and set you on the path that is right for you.

Call our specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) to learn more.

5 Things to Consider About Being a Surrogate as a Stay-at-Home Mom

Our gestational surrogates come from all kinds of backgrounds. Whether you work a 9-5 career job or you stay at home caring for your children, you may be a candidate for surrogacy.

However, there are some things to consider about each path. In this blog post, we’ll tackle being a surrogate when you’re also a stay-at-home mom. It’s certainly a possibility, and many of our gestational carriers have successfully followed this journey. That’s not to say there aren’t certain things to consider before getting started.

If you are interested in being a surrogate, we encourage you to speak with a surrogacy specialist for free anytime at 1-800-875-BABY(2229). Our staff is always willing to answer your questions and help you make the best decision for your family.

In the meantime, if you are considering surrogacy as a stay-at-home mom, we’d like you to think about these things first:

1. Childcare

As a mom, you are likely used to providing all the childcare in your home. Any errands that need to get done, your kids come with you. Unless you’re going on a date night with your spouse, you probably don’t have the need for additional childcare.

Things will change when you become a surrogate. As a gestational carrier, you will be responsible for attending all kinds of medical appointments. Your children won’t be able to come along. You’ll need to focus solely on your pregnancy at these appointments — not on corralling your children in the waiting room.

For many stay-at-home moms, the childcare that being a surrogate provides can be a nice break from their everyday responsibilities. However, it can also be complicated, especially if you’ve never had anyone care for your kids but you. Your surrogacy compensation will always cover the costs of childcare, but it will be up to you to find an appropriate childcare professional and ensure your children are under their care when you have to be somewhere for appointments.

2. Travel Requirements

You won’t just have to attend prenatal appointments at your local OBGYN. You will also need to travel to complete medical screening and the embryo transfer process of surrogacy.

Whether you are matched with a local intended parent or someone who lives in another state, there’s a high likelihood that their fertility clinic will be located far away from you. So, you will need to take time away from your children and home life for early medical appointments. Depending on the clinic’s location, your medical screening and embryo transfer may require overnight stays.

You will need to coordinate with your spouse and your childcare provider to ensure all of your everyday responsibilities are handled. Remember, your travel expenses will always be covered — but you must be organized enough to take care of your family well before you leave for these appointments.

3. Everyday Responsibilities

Speaking of everyday responsibilities involved in raising children, you will need to consider how your pregnancy might affect your ability to handle these tasks. If you have more than one child, you probably know what it’s like to be pregnant while also maintaining your child-raising duties. But, it’s a bit different when you’re a surrogate.

When you are carrying a baby for someone else, there is an added responsibility. Not only will you be expected to attend all of your medical appointments, you will need to maintain a relationship with your intended parents and follow whatever preferences they set in your surrogacy contract. This can sometimes start to interfere with your daily responsibilities, especially as you get further along in your pregnancy.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help with activities such as cooking and cleaning. You should talk with your spouse and other loved ones in your support system to create a schedule that works for all of you.

4. Bed Rest

Similarly, your everyday responsibilities will get much harder if you are put on bed rest during your pregnancy. While your surrogacy contract will always cover extra costs incurred during a bed rest requirement, there will be some extra emotional and practical stress in this situation.

Ask yourself: How will you and your spouse manage if you are on bed rest during the end of your pregnancy? How will you prepare your children?

Remember, your surrogacy specialist will always be there to support you during the hard parts of your surrogacy journey. Call her anytime at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) for more information on bed rest policies and how other surrogates have managed this development.

5. Your Family’s Feelings

Finally, if you are thinking about adding surrogacy to your stay-at-home-mom journey, you must always talk with your immediate family. While you will be the one carrying the intended parents’ baby, your entire family will be affected by your decision — and they must be prepared for the changes to come.

