How are Embryos Shipped from Clinic to Clinic?

Intended parents often have questions about transporting frozen embryos from one fertility clinic to another, especially if those embryos are about to cross the whole country. It’s completely understandable — those embryos are the result of a lot of time, money and hope, so they mean a lot to you.

To help you prepare for your embryos’ journey, here are the answers to five frequently asked questions about shipping embryos:

1. Why Would You Need to Ship Embryos?

Common reasons why you might need to ship your embryos include:

  • Switching fertility clinics
  • Moving and needing to take them to wherever you’re relocating to
  • Sending them to your gestational surrogate’s clinic for her transfer date

2. Does Shipping Embryos Damage Them or Affect Viability?

No. In vitro fertilization is still a relatively new family-building method, so there’s not a lot of data on the success rates of shipped versus not-shipped frozen embryos outside of what’s collected by individual clinics. But, looking at the data that has been collected, there’s no real difference in the success rates between the two.

This is because of how the embryos are frozen, stored and shipped — and the extreme care that’s taken in that process.

Shipping embryos does not hurt them or affect their viability when done correctly, as is consistently the case. It’s common to ship embryos and, if there’s an issue with those embryos, it’s usually because the embryos themselves were low quality or (possible, but less likely) they were damaged in the freezing or thawing process.

3. How are Embryos Stored When Shipped?

The embryos are kept cryogenically frozen during the move with dry vapor liquid nitrogen. They’ll be safe in the packing and can be kept at a consistent temperature for about 10 days.

Some clinics partner with shipping services that ship the embryos in cryogenic storage dewars, high-density foam coolers or other temperature-safe packing material. Whatever shipping service you and your clinic partner with, it will have the necessary containers to protect the embryos and maintain their frozen state. These types of containers are meant to transport medical samples and live tissue, so they’ll work for embryos, as well.

The shipping service may provide the temperature-controlled containers itself, or you may need to pay a deposit, which is refunded when the empty container is returned to the shipping service after the embryos have arrived at the new clinic.

4. How Much Does It Cost to Ship Embryos?

Total shipping cost (within the U.S.) usually falls somewhere around $200 – $500, but this can change based on a number of variables similar to shipping costs with anything else.

Your cost will primarily depend on how far you’re shipping the embryos.

Shipping can be done by ground or air, and it can often happen overnight, depending on how close the two clinics are. Don’t stress about paying extra for overnight shipping as; again, the embryos will be protected in the temperature-controlled storage container. However, how quickly you need the embryos shipped will also significantly affect your cost, just like any delivery service.

Some intended parents choose to drive the embryos (after the clinic has packed them up) from one clinic to the other if the distance isn’t too far. It’s kind of your first road trip with the “kids,” right? This might save you a significant amount of money if your clinic is able to handle this for you, but that option might not be available in every situation.

Other factors that can affect cost are any add-ons you purchase with the shipping service, such as insurance. There will also typically be an equipment rental fee of some sort, regardless of whether the embryos are shipped through a third-party service or the clinic, or you choose to drive them yourself.

You should be able to receive a cost estimate from the company you’re working with for shipping, so check with that professional and request a fee breakdown.

5. How Do You Find an Embryo Shipping Service?

The sending fertility clinic may have a particular cryogenic shipping service with which they partner. If not, your clinic may have a recommendation for a third-party shipping service that specializes in this type of transport, like one of these companies:

However, most clinics don’t work with third-party companies. You might be surprised to learn that the primary (and typically, preferred) mode of transportation for frozen embryos is through FedEx and UPS. Both of those shipping companies frequently work with fertility clinics, hospitals and medical laboratories, and they offer specialty services for transporting cryogenically frozen samples and live tissue. So, you’ll likely work with one of those two primary shipping providers.

If you have any more questions, or you’re worried about transporting your embryos, you can always reach out to your surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy by calling 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

Am I Too Old to Have a Child via Surrogacy?

Intended parents come to surrogacy from all kinds of situations and backgrounds. Many of them have unsuccessfully pursued other assisted reproduction methods before turning to gestational surrogacy. They may have already spent years on unsuccessful attempts, and they may be coming to gestational surrogacy process much older than when they first wanted to be parents.

If you’re in this situation, you probably have a lot of worries about being an older parent — keeping up with the challenges of an active child, being around for as much of their life as possible, and more.

But, before you get ahead of yourself, you may be asking: Can I even pursue surrogacy if I’m of a certain age?

Gestational surrogacy is not right for everyone, and there are reasons why surrogacy agencies will turn away certain people. If you’re worried about your situation, we encourage you to call our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) for more information.

In the meantime, learn about the realities of pursuing surrogacy as an older intended parent below.

Are Older Intended Parents Accepted into Surrogacy Programs?

Many intended parents consider all of their options before turning to gestational surrogacy. One of these common options is adoption — whether private domestic, international, or through foster care.

But, hopeful older parents may have been dismayed to find out that many adoption agencies set strict requirements on age for adoptive parents. This is for several reasons: Older adoptive parents may experience longer wait times for adoption opportunities, as many prospective birth mothers are looking for young adoptive couples who will have many active, healthy years to spend with their children.

