Is Cord Blood Banking Right for You? What to Know About This Process

There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to your surrogate’s delivery plan. You and your surrogacy specialist will need to work with her, her chosen obstetrician and her hospital to determine what your plan looks like moving forward. In addition to deciding who will be present during the birth, what kind of delivery can be expected and where you as an intended parent will stay, there is another thing you may wish to consider: collecting and banking the cord blood after your surrogate’s delivery.

In most deliveries, a woman’s placenta, umbilical cord and all the blood within them are disposed of after birth. However, a growing number of women are choosing to take advantage of the benefits cord blood offers, both directly after birth and for years to come.

In this article, you’ll learn a little more about your options when it comes to this new trend. If you are interested in finding out more about this process, we encourage you to contact a professional organization like Americord or Viacord.

Why Collect Stem Cells and Blood from the Umbilical Cord and Placenta?

A woman’s umbilical cord and placenta contain important blood cells known as hematopoietic stem cells. These cells can transform into any type of blood cells and cellular blood components in our bodies, making them incredibly useful and full of possibilities for parents and children. Because of this, stem cells are vital in the development of all tissues, organs and systems in the body.

This transformative power holds many advantages; stem cells have been effective in treating certain diseases or conditions, whether in the child, their parent or their siblings. For example, cord blood stem cells have the ability to treat leukemia and other inherited health disorders with less chance of rejection by the body.

Those who choose to collect and store their baby’s cord blood have a form of insurance, should their child or another closely related family member fall ill. Today, approximately 2.6 percent of American births result in the storing of cord blood.

How to Collect Cord Blood During Your Surrogacy

Before you take any steps to collect and store blood from the umbilical cord and placenta, it’s critical that you speak with your surrogate about your plans. While the process of collecting is quick and non-invasive, you will need your surrogate’s permission to collect cells that have come from her own body — even if the cells are genetically related to your own child.

In general, the process of collecting cord blood takes about five minutes. A doctor will either use a syringe to draw blood from the umbilical cord just after it has been cut, or the umbilical cord will be elevated to drain the blood into the bag. Any collection of cord blog must be done during the 15 minutes following birth and will need to be processed within 48 hours — which is why it’s important that parents to make a decision far in advance of their surrogate’s birth.

After collection, the cord blood will be registered to the parents’ names and sent to a blood bank for storage. These facilities should be accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks to ensure they properly store stem cells.

Is Private Bank Storage the Best Path for You?

Before you decide to store cord blood and stem cells with a private bank, there are a few things to consider.

The costs of storing cord blood can be expensive. For example, blood bank Americord offers 20 years of storage for $3,499, while FamilyCord offers the same for $4,290. Generally, the costs can come out to about $100 to $300 a year for storage, depending on the professional you use. Before choosing this path, it’s important that parents consider the financial aspect involved. Keep in mind that the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation estimates that the chances of a child using their own cord blood later to be only about .04 percent.

Many groups have released statements advocating for public bank donation instead of private banking. You can choose to donate your child’s cord blood for free to a public bank. Should stem cells become necessary later in life, the chance of finding a match through a public bank is very high — about 66 to 97 percent. If your child does not need their stem cells, a public bank donation gives you the chance to save someone else’s life instead.

If you’re considering banking or donating cord blood and stem cells, we encourage you to discuss your options with your surrogate, her obstetrician and your pediatrician. Your decision should only be made after consulting all parties and weighing your pros and cons. Your surrogacy specialist can always refer you to trusted blood banks for more information about this process.

How to Create a Lasting Friendship During Your Surrogacy

As part of today’s International Day of Friendship, we want to take the moment to appreciate some of the most important relationships out there — those between intended parents and surrogates.

The most successful surrogacies are those in which both surrogacy partners have a genuine, respecting relationship. Surrogacy involves a great deal of trust for intended parents and surrogates, which is why finding the perfect match from the beginning goes a long way in forming this positive, long-lasting relationship. It’s actually not that uncommon for intended parents and surrogates to maintain their friendships after the surrogacy journey is over, as well.