Before you even start the surrogacy journey, we encourage you to sit down with your spouse and your children. Ask them what they think of your interest in surrogacy. Explain what you might expect of them should you choose this path, and give them a chance to ask any questions they may have. Their cooperation and support will be crucial as you choose this journey, so you should have them on your side from the very beginning.

Need some guidance for this conversation? Your surrogacy specialist will always be there to help.

Being a surrogate as a stay-at-home mom can offer the best of both worlds. You’re spending time with your family like you always do, but you’re also helping to create another family and bringing in some extra income with your surrogate compensation.

Want to learn more about the journey of being a surrogate? Contact our specialists today to get started.

What Happens if a Surrogate Changes Jobs During Her Pregnancy?

A surrogacy journey can take a year or more to complete — and a lot can happen in that time. Surrogates are some of the hardest-working women in the world, so it’s no wonder that many of them advance quickly in their chosen career fields.

But, what happens if a woman gets a promotion or changes jobs during her surrogacy journey?

In most cases, this change can be accommodated easily. There’s usually no reason for a woman to have to quit her surrogacy journey halfway because of her job — but there are some smaller aspects of the journey that may need to be adjusted in the best interest of all involved.

Remember: If you’re a surrogate, you will need to keep your surrogacy specialist updated on all major changes in your life during the journey. They will help ensure you receive the support and protection you need during this time. Don’t be afraid to reach out anytime by calling 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

In the meantime, learn a bit more about the steps to take when you change jobs or careers during your surrogacy journey.

What Will Need to Be Considered:

When you first apply to be a surrogate, your job will be an important consideration in your eligibility. You will often need to work in a career where you are guaranteed maternity leave (if unpaid, your intended parents will cover these losses) and where you can guarantee the safety of yourself and the child that you are carrying.

In fact, your career will be worked into your legal surrogacy contract. Your attorney will calculate what lost wages you may need covered (as well as additional expenses such as childcare), taking into account your work policies and your intended parents’ expectations for the last trimester of your pregnancy.

While your surrogacy contract will be finalized before you start the medical process of surrogacy, when you change careers or job positions, everyone involved will need to revisit this. There will be a few aspects that must be reevaluated:

1. Lost Wages

There is always the potential for lost wages when a surrogate starts this journey. She may have to take time off work to attend appointments, including the embryo transfer process (which may require a few days of travel and rest). She will have to take time off work to deliver the intended parents’ child, and she will likely need a few weeks of rest and recovery after giving birth.

While a surrogate is protected from losing her job due to pregnancy, she is not always entitled to paid parental leave. United States law protects a pregnant woman’s right to up to 12 weeks of maternity leave, but it does not mandate that leave has to be paid. So, intended parents will cover any wages that a surrogate loses during her maternity leave.

But, these wages are initially calculated based on her salary at the start of the process. If she receives a wage increase, the surrogacy contract may have to be amended — or an agreement must be sorted out between her and her intended parents. Many surrogacy attorneys will write a certain wage increase into the initial surrogacy contract, but it’s a good idea to reevaluate this policy if you receive a promotion or raise during your surrogate pregnancy.

2. Bedrest Situations

Similarly, any discussion of bedrest in your surrogacy contract should be revisited. Some jobs allow you to work from home, and you may not lose out on wages if you are able to work remotely while on bedrest. But, if you change to a position where remote work isn’t possible, you’ll need to ensure your finances are protected in case of this situation.

Your surrogacy contract will always include an expenses schedule for any bedrest, intended to cover your childcare and housekeeping costs. Your initial contract may cover a certain number of weeks of bedrest, but this may need to be amended if your job situation changes.

Even if nothing needs to change regarding your bedrest policies, it’s still a good idea to revisit this aspect of your contract — just in case.

3. Physical Requirements of Her Position

Finally, it’s important that you always keep your health and the health of the baby in mind. Whatever your job position, you should refrain from excessive physical activity that may stress your body or the baby you’re carrying.