As older intended parents research gestational surrogacy, it’s reasonable that they have the same concerns. However, surrogacy is a completely different ballgame than adoption — which makes it much more a possibility for older would-be parents.

Here at American Surrogacy, we are happy to work with intended parents across a wide range of ages. As long as you meet our agency requirements for intended parents, we can help you move forward with your surrogacy process.

For more information about working with our surrogacy agency, please contact our specialists today.

The Reality of Creating Your Own Embryo

While we are happy to help you begin your surrogacy process if you meet our intended parent requirements, you should also know there is another professional who can determine your eligibility: your reproductive endocrinologist.

One of the biggest challenges for older intended parents is the path to creating their own embryos. It’s a known fact that fertility declines as one gets older. And, it’s not just female eggs that decline in quality as they get older; there is evidence that a man’s sperm can decline, as well, making in vitro fertilization for older couples less likely to be successful.

If you have remaining embryos from earlier fertility treatments, and you created those embryos years ago, they may be of high enough quality to successfully pursue surrogacy. However, if you are looking to create fresh embryos when you’re an older intended parent, your reproductive endocrinologist may have more difficulty creating viable options.

That’s why we encourage intended parents to always speak with their fertility clinic prior to contacting a surrogacy agency. Your reproductive endocrinologist will always be the best professional to determine whether gestational surrogacy is in the cards for you. By contacting this professional early on, you can reduce the chance of wasting time and expenses moving forward with the surrogacy process before you’re truly ready.

Consider Donated Gametes

If you wish to become an intended parent through gestational surrogacy at your older age, and your current embryos are not viable, you might always consider creating embryos with donated gametes, instead.

There are many reasons that intended parents pursue surrogacy, and a genetic connection may not be the only reason you specifically are choosing this path. Surrogacy gives intended parents more control over their baby’s development in utero and reassurance that the baby will be “theirs” after birth (in comparison to adoption, where a prospective birth mother can always change her mind). Surrogacy also offers options for single and LGBT intended parents who may not be able to safely adopt locally.

On that note, you may be okay with still pursuing surrogacy if your own gametes can’t be used in an embryo. There are many sperm and egg cells available for donation that can offer you a better chance at a viable embryo and pregnancy.

Always talk to your reproductive endocrinologist if you think donated gametes may be necessary. This is a big decision to make; you’ll need to do research into how the process works, how you choose a donor, what it’s like raising a donor-conceived child, and more.

Remember: Your surrogacy specialist is always here to support you, and you talk to an American Surrogacy specialist about this topic anytime. For more information, contact us today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

How to Save Money on Surrogacy Fertility Meds as an Intended Parent

It’s well-known that surrogacy can be an expensive family-building choice for hopeful parents, often costing in the $60,000–$150,000 range. It’s only normal that intended parents look for ways to bring those costs down.

One of the costs that intended parents have to worry about is the fertility medications that their gestational surrogate takes in preparation for the embryo transfer procedure. If an intended mother plans on using her own eggs to create the embryos used in this process, she’ll also be prescribed a course of fertility medications prior to an egg retrieval procedure.

The costs of the required medications can certainly add up, and they’re not cheap. There are, however, a few ways you can try to save on the costs of those fertility medications:

Talk to Your Surrogate and Your Doctors

Your gestational surrogate doesn’t want you to have to pay a fortune for medical expenses, so she’ll help you out whenever possible. Ask her if she’ll talk to her fertility specialist about money-saving tips on meds. Her clinic might have recommendations for lower-cost brand substitutions that are equally effective, or offer medication promotions or discounts and other helpful suggestions.

Fertility clinics don’t always offer you the lowest-cost medications unless you specifically mention your budget desires. That means you need to ask, and ask early on!

You can talk to your own fertility specialists, but it’s a good idea if your surrogate does this, too. Her doctors will have her medical history, so they can make sure any brand swaps won’t interact with what she’s currently taking, won’t trigger an allergy she may have, or cause another harmful result.

Wait for a List of Your Surrogate’s Prescribed Medications

Remember that not every gestational surrogate will be prescribed the same medications or dosages, so there’s only so much price research you can do in advance. But, once your surrogate has been prescribed her regimen of fertility drugs and has been given a list of supplies to purchase by her fertility clinic, you can use that list to look for potential deals.

Doing some price-scouting and research ahead of time won’t hurt — just as long as you know that your surrogate might not end up taking certain types or brands of medications.

Resources for Fertility Medication Comparison Shopping

Your fertility clinic’s pharmacy partners aren’t always the cheapest option, although the clinic may have some recommendations about places you can look. Checking around for discounts can yield some decent results.

Here are some websites where you can compare medication and pharmacy prices and check for discounts. These specialty pharmacies may have cheaper meds than traditional pharmacies:

If your surrogate has a local specialty pharmacy, check there, as well. Specialty pharmacies tend to carry the correct medications and supplies — and at a better price than the place you go for your everyday medication!

Always talk to your doctor about any specialty pharmacies to ensure they provide legitimate products. American Surrogacy cannot ensure the validity of or endorse the specialty pharmacies listed above.