Take it from a few of our former surrogacy clients:

  • “You’re not doing it to have a relationship for the rest of your life (but) the more we talked, he was the one who said, ‘I want you guys to be in Julian’s life. I want Julian to know how he came about and what you guys sacrificed to give him his life.’ Nicholas told our children that Julian is their cousin from Miami… It’s amazing to me that we have such a great relationship.” Nichole, surrogate for intended father Nicholas
  • “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.” Lindsey, intended mother
  • “I don’t know if anyone could top Lindsey and Shiloh. I hold them on such a high pedestal that I don’t know if I could ever get the same family again. I have such a wonderful relationship with them that I would want that again.” Megan, surrogate for intended mother Lindsay

If you’re new to the surrogacy journey, you may wonder how you can find the same kind of lasting friendship that many other intended parents and surrogates have. Choosing to work with American Surrogacy can be the first step.

Our surrogacy specialists will discuss in detail with you your preferences for the surrogacy process. We’ll use your surrogacy goals and needs to help you find the perfect match for your surrogacy — a huge step to creating a long-lasting, genuine relationship with your surrogacy partner. Our specialists will be there to mediate your first conversations with your surrogacy match, as well as provide suggestions and advice to help you maintain a strong friendship throughout your surrogacy journey.

But, what exactly are some tips to finding that perfect match and creating the surrogacy friendships you’ve heard all about?

1. Know Your Surrogacy Preferences.

The best way to ensure a positive surrogacy relationship is by working with someone who values and wants the same things that you do in your surrogacy journey. That way, you can be in tune throughout your surrogacy journey. However, to do so, you must first recognize your own surrogacy desires.

If you are considering surrogacy for the first time, it can be difficult to know exactly what you want — especially when you’re still learning about the intricacies of the surrogacy process. This is where a surrogacy professional like American Surrogacy can come in handy. Surrogacy specialists can discuss your surrogacy journey in depth to help create a list of preferences moving forward. That way, you can better find a surrogate or intended parent who shares the same goals and preferences.

2. Wait for the Perfect Match.

When you’ve been waiting to start your surrogacy journey, it’s tempting to take the first match you’re presented with, just so you can begin. However, finding the patience to make sure a potential match is perfect for you will be instrumental in creating a positive relationship later on. Sometimes, it may take months to find the perfect match — and that’s okay. When you find the perfect match, you’ll know. It will be worth it to have a genuine friendship based on shared surrogacy desires.

3. Follow the Golden Rule.

Like any other relationships, relationships created during the surrogacy process should be treated with respect and kindness. While the relationship between intended parents and surrogates is certainly a unique one, all of the same rules with everyday relationships apply. Because surrogacy can be a journey filled with emotional ups and downs, it’s important that you continue to respect each other and maintain any boundaries you may have set in your surrogacy contract.

If you ever have complications in establishing and maintaining a positive surrogacy relationship, know that the specialists at American Surrogacy are here for you. To learn more about finding your perfect surrogacy match, please contact our agency at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

10 Surrogate Blogs to Read Today

When you’re considering becoming a surrogate, hearing from other women who have been in your position can be incredibly helpful. Fortunately, there is a wealth of surrogate blogs available to help you understand the process ahead of you.

Being a surrogate is a unique journey to take, and many women choose to document their experiences and surrogacy stories through a surrogacy blog. It can help them address the feelings they may have, as well as help them connect with other surrogates and raise awareness of the reality of surrogacy for intended parents and others who are curious about the surrogacy process.

Want to learn more? We’ve gathered some of the best blogs by and for surrogates here to help you start your surrogacy research. While some of them may be older blogs that haven’t been updated recently, the information still available on them can teach you a lot about the aspects of surrogacy:

  1. American Surrogacy Blog

At American Surrogacy, we assist both intended parents and prospective surrogates — which is why our blog tackles issues that are relevant to both. We know you likely have a million different questions about becoming a surrogate, and whatever answers you can’t find on our website you can likely find on our blog. If you have any questions that aren’t answered, you can always contact our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

  1. I’m Not the Mom, I’m Just the Stork!

Gestational surrogate Kelley recounts the three surrogacy journeys she completed, as well as her own life experiences along the way.

  1. Surrogacy Diva

While it’s an older blog, Surrogacy Diva is managed by a multiple-time surrogate, who discusses her own journey, posts news about surrogacy and answer questions from other prospective surrogates.

  1. Return to Senders

Gestational surrogate Dana recounts her experience being a surrogate from 2013-2015 and her current experience being pregnant for the same male couple in 2018.

  1. A Baby to Share

While Mandy’s story is old, she goes into detail about the different aspects of her gestational surrogacy journey here.