When you first became a surrogate, you were in a job position or career where physical activity wasn’t an issue. But, what if your new position requires a lot more physical activity? The path ahead of you would depend on where you are at in the journey.

If you haven’t yet become a surrogate, and you’ve taken on a physically demanding job, continuing your journey may or may not be possible. The intended parents only want what is best for their child, and that includes a stress-free pregnancy. If your new position will put undue stress on your body during pregnancy, you may not be able to continue. You may need to postpone your journey until you are in a better position to do so.

If you are already pregnant, but being changed to a more physically demanding job position, it’s likely you’ve talked to your surrogacy specialist before accepting this new position. You will probably need to talk with your employer about their modifications for pregnant women, including how you can keep yourself safe during the last few months of your pregnancy. After all, you signed a contract with the intended parents before you got this career raise, and you must honor that first and foremost.

If you’re unsure of how to address a potential promotion or a newly accepted job change, don’t be afraid to reach out to your surrogacy specialist. She will always be there to support you and answer your questions.

Interested in starting the surrogacy process? Give us a call at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) or contact us online today.

Can You Be a Surrogate if You Don’t Have Insurance?

So, you’re ready to help create a family by serving as a gestational carrier. Congratulations — by coming to this page, you are one step closer to making your dreams (and the intended parents’ dreams) come true!

In your research on the medical process of surrogacy, you may have found conflicting information out there about surrogacy insurance. It’s a complicated topic, to be sure; both intended parents and their gestational carrier often have to coordinate with each other, their surrogacy specialists and their insurance providers to ensure all parties are sufficiently covered in the months to come.

The first thing you should know: If you decide to become a gestational carrier, you will never be responsible for the medical costs of your surrogacy.

The second thing you should know? It is possible to become a surrogate without preexisting insurance — but it can make your journey a bit more complicated.

Is Being a Surrogate Possible if You Don’t Have Insurance?

There are many reasons a woman may not have health insurance. She may be in transition from one job to the next, she may have had insurance with her spouse but be going through a divorce, or she may be experiencing a special circumstance that allows for new enrollment — but hasn’t gotten around to applying quite yet.

Surrogacy specialists understand that life is complicated, and you may find yourself without health insurance at some point. As long as you meet the requirements to be a surrogate, your specialist can help you move forward with the surrogacy process. Along the way, she will help you get the insurance you need.

However, there is one reason why women without insurance may be disqualified from surrogacy. If you do not have insurance because of a low or unstable income, or you are on Medicaid, you will be disqualified from surrogacy. Every woman who takes this path must be financially stable, for the protection of everyone involved.

You can call a surrogacy specialist at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) today to determine your eligibility.

How Surrogacy Works if You Have No Insurance

If you are interested in being a gestational carrier but don’t have insurance, your first step should always be contacting a specialist at American Surrogacy. Our specialists can answer all of your questions and determine whether you are eligible to be a surrogate in your situation.

If you are eligible, your specialist will help you find the perfect intended parents for your journey. Your insurance situation will play a role in which intended parents you can work with; they will need to be comfortable with the extra costs of your upcoming journey.

You see, when you become a surrogate with no insurance (or a surrogate whose insurance doesn’t cover her surrogate pregnancy), your intended parents are responsible for the extra medical costs. They will need to pay extra for a special insurance policy during your pregnancy. This may cause some changes to the surrogacy budget they previously set.

Therefore, you may be asked to reduce your desired compensation rate. Your specialist will always discuss this in detail with you before matching, but it’s an important thing to think about. After all, you’re not choosing surrogacy for the money; instead, you want to help someone else become a parent. Many surrogates without health insurance are happy to reduce their desired compensation to help those intended parents reach their dreams through a more affordable path.

Ultimately, the decision will always be yours. That’s why it’s important to be honest with your surrogacy specialist from the very beginning. She will also be honest with you — including whether or not your insurance situation will make you wait longer for an intended parent match. She will also tell you if your situation will make it impossible to find intended parents to carry for.

