7 Things All Surrogates Are Tired of Hearing

Surrogacy is still a new and advancing field and, while it’s a beautiful way to build a family, a lot of people don’t know as much as they should about it. When you’re a surrogate, you’re carrying around the proof of the surrogacy process, which can invite some interesting comments. Sometimes, people may ask inappropriate questions — either not aware of the ignorance in their statements or not really caring.

We’ve all been there, sister.

Here, we’ve compiled some of the most annoying comments that surrogates receive. Tell us if we’ve missed any that bother you the most!

1. “You’ve carried the baby for nine months; won’t it be hard to give them up?”

When you babysit a child, do you feel like you’re “giving them up” when their parents come home? Of course not!

Surrogates know the baby they’re carrying isn’t theirs, so they have no feeling of “giving it away.” Instead, they’re just taking care of the baby in their own womb until they’ve grown strong enough to meet their long-waiting parents in person. It’s just like babysitting someone else’s child — just for a nine-month period.

2. “So, did you and the dad ‘do it?’’

Even though in vitro fertilization is a common way to build families today, lots of people don’t put two-and-two together — and assume that a surrogate must have gotten pregnant the old fashioned way. First, gross; and second, even “traditional” surrogacies don’t work that way. You got pregnant in a lab with bright lights and multiple doctors — nothing quite that scandalous.

3. “Who are the intended parents? Do I know them?”

For some reason, people assume that only celebrities complete the surrogacy process. When you tell them you’re a surrogate, they may ask who the parents are, hoping you’re carrying the next baby for Kim Kardashian West or Neil Patrick Harris.

Not only is this clearly a violation of privacy but also none of their business. Did they honestly think you’d spill all the intended parents’ personal information?

4. “Wow, the parents must be rich. How much are they paying you?”

On the same note, why do people think surrogate compensation is in any way their business? You could be a surrogate for compensation or not; either way, you’re still completing a beautiful, selfless service. While surrogate compensation is certainly helpful, you’re not out to be a money-making, baby-carrying machine. People don’t go around asking about each other salaries; why is surrogacy any different?

5. “Why don’t they just adopt?”

People always have opinions about other people’s families and family-building processes. Couples struggling with infertility also apparently can do no good, whichever method they choose.

In addition to you not being able to discuss the intended parents’ personal details (see No. 3), why should it matter how they choose to build their family? Why didn’t the person asking you pursue adoption instead of having biological kids? Right — because everyone has a choice in how they create their family!

6. “Yikes — I can’t believe you’re suffering through pregnancy for someone else!”

Obviously, you don’t think being pregnant is suffering, otherwise you wouldn’t have decided to become a surrogate. Are some side effects of surrogacy difficult? Sure. But do they debilitate you? No! You enjoy being pregnant and doing so to help create another family is not a struggle for you.

7. “I could never be a surrogate.”

Well, that’s good to know — that’s why they leave the family-making to fabulous women like us.

Handling these comments and questions may take time and experience but, luckily, you have a surrogacy specialist available for any questions or concerns you may have about comments you receive from strangers, family and friends.  Don’t forget to reach out to fellow surrogates to help get you through these annoying conversations!

How to Find Surrogate Support Groups

Whether you’re a woman considering becoming a surrogate or one who has already started the process, it’s important that you find a community to support you during your journey. While you will always have the support of your intended parents, your surrogacy professional and your friends and family, many women seek out others who are going through the same process they are. This way, they have a support system of people who really understand what they’re going through in a way that other friends and family cannot.

Fortunately, there are many surrogate support groups available to you that can provide those benefits. Whether it’s a group online or a group that you meet in-person, having a number of women who are experiencing the ups and downs of the surrogacy journey at the same time you are is an invaluable resource.

Online Support Groups

The most common and accessible support groups for surrogates are those online. While it may be difficult to find a surrogate who lives near you, finding other surrogates online gives you a better opportunity to connect with many women who are in various stages of the surrogacy process — so you have friends who are not only going through the same processes at the same time as you but also so you have women who you can look to for advice moving forward.

Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms for surrogacy support groups like this. You can find groups for surrogates alone, surrogates and surrogacy professionals, and groups that include surrogates, professionals, intended parents and anyone else interested in surrogacy. Some groups are private, so you’ll need to explain your situation before you are accepted into them.

You can find groups based on your location, but some of the bigger, more general Facebook groups include:

In addition to social media groups, there are several forums on the internet where you can share your experience and ask questions as a surrogate. These include:

While internet support groups can allow you to connect with a wide variety of women who are surrogates or considering the process, you should always take caution with these online groups. Because anyone with any degree of experience with surrogacy can join these groups, not all information posted will be accurate or helpful. If you ever have any questions about legal or medical processes, it’s best to talk to your surrogacy specialist, fertility clinic or lawyer rather than ask strangers on the internet.

In-Person Support Groups

In other cases, you may be interested in speaking with fellow surrogates in-person. This way, you can create tangible friendships with local women that you can spend time with and lean on for support whenever you need it.

Your surrogacy specialist and fertility clinic may be able to help you connect with other women, who may become your “cycle buddies,” or women who going through the process at the same time as you.

In addition, you may look for other surrogates by searching for local groups through:

Again, don’t hesitate to reach out to your surrogacy professional to help find local surrogates with whom to share your experience and questions. Your professional is likely the best way to find these local women and start your own informal surrogate support “group” or relationship. After all, no one should have to go through the process of surrogacy alone.

3 Tips for Teachers Explaining Surrogacy to their Students

It’s October, which means that the school year is finally in full swing. Teachers and students have adjusted to their new relationships in the classroom and are finally ready to get down to work.

As a teacher, you spend a majority of your time with these students and have likely grown to love them as your own. However, if you’re expecting a baby via surrogacy or will be carrying a baby for another family, another child will soon become a part of your classroom (whether physically or not), and it’s important to address this with your students and their families.

Surrogacy is a beautiful way to build families and should be something that you’re proud announcing to anyone who’s interested. But, when the tiny humans you’re telling about your surrogacy may not comprehend the logistics involved, it can be a tricky situation.

No matter whether you’re an intended parent or a prospective surrogate, there are some steps you can take as a teacher to help share your exciting news:

1. First, address the topic with your students’ parents.

Every student is at a different point in their understanding of how the human reproductive system works, and it’s usually not your responsibility as a teacher to give them all the details. This will be up to their parents — which means they should be the ones that you share your announcement with first.

You may choose to write a letter explaining your situation to your students’ parents and then leave it up to them to address the topic with their children. You can use this letter to explain how surrogacy works and how parents can talk to their children about this topic, as well as suggest books and other resources to learn more about the surrogacy process. Make yourself available to parents who might have questions and, if you’re planning on announcing your surrogacy to your students in class, let them know what you’re planning to say.

The specialists at American Surrogacy are happy to provide you a letter like this to share with your students’ parents.

2. Be prepared for questions, and answer them age-appropriately.

If you decide to address your surrogacy with your classroom, your surrogacy specialist can help you create a list of talking points that are appropriate and should answer most of your students’ questions. Again, the detail and information you give will be determined by your students’ ages; what first-graders and what seventh-graders need to know about surrogacy are completely different.

You’ll also need to recognize that when you announce your surrogacy to your students, you will open yourself up to questions from curious minds. Be prepared to answer these questions in an age-appropriate manner, and try to make your surrogacy just a normal part of your classroom. Your students will eventually move on past the topic of your surrogacy as they find more interesting and new things to talk about.

3. Make surrogacy information readily available in your classroom.

While surrogacy may not be a constant topic of discussion, you can still take steps to provide more surrogacy information for your students to normalize the process. You can choose to include books about surrogacy in your classroom library, like:

If you have an older group of students, you might provide books about in vitro fertilization and surrogacy in your science resource section instead. If a student ever approaches you and wants to learn more about your surrogacy, you can refer them to more informational resources, too. Typically, any information you find about “telling your children about surrogacy” can be tweaked for conversations with your students.