Save on Supplies

Some of your surrogate’s medications will need to be administered using specific medical supplies, and you may be able to save some money by shopping around for those supplies. She’ll likely need a stash of particular syringe sizes, alcohol wipes to clean injection sites, and more. Talk to her fertility clinic about what she’ll need, and be sure to get your surrogate’s input on products she prefers. You may be able to find your surrogate some coupons for her supplies, or discount offers for options like bulk purchasing or recurring deliveries.

Again, do your research to ensure the supplies you receive from non-traditional pharmacies are new and safe to use.

Other Options

The fertility drugs themselves can be extremely costly, yes. But keeping medical costs low starts at more immediate sources: your insurance and benefits.

Ask your employer if a flexible spending account (FSA) or a health savings plan (HAS) is available to you. These plans allow you to use your pre-tax income for medical expenses, and fertility treatments are usually a permitted spending use for these types of plans by most employers.

If you aren’t already, make sure you’re working closely with your insurance provider to get the most out of your plan throughout the surrogacy process. Your American Surrogacy specialist can help guide you through this to make sure you’re as covered as possible.

Saving money on IVF medications themselves is often possible; there’s no doubt about that. Just make sure you first double your efforts on getting medications covered by insurance whenever possible and see if there are any benefits available through your employer you may have missed.

Need more help financing your surrogacy journey? Learn more cost-saving strategies here, or reach out to American Surrogacy at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) to talk to a surrogacy specialist.

4 Times Surrogacy is Great (and 4 Times When It’s Not) for Surrogates

The surrogacy experience has plenty of emotional ups and downs for surrogates. Even though it all ends with you being able to help create a family, it takes a lot to get there. So, it’s good to be prepared before beginning.

Without further ado, here are some of the best (and worst) moments for gestational surrogates along the way:

4 of the Best Parts of Surrogacy for Surrogates

There’s plenty to love about being a gestational surrogate. These are four of the best feelings:

1. Feeling Like You’re Paying it Forward… with Parenthood

A requirement for surrogates with American Surrogacy, like most professionals, is that you must be already raising at least one child. That means you already know what it’s like to be a parent.

One reason that a lot of women cite as a motivator for becoming surrogates? To help people who have been waiting for a child become parents — and for them to know that same joy a surrogate has in her own lives.

Many women love being able to pass on the blessing of parenthood to those who have been hoping to experience it themselves.

2. Working Toward Financial Goals Using Surrogacy Compensation

Most surrogates choose to accept some amount of compensation in exchange for the time and effort they dedicate to their journey. And most surrogates choose to use that compensation toward important financial goals. Whether you’re paying off student loans or your car, putting the money toward your child’s college fund, or using it as a down payment on a home, compensation can be a genuine advantage for surrogates.

But, not just you, either — your whole family can benefit from something your heart felt called to do.

3. A Greater Appreciation for Your Body

A gestational surrogate is keenly aware that they’re physically able to do something that intended parents are unable to, no matter how much they wish they could. This is a loss that many intended parents have to grieve before they even begin to consider surrogacy. The ability to grow and protect a baby within your body is a gift, and becoming a surrogate is one way to use that gift and to pass it on to someone else.

The connection you share with the intended parents’ baby during that time and the connection you have to your own body during pregnancy are also special — pregnancy symptoms, pain and all.

4. The Moment When You Unite a Family

This is probably an obvious choice for “The Best Several Seconds of Surrogacy,” but placing a child into the arms of their parents for the first time is a pretty incredible experience. All the ups and downs are made worthwhile then. It’s the reason why women become surrogates in the first place!

4 of the Worst Parts of Surrogacy for Surrogates

Surrogacy is rewarding, yes. But it’s also tough. There are plenty of frustrations and low moments. These are some of the not-so-great aspects of the process for surrogates:

1. The Medications

The side effects that women experience while taking the required surrogacy medications vary widely, but most women experience at least some. Even if you don’t have any side effects, the process of carefully organizing, timing and administering fistfuls of pills, patches, creams, injections and more is anything but enjoyable!

Gestational surrogates and women who have undergone fertility treatments can commiserate about the general unpleasantness of this aspect of the medical process. Fortunately, it’s all for an important purpose.

2. The Differences in Pregnancy Experiences

Getting pregnant as a surrogate is so different than getting pregnant in the “old fashioned” way. It was likely easy for you to become pregnant in the past but, when you’re a surrogate, there are so many steps, tests, boxes to check and even just time spent waiting and hoping that the transfer worked this cycle.

When you’re in the middle of this comparatively complex process, it can be disheartening and leave you daydreaming of how simple your non-surrogacy pregnancies seemed without all the clinical fuss.

3. Juggling Responsibilities

Not only are gestational surrogates responsible for growing a tiny person — someone else’s child at that — they’re also expected to continue caring for their own children, keep up with their non-surrogacy-related responsibilities and, if they work outside of the home, maintain a career.

Surrogates are superheroes, surely. But there are only so many hours in a day, and the surrogacy process involves more appointments, coordination and time commitments than many people realize.

4. The Emotional Weight

This is both a benefit and a burden, in many ways. Although you know you’ve been entrusted with something amazingly unique, and you get to experience a lot of beautiful moments in your surrogacy journey, this intense responsibility can take a toll. Many gestational surrogates struggle with taking on the emotions of their intended parents, or they may feel personally responsible if an embryo transfer fails or there’s another kind of medical complication.