Surrogacy is a partnership, and it’s important that you and your intended parents are on the same page about every aspect. That includes surrogacy insurance, as well. Put yourself in your intended parents’ shoes and think about how much this family-building process is costing them. Flexibility is an important part of the surrogacy process — for both you and your intended parents.

We encourage any prospective surrogate with no insurance to contact American Surrogacy today. Our specialists will be happy to discuss what surrogacy will be like for you, should you decide to move forward.

Important Questions to Ask When Creating Your Birth Plan

A birth plan is a roadmap that guides you and your hospital staff through your labor and birthing preferences. When you’re a gestational surrogate, a birth plan tailored to your situation is especially important, because it will help everyone navigate through the specifics of a surrogacy birth.

Once you’ve established your birth plan, your American Surrogacy specialist will make sure that your hospital and your intended parents have a copy. The plan that you provide to the hospital will serve to prevent confusion and awkwardness during your delivery process.

Remember, when you work with American Surrogacy, your specialist will help you create this document. Take a sneak peek at some of those questions she’ll ask you during the planning process:

Cover the Non-Surrogacy-Specific Labor and Delivery Questions First

Your birth plan should always include details that aren’t specific to a surrogacy birth. Solidify the basics of your birth plan by asking yourself (and your intended parents) these questions:

  • What arrangements do you need to make for childcare, pet care, or other responsibilities at home or work while you’re in labor and recovering after birth?
  • Where do you want to deliver?
  • What kind of labor do you want — in a hospital bed, a birthing tub, another alternative location?
  • Do you plan on having a doula or birthing coach present?
  • What positions do you prefer to help the labor — walking, squatting, standing, on your hands and knees?
  • What kinds of medications are you comfortable with? What medications would you prefer to avoid?
  • What additional pain management tactics do you prefer — massage, meditation, breathing, hydrotherapy?
  • How are you going to stay hydrated — ice chips, IV, sips from a water bottle?
  • Are there measures you’d like to take to prevent an episiotomy when possible?
  • Is there anything that the doctor should know if you need a cesarean section, or anything you’d like to request if that procedure should become necessary?
  • Is there anything that would make you feel more comfortable — music, items from home, certain clothing?

As a surrogate, you’ve delivered before, so drawing on your past experiences will likely be helpful. If you and the parents are planning on a “non-traditional” birth, your plan should be tailored with that in mind.

Surrogacy-Specific Questions to Ask

It’s also important that start thinking about some questions specific to a surrogacy birth, including:

What do you need to pack?

You probably have an idea of what to pack in a “go bag” for a standard birth, but there are a few additional things that will be helpful for a surrogacy birth — primarily paperwork!

Who needs to be on the hospital visitor’s list? Who will be with you in the delivery room?

You’ll likely want your spouse with you for support (if applicable). But also ask yourself: When do you want your children to visit? Do you want anyone else to stop by?

Intended parents usually accompany their surrogate in the delivery room so they can be there for the birth of their baby. It’s good to consider what you’ll do if you can only have one person in the delivery room, as sometimes happens in the event of C-section deliveries. Which intended parent would be there with you? Would you want your spouse there instead? This may be a topic you’ll want to discuss with the intended parents.

Does the hospital have copies of documentation that identifies the intended parents?

Your surrogacy specialist will coordinate with your hospital to make sure they have everything they need to grant your intended parents access to you and their baby. Filing documentation well in advance and following up with your doctors and nursing staff will help keep you, the intended parents and the baby from being separated from or confused for one another.

How involved will the intended parents be?

What do the intended parents plan on doing to help you during labor? Who cuts the cord and when? Who holds the baby and when? Do you and the intended parents have skin-to-skin contact plans?

