5 Things to Know About the Updated New Jersey Surrogacy Laws

As the home of the notorious “Baby M.” case, New Jersey has always had a complicated relationship with surrogacy. For many years, both traditional and gestational surrogacy contracts in this state were unenforceable — but recent developments in New Jersey surrogacy laws have now opened up this family-building process to many more intended parents and surrogates.

The amended New Jersey law introduces several new aspects. Let’s break them down:

1. Gestational surrogacy is now enforceable in New Jersey.

Before these amendments, neither traditional nor gestational surrogacy contracts were expressly permitted and enforceable by state laws. Now, if a gestational surrogacy meets certain requirements, it is enforceable by New Jersey laws.

2. Only certain expenses can be paid to a surrogate.

While this is not a “new” law, per se, it is laid out in a way that it had not been prior to this legal update. Gestational surrogacy agreements are only enforceable if a surrogacy is altruistic. Intended parents can pay for certain “reasonable” expenses of the surrogate, including legal costs and reasonable living expenses. However, gestational surrogates in New Jersey cannot be paid a base compensation.

This addition to the law reflects the standing tradition of treating surrogacy expenses as similar to those of an adoption, a practice which continues to apply to traditional surrogacy, as well.

3. Intended parents and gestational surrogates must meet certain eligibility requirements.

In order for intended parents and gestational surrogates to enter into a legal surrogacy agreement in New Jersey, they must meet new requirements:

  • Surrogate
    • Be at least 21 years of age
    • Has given birth to at least one child
    • Has completed a medical and psychological examination
    • Has retained an independent attorney for the agreement drafting process
  • Intended Parent(s)
    • Has completed a psychological examination
    • Has retained an independent attorney for the agreement drafting process

4. Gestational surrogacy agreements must follow certain steps to be deemed legal and enforceable.

New Jersey laws now have specific requirements for the way gestational surrogacy agreements must be created. First, the agreement must always be executed in writing by the gestational carrier, her spouse (if applicable), and each intended parent. Both parties (surrogate and intended parents) must be represented by separate attorneys during this process.

Before an agreement can be drafted, the surrogate and the intended parents must have completed their required screenings (see above) and be deemed fit for the challenges and rewards of the surrogacy process.

The contract must expressly state:

  • A surrogate’s intention to:
    • Undergo pre-embryo transfer and attempt to carry and give birth to a child
    • Surrender custody of the child after the child is born
    • Have the right to medical care of her choosing after she notifies the intended parent(s) in writing
  • The surrogate’s spouse’s agreement to those terms
  • An intended parent’s intention to:
    • Accept custody of the child after the child’s birth
    • Assume sole responsibility for the support of the child after birth

If an agreement meets all of these specifications, surrogacy officials will deem it enforceable and provide a safe path for the parties moving forward.

5. Intended parents can obtain a pre-birth order in a gestational surrogacy.

If a gestational surrogacy contract is enforceable, it also protects the rights of the intended parents to receive a pre-birth parentage order — regardless of their marital status or genetic connection to their child. A petition for a parentage order must include affidavits from both parties and their attorneys, as well as the medical facility that performed the embryo transfer.

After the birth of the child, the State Registrar will grant a birth certificate naming the intended parent(s) as the parent(s) of the child.

While these are the basics of the updated New Jersey surrogacy laws, the legal process of every surrogacy is unique and can hold certain considerations. The information in this article is in no way intended as legal advice; intended parents and surrogates in New Jersey should always speak with a local surrogacy attorney for more guidance on the new laws and what they mean for their surrogacy journey.

The specialists at American Surrogacy can always provide references to trusted surrogacy attorneys in New Jersey, as well as provide counseling and information if you are interested in surrogacy in New Jersey. For more information, please contact our agency today at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

10 Intended Parents Surrogacy Blogs to Read Today

While surrogacy is a family-building process that continues to grow in popularity and visibility, you may still be the only intended parents you know pursuing this route. But, how can you know what to expect from the path ahead of you if you don’t have fellow parents to learn from?

Your surrogacy specialist will always be there to support you and can always connect you to other intended parents if you wish to speak with some. However, some of the best ways to learn more about the surrogacy process is from someone who has been through it — and documented it in detail. This is where intended parent surrogacy blogs can be so beneficial.

With the rise of the internet and social media, more and more people are journaling through the difficult and exciting times in their life. It’s not a surprise that many surrogacy journeys have been detailed on intended parents’ blogs. It provides a way for these intended parents to not only work through their own emotions but also to connect with other intended parents like you, whether they are still exploring the process, in the middle of it, or have had a baby via surrogacy.

Here, we’ve provided a list of intended parent surrogacy blogs, surrogacy forums for intended parents and other online intended parents support groups to help you learn more about surrogacy from those who have been in your shoes.

