5 Holiday Gift Ideas for Surrogates and Intended Parents

Intended parents and surrogates are forever connected to each other when they complete a surrogacy process together, and it’s only natural to think of each other during family-focused times like the holidays. Like you would with any other loved one, you may wish to send them a little something to let them know you’re thinking of them during this time of the year.

But, what are appropriate holiday gifts for intended parents and surrogates?

The answer to this will likely depend on your individual relationship with each other. If an intended parent and surrogate are close, they may wish to send more personal, special gifts than an intended parent and surrogate who have not maintained a close relationship after the baby has been born. Remember, no intended parent or surrogate is ever obligated to send gifts to their surrogacy partner during the holiday season. For many, the gift of building a family is present enough.

However, if you are looking to send a little something during the holidays to your intended parents or surrogate, there are a couple of ideas to consider:

1. A Holiday Card and Family Update

One of the easiest and most personal things that you can do for your intended parent or surrogate is send them a holiday card at this time of year. Many people already create a holiday card and family update letter anyway, and choosing to add your surrogacy partner to the list of recipients will let them know you’ve been thinking about them. Surrogacy is a life-changing journey for both sides, and intended parents and surrogates wonder about the other’s lives and how they are doing. A holiday card is a great way for them to be updated on any family changes and important milestones and feel remembered and cherished.

2. A Personalized Gift Basket

Gift baskets don’t always have to be extravagant. Think about where your intended parents or surrogate is at in their life now, and try to create a personalized collection of items that they may enjoy. For example, brand-new intended parents might appreciate holiday items that commemorate “baby’s first Christmas.” A surrogate who has just completed her pregnancy may like a special photo frame commemorating her journey. If nothing else, a small basket of holiday treats is always appreciated.

3. A Sentimental Accessory

Because surrogacy is such a life-changing journey, intended parents and surrogates carry around their experience with them for the rest of their lives. They can also physically carry a memento of their surrogacy experience through a personalized accessory, like a necklace with the baby’s birthstone or a watch with the baby’s birthdate engraved. You can always speak to your surrogacy specialist to find out what kind of jewelry and accessories are appropriate and for ideas on how to personalize your holiday gift.

4. Flower or Edible Fruit Arrangements

Arrangements always bring happiness and brightness to a household, and this can be a great holiday gift idea for your surrogate or intended parent. Accompanied with a heartfelt note, these kinds of gifts are sure to bring a smile to your surrogate’s or intended parents’ faces.

5. Surrogacy-Specific Gifts

If a surrogate and intended parent are still in the midst of the surrogacy process during the holidays, they may choose to send each other small surrogacy-specific gifts. A surrogate may enjoy gifts that allude to her “superpower” as a surrogate, while intended parents may appreciate décor with surrogacy phrases or gifts for their baby, like an ornament with the baby’s sonogram picture. Etsy is a great resource for these kind of gifts. You can also find great ideas for surrogacy-specific gifts through surrogacy support groups and other intended parents and surrogates.

Whatever kind of holiday gift you choose to get your intended parents or surrogate, what matters is that you put thought and care into it. Don’t ever feel pressured to get an expensive, elaborate gift; oftentimes, it’s small things like pictures and emails that mean the most to surrogates and intended parents. After all, the holidays are all about love — and just knowing that you’re on the mind of your surrogacy partner will mean a lot.

What Does Religion Say About the Morality of Surrogacy?

Hopeful parents thinking about surrogacy have many things to consider before embarking on this life-changing journey. For those with a strong faith, they may need to consider how their religion will factor into their surrogacy process, as well.

Religion and any kind of assisted reproductive technology has always been a complicated issue. Many faiths emphasize the importance of a husband and wife conceiving naturally on their own, and involving anyone else in this process can be viewed as unholy.

However, as infertility and IVF become more everyday topics of conversation, many religious people have begun to change their views on what is acceptable within their faith — recognizing that it’s having a family that’s more important than the process behind it.

Religious Views on Surrogacy

Each faith is different and, therefore, what your faith may say about assisted reproductive technology and surrogacy may differ from what’s written below — based on your personal beliefs and that of your local congregation and religious leaders.