An intended parent’s involvement in labor and delivery will depend on individual relationships and comfort levels. Some surrogacy partners are unanimously excited for this to be a “team effort,” while others are content with the intended parents taking on a few select roles in the experience. No two surrogacy partnerships and birth experiences are alike.

Therefore, make sure you discuss with your intended parents how involved they’d like to be in the birth of their baby.

Who will need to be granted access to see medical records of the delivery?

After childbirth, the baby’s pediatrician will benefit from having your prenatal and delivery records. Because many of these records include information about your own health, you may need to coordinate with your obstetrician and the hospital to grant permission to the pediatrician’s office, the intended parents, or their insurance providers.

What do you plan on doing with your breast milk?

What are the intended parents’ plans for feeding their baby? Pumping breast milk can be time-consuming and tiring, but having access to your breast milk can mean a lot to new parents. If you’re willing and they’re interested, you could consider pumping for the family (with compensation) or you could donate your supply to a local milk bank. You could also talk to your physician about stopping your milk supply after the delivery.

It’s good to consider your options in advance; that way, you can decide what you’re comfortable with and make any necessary preparations.

How do you all feel about birth photography or video?

Labor and delivery is a very intimate experience for everyone involved, but it’s also incredibly beautiful and life-changing. Some surrogates and intended parents want to document aspects of their shared experience with photos or video. This can be a special keepsake for you and the parents to remember your journey together, but also someday for the child involved, as they learn about the love that surrounded them on the day they were born.

These photos could be taken by a professional photographer or someone who is there to support you during labor.

Be Prepared to Be Flexible with Your Birth Plan

As you know, babies don’t always adhere to our timelines and preferences! Even when you’ve mapped out every detail in your birth plan, something unexpected may happen during your pregnancy or labor, and you may have to change your plan.

Always listen to the advice of your doctor, and be ready to do what’s best for your health. That may mean sacrificing some things you and the intended parents had planned for, but your wellbeing and the wellbeing of the baby are most important.

Keep in mind that this might be the intended parents’ first child; you, having experienced childbirth before, may have a better idea of what to expect than they do.

Your American Surrogacy specialist can work with you and the intended parents to create a birth plan that honors your wishes, as well as coordinate with the hospital and help guide these conversations between you and the parents.

You can always contact American Surrogacy at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) if you’d like to learn more about pursuing surrogacy or if you need help creating your birth plan with your intended parents.

10 Ways to Stay Busy During Your Surrogate Pregnancy

Being pregnant can be a stressful — and exciting — time. Many women who are expecting find themselves swept up in the tasks of preparing to bring a little one home, and their nine months seem to fly by.

But, what if the baby you’re expecting is not yours? What can you do during these nine months to make the time go faster?

In many ways, when you’re a surrogate, your life will proceed as normal. That means you can handle all of your day-to-day activities and responsibilities while simultaneously carrying the intended parents’ child.

However, as important as it is to maintain your daily responsibilities, there are still some very important surrogacy tasks to handle during this time. If you’re looking for ways to stay busy during your gestational pregnancy, check out some of our tips and suggestions below.

1. Involve the intended parents in your pregnancy.

First and foremost, the best way to pass time during your gestational pregnancy is by including the intended parents. This means inviting them to important milestones like ultrasounds and other doctor’s appointments, but it also means taking the steps to establish a long-lasting relationship with them.

As long as it works for both of your schedules, try to set up some activities you can do together — whether that’s a night on the town or something more simple like a lunch date. Remember that many surrogates and intended parents share a relationship long after the baby is born, and the steps you take during your pregnancy to start this relationship will play a big role.

2. Enjoy the time you have with your family.

As you get further in your pregnancy, you may find that you can’t do the normal things you and your family enjoys together. But, that doesn’t mean you have to focus more on your pregnancy than with them. On the contrary, you may find that the extra time you have from not doing more strenuous activities allows you more time to spend with your family. Have a day of adventures out and about, or plan a fun evening at home with your little ones.