When you’re so invested in helping another family, it’s easy to become entangled in some of these feelings, even though your intended parents would never want you to. Surrogates also experience heightened emotions due to fertility medications and pregnancy hormones. Access to emotional support before, during and after a surrogate pregnancy will be important for your wellbeing.

American Surrogacy will always be there for you.

Surrogacy is Worth It — Highs and Lows and All

When all is said and done, you’ll probably walk away with more stretch marks than you had before, an alarming knowledge of human anatomy, a lifelong bond with a family you helped create — and an unparalleled sense of pride. It will all be worth it.

Ready to start your surrogacy journey? Contact American Surrogacy at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) to begin.

4 Times Surrogacy is Great (and 4 Times When It’s Not) for Intended Parents

Anyone who has completed the surrogacy process can tell you that it’s an emotional journey that has some ups and downs. While it’s all worth it in the end, it’s important to be prepared for the challenges and rewards ahead of you.

Here are some of the joys and struggles that intended parents often experience in surrogacy:

4 of the Best Parts of Surrogacy for Intended Parents

Surrogacy is an incredible experience that most intended parents would do all over again, when possible. Here are some of the best parts of that journey:

1. Having another Chance at a Genetic Connection

For intended parents who dream of a child with their spouse’s smile, surrogacy is a path that can allow this to happen, where adoption cannot. Not all intended parents are going to be able to have a genetic connection to their child through surrogacy, but for those who can, surrogacy is the only way many parents will be able to experience having a biologically-related child.

2. Embracing the Feeling that it “Takes a Village”

At first, it can be disconcerting to have so many people involved in what’s usually such an intimate and personal process. But once intended parents let go of any preconceived ideas of how having a baby usually goes, most people find comfort and community in the number of people who are fully dedicated to helping them have their child.

Everyone at American Surrogacy, your gestational surrogate, attorney, fertility clinic staff, doctors — they’re all rooting for you and here to help bring your family together! Surrogacy has an amazing way of uniting people for a common good.

3. Making a Genuine Connection with Your Surrogate

When you’re first matched with your gestational surrogate, it can feel a little odd. You might have some initial hang-ups about someone else carrying your baby and involving a near-stranger in such a life-changing event.

However, as you come to know each other more and you experience this emotional journey together as a team, most intended parents are thrilled to walk away from their surrogacy experience with a lifelong friend. The bond between surrogates and intended parents is unique — so enjoy it!

4. Finally Meeting Your Baby

This could go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: The arrival of your baby is the best part of the surrogacy process, for everyone involved. Your surrogate gets to see you all together — her hard work paid off. You’re finally united with your child, and you have the family you’ve been dreaming of. That moment makes all the highs and lows of the surrogacy process worth it.

4 of the Worst Parts of Surrogacy for Intended Parents

As amazing as surrogacy is in the bigger picture, intended parents have to deal with some difficult experiences along the way:

1. Loss of Control

All alternative family-building methods involve a loss of control for the parents. With surrogacy, intended parents are unable to carry their own baby and, therefore, aren’t able to personally control their child’s developing in utero.

You’re also not able to control certain factors such as when you’ll be matched with a surrogate, when (or even if) IVF will work, and more. The need to control is something that intended parents have to let go, because surrogacy is a complicated process with a fair amount of unknowns.

2. Grief for What You Had to Give Up

Surrogacy isn’t often an intended parent’s first or even second choice. Intended parents have to give up a variety of things. Some have to give up the dream of having a biological child. All intended parents have to give up control and some involvement in the pregnancy experience, including the ability to carry and deliver their child.

These are all types of losses and sacrifices that you have to grieve in order to embrace a new and different dream. If you have experienced infertility or pregnancy loss, these are additional losses you’ll have to grieve. Even though you’ll ultimately welcome the child you’ve been waiting for, it often happens after some painful experiences.

3. Uncertainty

Nothing is truly certain in surrogacy. You never know exactly when you might be matched with a gestational surrogate, you don’t know when (or if) embryo transfers will work, you don’t know the exact amount that surrogacy will cost you because of all the variables involved, among other uncertainties. Surrogacy professionals like American Surrogacy will prepare for every possible event, but there’s always going to be an unavoidable amount of uncertainty for both the surrogate and the intended parents.

4. Waiting

Intended parents often spend some amount of time waiting to have a child even before they begin their surrogacy journey. Perhaps you underwent fertility treatments for months, or even years. Then, once the surrogacy process is officially underway, it typically takes at least a year for waiting parents to have a child.

The most frustrating part of all this for intended parents is that there’s often very little that they can do while they wait, because there’s not much that’s within their control. There is a lot of paperwork to wait on, coordination between multiple professionals, waiting for the surrogate’s cycle to synch up for transfer, and much more. There’s no way to fast-track surrogacy, even if you begin the process shortly after deciding you’re ready to become a parent.

Surrogacy is Worth It — Highs and Lows and All

No matter how your family came together, if you’ve been fortunate enough to experience parenthood, you know that it makes all the ups and downs worthwhile. If you are a hopeful parent, take comfort knowing that when you finally meet your child, the difficulties you’ve faced will have been worth it.

