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.

How Could Abortion Restrictions and Bans Affect Surrogacy?

New restrictions and bans on abortion may do more than affect women facing unplanned pregnancies — they could soon have a drastic effect on intended parents using gestational surrogacy to add to their families.

While American Surrogacy won’t dive into the ethics and morality of abortion as an unplanned pregnancy option, we see it as our duty to keep intended parents and gestational carriers informed of all aspects of the medical surrogacy process. And, in some situations, selective reduction and termination (another name for abortion) are integral parts of a safe surrogacy journey.

If you’re unsure how new abortion bills may affect your ability to pursue surrogacy, we encourage you to contact our surrogacy specialists or speak with your personal reproductive endocrinologist. In the meantime, read below to learn more about this important new development in gestational surrogacy.

Why is Selective Reduction and Termination Used in Surrogacy?

Before we get into the details of new abortion laws across the country, you must first understand why they might even apply to surrogacy in the first place.

Selective reduction and termination are relatively common in the medical process of surrogacy, although these procedures are used less frequently thanks to advances in pre-genetic screening. Intended parents and gestational carriers only want to proceed with pregnancies that have the best chances of success, and that all starts with the embryo transfer process.

During in vitro fertilization, it’s common for intended parents to create several embryos. Their reproductive endocrinologist screens these embryos to determine which are the most viable, with the highest chances of success. The doctor will then transfer those embryos to the surrogate’s uterus.

Sometimes, however, a doctor will transfer more than one embryo to a surrogate. This may be done when several embryos are of lower quality; the more that are transferred, the increased likelihood that one or more may implant. But, when two or more do implant, intended parents are left with a choice: to continue with the increased risks of a multiples pregnancy or reduce to a singleton pregnancy.

If they choose a singleton pregnancy, the doctor will inject any extra implanted embryo with medication to stop its heart. That way, a surrogate can continue to carry one embryo, without the added risks of carrying twins or triplets.

In other situations, an embryo may start developing abnormally once it has implanted in the surrogate’s uterus. It may develop genetic or chromosomal abnormalities undetectable in prior genetic screening. Intended parents may make the heartbreaking decision to end this pregnancy before it gets further along, especially if the fetus is not expected to survive outside of the womb. To save themselves and their surrogate from the stress and emotional turmoil of that later on, they may choose to terminate.

Keep in mind: The decision to use selective reduction or termination is not one made lightly. Both intended parents and their gestational carrier will agree on the situations in which each of these is used before they even begin the medical process. The surrogacy contract will always detail the situations in which these procedures are (and are not) acceptable.

While no intended parent or gestational carrier wants to experience a selective reduction or termination, these procedures are still important parts of the surrogacy medical process — but may be put in jeopardy with new abortion restrictions and bans across the country.

How Could Abortion Bans Affect the Surrogacy Process?

New legal challenges to abortion have popped up over the last few years — the most noticeable being “heartbeat” and “personhood” bills, which prevent abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy and assign human rights to embryos, respectively. While pregnant women considering abortion are undoubtedly the targets of these bills, they can also have a dire effect on those using assisted reproductive technology.

“Heartbeat” Bills

First, let’s tackle the so-called “heartbeat” bills:

A reproductive endocrinologist is involved throughout the beginning of the surrogacy process. This doctor will monitor the embryo transfer and the surrogate’s early pregnancy, confirming the success of the transfer and completing the first ultrasound. If an abnormality occurs in the fetus, they will be the first to know — and often the professional to recommend selective reduction or termination.

They will typically also complete the six-week ultrasound, which will check for a heartbeat. If a heartbeat is not heard, the doctor will usually induce a miscarriage.

But, in a state where abortions after six weeks of pregnancy are banned, this might not always be possible. Perhaps a heartbeat was heard at the six-week appointment but not at the 12-week appointment. Maybe the heartbeat stops a day after the six-week appointment. What would usually be the normal course of action — termination — would be impossible, forcing intended parents and gestational carriers to wait for nature to take its course, however stressful and emotional that would be. It could be medically risky, as well.