As with every other part of your surrogacy journey, your surrogacy specialist will also be available to help you prepare for and navigate this conversation with your students and their parents. It’s natural to be excited and want to share your parenthood journey with those who are most important in your life — and just because you’re involved in the surrogacy process doesn’t make it any different.

Considering a Non-Traditional Birth in Surrogacy? What to Know

While the majority of women choose to give birth in a traditional hospital setting, there are also women who choose to give birth in a non-traditional way. This may include a home birth, a birthing center or birthing rooms in a hospital — and studies show that more and more women are choosing this option when they give birth.

The option of a non-traditional birth is not limited to women giving birth to their biological children, however; today, non-traditional births are also available for those involved in a surrogacy process. Whether a non-traditional birth is suggested by a surrogate or an intended parent, it is a suggestion that must be accompanied by a detailed discussion to make sure it’s in the best interest of all involved.

The Different Kinds of Non-Traditional Births

Usually, when a woman gives birth, she elects to have the process overseen by her OB/GYN in a hospital setting. She will likely have a vaginal birth or a Cesarean section depending on her individual health situation.

However, some women can choose to have a non-traditional birthing experience, which can include:

  • Home Births: A woman gives birth in familiar surroundings at home, without drugs or episiotomies. A midwife attends the birth to assist and to transfer the woman to the hospital in case of emergency.
  • Freestanding Birthing Centers: Women who want a more natural birth without being at home may choose a birthing center. These centers promote natural births without induction or stimulation to start labor and utilize no C-sections or drugs. However, they are equipped with medical equipment just in case. Freestanding birth centers offer prenatal care throughout the pregnancy and postpartum checkups, eliminating the need for a hospital.
  • InHospital Birthing Centers: Birthing centers within hospitals offer the same natural birth experience, although prenatal visits will probably be conducted at your caregiver’s office. These centers are usually available to any midwife or doctor with admitting privileges to the hospital.

Within these general settings for a non-traditional birth, women may choose methods like water births, hypnobirthing and other alternative methods for a more natural, drug-free birth.

These non-traditional birthing methods are not for everyone, so it’s important that a woman meets specific health requirements before she can be cleared to give birth in a more natural way with less access to medical intervention. If you have questions about whether you can complete a non-traditional birth, it’s best to speak with your OB/GYN and your surrogacy professional.

If You Want a Non-Traditional Birth

Whether you’re an intended parent or a prospective surrogate, you have the right to suggest a nontraditional birthing experience. However, it’s important to recognize that your desire for a nontraditional birth may impact how long you wait for a match in the surrogacy process.

At American Surrogacy, we make matches between intended parents and surrogates based on mutual desires — which includes the manner in which the surrogate will give birth. Therefore, this is decided before the medical procedures even start. Your surrogacy contract will include the method of birth, so if you’re interested in the idea of a non-traditional birth, this is something you’ll need to make known from the start.

There certainly are surrogates and intended parents who are comfortable with and excited about the idea of a non-traditional birth, but the number is definitely lower than those who desire a traditional hospital birth. Be prepared for a longer wait before you are matched with the perfect prospective surrogate or intended parent. Remember, there always is a perfect match for you, and we will help you find them.

To learn more about American Surrogacy’s matching process and how you can find the perfect intended parent or surrogate for your surrogacy goals, please contact our surrogacy specialists today.

What Happens After a Miscarriage in Surrogacy

It’s a situation no intended parent or surrogate wants to experience: a miscarriage. While fertility clinics and fertility doctors take every step to make sure an embryo and a surrogate are healthy before the transfer and implantation of the embryo, miscarriages do sometimes occur.

Miscarriages are still a rather taboo topic, but that doesn’t mean they don’t happen. They’re more common than you may think; between 10 and 25 percent of known pregnancies actually end in miscarriage. Rarely is a miscarriage someone’s “fault,” as it’s usually the result of an abnormal embryo that would not have survived to term anyway.