In general, here is how some major faiths view surrogacy:

  • Catholicism: While surrogacy is present in the Book of Genesis with the story of Sarah and Abraham, the Catholic Church does not advocate for surrogacy. Instead, the Church teaches that children are a gift from God, only to be conceived and carried naturally by a married husband and wife. Any addition of a third party to this process is considered immoral.
  • Protestantism: Because there are many different factions of Protestantism, views of the surrogacy practice will vary. However, these sects of Christianity are usually more liberal, and surrogacy and other assisted reproductive technology may be more accepted among certain religious groups.
  • Judaism: Like with other faiths, more conservative Jewish factions do not approve of surrogacy. In vitro fertilization can be completed under rabbinical supervision, but there is a complicated discussion regarding the heritage of a child born via egg donor (as Jewish heritage is matrilineal). More liberal religious thinkers may accept surrogacy as a way to ease the suffering of infertile couples.
  • Islam: Muslim views of surrogacy can be wide-varying. Some scholars argue that the process is akin to adultery and that the child has no legal lineage, while others claim that surrogacy is an integral part of the belief that humans have a responsibility to preserve the human species however they can. Some more modern Muslims believe that IVF and surrogacy is allowable as long as semen and ovum are from a married couple, while Sunni Muslims believe no third-party assistance should be permissible.
  • Buddhism: Surrogacy is completely accepted in Buddhism, mainly because procreation is not seen as a moral duty. Therefore, couples are under no obligation to have children and, when they do, they can do so through whatever way they deem fit.
  • Hinduism: Like many faiths, Hinduism and its views on surrogacy vary. In general, infertility treatments can be allowable, like through artificial insemination if the sperm is the husband’s. It’s important to note that surrogacy in India is a thriving industry, and many of the surrogates there are of Hindu faith.

Reconciling Surrogacy with Your Religious Beliefs

Because many religions were established thousands of years before IVF or gestational surrogacy could even be imagined, it can be difficult to determine whether surrogacy is really ethical for your religious beliefs.

Remember that all properly completed surrogacy processes protect the rights of both intended parents and surrogates in an ethical way, and both parties enter into the agreement together. It can be difficult to reconcile this positive process with something that many believe to be against their god’s will, especially if having children is so important to a certain religious culture.

If you are concerned about how your religious faith may play into your surrogacy process, we encourage you to speak to a trusted religious leader and other intended parents or surrogates who have been through the same process. They may be able to help you sort out your feelings and understand exactly what you feel is right and wrong about pursuing surrogacy with your religious convictions.

A surrogacy specialist can also speak to you about the American Surrogacy process so you can determine how it may affect your religious beliefs. There are also several faith-based surrogacy agencies specifically designed to address this family-building process from a religious standpoint.

Determining whether surrogacy is right for you is always a process that takes time, and considering your faith is an important part of this. We encourage intended parents and prospective surrogates to take the time they need to make the best decision for them and, if they have any questions, to contact us at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) today.

7 Things All Intended Parents Are Tired of Hearing

For many people, surrogacy is an exciting new family-building process that they don’t know a lot about. Intended parents going through the surrogacy process, therefore, find themselves in educator roles as their friends, family and acquaintances want to learn more about this family-building journey.

Unfortunately, some of the questions and comments from those unfamiliar with surrogacy can be insensitive or even rude and, as an intended parent, you’ve likely heard them more than once. We know these comments can be frustrating and annoying, so we’ve compiled them here for you to share with family and friends — and help them understand exactly what not to say to you and other hopeful parents in your situation.

1. “Aren’t you worried the surrogate will want to keep the baby?”

Because many people don’t understand how surrogacy works, intended parents get this question a lot. Surrogacy is not like adoption; it’s a legal contract that binds a surrogate and intended parents to certain expectations. If you’re in the midst of a surrogate pregnancy, your surrogate choosing to keep the baby isn’t even an option — and this question doesn’t even apply. You and your surrogate both know that she’s only “babysitting” your child for you, and she’s just as excited as you are to help create your family.