Ready to start your surrogacy journey? Contact American Surrogacy at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) to begin.

Getting Your Newborn Home After Their Birth via Surrogacy

It’s more common than not that intended parents are matched with an out-of-state surrogate. Sometimes, it’s legally necessary; the intended parents may live in a state that is not particularly surrogacy-friendly. In other cases, it’s simply because the best surrogate for their goals and preferences happened to live in a different state.

Many of the aspects of a long-distance surrogacy are easily managed with a bit of organization and professional guidance. But, there is another important thing to think about, and it comes after the surrogacy process is complete: how to bring your new baby home across state lines.

When you have a brand-new baby, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, especially if this is your first go at being a parent. Getting ready to bring your baby home requires all kinds of preparations, but you may be unsure of how to do this safely.

Don’t worry: American Surrogacy is here to help. Below, find out your options for bringing home your little one after birth. Don’t hesitate to contact your surrogacy specialist at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) for more guidance on this matter.

The Big Debate: Flying vs. Driving

When it comes to bringing a baby home that was born out of state, there is often one question: Should I fly home on a plane or drive home instead?

First, know this: Which path you take should always depend upon your pediatrician’s recommendation. Your baby’s health will play a crucial role in this decision, and only your doctor will know what is best for your family. Always stay in close contact with them leading up to and after your carrier’s delivery.

In general, here are some things you should know about each option:

Putting a Newborn on an Airplane

Taking a newborn baby on a plan comes with certain pros and cons. You’ll need to consider these before booking your flights.

First, the advantages:

  • Shorter travel time: When you’re looking at a 12-hour drive or a couple-hour flight, choosing to fly may take a lot of stress off of you as intended parents. It’s likely that you want to get home as soon as possible, and a plane ride is often the way to best do so.
  • More travel options: There is always a degree of uncertainty when a baby is born. The baby may come early, or they may overstay their welcome in your surrogate’s womb. If you rely on a car to get you there, you may miss your baby’s birth! A plane, on the other hand, offers more frequent options to leave (and return) whenever you need to. This can give you a bit more leeway when bringing your little one back home.

But, there are also some disadvantages, too:

  • Potential for more germ exposure: Newborn babies are vulnerable, and a plane’s atmosphere can be the worst place for an underdeveloped immune system. If you choose to take your infant on a plane, you must be comfortable with the exposure to viruses and bacteria that other travelers are carrying.
  • Flight changes can be expensive: While flying gives you more opportunity to update your travel plans if necessary, these changes can be expensive. For this reason, many intended parents buy one-way tickets on airlines with minimal change charges (check out Southwest) and wait to buy their return ticket until they are more aware of their baby’s situation.

If you think flying might be the right option for you, always speak with your baby’s doctor. Certain airlines will require a doctor’s note for a baby under a certain age to travel. Make sure to always research tips to make your return journey as stress-free as possible.

Taking a Road Trip with a Newborn

Another way you can return home with your baby is by driving them. Whether or not this is an option for your family will depend upon your personal situation.

So, why do intended parents choose to drive home with their newborn?

  • Cost savings for shorter distances: In some cases, driving to and from a surrogate’s state is much cheaper for intended parents than flying. In many cases, if intended parents have a drive of a day or less, they will save substantial money in comparison to buying flights on short notice, as baby delivery can sometimes necessitate.
  • Safer immuno-environment: When you travel with a newborn in a car, you are in more control over the bacteria and viruses exposed to them than if you were on a plane. You can take steps to keep your car as clean as possible, and you may be more comfortable knowing that your son or daughter will only come in contact with you on this journey.
  • More control over journey: When you drive, you are in charge of your journey. This includes how frequently and where you stop, as well as deciding what is best for your child. You aren’t at the mercy of an airline; if you need more time to get home, or if you and your child need a break on the way home, you can always take it.

But, keep in mind these disadvantages before you strap in your newborn to their car seat:

  • Fatigue on long journeys: If you are taking a long road trip, make sure you have a partner to help you out. Driving long hours is exhausting for anyone but especially so for a new parent caring for a brand-new baby.
  • Cleanliness of stops along the way: You’ll need to stop at rest stations along the way to stay safe. If you are taking a longer journey, you may even spend the night at a hotel. Will your hotel be clean enough for your newborn baby? Are you prepared to haul all of your baby supplies across state lines and in and out of your hotel rooms?
  • Distance from a doctor or hospital: Even if your newborn baby is 100 percent healthy at birth, it’s normal to be worried about their health in the weeks after they are born. When you take an extended road trip after their birth, there will be times that you are a distance away from any doctor or hospital. While many intended parents bring their children home safely via car, this is an important consideration not to overlook.

Remember, the best person to talk to about returning home will always be your baby’s doctor. They are likely the one who will make the ultimate decision in which option is right for you.

Your surrogacy specialist will always be there to support you. To learn more about this topic or about surrogacy in general, please contact our team at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

Do Surrogates Get Paid for Failed Transfers?

After the time you’ve invested as a surrogate, as well as the physical and emotional efforts you’ve put into your surrogacy journey so far, you might be worried about what happens if an embryo transfer fails. Gestational surrogates of the past have asked us a few questions about this topic: Do surrogates get paid if they miscarry? Does a surrogate get paid if F.E.T. does not work?