Experiencing a miscarriage during the surrogacy process can be even more devastating because of the time and effort put into creating an embryo and the past failures an intended parent may have had with their own fertility. A miscarriage can seem like an impossible setback, but know that your surrogacy specialist and fertility doctor will be with you as you cope with this loss and decide what to do next.

Intended Parents

For many intended parents, a miscarriage during surrogacy is a reminder of their own past miscarriages or inability to get pregnant. It is heartbreaking to see your dreams fail again, but it’s important to understand the vast scope of the surrogacy process and stay positive.

There is no dramatic difference in miscarriage rates for those who conceive an embryo via in-vitro fertilization. A miscarriage during surrogacy is a natural thing, although that will likely not come as any condolence to you in your grieving process.

If your surrogacy results in a miscarriage, it’s important to take the time you need to grieve (your surrogate will also need time to physically recover before another embryo transfer can take place). This is also a good time for you and your surrogate to reevaluate your thoughts before moving forward; it’s important that both of you are still committed and comfortable continuing the surrogacy process at a time that’s best for both of you. When you’re ready, your fertility clinic will begin the necessary steps for another implantation cycle.

Remember, miscarriage is a common occurrence, and it’s no one’s fault. Your fertility clinic will have usually prepared you for the possibility of a miscarriage, and American Surrogacy will always give you the support and counseling you need to get through this difficult time. We know that it takes time to heal from a difficult loss like this, which is why you and your surrogate have the right to decide together when to start the transfer process again.

Surrogates

If you experience a miscarriage as a surrogate, it’s common to feel like you’ve failed your intended parents. This is completely untrue; a miscarriage is not your fault but instead a natural phenomenon you have no control over. Still, this can be difficult to accept, especially because it’s your body that has expelled the pregnancy.

A miscarriage will not affect your ability to become pregnant again. Your surrogacy contract will state how many transfers you will complete for the intended parents, so it’s likely that you will have another embryo transferred whenever you are physically and emotionally ready. Depending on how far along your pregnancy was, this recovery period may take longer or shorter than you expect. However, it’s important that your emotional recovery is complete before you move forward with another embryo transfer.

It’s normal to feel a range of emotions after a miscarriage, even if the embryo was not genetically related to you. We can always provide you trained counseling to help you cope with these emotions and prepare for your next embryo transfer, whenever you’re ready. Usually, within the first three transfers you complete with your intended parents, one embryo will result in a successful pregnancy and birth — so, while it may be tempting to give up after this disappointment, remember that it’s highly likely you’ll find success in your subsequent transfers.

Remember, surrogacy is a marathon — not a sprint. It’s a long process that will come with many emotional ups and downs, which is why American Surrogacy’s specialists will be there for you every step of the way. Miscarriage is always a difficult event to process but know that it’s not the end of the line. A successful surrogacy is possible, and we’ll help you complete it.

How Does a Baby Shower Work if You’re a Surrogate?

As you get closer to giving birth to your intended parents’ baby, you’ll reach an exciting point in your pregnancy. After all, the baby you have all worked so hard to bring into the world is almost here!

At this point in your pregnancy, your intended parents or their friends may choose to throw a baby shower. Baby showers are wonderful ways to celebrate the upcoming birth of the baby and help intended parents prepare with gifts and support.

However, as a surrogate, you may not be sure what the protocol is for a surrogacy baby shower. Should you expect to be invited? Do you need to bring a gift? What do you do while you’re there?

Each surrogacy situation is different, and the relationship that you have with your intended parent will likely play a role in your involvement (or lack thereof) in the baby shower. No matter what involvement you do have, it’s important to understand that this can be a delicate situation; whether you’re invited or not, know that you are an important part of this surrogacy process and the intended parents greatly appreciate everything you’re doing for them.

If You Are Invited

For some intended parents, throwing a baby shower and inviting their surrogate just seems the natural thing to do. You’re an integral part of their parenthood journey, so it makes sense that you would be there for the baby shower. You do not have to attend a baby shower unless you’re comfortable doing so; some surrogates would rather let the intended parents have this time for themselves and their friends rather than attending and not being sure of what to do at the event.