  1. Not My Bun in the Oven

Liz created her surrogacy blog to record her personal journey and help connect with other people who were considering or going through a surrogate journey. Her gestational surrogacy story lasted through 2014 and 2015.

  1. SurrOreal Life

While Beth’s blog stops right before she gives birth to her surrobabies, she does document the whole process of being a gestational surrogate for an international intended mother up until then.

  1. Mommy From IVF

Kim’s surrogacy journey is a bit briefer documented than others, but she comes from the unique experience of using IVF herself to conceive her children and then becoming a gestational surrogate.

  1. Foster Womb

One of the most recently updated blogs, Foster Womb is written by surrogate Sarah. She originally carried for an international couple during her first surrogacy journey and blogged her way through her second surrogacy journey, as well. Today, her blog addresses common questions that prospective mothers and surrogates have about the pregnancy process.

  1. I’m Just the Oven

Chrissy documented her first gestational surrogacy journey on her blog, including detailed posts about the preparation processes before transfer.

If you are interested in learning more about being a surrogate from someone who has been through this process, reach out to our surrogacy specialists. We can help connect you with former and current surrogates who can answer your questions.

You also might consider reading some of these stories from former surrogates:

Israelis Protest New Surrogacy Laws Discriminating Against LGBT Parents

Surrogacy in countries outside of the United States continues to be a complicated process — and recent developments in Israel suggest the issue isn’t getting easier anytime soon.

The government of Israel enacted a new law this week that now extends surrogacy rights to single women. However, right-wing legislators also rejected an amendment that would have included same-sex couples and allowed gay men to father children through surrogates, reported the New York Times. The decision came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reversed his support after opposition from his Orthodox coalition.

In response, LGBT activists and protestors flooded the streets this weekend to protest the decision. One gay couple marched with their children born via surrogacy in Israel, saying, “We came to support others who also want to be able to establish a family but can’t because a religious minster tells us we’re not allowed to.”

With this restriction in place, hopeful gay dads would have to complete international surrogacy, a process that can cost exorbitant amounts of money and come with many ethical and legal risks. While surrogacy in the United States does offer a safe solution, it is a process that is cost-prohibitive for many hopeful parents.

The protests in the streets of Israel indicate a growing acceptance of not only LGBT rights but of surrogacy itself in this country. One can only hope it’s also an indication of future surrogacy understanding and acceptance across the world.

Stay tuned for more reports from the New York Times on developments with this law.

If you are considering surrogacy in the United States, please contact American Surrogacy at 1-800-875-BABY(2229) for more information about this process.

5 Ways to Bond With Your Baby Born Via Surrogacy

Those who have built their family in a non-traditional way often have one common question: How can I bond with my baby if I’m not the one who carried him or her?

Here at American Surrogacy, we understand your concern. Society tells us that there is no connection like that between a pregnant woman and her child — but that doesn’t mean you can’t foster the same kind of connection if someone else was the one to give birth to your baby. While it may take a little extra effort, you can feel just as connected as anyone else who built their family in a “traditional” way.

For suggestions on how to forge that connection while your baby is in utero, check out this article. Here, we’ll focus on the steps you can take after you bring your bundle of joy home. All babies need contact, communication and love from their parents after birth. Use these tips to create a meaningful, healthy bond with your baby from the moment they are born.

1. Pay Attention to and Respond to Your Baby’s Needs.

This is the first tip for bonding with a baby for a reason — it’s the cornerstone of being a successful parent. You may be overwhelmed with your new bundle of joy, especially if this is your first experience being a parent, but you will learn quickly. You may not correctly anticipate your baby’s every need at first, but the more you pay close attention to them, the better you will get to know them and understand what they want. This mutual understanding will facilitate your bonding. After all, a baby will bond to the person who responds to their cries, which is why some experts advise that only the baby’s parents tend to their needs during the first couple of months, to help them recognize your role in their life.

2. Take Advantage of Feeding Time.

Along the same note, feeding time is one of the most important times you can address your baby’s needs. Take steps during mealtime to make eye contact, limit distractions and more to help your baby focus solely on you.

Did you know that even intended parents can breastfeed their baby? You can further facilitate this bonding by breastfeeding your child or giving plenty of skin-on-skin contact as you bottle-feed your baby. Talk with your doctor about the possibility of breastfeeding as an intended mother.

3. Don’t Skimp on Affection.

Naturally, you’ll be holding your baby a lot when you bring them home — whether to soothe them, feed them, or simply to marvel at this little wonder. All of this contact will comfort your baby, who will feel closer to you just from hearing your heartbeat.