Surrogates in states such as Alabama and Louisiana may find themselves unable to match with intended parents or even complete the surrogacy process at all. Many intended parents may not wish to start the process with a surrogate who cannot terminate or selectively reduce in the future, just in case. And, for surrogates in Alabama, traveling to another state for a pregnancy termination won’t be possible; a surrogate, her doctor and her intended parents will be criminally liable.

In effect, these “heartbeat” bills will make gestational surrogacy in these states all but impossible. For many, the risks of the process won’t be worth it — and they’ll choose another state to pursue their family-building journey.

“Personhood” Bills

On the other hand, intended parents may not even get so far as the gestational surrogacy process. New “personhood” bills may make it difficult for them to even complete in vitro fertilization in certain states.

In essence, “personhood” bills assign all the rights of a living human to an embryo. This means that hopeful parents would be unable to donate extra embryos to research or discard of them. They would be forced to store them indefinitely or donate them to another couple, which is an extremely personal decision to make.

An intended parent should have the right to choose what they wish to do with extra embryos, but “personhood” bills could effectively take that right away from them — if IVF is even an option. As infertility psychologist Angela Lawson theorizes:

“In short, as legislation regarding at what week of pregnancy an abortion can be performed potentially changes, such laws affect IVF. The assignment of personhood to embryos will mean that IVF clinics will no longer be able to create, freeze, or dispose of them. It would also prevent the retrieval of eggs for fertility preservation because those eggs would be used in the future to create embryos, thus creating ‘life’ in the lab.”

Intended parents who live in states with these laws would be forced to go out of state to complete their fertility treatments — adding more costs to an already expensive process.

Here at American Surrogacy, we advocate for every intended parent’s right to choose the path that’s best for them. We also believe in defending the right to gestational surrogacy across the country, even when new laws and regulations make that difficult.

That’s why, when you work with us, we will work for your interests every step of the way. That means matching you with a surrogacy partner in a surrogacy-friendly state and helping you find the medical professionals you need to complete your journey. For more information on surrogacy with our program, please contact our specialists online or call them at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

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’s Pregnancy

For many people, the nine months they are expecting is a time full of excitement, joy and things to do. But, when you’re not the one who is physically carrying your child, you may find yourself sitting around twiddling your thumbs — and obsessively counting down the minutes until your gestational carrier gives birth.

Surrogacy is a hard journey for everyone involved, but it’s easy for intended parents to feel forgotten during their surrogate’s pregnancy. But just because you aren’t carrying your own child doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for his or her imminent arrival! On the contrary, you actually have a great many things you can do during these nine months while your surrogate is carrying your child.

Below, find some tips on staying busy during your surrogate’s pregnancy. Not only will this help keep your mind occupied during the wait ahead, but it will also help you cross some important things off of your to-do list!

1. Prepare your nursery.

Just like any other expectant parent, you should make sure you have your baby’s nursery ready to go long before he or she is born. This eliminates a great deal of stress and can help you feel more connected to your experience as an expectant parent.

If you have a spouse, make the nursery a team project. Pick out wall colors, put together furniture, and organize baby supplies together. It will help you develop your team skills as a couple and put you in the proper mindset for bringing your baby home soon!

Make sure you have a list of baby supplies so you don’t forget about any important items!

2. Take parenting classes.

Contrary to what many people think, not all aspects of parenting are instinctual skills — and are definitely not skills to learn on the fly. To be the best parent possible, you’ll need to attend parenting classes and educate yourself about the path ahead of you.

“Parenting classes” may conjure up images of rows of pregnant women sharing their pregnancy experiences, but that’s not the case at all. Today, there are many non-traditional ways people can bring children into their families, and you may be surprised to see you’re not the only one in the class waiting for a gestational surrogate or a prospective birth mother to deliver. Focus on the important aspects of parenting classes — the skills you’ll learn — instead of the experiences you may be missing out on.