2. “You’re so lucky — you can keep your figure if you don’t get pregnant!”

Like many intended parents, you would give anything to be able to carry your child on your own. Missing out on the pregnancy experience isn’t a happy joke; it’s something that you wish you had every day. This comment can be the most hurtful of them all, as it usually comes from those who have never experienced infertility and don’t understand the feelings you’ve gone through before deciding on surrogacy.

3. “How much are you paying your surrogate?”

Finances are never anyone else’s business but for some reason, when you’re building a family in a non-traditional way, people feel like it’s okay to ask you about the cost involved. The only people who are privy to this information are you, your surrogate and your adoption professional — and people should know that.

4. “How do you know you can trust your surrogate?”

You and your surrogate have a special relationship; after all, this woman is sacrificing her time and body to help you become the parent you’ve always dreamed of being. For someone to tarnish that by questioning her should offend you. Never mind all of the physical and mental screening your surrogate went through before matching with you — you chose her and that should be enough of a seal of approval.

5. “Who is the baby’s real mother?”

For some reason, some people don’t put two and two together to realize that IVF is involved in surrogacy. Just because intended mothers aren’t the ones carrying their child doesn’t mean they’re any less of a mother to their baby.

In cases of egg donation with a male same-sex couple, people are also curious about whom the egg donor was. That’s only between the intended fathers and their child. Being our friend or family member doesn’t automatically obligate you to this information until we’re ready to share it.

6. “Whose sperm are you using?”

On the same note, when two gay men have a child via surrogacy together, people always want to know who the “real” father is. Why should it matter? Both fathers are going to love and support their child, no matter which one shares DNA with their baby. Unless we willingly share our baby’s genetic makeup with you, take a hint and don’t ask us about it.

7. “There are so many waiting children out there. Why didn’t you just adopt?”

People always have their thoughts on what kind of family-building process an infertile couple should pursue but — let’s say it again for those in the back — it’s none of their business. You could ask the same question of all those parents who easily had children naturally. The fact is not all family-building processes work for everyone, and you only decided on surrogacy once you were sure it was the right choice for your family.

 

As surrogacy continues to become a more popular way of building a family, it’s likely that more and more people will be educated about the intricacies and emotions of the process — but we can still bet there will be one or two people who ask the questions all intended parents are tired of hearing. Remember, if you’re having trouble addressing these comments or feel overwhelmed by the emotions they’re bringing up, you can always speak to your experienced surrogacy specialist or other intended parents who have been through the same thing.

What do you think: Have you heard all of these? Are there any we missed?  Comment below to let us know!

How to Support Your Friend Pursuing Surrogacy

Your friend or family member has just announced their surrogacy plans to you — and, while you’re excited for them, you’re not exactly sure how to support them in this journey.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do both during and after the surrogacy process to show your friend how excited you are for them… and to make their experience even more positive.

Learn about surrogacy.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about surrogacy out there. You don’t have to become a surrogacy expert, but being somewhat informed about the surrogacy process can go a long way in making your friend or family member feel supported and understood. Your friend will be touched that you took an interest in learning about surrogacy, and they will be happy to have someone to talk to who has a basic understanding of the process they’re going through.

Offer emotional support.

Whether your friend or family member is pursuing surrogacy as an intended parent or a gestational carrier, they are bound to have some hard days. Be there to listen and offer emotional support: let them vent, be a shoulder to cry on, and continue to do activities you enjoy together, whether it’s going out for pedicures or meeting up at a favorite restaurant.

Celebrate with them.

Surrogacy is something to be proud of, and the process is full of many exciting moments worthy of celebration. When your friend or family member hits important milestones in their surrogacy process — for example, the embryo transfer or confirmation of pregnancy — mark the occasion. Send a simple card, care package or gift, or, if your friend or family member is an intended parent, offer to throw a baby shower.

Provide a service.