Don’t be afraid to lay on other kinds of affection at this time, either. You may be worried about spoiling your baby, but that’s not a concern at this age. You cannot give a newborn too much affection, as it encourages the bonding process and helps them confirm you as a parental role.

Consider giving affection by:

  • Stroking their cheek
  • Having a bath together
  • Tickling
  • Hand holding
  • Gentle massages
  • And more — which brings us to our next point

4. Utilize Skin-on-Skin Contact.

Skin-on-skin contact is important for any parent bonding with their child but especially important for intended parents in surrogacy. While a baby will need to have skin-on-skin contact with the surrogate directly after birth to confirm his or her senses, the transfer to the intended parents for skin-on-skin contact is crucial to helping the baby recognize his or her parents.

Skin-on-skin contact is also helpful for improving physiologic stability for mother and baby, increasing maternal attachment behaviors, protecting against the negative effects of maternal-infant separation, and more. So, the research is clear: Don’t be afraid to share this important contact with your baby directly after birth and after you bring them home.

5. Always Talk to Your Baby.

New parents are bound to do this anyway, but the importance of talking to your new baby can’t be overstated. When your baby hears your voice, they are comforted that you are near, and it helps them better recognize your role as their parent.

In addition, talking to your baby helps them develop their own language skills. Children learn a lot from listening so, if you want your baby to start talking back early, don’t be afraid to chat them up to help them absorb information and language.

Bringing home a new baby can be overwhelming for everyone, but especially for parents through surrogacy who are getting their first experience with their little one. Remember, your surrogacy specialist will always be here to help you prepare for this step and offer advice as you adjust to your new life as parents.

To learn more about our agency services, please contact us at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

5 Big Reasons Not to Choose International Surrogacy

As an intended parent, you may be considering international surrogacy instead of domestic surrogacy within the United States. This may be for several reasons: You’ve heard it’s a cheaper process, can take less time to complete, and more.

However, the reality of international surrogacy is incredibly different from what you may have read online or heard about. While this kind of surrogacy was popular and successful in the last few decades, the truth is, international surrogacy today is a difficult and risky family-building process.

Before you decide on this path, we encourage you to read more about the reasons why international surrogacy may not be the right choice for you:

1. International Surrogacy Laws are Restrictive.

While each state within the U.S. has different surrogacy laws, the vast majority of the states allow for compensated surrogacy with a safe, regulated legal process. You will be hard pressed to find another country in the world where surrogacy is this safely regulated.

Many countries that once welcomed international surrogacy — like Mexico, India and Nepal — have now either greatly restricted or completely prohibited surrogacy for foreign intended parents. To pursue surrogacy in these states is risky and can set international intended parents up for failure and dire legal consequences.

Even in countries where surrogacy is legal, there are often many qualifiers. Compensated surrogacy may be illegal, surrogates may need to be related to intended parents, surrogacy may be illegal for LGBT intended parents, and more. Any intended parent should recognize the reality of international surrogacy laws in different countries before considering this path. Our surrogacy specialists encourage American intended parents to compare these laws to those of surrogacy-friendly states to understand exactly how the legal landscape of international surrogacy has changed.

2. International Surrogates May Be Exploited.

In the United States, there are laws to protect surrogates, and professional surrogacy programs require prospective surrogates to undergo screening and education before they can pursue this journey. You may not find the same safeguards in international surrogacy.

For years, surrogates in international countries were exploited by surrogacy professionals. Their financial situation forced them into this process, and they may not have known exactly what they were signing up for, due to a lack of higher education or any education at all. Because of these situations, many countries started to shut down their international surrogacy business.

However, if you decide to pursue surrogacy in a country that still allows you to, there is still the risk that your surrogate may not be choosing this path of her own free will and complete understanding. On the other hand, if you work with an American surrogacy agency like American Surrogacy, you can know your surrogate has been heavily screened to ensure she is mentally and physically ready for the process ahead of her.

3. Health Conditions and Facilities are Often Not Ideal.

Because surrogates in other countries may not be screened as thoroughly as those in the United States, there is also a health risk you must incur as an intended parent. You will have to trust that your surrogacy professional has found a surrogate who is medically safe to carry a pregnancy to term. Even those professionals that do screen medically may not screen her psychologically to ensure she understands and is comfortable with the medical risks of being a surrogate.