Remember that your spouse and your children will be affected by your decision to be a surrogate. In addition to keeping them in the loop about your journey, take the time to make sure they are appreciated and that they know how much you love them, even while you are carrying someone else’s child.

3. Plan for your hospital stay and postpartum recovery.

Just as you would if you were having your own child, you will need to think about your delivery experience and your postpartum recovery when you’re a gestational carrier. It will be different from your past pregnancies; your intended parents will be an active part of your delivery, and you won’t have a little one to care for while you’re at home recovering.

Your surrogacy specialist will help you plan for these steps in your surrogacy journey. You and the intended parents will create a hospital plan together during your pregnancy. You will also need to speak with your employer and your insurance provider to determine what kind of postpartum recovery leave and benefits you may receive. Collecting and organizing the proper paperwork can take some time.

4. Think about how you’ll use your surrogate compensation.

You probably thought about the benefits of surrogate compensation when you first explored this pathway. But, as you receive your compensation throughout your pregnancy, it’s important that you think hard about what you’re going to do with it — to prevent yourself from spending it right away.

Maybe you want to take your family on a vacation. Maybe you want to save up for your child’s future college expenses. It may be a good idea to speak with a financial advisor during your pregnancy to ensure you are taking responsible steps toward your goals.

5. Record your story.

Your intended parents will grow up telling their child about their surrogacy story and your generous assistance. Consider helping them out by contributing to a baby book or writing a journal of your experiences. This way, when your surro-baby is growing up, they can look back on your memories to learn more about you and what their parents’ journey was like.

6. Share your story, if you want.

At the same time, you may wish to share your story with your friends and family. Surrogacy is still a highly misunderstood process, and you may receive certain comments and questions during your pregnancy. If you want to, you can serve as a surrogacy ambassador during your pregnancy — documenting your story via blog or social media can help others understand what you are going through and see the beauty of this family-building process.

7. Stay in touch with your surrogacy professionals.

One of the most important things to do while you are pregnant is keep your surrogacy specialist, surrogacy attorney and obstetrician up to date on your pregnancy and how you are feeling. Surrogacy is a journey with many moving parts, and it’s possible that something may not go as expected along the way.

Whether or not this is the case, staying in touch with your surrogacy professionals will make sure that you take care of every necessary step along the way and reduce the risk of any possible surprises.

8. Pay close attention to your body.

When you become a surrogate, it’s tempting to believe that everything will be the same as your previous pregnancies. But, no two pregnancies are the same — and the health of this pregnancy is arguably much more important, because you are carrying someone else’s child.

That said, pay close attention to your body and the baby’s development. Keep your obstetrician in the loop, and don’t be afraid to speak up if something seems off. While many surrogates deliver healthy, happy babies after an easy pregnancy, there are just as many surrogates who develop complications they never experienced before while carrying their own children.

9. Plan your post-surrogacy relationship.

If you haven’t already, you should talk to your intended parents about their desires for a relationship after you give birth. It’s important that you all are on the same page about topics such as how often you will communicate, whether you will meet in-person or talk over the phone, and more. If you decide to have a post-surrogacy relationship, you can hammer out the details with the intended parents during your pregnancy, making it more likely that your future relationship will be as successful as you all envision now.

10. Enjoy your pregnancy.

It’s easy to get caught up in things designed to keep you busy during pregnancy. But, if you’ve become a gestational carrier, it’s likely because you enjoy pregnancy — so why the rush? While it’s important to get all of your necessary tasks done while you are pregnant, don’t forget to enjoy the experience along the way! Revel in every small change your body makes, and remember the joy of feeling the baby move inside you. After all, it’s part of why you became a surrogate in the first place.

Remember: When you become a surrogate with our agency, your surrogacy specialist will be there for you throughout your pregnancy. To learn more about surrogacy with American Surrogacy, please contact our specialists online or call us at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

10 Moving Quotes from Gestational Surrogates

Surrogacy is a beautiful journey for all involved. The women who choose to selflessly carry a child for someone else often have positive experiences that they carry with them for the rest of their lives.