In addition to emotional support, surrogates and intended parents can benefit from practical support during the surrogacy process, as well. If your friend is a surrogate, offer to babysit her other children or help out with some simple errands or household chores so she can get some rest. Similarly, if your friend is an intended parent, offer to help them assemble the crib or make other preparations for the new baby.

Welcome them home.

When your friend or family member returns home from the hospital, a simple gesture can go a long way to show them you’re thinking of them. Consider leaving a sweet surprise for the surrogate or new parents, whether it’s a bouquet of flowers delivered to the door, balloons tied to the mailbox or a home-cooked meal.

Like any woman who has just given birth, the surrogate will be physically and emotionally tired and recovering. And, like any new parents, the intended parents may be a little overwhelmed (and sleep-deprived). Remember that even after the baby is born, your friend can use all the help they can get — either as a surrogate or new parent. Pamper them, and continue to offer any emotional and practical help they may need.

When in doubt, consider what you would do for a friend pursuing a traditional pregnancy. Surrogacy may be a different way of bringing a child into the world, but it’s no less beautiful — and the intended parents and surrogates who come together to make it happen are no less deserving of your support.

5 Ways to Deal with Infertility During the Holidays

The holidays are supposed to be a time of good cheer and glad tidings, but for those facing personal struggles — like infertility — it can sometimes be difficult to get into the holiday spirit.

If you are coping with infertility, here are five things you can do to combat the holiday blues this year:

1. Be prepared.

 The holidays tend to go hand-in-hand with family gatherings, which means there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself surrounded by kids, happy new parents and even pregnancy announcements. It also means there’s a good chance that your own plans for starting or adding to your family might come up in conversation.

Try to prepare yourself for these scenarios. Decide ahead of time how you’ll react if a well-meaning relative plops a baby into your arms, and consider how you want to answer the inevitable “So, are you thinking of having kids anytime soon?” questions. You might develop some stock answers or use it as an opportunity to open up about your infertility — if you feel ready.

You are always entitled to your feelings, and it is always up to you to decide how you want to respond to nosy or insensitive questions and comments. But having a plan in place can help you better handle these tough situations and the emotions that may come with them.

2. Say no.

 You don’t have to accept every invitation, and if you do attend a party or gathering and start feeling overwhelmed, you’re not obligated to stay. Saying “no” to close friends and family members may not be easy, but it’s important to take care of yourself and to do what you think is best for you. If a particular family tradition or event seems like it might be too emotionally difficult for you, it’s okay to say so; don’t feel guilty about not participating.

If you do decide to opt out of certain gatherings, consider making alternative plans. Book a getaway with your partner, or host your own holiday celebration with adult friends (and no children).

3. Reach out.

 Feeling less-than-merry during the holidays can feel isolating. But, if you’re struggling this holiday season, know that you’re not alone. Even if you’re not quite ready to open up about your attempts to conceive around the Christmas dinner table, it’s important to talk to someone about the challenges you’re going through.

Don’t be afraid to lean on your support system, and consider reaching out to an infertility counselor for help. There are many infertility support groups and forums that may also provide the comfort and solidarity you need, as well.

4. Communicate.

 The most important person in your support network is your partner — and it’s especially vital that you keep communication open with him or her during the holidays. Don’t forget to check in with each other about how you’re handling things, especially if one of you is having a particularly hard time coming to terms with your infertility.

Also, make sure you both are on the same page about which events are musts and which you’d rather skip. Talk about your game plan for answering those sensitive questions. Develop a signal you can use if one of you needs to bail on a party early. Be a unified front, and you will get through the holidays together.

5. Celebrate.

 Again, you are always entitled to your feelings, and you should allow yourself time to feel sad and to acknowledge any grief, anger and other emotions you may be experiencing.

But, you should also take some time to try to find meaning in the holidays, too. Look for positive moments to celebrate — take part in the traditions that mean the most to you and bring you joy, or start new ones with your partner. Consider volunteering or donating to a cause that’s important to you. There are many ways to mark the holidays, so find what works for you.

How Your Surrogacy Journey Will Affect Your Spouse

When you become a surrogate, you’re making one of the greatest commitments you can possibly make. But, as much as you will dedicate your time and energy to helping create another family, it’s also important to recognize that your decision will also impact your own family, especially your spouse.