On the same note, if you choose a surrogacy abroad, you cannot be constantly updated on the medical status of your surrogate and her pregnancy. While surrogacy in the United States is governed by set medical standards, there are often no comparable standards in other countries. Professional medical care may not be as available to surrogates during their pregnancy, and you may not be able to have confidence in your surrogacy and medical professionals’ skills. Complications that can be easily handled in the United States could be incredibly dangerous in another country with less access to medical help.

4. Political Conditions Can Change Quickly.

Like with international adoption, international surrogacy is subject to the changing relations of countries. It’s not out of the ordinary for a country to change its laws to affect a particular country in retaliation to a diplomatic move, and you will always be at risk of that changing legislation when you choose to pursue an international surrogacy.

For example, families who were in the process of international surrogacy in Mexico were left in limbo when the country banned foreign intended parents in 2016. Whether or not their surrogates were pregnant, they were out thousands of dollars and a way to legalize any child born from the surrogacy process in that country. As surrogacy continues to be a controversial family-building method, it’s not unreasonable to expect these kinds of new restrictions in other countries moving forward.

5. It Can Actually Be More Expensive than Domestic Surrogacy.

Perhaps the biggest reason why intended parents consider international surrogacy is because they are led to believe it is cheaper than domestic surrogacy. This is not always true.

Like with surrogacies in the United States, the cost of an international surrogacy is directly correlated to the quality and quantity of services provided for the process. If an international surrogacy professional is offering a cheaper cost than a domestic one, consider all of the services involved. Odds are, your surrogate may not be receiving compensation for her services, or you will need to hire additional professionals to complete your international surrogacy — like an attorney to coordinate bringing home your internationally born child to the U.S. In addition, there is always a risk of hidden costs in international surrogacy — those not outlined in your professional’s services but that emerge as your surrogacy journey continues.

If you are curious how the cost of international surrogacy compares to domestic surrogacy, contact our surrogacy specialists for a full breakdown of costs with our agency. They can also discuss in greater detail the advantages of choosing domestic surrogacy over international — and why it may be a better overall choice for you.

How Exactly Does the Egg Retrieval Process Work in IVF?

If you have to create a fresh embryo for your transfer cycle for surrogacy, you may wonder exactly how an egg cell is obtained. While it’s fairly obvious how a sperm sample is gathered for the in vitro fertilization process, harvesting an egg is more complicated.

Whether you are asking this question because your own egg will be harvested for a transfer cycle, or you will be using a donor egg for your fresh embryo, it’s important to understand every procedure of the surrogacy process. Remember, your reproductive endocrinologist can best explain what this process will look like for you.

Every egg retrieval may look slightly different based on the circumstances of the surrogacy and egg donor involved but, medically speaking, there are a few universal steps involved.

1. Stimulate the Ovaries.

A woman’s ovaries naturally produce one egg each menstrual cycle. However, because the egg harvesting process is so invasive, fertility specialists want to harvest more than one egg during each procedure and maximize chances of a successful pregnancy. In order to do that, a woman must take fertility medication to put her ovaries into hyper-drive, so that multiple eggs can be harvested at once.

There are a few drugs that women can take to stimulate ovaries — known as “follicle stimulating hormone” — but one of the most common is Lupron. In fact, this is the drug that prospective surrogates often must take, as well, even if they are just a gestational carrier.

At the same time that her ovaries are undergoing stimulation, a woman must also take other drugs to suppress ovulation and cause final maturation of the eggs. Once the eggs are ready, a fertility specialist will trigger ovulation and final maturation with the hormone hCG.

2. Monitor Follicle (Egg Structure) Size.

Before ovulation can occur, a fertility specialist will monitor the ovarian stimulation process. Each fertility clinic has its own regulations for the number of eggs needed and their desired size before the retrieval procedure can occur. Specialists will also monitor statistics like blood hormone levels, estrogen levels and estradiol levels.

In general, the ovarian stimulating process takes about 8-10 days.

3. Stimulate Ovulation with hCG.

Once the eggs are deemed ready for harvest, a woman is given an hCG injection. This stimulates ovulation and induces the final egg maturation. The actual egg retrieval process will be completed about 35 hours after the injection and right before the woman’s body begins to release the eggs.

4. Retrieve the Eggs.

A woman must be placed under anesthesia to harvest her eggs. Because the procedure is invasive, the anesthesia prevents her from feeling pain and discomfort.