The answer to both: Yes.

Here’s why.

What Happens In the Event of a Miscarriage or Failed Transfer

Generally, most surrogates who accept compensation are paid per milestone.

When your contract is signed, you’ll receive payments for milestones such as the start of medications and the embryo transfer. You’ll also usually receive a monthly allowance, depending on your contract.

So, you would receive those types of payments up until the point that an unforeseen event (such as a miscarriage or failed transfer) occurs. Your surrogacy contract would dictate from there whether or not you and the intended parents will attempt another transfer.

That means if you miscarried at two months, you would get paid for those two months of pregnancy. It’s nobody’s fault when these things happen, and you put your time and effort into that pregnancy, so you’ll absolutely receive fair compensation for that time.

A miscarriage or failed transfer can be a significant emotional experience for both the gestational surrogate and her intended parents. Most people take some time to process the loss of a hoped-for pregnancy before pursuing any next steps. It’s not unusual for everyone in the surrogacy partnership to need time to recover before attempting another transfer.

Remember: Your individual surrogacy contract will determine what happens in the event of a miscarriage or failed transfer in your situation, so always refer to your contract in this situation.

If You Miscarry Again, or if Transfer Fails Again

This situation is rare, but it’s possible. If you experience a second miscarriage or failed embryo transfer, you would again look to your surrogacy contract first.

When you and your intended parents negotiated your contract, you determined how many embryo transfer attempts you would attempt. You probably also discussed what would happen if you experienced more than one medical setback.

That being said, there could certainly be instances where you would all agree to deviate from the original contract. For example, if you’ve now miscarried twice and your medical providers are concerned about your health, their recommendations would take precedence over any previous agreements you’d made in your contract. Your intended parents will understand.

Your physical and emotional health will always take first priority in situations of multiple miscarriages or embryo transfer failures.

Failed Transfers and Miscarriages in Surrogacy are Fortunately Rare

Miscarriages occur in about 1 in 4 recognized pregnancies. But, surrogacy professionals take certain steps to reduce those odds as much as possible with a gestational carrier.

Because gestational surrogates are carefully screened to ensure your chances of successfully carrying a pregnancy are high, and embryos are genetically tested to ensure their chances of successful implantation are high, the likelihood of you experiencing one of these medical setbacks is low.

However, it is still possible, which is why it’s important that you discuss these scenarios with your attorney and your intended parents when you create your surrogacy contract. That way, you’ll have a plan in place, just in case.

If you do experience a miscarriage or failed transfer, you would be compensated to that point as per your contract, so don’t worry about having to front any expenses related to the pregnancy.

If you have any more questions about surrogacy payment schedules, you can ask to review your contract with your attorney or your American Surrogacy specialist. You can also reach out to us at 1-800-875-BABY (2229).

7 Ways Being a Surrogate Can Change Your Life

Clearly, being a surrogate is something that can turn your life upside down for a year or more — in a good way! But, did you know that your decision to be a surrogate can change your life for months and even years after you hand the intended parents their little bundle of joy?

That’s right — being a surrogate is a life-changing journey for many women. It can be for you, too.

You can always learn more about becoming a surrogate when you contact our surrogacy specialists online or call 1-800-875-2229(BABY). In the meantime, find out seven ways your life can change when you make the leap into the surrogacy world:

1. You create parents where there weren’t any before.

The first big difference you’ll make as a gestational carrier? You will help a worthy individual or couple become the parents they’ve always dreamed of being.

It’s a knowledge that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. You helped make someone’s dreams come true — with something that probably comes easily to you. Who knew that your uterus could make such a difference in someone’s life? Knowing this can change your own perspective for many years to come.

2. You help bring a new life into the world.

On top of helping your intended parents reach their dream, you’ve changed the world. Now, it has one more beautiful baby in it — and it’s all because of you.

Without you, your intended parents’ baby would not exist. They would still be just a dream. But, because you choose to give the gift of surrogacy, you have brought a child into the world that wasn’t there before. This child will leave their own impact on their community as they grow up, and you will always have the knowledge that you were the one of the first people to make that happen.

3. You can make friendships that last a lifetime.

The relationship between surrogates and their intended parents is a special one. In many cases, it’s a relationship that continues long after the surrogacy process is complete.

When you become a gestational surrogate, you share an intimate journey with your intended parents that few get to experience. It’s a journey that will bond you together for life. You get to know each other better than anyone else, and you will both carry evidence of your partnership for life (for you, stretch marks; for them, a tiny bundle of joy).

The best surrogacy stories are the ones in which surrogates and intended parents have a genuine friendship with each other. Not only will this make the awkward parts of your surrogacy more manageable, but it will help both of you be more comfortable from start to finish. If you establish this kind of relationship, it’s only natural that it will continue for months and years to come!

4. You may become a better communicator.

Surrogacy is all about organization and communication. There are many moving parts involved, and it’s important that both parties are on top of their responsibilities to be as successful as possible.

Prior to surrogacy, you may have been a “c’est la vie” kind of woman. Surrogacy will force you to become more organized (think: medication schedule, doctor’s appointments, and more) and to stay in frequent contact with your intended parents. In your personal life, you may have fallen into the trap of taking weeks to return phone calls or texts — but being a gestational carrier will snap you out of that quickly.