Women today are required to be raising their own children before pursuing this process, and many also have a partner who will be intimately involved in the journey, as well. Therefore, if you’re considering becoming a surrogate, you’ll need to take extra steps to involve your spouse and children to make sure they’re comfortable and understand exactly what your surrogacy decision will mean for them. For many women, surrogacy is not a choice they make solely on their own — but with their spouse’s help.

What Surrogacy Will Mean for Your Spouse

As mentioned, being a surrogate is a huge commitment, and it will greatly impact the lives of all your family members. When you’re raising children with your partner, necessary work and responsibilities will have to be rebalanced — which is why your spouse should be on board with your surrogacy decision from the start.

Like many pregnant women, you will likely have days where you don’t have as much energy or feel as well as you normally do. Activities that you usually take care of or share with your spouse, like cleaning and watching the children, may seem impossible. Your spouse will need to take on those extra responsibilities during that time. In addition, if you are placed on bed rest or required to miss a great deal of work, this can add to the practical and financial responsibilities for your spouse.

You may also have doctor-mandated restrictions on intimacy, especially when you are preparing for your embryo transfer process. Because you will have heightened fertility, any sexual intercourse with your spouse will be more likely to lead to pregnancy — but not the kind you want. If you’re part of a lesbian couple, talk to your doctor about what intimacy restrictions you may need to adhere to. In addition, just like any pregnant woman, your energy and libido may take a hit during this process, which may mean you’re less interested in physical intimacy. This can very easily drive a wedge between couples, so make sure to address this with proper communication.

Keeping Your Relationship Strong

Your spouse is likely your go-to support system in all other areas of your life, and it should be the same during the surrogacy process. However, because surrogacy is such an emotional journey, it may be difficult to keep the same relationship you’ve always had during potential hard and stressful times. This is why it’s so important that you keep your partner involved, so they feel a real part of the process.

To keep a strong relationship with your spouse, try to follow these tips:

  • Ask him or her to come to doctor’s appointments with you, meet the intended parents and be there for the baby’s birth.
  • Talk with your partner throughout the surrogacy process, even when things get tough.
  • Speak with a counselor if you’re struggling to communicate effectively.
  • Focus on the positives, like the surrogate compensation you may be using for a large financial gain, like a down payment on a house.
  • Remember that your surrogacy journey is only temporary; maybe plan a special trip or event after you are recovered from your pregnancy.
  • Lean on others, like friends and family and other surrogate couples, for support and assistance.

Perhaps most important is something you do before you even begin the surrogacy process — discussing its possibility with your spouse and making sure they support you from the very beginning. Without this support, your surrogacy process will become complicated and could have lasting effects on your relationship. If you are having difficulties explaining the process and your decision to your spouse, you can always contact your surrogacy specialist. She will be happy to help you through this conversation and answer any other questions that your partner may have.

Remember, the most successful surrogates go through the surrogacy process with the full support of their spouse, who is just as excited to be part of such a beautiful, family-building journey. With the proper communication, preparation and dedication, you and your spouse will create a life-changing memory of doing something good that you’ll cherish forever.

21 Surrogacy Quotes to Share Today

Surrogacy is an emotional journey, full of ups and downs on the way to creating a family. Perhaps the best way to capture these feelings is through surrogacy quotes.

Many times, these surrogacy quotes and phrases capture exactly what intended parents and surrogates are feeling but can’t quite articulate themselves. They’re also easy to share — a way for you to express your own feelings about the beauty of surrogacy and what the process means to you.

To find surrogacy quotes, all you need to do is search for them on any social media site you can imagine. We’ve gathered a few of our favorites here for you to read and share.

For Surrogates

“You have never really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
“If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that.”

“It is more blessed to give than receive.” — Acts 20:35
“The greatest good is what we do for one another.” — Mother Teresa

For Intended Parents

“Life has a funny way of working out just when you start believing it never will.”
“If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”

“However motherhood comes to you, it’s a miracle.”
“How your baby came into the world is far less important than the fact that she’s here.”