Once she is asleep, medical professionals pass a needle through the top of the vagina to get to the ovary and the follicles. The needle sucks the eggs from the follicle wall and out of the ovary, and the surrounding fluid follows shortly after. The eggs are then taken to the in vitro fertilization lab where the eggs are identified, rinsed, and placed in small culture dishes. From there, the eggs are protected in incubators until they are ready for the in vitro fertilization process and eventual embryo transfer.

Typically, medical professionals will retrieve an average of 8-12 eggs during each procedure, which takes about 10 minutes. A woman will likely experience mild to moderate cramping after.

What’s Next — IVF

Typically, harvested eggs are put together with sperm about four hours after retrieval, but each clinic’s procedures vary. After a certain amount of time, the eggs are checked for fertilization and, if they have successfully been fertilized, they are cultured and monitored until they are ready to be transferred into the uterus.

If the in vitro fertilization process is occurring for surrogacy, the surrogate will be taking fertility medication to sync up her cycle with that of the egg donor or intended mother. Then, when the embryos are ready, she will undergo the transfer at the intended parents’ fertility clinic. She can remain awake during the procedure, which is fairly quick and painless. For surrogacy with a frozen embryo that has already been created, egg harvesting is not necessary, although a surrogate will still take preparatory medication.

Of course, every egg retrieval process is unique, and it’s important that you speak with your medical professional for more information on the procedures awaiting you. If you’re not sure whether you will require a fresh embryo in your surrogacy process, we encourage you to speak with a surrogacy clinic.

For more information on the surrogacy process in general, please contact our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

How to Ask Your Employer for Infertility and IVF Insurance Coverage

There’s no doubt about it: Surrogacy and its related in vitro fertilization procedures can be expensive. In your research as an intended parent, you may have stumbled across articles boasting of the expansion of insurance policies’ coverage of IVF-related processes.

But, what if your current work insurance doesn’t cover IVF treatments? How can you make the surrogacy process more affordable?

One of your options is approaching your employer about expanding their insurance policy to cover infertility treatments. If you’re considering doing this, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Remember: Employers Want to Keep Their Employees Happy

It can be intimidating to take the step of asking for more coverage, but remember that it’s an employer’s job to anticipate their employees’ needs. Many employers may not even realize their policies are lacking this important coverage until an employee (like you) brings it to their attention.

The way people build their families today is much different than even a decade ago, and it’s important that employers understand those changes and address them appropriately in the workplace. Making a family easier to create, financially, will help employers retain their employees. It’s a mutually beneficial move to take.

In fact, recent studies show that people who have employer-provided infertility/IVF health insurance have higher satisfaction with their employer — an important thing to let your employer know.

Be Informed

Before you approach your employer about adding insurance coverage for infertility treatments, make sure you understand exactly what kind of coverage is most beneficial — and exactly how health insurance works. It can be a confusing industry, but it will do both you and your employer favors if you enter this meeting armed with facts.

In addition to explaining how this insurance coverage can impact relationships among employers and employees, take the time to explain how expensive infertility treatments are and what that journey usually looks like. Those who have not experienced infertility themselves may have no concept of this process, so use your personal experience and other facts (with studies of the cost of infertility, the emotional effects of this journey, etc.) to paint a picture for your employer.

Prepare for this Meeting

It takes more than just information to convince employers to expand their insurance coverage. You should anticipate the questions your employer may ask, provide follow-up questions and answers of your own, and be overly prepared for this meeting. Expanding your insurance is an important thing for you and your fellow employees, so make sure you communicate that importance with your preparedness.

The National Infertility Association has offered a workplace coverage checklist, which may help you prepare for this conversation.

Consider a Compromise

Unfortunately, not all employers will grant requests for expanded insurance outright. Instead, obtaining your insurance may be a bit of give and take.

One of the most common things you’ll see in current infertility coverage is coverage of procedures that are not as successful as IVF in leading to pregnancy. If this is the case in your insurance policy, discuss with your employer the possibility of switching out those covered procedures for in vitro fertilization or another procedure with a higher proven rate of success. In 2015, almost 68,000 babies were born using assisted reproductive technology out of the almost 213,000 treatment cycles. IVF is, by far, the most popular method intended parents use, whether to have a pregnancy of their own or for other processes like surrogacy.

This is why an understanding of infertility insurance is so important — so you can identify what is and isn’t working in your current policy and offer compromises to obtain the coverage you really need.