If you do decide to attend the intended parents’ baby shower, you may still have reservations about what role you’ll play. Here’s the most important thing: This shower is about the baby and the family you are helping to create. Make sure that the intended parents get the attention they deserve, and it will be a positive experience for all of you.

It’s understandable if the parents’ family and friends are curious about you and want to talk to you during this event. If they tend to monopolize the conversation with you, gently steer the conversation back to the intended parents, mentioning reasons why you’re happy to carry for them, why they’ll be such great parents, etc. The intended parents will greatly appreciate you for doing this. If at any time you feel uncomfortable or feel like you’re stealing the spotlight, don’t be afraid to step out so guests can give the intended parents more focus.

In most cases, the friends and family of the baby shower will treat you as any other guest, instead showering their affection on the intended parents. So, if the intended parents express a desire for you to be at the shower, you should strongly consider attending, as it will mean a great deal to them. However, if you feel uncomfortable doing so, the intended parents will also understand.

After deciding to attend the baby shower, you may wonder whether you should bring a gift. Even though you are giving the intended parents the most priceless gift by carrying their baby, you may have concerns about showing up to a shower without actually “showering” the intended parents.

You are in no way obligated to bring a gift for the intended parents, and they will completely understand that. However, if you do want to bring a present to the baby shower, it might be a good idea to bring something personal and special to your relationship. For example, you may wish to make a handmade gift for the baby (like a painting or knitted cap) or find a special memento from your home state that can be placed in the baby’s room as a representation of their surrogacy story. If you have questions about what kind of gifts are appropriate or need help thinking of some ideas, your surrogacy specialist will always be available to you.

A baby shower should always be a happy event, not one that brings you worry or concern. Understanding your role as a surrogate at this important event will help make it go much smoother for you and the intended parents.

If You’re Not Invited

Sometimes, intended parents may not wish to include their surrogates in their baby shower; instead, they may want it to be a small event of family and close friends. If this is the case for you as a surrogate, it’s important to understand that this decision is not a slight against you — and does not way diminish your importance in the surrogacy process.

Just as you may have reservations about attending the baby shower, the intended parents may have concerns about making you feel obligated to attend an event you don’t want to. To avoid that awkwardness, they may choose to simply avoid the dilemma at all. This is never a malicious move and, as a surrogate, you should understand that the decision likely has little to do with you. Whatever your intended parents choose, you should support them and their decision.

Remember, if you have concerns or questions about baby showers as a surrogate or any other special event usually reserved for the woman carrying a baby, your surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy can offer you support and guidance.  Please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) any time.

What to Expect When Testing for a Surrogate Pregnancy

Everyone knows: The surrogacy medical process is long and can seem to take forever. After months of testing and measuring cycles in preparation for the embryo transfer process, waiting for a positive pregnancy result after the transfer can seem like an impossible feat, no matter whether you’re the surrogate or the intended parent.

When you’re in the middle of the surrogacy medical process, your fertility specialist will explain in detail what to expect. But, what if you haven’t started the process or want more information on exactly what to expect when testing for a positive surrogate pregnancy?

You can read more below about what happens during the testing process for a surrogate pregnancy. As always, we recommend speaking to your surrogacy specialist and fertility specialist for more detailed information about what your personal medical process will look like.

The Clinical Process

After a surrogate’s embryo transfer process is complete, her fertility clinic will eventually test for her pregnancy with an hCG level blood test. hCG levels are the hormone levels that determine if a woman is pregnant or not. How high a surrogate’s level needs to be, however, will depend upon her individual situation, including when the embryos were transferred during the incubation period and how many days have passed since the transfer was completed.

But, how long before you can expect a result?

How long a surrogate needs to wait before a beta blood test will depend on the fertility specialist’s instructions, but the first testing process usually occurs anywhere between eight to 12 days after transfer. If hCG levels indicate a surrogate might be pregnant, she’ll return a couple of days later for another blood test to see if the levels keep rising. Ideally, hCG levels should double every 48 to 72 hours.