For Everyone

“Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about.”
“Even miracles take a little time.”

“Take it all one day at a time and enjoy the journey.”
“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”

What are some of your favorite surrogacy quotes? Let us know in the comments, and feel free to share our photo quotes!

5 Things to Be Thankful For During Your Infertility Journey

As Thanksgiving approaches, people around the U.S. will sit down to dinner with family and friends, expressing their gratitude for the wonderful things in their lives.

However, when you’re coping with infertility during the holiday season, especially on Thanksgiving, it can be hard to find something that you’re thankful for. You’re probably more focused on the things you don’t have rather than the things you do. And, while that’s completely understandable and normal, it’s also important to take this time to think about all the good things in your life during this difficult time.

While everyone’s situation is unique, there are several things that you likely can be thankful for at this time in your life.

1. That You Have Loving, Supportive Friends and Family

The infertility process is incredibly difficult and facing it alone is impossible. Whether you’re still in the acceptance period of your infertility struggles or moving forward with an infertility treatment like surrogacy, you likely have friends and family that you can turn to for support.  It may be a large group or a few close people, but they are instrumental to your coping with this difficult period in your life — and you should be thankful for each and every one of them.

2. That You Can Afford Fertility Treatments

When you’ve already attempted several rounds of fertility treatments, it’s normal to feel frustrated and upset at the medical process involved. However, there are many people in the world that may also be dealing with infertility but don’t have the methods or the financial ability to further pursue their parenthood dreams. Intended parents can be grateful that they not only have the advanced medical options like surrogacy open to them but that they can also afford the process that will bring them a child.

3. That There Are Many Family-Building Options Available to You

Hopeful parents in the United States have so many different ways they can build their family, from adoption to assisted reproductive technology to foster care. Others in different parts of the world aren’t so lucky. The U.S. also has laws that protect LGBT and foreign parents looking to grow their family, unlike in other countries where single, LGBT and non-nationals cannot complete the family-building process. While the family-building process can be frustrating and slow-moving at times, you can be grateful that you actually have this opportunity in the first place.

4. That There is a Large Community of Support Available to You

Thanks to the growth of online communities through social media and the internet, those who are struggling with infertility can gather more information than ever. While prospective parents before the internet had to rely on their doctors and local support groups to learn about the process awaiting them, now you can easily get in contact with others who have been through your situation — no matter where they live. A support system is incredibly important during the infertility and family-building process, and many hopeful parents are thankful for the opportunities for support and information provided through these online communities.

5. That You Are Moving Forward in Your Process, However Incrementally

It can be difficult, especially around the holiday season, to find hope in a process that may have left you many heartbreaks and losses. However, it’s helpful to find the silver lining. After all, you’re likely farther along in the process than you were last Thanksgiving. Perhaps this is the first Thanksgiving since you’ve started taking advanced steps toward creating your family, or you’ve moved forward from last year’s treatments to a different family-building process that holds a better chance of success for your family. No matter what, you’re likely in a better position that you were before — and moving closer to success is always something to be grateful for.

Infertility can be a hard process, especially around the holidays, which is why we encourage those coping with infertility to acknowledge their feelings and reach out for love and support from others. Remember, as tough as it may seem, there is always something in your life you can be thankful for.

5 Facts You Need to Know for World Prematurity Day

Today is World Prematurity Day, a day to recognize and raise awareness about the severity of preterm births around the world. As a surrogacy agency that deals with the birth of children on a regular basis, American Surrogacy takes this subject very seriously and wants to make sure all of our prospective surrogates and intended parents know the truths about preterm birth.

Our surrogacy specialists and the fertility clinics and obstetricians we work with take important steps to reduce the likelihood that any children born through our program are preterm. We know just how hard intended parents and surrogates work to bring a baby into the world, so we will always do our best to keep everyone involved in the process safe — especially the baby at the center.