You may also consider other compromises, like giving up another service your employer provides in return for this insurance. If your conversation is a back-and-forth, you may be more likely to obtain infertility coverage than if you issue a strict demand.

Follow Up

Your employer may not be able to provide a solid answer on your first meeting, and that’s okay. They will likely need time to evaluate their current policies and determine what is the best course of action moving forward.

However, make sure to keep your request at the forefront of their mind. Send them reminder emails, or set a schedule to check in with meetings every so often. Your persistence will show your employer exactly how important expanding insurance is to you, and they may be more likely to adhere to your wishes if you do.

For more advice on how to ask your employer about infertility insurance, check out the information provided by the National Infertility Association. For more information about making surrogacy affordable, please contact our surrogacy specialists.

5 Things to Think About Before Considering Surrogacy

Choosing surrogacy is a life-changing decision — and not one to be made lightly. So, what should you know before pursuing this path?

Like with any major decision, it’s important that you do extensive research when considering surrogacy for yourself and your family. There are many complicated aspects involved in this journey, and a clear understanding is necessary before beginning. In fact, it’s necessary even while you are still considering this option.

Whether you are an intended parent or prospective surrogate, here are five things to consider before you start your surrogacy research process.

1. The Different Types of Surrogacy

Surrogacy is not a “one-size-fits-all” practice. Every surrogacy journey is different based on the needs, goals and preferences of each surrogacy party. Before you consider surrogacy, make sure you understand the different types available to you.

  • Gestational: In which a surrogate is not genetically related to the baby she carries. The most popular form of surrogacy today.
  • Traditional: In which the surrogate’s eggs are used to create the embryo, meaning she is genetically related to the baby she carries.
  • Agency-Assisted: In which both parties work with a surrogacy agency from beginning to end of their surrogacy agreement, including finding a match.
  • Independent: In which both parties find a match on their own and only work with a surrogacy attorney and a fertility clinic.
  • Altruistic: In which a surrogate does not receive base compensation for her services.
  • Compensated/Commercial: In which a surrogate receives a base compensation for her services on top of reimbursements for her surrogacy expenses.

Before you start seriously considering surrogacy, educate yourself about these paths and narrow down to which ones you think are best for you. That will make the next steps in your surrogacy research process easier.

2. Your Personal Motivations

Ask yourself this: Why are you considering surrogacy?

Every intended parent and surrogate chooses surrogacy for slightly different reasons. However, most intended parents choose this path because they want to be the parent of a genetic child and have decided surrogacy is best for them after exploring all of their options. Prospective surrogates choose surrogacy to help bring a child into the world (and not just because of the financial compensation offered to them).

If you have other overwhelming reasons for considering surrogacy, think about whether they are enough to sustain you through the long and complicated process ahead. We encourage you to speak to a surrogacy professional about your motivations for their advice on whether this is the right path for you.

3. The Impact of This Choice on Your Life

Surrogacy is not always easy. If you consider this path, you should also think about the challenges of the process, not just the eventual rewards and joys it will bring you.

Surrogacy can take a year or more to complete, and it involves many appointments with lawyers, doctors, and other professionals along the way. There will be times when your everyday life is disrupted (especially if you are considering becoming a surrogate), and there may be emotionally challenging times, as well. You should only consider this path if you are ready to accept these changes to your life. Speak with other intended parents or surrogates to learn more about the path ahead of you.

4. The Financial Implications

If you are an intended parent, surrogacy is typically not a simple decision to make, at least when it comes to your finances. Surrogacy costs tens of thousands of dollars, and you need to accept the realities of these costs before going any further into this process. While there is financial assistance like grants and loans available, you will still be required to commit a certain amount of your own money for this family-building path.

If you are thinking about being a surrogate, you probably have heard about surrogate compensation. This compensation can aid surrogates like you in important financial goals, like a down payment on a house or paying off student loans. However, it should not the main motivation for becoming a surrogate. Surrogacy comes with inherent risks and, while your contract will address those, you may sometimes be required to miss work and family obligations as a surrogate.

Many surrogacy professionals will not work with surrogates who only have a financial motivation for this journey.

5. Your Expectations

Finally, consider your own surrogacy goals and preferences before seriously researching this process. Are they realistic? Have you thought about all the aspects of surrogacy — negative and positive?

It’s extremely helpful to speak with former surrogates and intended parents to learn more about what this process is like. If you have an unrealistic expectation of surrogacy, you will have a negative surrogacy experience.