Whether you’re interested in becoming a surrogate yourself, or interested in learning a bit more about the women who’ve chosen this path, the best way to start is by listening to those that have been through this journey.

Check out our list of moving, emotional quotes from gestational surrogates below:

1. “It was just a great experience, and I felt really proud of what I did. Even afterwards, when the baby came to visit me the next day [after delivery], I was very grateful to be part of this experience, and they were grateful for me having the child for them. You could see it in everyone’s faces… and there was a lot of joy and love in the room. It was a great thing to be a part of.”

Alicia, who became a surrogate through American Surrogacy

2. “She’s my best friend and I know she would have done the same for me. I really didn’t put much thought into becoming a surrogate at all. It just felt like the right thing to do.”

Jill, who carried twins for her twin sister

3. “From the time I was admitted to the hospital [the intended father, Nicholas,] was here with me and my husband. Seeing Nicholas see his child for the first time — it was amazing. A weight was almost lifted off of my shoulders, in a sense that he came out and he was healthy and that I was able to give [Nicholas] everything he had ever wanted.”

Nichole, who helped Nicholas become the father he always wanted to be

4. “I was pretty attached to my intended parents; their story just broke my heart, and I could see what a good mom she would be. They were in the delivery room, and she helped me get through my contractions. I could tell she was really uncomfortable with how much pain I was in. She was like, ‘Someone should punch me in the stomach!’ To watch her exclaim his name when they handed him to her — it was one of the most beautiful experiences of my whole life. You could just see this relief.”

Codi, who worked with American Surrogacy to help a couple become a family

5. “I matched immediately with two guys. I really wanted to do it for them, because we’re two women and without our sperm donor, we wouldn’t have our son; without me and the egg donor, they wouldn’t have their baby. So it felt like a good trade off.”

Alissandra, who carried for a gay couple

6. “What would you do for someone you love? You’d do anything. That’s part of being a loving parent.”

Tinina, who carried triplets for her daughter struggling with infertility

7. “Not that there would’ve been anything wrong with me never having done this… It’s not my genetics, so I didn’t leave my legacy or anything, but I feel like by helping those three families, I’ve made my mark on the world. One of those people could be President, and I grew them—who knows?”

Kristina, who has been a gestational surrogate three times

8. “You get your baby kisses and smooches, and I get to love on [my intended parents. I didn’t just have babies for somebody else; I gained an entire family through the whole process….It was the most rewarding thing in the entire world. I would do it all over again.”

Megan, who carried twins for her intended parents

9. “I just never hesitated. I was just so excited to be able to be part of this adventure with them. … It was just unconditional love.”

Cecile, who served as a gestational surrogate for her son and his husband

10. “The same parents want me to do another journey for them. I definitely want to do that. As much as your body changes, I actually got a lot of good self-esteem because of it. I love gifting people with things, and obviously, helping someone create a family is the ultimate gift.”

Kristine, who decided to become a surrogate after a long-held personal desire to do so

Does being a surrogate sounds like the right path for you? Call our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) or contact us online today to get started.

Check our blog in a few days for a set of moving quotes from intended parents!

Are You Ready to Be a Surrogate Again?

5 Questions to Ask Yourself

For many women, being a surrogate is a beautiful journey that teaches them a great deal about love, family and themselves. Because of their positive experiences, many surrogates eventually decide that a second — or even third — surrogacy is in the cards for them.

But, how do you know when it’s the right time to start the surrogacy journey all over again?

The best person to talk to will always be your surrogacy specialist. She can discuss your previous surrogacy journey and your current situation to determine whether you are ready to become a gestational carrier again. If you’re considering this path, don’t hesitate to reach out to American Surrogacy’s team today.