The March of Dimes is leading this year’s World Prematurity Day awareness campaign, and we encourage you to join in as well. Like the movement on Facebook and visit its website to receive information throughout November on lifesaving research, treatments and community support for those affected by premature births. Change your profile picture to a World Prematurity Day one, post a message of support today and use the hashtags #givethemtomorrow and #worldprematurityday. When we all come together to spread awareness and hope, we can take great steps toward reducing the number of babies who start their lives in serious medical distress.

As part of the mission to raise awareness about premature babies, we’ve collected some of the most important facts you need to know:

1. About 380,000 babies are born prematurely in the U.S. each year.

A premature birth is any birth that occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy. It can happen to any woman, and the reasons behind premature births vary widely. The March of Dimes campaign funds research to help determine these causes and prevent more premature births from occurring.

2. Last year, the U.S. preterm birth rate worsened for the first time in eight years.

Overall, the United States earned a “C” grade for premature birth rates in 2016, based on the March of Dimes’ research. Key to this is the widening differences in prematurity rates across different races and ethnicities. The rates also vary across states; whereas Virginia has the lowest rate of 9.2 percent preterm births, Mississippi has a rate of 13 percent. You can view your state’s grade and report card here.

3. Preterm birth rates vary widely based on race and ethnicity.

In the U.S., black women give birth to preterm babies at a rate of 13.3 percent — a huge difference from Asian-Americans, who prematurely give birth at a rate of 8.5 percent. That means that the preterm birth rate among black women in the U.S. is 48 percent higher than the rate among all other women. These racial and ethnicity disparities also vary by state.

4. Premature births cost the U.S. $26.2 billion each year.

Babies born prematurely require additional medical and practical assistance that ends up taking a financial toll on not only parents, but schools, hospitals and the government. For example, premature births result in an additional $16.9 billion in medical and health care costs for babies and $1.9 billion in labor and delivery costs for mothers per year. About $1.1 billion must be paid for special education services for children with lasting effects from a premature birth.

5. Premature babies are subject to all kinds of life-threatening conditions.

In addition to being born before they’re ready to survive outside of the womb on their own, premature babies are more likely to develop many life-threatening complications, including:

  • Anemia
  • Apnea
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Jaundice
  • Sepsis
  • And more

The world of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is incredibly stressful — and that unfortunately doesn’t always help these fragile babies. Many babies who are in the NICU can develop dangerous complications quickly as their medical status changes without warning. Medical complications aren’t the only lasting impact; the families of those babies born early are in constant stress over the health of their baby and often fall into financial distress, as well.

The good news is that there are organizations like the March of Dimes working to help reduce and prevent the likelihood that babies are born prematurely. With their help, physicians can use their research to hopefully begin saving more lives and creating a healthier pregnancy and birthing experience for all.

Get involved by sharing this article or the campaign on your social media accounts or donating to the March of Dimes today. 

FertilityIQ Releases Annual List of Most IVF-Friendly Employers

In the United States, 1 in 8 married couples struggle with infertility issues. It’s no wonder, then, that the annual IVF cycle volume in the U.S. has increased 70 percent in the last decade, meaning more people than ever are completing more IVF cycles than ever — and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the family-building process.

Fortunately, employers have started to recognize the importance of infertility treatments to their employees, and many have started offering infertility-specific benefits to those who need it. More than 60 percent of patients undergoing infertility treatments don’t receive any coverage but, to help you be more aware of your options, FertilityIQ has compiled a list of the companies who do provide the best infertility benefits in its annual report.

For the second year in a row, employers within the technology sector placed highest in the 14 categories FertilityIQ studied. Companies like Facebook and Salesforce offer benefits well over $100,000 in value to their employees, and several employers offer unlimited coverage for employees who meet certain requirements.

The consulting and accounting and banking and finance industries placed second and third, respectively, in an analysis of more than 250 employers who offer infertility benefits in the United States.

For a full list of the factors impacting FertilityIQ’s study, as well as listings of employers by benefits and industry, check out more of the annual report here.

To learn more about financing your infertility treatments and what American Surrogacy’s fee structure looks like, you can contact a surrogacy specialist today at 1-800-875-2229.