If you are looking for an easy way to have a child as a parent or make money as a surrogate, surrogacy will not be right for you. It’s an involved process that includes a great deal of screening and professional work before a match can even be made. But, if you are prepared to put in the hard work and overcome any challenges along the way, surrogacy can help you make your dreams come true.

Want to learn more? Contact our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) to aid in your surrogacy research process.

The Logistics of Completing a Surrogacy Across State Lines

With so many surrogates and intended parents across the country looking for their perfect match, it’s more common today than ever for an interstate surrogacy to be arranged. So, how exactly is this process different from matching with a surrogacy partner in your own state?

When you work with a surrogacy professional like American Surrogacy, it’s really not that different. You’ll receive the same level of quality case management, support and counseling services no matter where your surrogate or intended parent is located. Our surrogacy specialists work hard to ensure that an interstate surrogacy match does not negatively affect your journey, but you will always have the chance to choose the desired location of a surrogacy match.

If you are matched with a surrogate or intended parent in another state, there are a few important things to know about the process ahead of you:

Laws in the Surrogate’s State are the Ones that Matter

Often, intended parents ask, “Is surrogacy legal in my state?” However, the real question they should be asking is, “Is surrogacy legal in my surrogate’s state?”

Because the surrogate’s state is where the majority of the legal surrogacy process will take place, it’s her state laws that will impact your surrogacy journey. Therefore, even if you live in a state that is not surrogacy-friendly, you can still become parents with a surrogate from another state. Indeed, this will likely be your best path of action.

If you are a surrogate in a state that is not surrogacy-friendly, it will be difficult and risky to complete a surrogacy where you live. Many times, surrogacy agencies and attorneys will not work with surrogates from these states.

Once you find a surrogacy match, your surrogacy attorney and your partner’s surrogacy attorney will discuss the applicable laws for your situation. These will be laid out in your surrogacy contract and determine what steps to take moving forward.

Communication May Require Some Extra Work

In most surrogacies, intended parents and surrogates are not located closely enough to be in constant face-to-face contact. Most of their communication takes place over texts and emails, with intended parents coming to the surrogate for important milestones like ultrasounds.

In this way, an interstate surrogacy is not much different. Most of the communication will take place in the same manner (although time zone differences may have to be considered). However, depending on distance, intended parents may not be able to attend as many ultrasounds or complete as many visits prior to their baby’s birth. This does not necessarily mean your relationship won’t be strong; it will just be conducted in a long-distance way and, therefore, may require additional effort.

The distance won’t just affect your surrogacy communication. It can also conceivably make it harder for intended parents to get to their surrogate in case something unexpected occurs.

Before you solidify an interstate surrogacy match, speak with your surrogacy professional about the logistics of your communication and create a contact schedule that both parties are comfortable with.

Consider the Delivery and Post-Birth Processes, Too

On the same note, remember that out-of-state intended parents may not be able to be present right on time for an unexpected, early delivery. However, intended parents do make plans to travel to the surrogate’s state slightly before her due date or induction date. This way, they can better ensure they are there for the birth of their child.

As part of your surrogacy plan, your surrogacy specialists will help you create a hospital delivery plan. This will lay out the expectations of the delivery, including what kind of procedures a surrogate will have, who will be present in the delivery room, what kind of lodging is available for intended parents and more. Even if you are an intended parent coming from out of state, you will still be equally prepared for the hospital stay.

The intended parents’ surrogacy attorney will work with them to ensure proper parental rights are established after birth. Depending on the surrogate’s state laws, a parentage order may be executed before or after birth, or an adoption completed post-birth, if needed.

One final thing to consider about interstate surrogacy journeys is the return to your home state if you are an intended parent. Returning home with a new baby will be much more complicated than your original trip for the surrogate’s delivery. If you will need to take a plane home, consider how you can do so in the best interest of your new baby. Most airlines will allow babies to fly as long as they are two days old, but talk with your pediatrician and evaluate your own comfort when creating this plan. Whether you end up flying or taking another mode of transportation home, make the preparations to safely move and care for your baby during this journey.

Remember, you will always be able to choose the location of your surrogacy partner, whether you are a surrogate or an intended parent. Our surrogacy specialists can explain in detail how this may affect your wait time, as well as how our agency can guide you through a surrogacy in a different state. Learn more by calling us at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) today.