3. Plan some date nights.

Your life will dramatically change the moment that you become a parent. Your priorities will need to shift, and you’ll have a lot less free time than you had before.

So, take advantage of the time you have now! You and your spouse can schedule some date nights out on the town, focusing on things you won’t be able to do with a newborn by your side. Or, you might take the opportunity now to try a new hobby or do something else you’ve always wanted to do. While being a parent is a change you’ve been anticipating for a while, don’t forget to enjoy this period in your life, too!

4. Spend time with your family and friends.

Remember that your loved ones are just as excited for your upcoming child as you are. Odds are, they are likely planning some baby showers and other exciting events during your surrogate’s pregnancy! Take the extra time you have during this period to share your excitement with them and solidify your relationships.

You will need a lot of help when you’re a new parent, and your friends and family will be there for you. Help them know the support you’ll want ahead of time; don’t wait until your baby is born to ask!

5. Support your surrogate.

This is an obvious thing to do during your surrogate’s pregnancy, but its importance can’t be overstated. Remember that your surrogate is giving up a great deal of time and energy to help you create your family, and she likely wants to involve you in any way she can. At the same time that she is sending you updates and making you feel a part of the pregnancy, you should also be doing what you can to help her out. Offer to take her and her kids out for a day trip to the zoo or another similar adventure, or suggest a special bonding activity like a spa day.

Pregnancy is hard, and your surrogate will appreciate the friendship and support you can offer her during these next nine months.

6. Record your story.

Surrogacy is a unique journey to go through, and intended parents often have a lot of emotions along the way. You can address those emotions by writing down your story — either for yourself or for your future child.

Just because you are not carrying your child doesn’t mean you can’t create a baby book for them! You can document your child’s surrogacy story in a scrapbook, detailing the different steps and people involved to bring them into the world. You and your surrogate can include letters to your future baby, as well as photos of her pregnancy and prenatal ultrasounds.

On the other hand, maybe you just want to document your surrogacy story for yourself. You might find that journaling can help you process your emotions during your family-building journey. It can also helpful for looking back later on when things are especially tough or especially joyful.

7. Share your story, if you’re comfortable doing so.

Surrogacy is still a fairly new way for people to add to their family, and there is a lot of misconception out there about exactly how it works. If you feel up to it, you can take the opportunity to educate others about the reality of the surrogacy process. Start with your friends and family — it’s important they understand proper terminology for how your little one is coming into the world. You can also be open about your journey with anyone who asks. After all, you will need to explain your child’s surrogacy story to many people as he or she grows up, so practice makes perfect!

8. Organize and update your affairs and official documents.

Surrogacy involves some complicated documents and processes. While your surrogacy specialist and surrogacy attorney will guide you through most of these, you will play a role in making sure all your “i”s are dotted and your “t”s are crossed. Important things such as insurance for your surrogate and your baby, pre- and post-birth parentage orders, and wills should all be arranged for prior to your child’s birth.

9. Choose a pediatrician.

Parents should always have a pediatrician picked out for their child long before he or she enters the world. This can be a process that takes some time, so take advantage of your surrogate’s lengthy pregnancy to interview professionals and determine the best choice for your family.

Remember: If you are matched with an out-of-state surrogate, the pediatrician who sees your child immediately after birth will be different than the pediatrician he or she sees for the rest of his or her life. If you can, explore your options for pediatricians both locally and where your child will be born.

10. Explore your childcare options.

If you’re like many intended parents, you will be lucky enough to take advantage of maternity and paternity leave after your child arrives. But, if you and your spouse plan to go back to work, it’s important that you think about the childcare options available to you.

Just like choosing a pediatrician, choosing a childcare provider is a big deal — and is often done well before a child is born. Take the time you have now to interview several providers and find the one that works best for your family’s needs. It may take you longer than you think.