1. American Surrogacy Blog

We know that there are a million little questions you may have about becoming an intended parent in the surrogacy process. We aim to tackle those in our blog, where you’ll find new content posted twice a week. While our blog does focus on all members of the surrogacy journey, you will also find specific intended parents’ blogs for some of these questions you might have. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Comment with suggestions of topics we should tackle next!

2. Our Misconception

Two intended parents blog through their infertility struggles, including their choice to pursue gestational surrogacy after six years of trying to conceive on their own. In 2013, they welcomed a baby girl via gestational surrogate.

3. Fox in the Hen House

Although the author of this blog has taken a break, it can be helpful to look back on her journey through infertility treatments, a failed surrogacy process and her adoption journey. Not every family-building process is right for everyone, and this can help you understand the realities of the different paths available to you.

4. Whitney and Erick

These intended parents brought a baby into their life through gestational surrogacy in 2014, and the intended mother documented her surrogacy journey after years of infertility.

5. Jason and Kerri

These intended parents completed their surrogacy journey in 2015 and welcomed a little baby boy. They created their website just for blogging about their surrogacy experience.

6. Mark and Teri

This intended parents’ blog explains how one couple tried three different surrogacy journeys — one international, two domestic — before they finally brought home a baby. Their surrogate ended up being a family member.

7. Our Journey to a Forever Family

One intended mother blogs about her journey through being diagnosed with endometriosis, undergoing fertility treatments, and eventually pursuing traditional surrogacy. After having one child through surrogacy, she and her husband adopted a daughter, as well.

8. Bake My Babies

Although an older intended parents blog, this blog follows a Mormon intended mother who pursued surrogacy to bring a child into her and her husband’s life.

9. Intended Parents Forum

Here, intended parents can read blogs and participate in forums about the surrogacy process from their perspective.

10. BabyCenter Community – Intended Parent Support

As one of the online surrogacy forums for intended parents, this website allows intended parents to share their stories, ask questions and learn from others who are considering, in the middle of, or have completed surrogacy.

Remember, you can always contact your surrogacy specialist to be connected with current and former intended parents like you. A sense of community and support is critically important in the surrogacy process, and we are happy to help you find the guidance and advice you may need.

Benefits for Baby: Delayed Cord Clamping and Skin-to-Skin Contact

How a baby is delivered is one of the most important choices a woman can make for her pregnancy. When both a surrogate and an intended parent are involved, these conversations are even more important. You’ll want to make sure the delivery process is one that both parties are comfortable with and does what is best for the baby.

One of the growing trends in modern deliveries is delayed cord clamping, in which the umbilical cord continues to provide blood and nutrients to a baby up to five minutes after he or she is born. But, when skin-to-skin contact between the baby, the surrogate and the intended parents is so important, this choice may initially seem to complicate things a bit.

Whether you are considering delayed cord clamping or want to learn more, you can find some useful information below.

Why Do Parents Choose to Delay Cord Clamping?

In the majority of births, medical professionals cut the umbilical cord shortly after the baby is delivered. This is often done to allow easier access to the baby for immediate cleaning, medical care and other services.

However, there’s a growing awareness about the potential risks of immediate cord clamping — and the benefits of delaying cord clamping.

The umbilical cord connects the baby to the placenta, the vital organ that provides nutrients while the baby is in the womb. When the baby is born, the placenta is still functioning as a blood circulatory organ. This means that about 1/3 of the baby’s blood is still in the placenta at the time of his or her birth. When the umbilical cord is immediately cut, that blood remains in the placenta (which is why people can donate or store placentas after birth). However, when medical professionals choose to delay cord clamping, all of that blood is able to return to the baby.

During this transfer — called “placental transfusion” — the umbilical cord provides the baby oxygen, nutrients, red blood cells, stem cells, immune cells and blood volume. If a cord is cut before these nutrients can be delivered, the baby is at greater risk for iron deficiency during the first six months of their life. This deficiency is in turn linked with neurodevelopmental delay.

To minimize these risks, and to provide the most benefits possible to their baby, more parents today are choosing to delay cord clamping upon the delivery of their child. If you are interested in this process, we encourage you to speak with your OBGYN to learn more.

How Will Delayed Cord Clamping Affect a Surrogacy Birth?

When delayed cord clamping first was studied, it was believed that a baby needed to be held at the height of the placenta in order for blood to continue being pumped and for maximum benefits to be had. Understandably, this put off some parents from this path, as it prevented the important skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby after birth — not to mention the logistical issues of trying to hold a slippery newborn baby at placenta height after birth.

However, a new study reveals that there is no difference in what position a baby is held at during delayed cord clamping. This means that integral skin-to-skin contact is still possible during this process, which many parents should be thrilled to hear.

Skin-to-skin contact can be a bit complicated in surrogacy births. A baby must first confirm their senses by being placed on the surrogate’s skin, and then be physically transferred to the intended parents. One can see where the logistics of traditional delayed cord clamping might make that impossible. But, due to the new knowledge that a baby does not have to be held at placental height, these steps are still achievable in a surrogacy birth.