In turn, when it comes time to end your surrogacy journey, you may find some of those habits hard to break — and your friends and family will likely thank you for your new sense of focus and organization.

5. You become more familiar with your body and health.

By the time your surrogacy is over, you will be an expert in all things pregnancy and reproductive health. It takes many complicated steps to become pregnant as a gestational carrier, and you’ll need to be in tune with your body’s needs and responses every step of the way. What before may have been a passing knowledge of how your body works will now be an intimate understanding of your unique body system.

Both during and after your surrogacy, you may find yourself picking up healthier habits than your life before surrogacy. You may feel better than you did even before this last pregnancy — and your gestational pregnancy itself might be a more enjoyable experience than your previous ones!

Overall, surrogacy allows carriers to learn to be more vocal about their medical needs and better recognize their own body’s health.

6. You can give yourself a new financial start.

When you become a surrogate, you have the right to receive surrogate base compensation. This compensation will depend upon your personal situation and your experience as a surrogate, as well as any compensation preferences you may have.

While surrogate base compensation is not necessarily a “life-changing” amount, it is often enough for a surrogate and her family to take a big financial step. She may be able to pay off the rest of her student loans or save money for her children’s college education. She may be able to put a down payment on a house or a new car for her family.

Money should not be the reason you pursue surrogacy, but compensation is certainly a benefit of this path. To learn more about our agency’s base compensation policy, please call our specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

7. You may be inspired to do surrogacy again — and again.

A single surrogacy journey can be life-changing for a gestational carrier — but it can also inspire her to keep doing surrogacy as long as she’s able.

It’s not uncommon for first-time gestational carriers to find out that they love every part of surrogacy. As soon as they are able to, they sign up again with their surrogacy agency and get ready to work with another set of intended parents. When they realize how much of a difference they can make doing something that comes so easily to them, they often want to do it all over again!

Ready to start your surrogacy journey today? Contact our specialists for more information.

Why Don’t Intended Parents “Just” Adopt?

It’s a common question that intended parents pursuing surrogacy receive:

Why don’t you just adopt?

For those unfamiliar with gestational surrogacy, choosing this method to build a family may be hard to understand. For them, surrogacy brings up concerns over financial burden, genetic relationships, time and emotional complications.

While their concerns are often well-meaning, they can be hard for intended parents to hear. People who have struggled with infertility go through a lot before deciding on gestational surrogacy. They’re excited about this next step to build their family! But, when people ask them why they don’t “just” adopt, intended parents can feel judged for the personal decision they’ve made for their family.

The decision between adoption and surrogacy is a big one to make. So, before you start prying into this personal decision of intended parents, think about these reasons why adoption may not have been right for them:

1. They want a biological connection to their child.

People who have never struggled with infertility often take for granted their ability to have a genetically related child. It was easy for them to conceive a biological child, so they likely don’t think about the emotions tied to this seemingly simple connection.

But, intended parents have.

A biological connection is the biggest reason why intended parents choose to pursue surrogacy over adoption. Like many other parents, intended parents want a child who looks like them and shares their blood. While genetic relationship does not make a family, many intended parents want to have this relationship, if at all possible.

It’s not a simple decision to give up dreams of having a biological child. Parents who pursue adoption must go through a grief process as they accept their child will not have a genetic connection. It’s not as easy as “just deciding” to start the adoption process.

2. They have remaining embryos from infertility treatments.

For some intended parents, the idea of discarding or donating perfectly usable embryos is a difficult one. So, instead, they decide to use those embryos in a gestational surrogacy situation. This way, they feel better about the money they put into creating those embryos in the first place, and it gives them another chance for those embryos to develop into babies.

If you have leftover embryos you’re considering for surrogacy, you can always call our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) for more information on the surrogacy process with our agency.

3. They want more control over their baby’s development in utero.

Parents who choose adoption to bring a child into their family must give up a great deal of control. No matter what kind of adoption process they use, there are likely unknowns when it comes to the child’s health history and the personal history of their birth mother.

Intended parents who choose surrogacy have a bit more control over their surrogate’s pregnancy than adoptive parents have over a prospective birth mother’s. Every preference and expectation for a gestational pregnancy is outlined in a legal surrogacy contract. Intended parents can be involved in medical appointments and the birth of their child, and they are reassured in knowing the personal health history of their child — because the child is genetically related to them. They also have the confidence that their child will be theirs at the end of the pregnancy — unlike in adoption, when a prospective birth mother always has the right to change her mind.

Don’t get us wrong: Intended parents do have to give up a certain amount of control. But, they are often more comfortable with this sacrifice in gestational surrogacy than in adoption.

4. The adoption process isn’t right for their family.

Just as gestational surrogacy isn’t right for everyone, neither is the adoption process.

Sometimes, intended parents don’t have the option of adoption. Perhaps they’re an LGBT individual or couple, and they are worried about finding an LGBT-friendly agency in their state or country. Maybe they’re too old (or too young) to meet adoption requirements. Maybe they simply aren’t prepared to raise an adopted child and cope with the challenges along the way.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Adoption isn’t “easy”; it’s a path that parents often take after they have exhausted all of their other options and have spent months and years preparing. Intended parents who choose surrogacy may not have been ready for that challenging process at this time.