American Surrogacy knows that the time between a successful pregnancy test and the arrival of a child can be tough for intended parents. That’s why our team of surrogacy specialists will always be there to support you, every step of the way. We are never more than a phone call away: 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

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 Intended Parents

Having a child can be a complicated business — especially for those who have struggled with infertility. Fortunately, gestational surrogacy offers a path for these people to become the parents they’ve always wanted to be.

Surrogacy is still a confusing process for many people. Sometimes, the best way to learn about how it works is from those who have been through it. We’ve gathered a list of emotional, moving quotes from intended parents who have been there to help you understand just what surrogacy is all about.

1. “It means more than the world; only very selfless people could [be a surrogate]. It’s such a huge commitment from a woman to carry a child — mentally, emotionally, physically — I can’t even realize it. I will be forever, forever grateful to Nichole.”

Nicholas, who worked with surrogate Nichole to bring his son into the world

2. “Jill has been amazing during this whole process. She lets me ask her all these weird questions, lets me touch her stomach; and it’s just amazing because this is the closest I could get to actually having the babies inside me.”

Whitney, whose twin sister carries twins for her and her husband

3. “I love my surrogate; we have a really good relationship. I really trust her, and I definitely see, like, the first time that I went through it, I was a little bit more anxious, and texting more and calling more, and I feel like my surrogate, this time around, really is such a protecting person, and I really trust that in her.”

Kim Kardashian, who has used surrogacy twice to add to her family

4. “It wasn’t necessarily saying goodbye to [our surrogate], but it was just a different chapter and a different part of the relationship… I never thought that it would go from complete stranger to best friend and a relationship that will always be there, so that’s pretty neat.”

Lindsay, who worked with surrogate Megan to add twin boys to her family

5. “I’m so grateful to a wonderful surrogate that I’m working with. I turned 50 this year, and it takes some people longer to get to that place and it took me this time.”

Andy Cohen, who became a father through gestational surrogacy

6. “I’d been waiting for her all this time. She was finally here. I want to do everything I can do to raise her as best as I can… Even though I’m only one, where a traditional family would have two parents, I will do everything I can to make it up more than double.”

Nathan, who became a father to a baby girl thanks to surrogacy

7. “I’m so glad I got over myself and my fear of what people would think of me if I did not carry my own child. It’s OK to bring your child into the world in a way that is not through your body… Every route to parenthood is perfect, worthwhile and amazing.”

Gabrielle Union, who brought her daughter Kaavia into the world via surrogacy

8. “We got to see the whole process unfold, from the time we got (to the hospital), to her starting medication, to the epidural and the birth, all the way through, and Heidi was totally gracious enough to let us be in the room for all of it. It was nothing I will ever forget. It was just amazing.”

Elizabeth, who became a parent with her husband after turning to gestational surrogacy

9. “My cousin had known about our struggles to conceive. She has two kids, and a few years prior she had written me an email asking how she could help. We didn’t know what that meant at the time, but I was grateful she asked. Then, after she heard about our second carrier dropping out, she texted me to ask if I ever considered working with a family member. I was crying so much when I read her note that I could barely respond. I never thought to ask my cousin or anyone I knew. It’s such a huge undertaking!”

Andrea, an intended mother and founder of pregnantish, a platform for those struggling with infertility

10. “Our child did come out of me, from us. Our bodies were married in a glass dish, and our boy was carried by another woman for nine months. He is our most vivid dream realized — the embodiment of the most blindly powerful force in the universe, brought to life the only way he could be. With a little help.”

Alex, who hired a surrogate to give birth to her child more than a decade ago

Interested in adding to your family through the surrogacy process? Call our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) or contact us online today to get started.

Check out our “10 Moving Quotes from Gestational Surrogates” here.

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!

When You and Your Spouse Aren’t on the Same Page About Surrogacy

Choosing a family-building option is no easy decision. If you and your spouse have been considering your infertility options, you’ve probably had a lot of hard conversations to get you to where you are now — seriously considering gestational surrogacy.

But, what if you know that you and your spouse aren’t quite on the same page when it comes to moving forward?