If her levels rise enough, the fertility specialist will likely confirm the pregnancy. This is usually confirmed after the third beta appointment.

Home Pregnancy Tests: Are They Worth It?

If you’re a surrogate who is part of online support groups, you may see other surrogates post pictures of multiple home pregnancy tests from different testing times. But, if all surrogates know for sure at a fertility clinic testing whether their pregnancy is positive or not, why do they do this?

Taking home pregnancy tests is just another way for surrogates to track their increasing hCG levels. Typically, women will wait three days after an embryo transfer to take a pregnancy test — although it can take at least five days after transfer for a positive pregnancy test to show up. From there, surrogates may take a test twice a day to compare the results; if a pregnancy line is getting darker, it’s usually a sign that their hCG level is rising and they are, indeed, pregnant.

While some surrogates will wait until their clinic beta testing just to be safe, other surrogates are anxious to see whether the embryo transfer worked. This comes from the desire and hope riding on their pregnancy, so it make sense that they want that validation, even if they wait to tell intended parents until a medical confirmation.

However, it’s important to note that just because a home pregnancy test comes back positive does not mean a pregnancy is in the clear. You may receive a false positive reading, or there may be other medical issues that arise later on. So, while home pregnancy tests are a good way to relieve anxiety after an embryo transfer, it’s always a good idea to rely on your fertility clinic for a secure medical result.

If you ever have any questions about testing for your surrogate pregnancy and the process involved, we encourage you to reach out to your fertility specialist for accurate, personalized information.

What A Doula Does and Why You May Want One

As a surrogate, you have the right to be as comfortable as possible during your labor, including having all the support you need before, during and after your hospital stay. While you will receive much of that support from your surrogacy agency and your intended parents, you may also wish to consider hiring a doula for your surrogacy process.

A doula is a trained professional who typically helps pregnant mothers and expectant fathers through the delivery process. In surrogacy, a doula provides services to both the intended parents and their surrogate. There are generally two different kinds of doulas: a birth doula and a postpartum doula. Some doulas act as both.

What a Doula Does

While every doula’s specialties are different, their main purpose in surrogacy is to provide more specialized support for intended parents and surrogates, in addition to the general support you will receive from your surrogacy agency. You will have the chance to decide with your doula what kind of support you want, but it typically includes:

  • For Surrogates: Prenatal support and education, birth preparation, support and guidance throughout labor, counseling during postpartum emotions and issues like pumping breastmilk and post-birth recovery
  • For Intended Parents: Childcare education (like classes for newborn care, hygiene, safety and for parent preparation) and postpartum, in-home support for childcare and induced lactation

Doulas who specifically deal with the surrogacy process also provide support for the relationship between the surrogate and the intended parents. Beyond coordinating birthing preferences and preparing both for the labor process, a doula takes certain steps to help involve the intended parents in the labor process. They understand that surrogacy is a partnership and that the partnership does not end during the hospital stay. In fact, some doulas are so touched by the surrogacy process that they become surrogates themselves. When you hire an experienced doula for your surrogacy, you will know you’re in good hands.

Deciding if a Doula is Right for You

Doulas have many advantages for both intended parents and surrogates, but it’s usually surrogates who suggest hiring a doula for the labor process. However, the inclusion of a doula in the labor and postpartum processes of your surrogacy is a decision that must be made by both the intended parents and the surrogate. After all, surrogacy is an intimate process, and including a doula must only be done if both parties are comfortable.

If you’re considering including a doula in your surrogacy process, your surrogacy specialist can help mediate this conversation between you and the intended parents. It’s important to do diligent research on why you think a doula is right for you if you’ve never used one before, and your specialist can also help you understand the pros and cons of using this professional. Intended parents may be more comfortable if you seek out a doula that is specifically trained in surrogacy services to maximize the benefits for both parties.

Another thing to consider is the cost of a doula. Even with a doula who specifically works with surrogacy cases, the majority of her services are tailored to the surrogate during the labor process. Therefore, not all intended parents may be comfortable paying for this extra service if they’re not familiar with the benefits. If having a doula be a part of your labor process is important to you, talk with your surrogacy specialist about how to bring up the costs of this service with the intended parents.