5. They have the right to choose the family-building option that is best for them.

Finally, for people asking, “Why didn’t you just adopt?” ask yourself this: Why didn’t you adopt?

Every hopeful parent has the right to choose the family-building process that is best for them. Just as you may have never considered adoption yourself, perhaps intended parents considering surrogacy didn’t either. There’s a lot that goes into this decision, including costs, emotions, timeline and more.  After considering all of this, intended parents discover that gestational surrogacy is the right option for them.

No matter how you built your own family, it’s never your place to judge or question why people build their families in specific ways. It’s much better to support someone’s family-building journey, whatever it is. Offer your practical and emotional support, and your friends going through surrogacy will be thankful.

Trying to decide whether gestational surrogacy is right for your family? Reach out to our surrogacy specialists for more information and professional advice.

What are Travel Restrictions All About in Surrogacy?

There’s a reason why surrogacy professionals encourage gestational carriers to clear their family calendars for the year or so of the surrogacy process. As part of your surrogacy requirements, you may be subject to a travel restriction during certain parts of your pregnancy.

On top of delaying any family vacations or travel plans, travel restrictions can seem like a bit of a nuisance — until you understand exactly why they’re a thing.

The best person to talk to about the restrictions of being a gestational carrier will always be a surrogacy professional. At American Surrogacy, our specialists are happy to answer all of your questions about the surrogacy process, including any you have about travel “do”s and “don’t”s. You can give them a call anytime at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

In the meantime, you can learn about the basics of travel during a gestational pregnancy below.

Why Do Surrogacy Contracts Set Travel Restrictions?

You’ve been pregnant before, so you should be aware of the realities of traveling while pregnant. But, in case you need a refresher, here’s a recap:

In general, it’s safe to travel throughout your pregnancy, although many doctors will recommend you stay local once you reach 36 weeks. (There’s no telling when that baby will decide to come!) For most women, the safest time to travel is during the second trimester — after the morning sickness of your first trimester and before the fatigue that comes with your third trimester.

However, there are certain risks that come with traveling with pregnant, especially if you have a history of complicated pregnancies. Sitting for long periods in the area can increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis, a condition in which blood clots form in the legs or other areas of the body. Women who have a history of anemia, respiratory disease, or cardiac disease should be wary of traveling while pregnant. Pregnancy is hard enough on your body, and travel can only increase the physical stressors on your body during this time.

For this reason, many surrogacy lawyers and professionals will advise that a gestational carrier stop traveling once she reaches a certain point in pregnancy. After all, the baby she is carrying is not hers, so any additional risks she incurs will tend to make the intended parents nervous. Remember: The goal of gestational surrogacy is to maximize the chance that the intended parents will have the healthy baby they’ve been dreaming about — and that you will have as healthy a pregnancy as possible. For that reason, certain sacrifices must be made, including your ability to travel at a certain point.

Intended parents are giving up a great deal of control by choosing gestational surrogacy, and stipulations over your pregnancy are some of the only ways they can play a part in their unborn baby’s development.

What Should You Expect in Your Surrogacy Contract?

That said, every surrogacy is different — and so is every set of intended parents. That’s why the negotiating of your surrogacy contract will be a back-and-forth conversation. This will ensure you and the intended parents come up with terms that you are both comfortable with. Don’t forget that you will have a personal surrogacy attorney protecting your rights and interests during this negotiation.

When it comes to travel restrictions, most surrogacy contracts will leave the decision up to the surrogate’s obstetrician. After all, things can change drastically as a pregnancy progresses; unforeseen occurrences can make what seemed fine early on impossible in the third trimester. Most gestational carriers and intended parents will be comfortable with this kind of travel arrangement. After all, they only want what is best for the health of the baby.

On the other hand, some intended parents will have specific ideas about their surrogate’s travel during pregnancy. Some intended parents will specifically request that their surrogate not travel in her third trimester; others will be okay with travel, but only if it is within her state. The latter is for several reasons — states have different surrogacy laws (which can be an issue if a surrogate delivers unexpectedly) and a surrogate will be far away from her obstetrician. All of this can make an intended parent nervous, which is why they may suggest certain travel rules.

Other intended parents may be stricter in their travel desires. If an intended parent requests that you not travel at all during your pregnancy, you may not be comfortable with that kind of restriction. What happens if there’s a family emergency and you have to travel on short notice? The resentment you would feel toward them would likely harm your relationship.

This is why being honest and open about your surrogacy preferences is so important. If you match with intended parents who request a strict travel policy, and you don’t think it will work for you, you’ll need to bring that up before your final contract is signed. If need be, you can find another match with parents who better share your ideals for the surrogacy journey.

Travel restrictions in a surrogacy contract are a sensitive subject, which is why having a surrogacy professional by your side from day one is so important. Your specialist and attorney should speak with you at length about this topic, so you are fully informed before starting your surrogacy journey. Remember: Surrogacy is not right for every woman at every period in her life, and the possibility of travel restrictions may highlight that for you during this time in your life.

Want to learn more about surrogacy contracts and what is expected from you as a gestational carrier? Contact our specialists today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).