First, remember this: Everyone takes their own time to grieve their infertility, and that’s entirely their right. Trying to rush your spouse into a decision they are not ready for will only backfire. You want your parenting journey together to start off on the right foot, don’t you?

If you and your spouse are in a deadlock about your next steps in the family-building process, there are some important things left for you to do. One of them is to speak with a specialist at American Surrogacy. Our team is always here to answer your questions and address your concerns about the surrogacy process. Ultimately, we want to help you make the best choice for your family, whatever that may be. Give us a call at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) to get started.

In the meantime, to help get you and your spouse on the right page, we suggest you proceed with these steps:

1. Consider Infertility Counseling.

If you haven’t already done so, you and your spouse should think about speaking with an infertility counselor. This is a professional who is well-versed in all of your infertility options and will walk you through the pros and cons of each. They will also help you and your spouse come to terms with any remaining emotions you have about your infertility process. That way, they can help you move forward with the path that is best for you.

If you have previously worked with a fertility clinic, those professionals will likely have a list of trusted infertility counselors that you might choose from. It’s important that you and your spouse are comfortable with the counselor of your choice; only then can you be honest enough to have a productive conversation about your options moving forward. Remember: Speaking with a counselor is not a sign of weakness but a sign that you and your spouse are dedicated to your future together as a family.

2. Do Your Research — Together.

When one partner isn’t as enthusiastic as another, it shows. You may be frustrated that your spouse is not committing as much time to the research and interview process as you, and you may be tempted to  blame them for dragging their feet because they haven’t done the work. However, remember that building a family is something you will do together. That will include researching and learning more about your options.

Rather than get irritated at your partner for their lack of interest, try to meet them halfway. Is there a particular option in which they are more interested than any other? Would it be more enjoyable to talk to other parents who have gone through a certain process than search through dozens of articles online? You might consider setting a plan; you’ll research gestational surrogacy, while they’ll research infant adoption. Schedule interviews with family-building professionals at a time when you are both free, and come up with a list of questions that each of you will be responsible for asking.

Little steps can play a big role in motivating your partner to get excited about any family-building options. You may find that involving an infertility counselor (see above) in this step can be helpful, too.

3. Be Honest About Your Wants and Needs.

If you are the enthusiastic partner in the relationship, it can be tempting to do anything to get your spouse on board with your plan. But, if you end up compromising too much, you may find that the things you wanted in the first place from gestational surrogacy aren’t present anymore.

Before you have your open and honest discussion with your spouse, you should both take the time to write down what is most important to you in your family-building process. This can include:

  • Genetic connection
  • Involvement in pregnancy
  • Knowledge of your child’s personal background
  • Cost
  • Timeline
  • Professionals involved
  • And more

Once you and your spouse have created two honest lists of what you want in your family-building journey, you should compare them. Without judgement or questioning, consider what you have in common, where you can compromise, and what you are uncomfortable giving up. That may bring you one step closer to finding the right family-building path for you.

4. Take Time to Reevaluate.

At the end of the day, choosing a family-building path is not a decision to be made lightly. As much as you prepare and discuss your options, it may simply take time for you and your spouse to grieve your infertility struggles and truly be open to a nontraditional family-building method such as gestational surrogacy. That’s completely okay.

Many intended parents feel rushed when contemplating their family-building options, especially if they have already spent years on unsuccessful infertility treatments and want a child as soon as possible. However, we encourage intended parents to take a deep breath and, if necessary, take a small break from their family-building journey if they need to. Sometimes, you are able to see much clearer when you’re not in the midst of the emotions that come with infertility and family-building. This time may also help your spouse reevaluate their opinions. They may even come to a realization during this time that gestational surrogacy is right for your family after all!

Wherever you and your spouse are at in your family-building journey, remember that American Surrogacy’s team will always be here for you. If you are interested in gestational surrogacy, but your spouse isn’t yet on board, we are happy to provide educational materials about our program to help them learn more. We can also provide references to trusted infertility counselors, should you need them.