How to Find the Doula that’s Right for You

When you want to include a doula in your labor process, it’s important to do your research before presenting this idea to your intended parents. This means finding a professional that meets your preferences for services provided and the associated cost. Typically, a birth doula costs between $1,000 and $2,000, and a postpartum doula can cost anywhere from $35 to $60 an hour.

Many surrogates work with surrogacy-specific doulas to receive labor and postpartum care that’s tailored to their situation. These doulas should be willing to speak to you about their services before you commit to hiring them. Some professionals to consider include:

In addition, your surrogacy specialist may be able to help you find a local doula who meets your needs.

Including a doula in your surrogacy process is a personal decision to make, and it will not be right for everyone. However, if you’re interested in these services, start your research and let your surrogacy specialist know as early as possible — to best coordinate the inclusion of this professional in your surrogacy process.

5 Ways to Stay in Contact with Your Long-Distance IPs

When you choose to become a surrogate, you will play an integral part in the matching process. You’ll decide what you want in an intended parent, and your surrogacy specialist will help you find the intended parents that meet your surrogacy expectations.

However, there’s a good chance that the intended parents that you’re matched with may not be located close to you. So, if your intended parents live too far away for easy contact, how can you still build a healthy, strong relationship during the surrogacy process?

Your surrogacy specialist will always be available to help make your communication with the intended parents easier, whether that’s through offering suggestions or mediating the contact herself. Many of our surrogates who work with long-distance IPs use these methods:

1. Email and Text Communication

One of the most convenient ways for you to stay in contact with your intended parents is through sending emails or text messages. While you can certainly utilize phone conversations for urgent contact, it may be best to stick with these methods instead for sending little updates throughout your surrogate pregnancy. This way, you both can send and receive communication back and forth at your own convenience and in a way that is more casual than scheduled phone calls or visits. Texts and emails also make it easy for you to attach photos of sonograms and your growing stomach — which the intended parents will likely appreciate if they cannot be there to experience the growth of their unborn baby themselves. You and they may choose to even send updates about your own lives during this time in quick texts that, again, don’t take any time out of your days.

2. Video-Calling

When intended parents cannot be present for important milestones during your pregnancy, it can be disappointing for them. So, if your intended parents cannot make it to your doctor’s appointments, see if you can video-call them during the visit. That way, they not only get the chance to hear what your doctor has to say and ask them questions, but they can also feel like they’re physically there for important events like sonograms.

3. Phone Calling

Like video calling, having frequent phone calls is important to building a relationship with your intended parents. This is certainly an option for updating intended parents on your pregnancy journey and just for learning more about them. However, in a long-distance surrogacy, it’s important to consider time zones and each other’s daily schedule to make sure that a phone call is possible. Sometimes, if you call unexpectedly, an intended parent may automatically worry that something is wrong.

4. In-Person Visits

Generally, you will meet the intended parents in-person several times during your surrogacy process: at the beginning to meet you and solidify a match, during the embryo transfer process and when the baby is born. However, some intended parents may want to visit you outside of these settings, perhaps to be present for a doctor’s appointment or just to get to know you better. They will usually be the ones that come to you (if you want to visit them, they may be able to help cover your travel expenses). You should welcome these visits; they’re a great way to build a solid relationship with the intended parents and make the rest of the surrogacy process more comfortable for all of you.

5. Sending Them Special Gifts

Although you are in no way obligated to do so, a surrogate may want the intended parents to know a little more about her and the community where she lives while pregnant. You may wish to send your intended parents meaningful gifts from your state so they can feel more connected to you — perhaps a memento from the first time you felt the baby kick or a picture of your stomach at a state landmark. These will be useful to the intended parents as they develop a surrogacy story for their child to know as they grow up. We encourage you to speak to your surrogacy specialist to find out whether a gift you’re considering is appropriate for your relationship.