In the meantime, you should start by asking yourself these questions:

1. Do you still meet our agency’s surrogacy requirements?

The first qualification to become a surrogate again is meeting American Surrogacy’s set of surrogacy requirements. Just because you have been a surrogate before doesn’t mean you will automatically get accepted into our program; your situation may have changed since your first journey, and you will need to undergo proper screening to ensure you are 100 percent prepared for another surrogacy process.

Your surrogacy specialist will always discuss our program’s requirements with you before you get started, as well as any exceptions that may be made for your application. As a reminder, here are the basic requirements you will need to meet:

  • Be between the ages of 21 and 38
  • Have a BMI between 19 and 32
  • Be currently raising a child
  • Have no more than five vaginal births and no more than four cesarean births
  • Have no major complications from previous pregnancies, including your gestational pregnancy
  • Be able to travel as needed
  • Not be on antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication for 12 months

See our agency’s full list of surrogate requirements here.

2. How long has it been since your last surrogacy journey?

Part of our requirements for surrogates is that there have been at least six months since your last vaginal or cesarean birth. That applies to gestational pregnancies, as well.

Pregnancy and childbirth can take a great toll on a woman’s body, and you will need time to recover before you can commit yourself to a year or more of medical tests and procedures and another pregnancy. When you can become a surrogate again will always be up to your personal physician and the fertility clinic with which you work; they will have the best idea of whether or not you are recovered enough for pregnancy.

You are welcome to call your specialist at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) any time after your first gestational pregnancy to express your interest in returning to our agency. Your specialist may be able to complete preliminary screenings while you wait for your six-month clearance. However, our surrogates’ safety is of the utmost importance, so our specialists will not allow you to get started until you are deemed healthy enough to do so.

3. How did your family feel about your last journey? How will they feel about this new journey?

When you become a surrogate, you’re not just committing yourself — you are also committing your family to a year or more of an intense journey. It’s not enough to ask whether you are ready to become a surrogate again. Is your family ready for you to take this journey again?

You should have an open and honest conversation with your entire family before you decide to be a gestational carrier again. They may feel differently about the surrogacy process having now been through it all and understanding exactly what it requires from them and from you. You should also consider your family’s current situation — Are your children older and will better comprehend what you are doing? Can your spouse still provide support in the way they did last time?

Don’t just assume that if your family was fine with surrogacy before, that they will be fine with surrogacy again. Make them an active part of your decision-making process.

4. What roles are your former intended parents playing in this decision?

Sometimes, gestational surrogates are inspired to do this journey again because of their intended parents. Your former intended parents may be interested in another surrogacy journey, and they may have asked you whether you are interested in carrying for them again.

Being a repeat surrogate for certain intended parents can seem like a dream come true. You already have an established relationship, and you know what the surrogacy journey will be like with them as your partners. However, it’s important that you’re not considering surrogacy again just because they’ve asked you to. There is no reason to feel pressured into being a gestational carrier again, especially if you’re not ready.

If this is your situation, try to take the intended parents out of the conversation. Would you still be willing to go through the challenges and rewards of surrogacy for other intended parents, too?

5. Is your lifestyle conducive to becoming a surrogate again?

If you have positive memories from your previous surrogacy journey, it’s only natural to want to replicate those with another journey. But, it’s important that you not let your emotions cloud your judgement. Becoming a surrogate again is a huge decision.

Think about everything that you considered before becoming a surrogate for the first time. You should think about all those things and more. Are you truly emotionally ready for surrogacy — especially a surrogacy that may not be as great as the first? Can you commit yourself physically and mentally to another surrogacy process, no matter what happens?

While this is an important conversation to have with yourself, it’s also an important one to have with your surrogacy specialist. Our team at American Surrogacy is always here to help our clients do what is best for them and their family. That includes helping you determine whether being a surrogate is the best choice for you at this time.

To learn more, please contact your surrogacy specialist online or at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) today.