Addressing Gamete Donors in Family Tree Assignments

School is back in session, and with it comes the familiar assignment that many young children tackle in their first few years of education — the family tree.

While it can be an interesting assignment for many families, it can be a confusing and even stressful one for those whose families have come together in nontraditional ways. While processes such as adoption, surrogacy and gamete donation are more common than ever, they still don’t tend to cross teachers’ minds when it comes to assigning out these traditional family-based projects.

If your child was born via surrogacy and gamete donation, you may be unsure of how to tackle this assignment when your child pulls it out of their backpack. The final decision will always be up to you and your son or daughter, but we’ve offered five ways you may address this topic in a healthy and positive way:

1. Consider whether it’s worth including.

The first thing to remember? That your family’s business is your business alone. Just because your child shares a genetic connection with a donor — anonymous or identified — doesn’t mean that you have to share that news with everyone.

Family trees are assigned for many reasons — to teach students about genetics, to help students get to know each other better, to practice presentation skills, and more. Learn what the focus of this project is for your child’s class. While it’s never a good idea to lie about your child’s personal history, when you’re the parent, it is always your role to safeguard your child’s story and whether or not you want to share it with people outside your family.

2. Ask your child about their thoughts.

Before you tell your child to include a sperm or egg donor on their family tree, make sure to talk to them! Children have as much right to their own birth and family story as anyone else, and it’s important that they play a role in their family tree assignment — and who they want to put on it.

Every donor-conceived and surrogacy-born child should know their personal story from an early age. If you’ve done your job right, your child will be aware of their surrogacy or gamete-donor story. They will likely have their own feelings about it, too.

3. Use an alternative family tree design.

When children are brought into a family in a non-traditional way, a traditional family tree structure can’t capture those nuances. If you and your child decide to move forward with a family tree, you should brainstorm together to find a way to best represent your child’s heritage and genetic background.

You might simply choose to add another line from your child to their sperm or egg donor, designating the difference between a genetic donor and an actual parent. Or, you may add your surrogate in the same way, with a line that makes it obvious your child isn’t genetically related to the surrogate.

Some adoptive and other non-traditional families choose to create “family forests” instead of trees. This way, they can emphasize the most important people in a child’s life, without necessarily pointing out genetic connections and non-genetic connections.

There are several ways you can create a non-traditional family tree. Work with your child to determine which is the best design for his or her preferences.

4. Talk to your child’s teachers about alternative assignments.

After discussion with your child, you may decide that a family tree is not the best assignment — especially if there are complications in your child’s family history, related or unrelated to their surrogacy story. Many teachers will be happy to work with you to find an alternative assignment. If your child doesn’t want to make a family tree based on their background, consider completing a family tree for a famous person in history, such as a president.

This brings up a good note for any parent: It’s a good idea to make your child’s teacher aware of any non-traditional aspects in your child’s family, to avoid awkward and complicated teaching moments throughout the whole school year.

5. Include the donor on the family tree — and use it as a teaching moment.

If you and your child are comfortable, don’t be afraid to use the inclusion of your child’s donor as a great opportunity to share the beauty of assisted reproduction methods with the classroom. While your child may be the only one in class conceived this way, remember that the number of nontraditional families in the U.S. is growing. Education plays a great role in tolerance and acceptance.

If your child is excited to share their surrogacy or donor story with their classroom, you’ll want to help them prepare for the class conversation. Give them some answers to ignorant comments and questions claiming that a surrogate “gave them up” or that their non-biological parent is not their “real” parent. You should also consider including the teacher on this preparation, so they can guide the class conversation is a positive and accepting way.

The pride that your child has in their own surrogacy story is a great example that you are doing a great job as a parent. Support them in this assignment; it will be the beginning of a lifetime spent answering questions and educating about surrogacy and gamete donation.

Have more questions about the nuances of raising a surrogacy-born, donor-conceived child? Talk to our surrogacy specialists anytime at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).