Ultimately, the kind of communication that you have with your intended parents will depend upon your personal relationship. When you first solidify your match and complete the surrogacy contract, your surrogacy specialist will help you both set expectations for communication moving forward. Of course, from there, your communication frequency may change as you become more comfortable with each other.

Long-distance surrogacies are common, and American Surrogacy is prepared to give you the support you need throughout this process. To learn more about how our surrogacy process works and what your long-distance surrogacy may look like, please call us today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

Taking Surrogate Maternity Pictures — What to Know

When parents are expecting a baby, many wish to document their parenthood journey with maternity photos. Just because you are expecting a baby via surrogate doesn’t mean that you can’t do the same, although the process for surrogate maternity pictures may require greater discussion and more creativity that it would for a mother carrying her own child.

If you’re curious about documenting your parenthood journey and the surrogacy process, it’s important that this is a decision made together with your surrogate. Your surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy can also help you figure out whether surrogate maternity pictures are right for your surrogacy and, if so, help you move forward with that process.

If You’re Considering Surrogacy Maternity Photos

While it’s natural to want to document the time when your unborn baby is developing, you may not know how to approach maternity photos when another woman is carrying your child. Ultimately, whether or not you should consider surrogate maternity pictures will depend upon your relationship with the surrogate. Because this involves her as much as you, she’ll need to be comfortable with this idea before moving forward with it. If she is uncomfortable with it, you should not pressure or force her.

Sometimes, surrogate maternity pictures can be discussed early on during the contract phase of your surrogacy. Other times, intended parents may not think about maternity photos until later in the surrogacy process — and may not be sure how to bring the topic up with their surrogate. Your surrogacy specialist can help you mediate this conversation and offer suggestions to make both parties feel comfortable. Most surrogates will be thrilled to help you document this part of your parenthood journey, although they may have different preferences for how they want to be shown in these photographs. When you have an open conversation about what you each desire in surrogate maternity pictures, you’ll be able to come to a photo style that makes both of you happy. These photos will be something you’ll get to treasure forever.

Ideas for Surrogacy Maternity Photos

So, what are some different styles of surrogate maternity pictures, and which are right for you?

Like other maternity photos, surrogacy maternity photos are only limited by your imagination. As mentioned before, your surrogate’s interest in being a part of these photos will also play a role in how your photographer stages these memories.

Some surrogates would rather have maternity photos focus on what she thinks is most important — the baby. Instead of showing herself in the photo, she may be most comfortable with a photo that highlights her pregnant belly. There are many beautiful ways of doing this:

Other surrogates may be more excited to be a focal point in your surrogate maternity pictures — and invite you to be a part of them as well. Your photographer can find a creative way to incorporate you all into maternity photos for a sentimental snapshot that you both will cherish.

Check out some of these ideas:

These are just a few of the ideas available to you if you’re considering taking maternity photos with your surrogate. If you and your surrogate decide to take maternity photos, make sure you both are included in conversations with the photographer about what you prefer. A surrogacy is a partnership every step of the way, and surrogate maternity pictures are no different!

A Note for Surrogates

If you’re a surrogate, remember that you are just as important a part of the surrogacy process as the intended parents — which means you should always have a say in any maternity photo plans that are made. You are never required to do anything you’re uncomfortable with, so if you feel like you are being pressured to participate in a photography session, let your surrogacy specialist know.

On the other hand, if your intended parents have not mentioned surrogate maternity pictures and it’s something that you’re interested in, take the same respectful approach that intended parents might take with you. Evaluate your relationship and, if you’re comfortable doing so, suggest the idea in a light-hearted and no-obligation way. Just like you, they have a right to say “no” if maternity photos with you aren’t something they’re interested in. Even if they do turn your offer down, you can still enlist a photographer on your own to document this important moment in your life.

If you ever have questions about surrogate maternity pictures (whether you’re a surrogate or an intended parent), American Surrogacy encourages you to speak with your surrogacy specialist. She can provide suggestions on not only how to bring this topic up but how to make the photography session a great memory for all involved.