How Do I Decide Whether This is Right for Me?

As with any medical decision surrounding a baby’s birth, it’s important to speak with the obstetrician and the hospital staff overseeing the delivery. But, when you pursue delayed cord clamping with surrogacy, there is another party that must be involved: your surrogacy partner.

Both intended parents and their surrogate should be on the same page about the decision to delay cord clamping. Although there are very few risks associated with delayed cord clamping, it is still a decision regarding the surrogate’s body — so she should have just as much input as an intended parent does. Proper understanding of the pros and cons of this process is crucial before any decisions should be made.

If you are unsure of how to bring up the idea of delayed cord clamping to your surrogacy partner, remember that our surrogacy specialists can help. Your specialist can mediate this conversation and help you create a surrogacy birth plan that meets the needs of both surrogate and intended parents. Contact us today for more assistance.

How Do Surrogates Feel About Carrying Someone Else’s Baby?

It’s a common question about surrogacy: How do surrogates really feel about carrying someone else’s baby?

For someone unfamiliar with the surrogacy process, it can be confusing as to why a woman would give her time, body and energy to being pregnant for someone else. After all, pregnancy is a huge commitment that does come with certain risks. When a woman spends all that time carrying a child, does she really feel nothing for the little bundle of joy?

Of course surrogates have feelings for the babies they carry. Their emotions are just a bit different than what you might expect.

They Know the Baby isn’t “Theirs”

Most surrogacy processes today are gestational, which means the surrogate is not genetically related to the baby she carries. Instead, the baby is conceived from an embryo of the intended parents’ genetic material (or with the combination of a donor egg or sperm). That embryo is then transferred to the surrogate’s uterus.

When a woman is pregnant with an intended parents’ baby, she knows from the beginning that the baby is not hers. She often views what she is doing as “babysitting” — taking care of the unborn child until they are healthy enough to go home with their parents after birth. Therefore, many surrogates report that they don’t feel the same attachment to a surrogate baby as they do to the children they carried themselves.

A woman must go through certain mental health screenings and evaluations before she can become a surrogate. During these screenings, she is counseled about the feelings she might expect while pregnant, and health professionals must feel that she can properly handle the emotions of surrogacy before she can even begin. With all of this information, surrogates don’t ever feel like the baby they are carrying is “theirs.” While legal protections are in place to prevent a surrogate from keeping the baby after birth, the truth is that it’s extremely rare for a surrogate to have those kinds of maternal feelings toward the baby she carries.

They are Excited to Involve Intended Parents

Surrogates do not try to keep their pregnancy private. They know how important this pregnancy is to the intended parents, so they take steps to actively involve the baby’s parents as much as possible.

From the beginning of the surrogacy process, women who become surrogates must give up a certain degree of privacy when it comes to their medical treatments and procedures. Therefore, a surrogate is often incredibly comfortable with involving the intended parents in intimate moments like ultrasounds and delivery. She would likely be upset if the intended parents couldn’t be present for these moments.

Surrogates are usually thrilled about including intended parents in whatever ways they can, but it’s still crucial that both parties create a contact schedule in their surrogacy contract before starting. A surrogacy agency or professional can also help mediate any contact disagreements that arise during the surrogacy process and aid the creation of a positive, genuine relationship between intended parents and their surrogate.

They are Prepared for any Post-Birth Emotions

As part of their pre-surrogacy screenings, surrogates are informed of the conflicting emotions they may feel after they give birth to the baby. These emotions aren’t due to a maternal attachment; instead, they are often products of the pregnancy hormones they can’t control.

Surrogates are prepared for the emotions they may feel, and these emotions rarely affect a surrogate’s adherence to legal custody issues. In fact, many surrogates are overjoyed to give the baby to the parents. A surrogate has often created such a genuine relationship with intended parents that she is thrilled to finally help their dreams come true.

In the case that a surrogate does experience conflicting emotions after birth, she will always have the support of her surrogacy specialist and any other required mental health professionals. Remember, any of these feelings often stem from post-partum hormones, not a genuine desire to “keep” the baby. At American Surrogacy, our specialists work closely to support all surrogates after their delivery to ensure they are adjusting appropriately.

If you want to learn more about how women feel about carrying a child for intended parents, you can always contact our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229 for more information about this process.

Why Do People Choose Surrogacy Instead of Adoption?

Surrogates give a lot to help intended parents realize their family dreams: time, energy and, of course, their body. If you are considering becoming a surrogate, it’s normal to want to know more about intended parents before pursuing this path.

During your research process, you may learn more about all the family-building options available to parents. One of the most popular of these options is adoption; indeed, there are several different paths to take to adopt.

This may lead you to ask: Why do intended parents go through all the trouble of surrogacy when there are children out there waiting for a loving home?

Intended parents’ choice of surrogacy is a bit more complicated than that. Before you become a surrogate, you should understand exactly how intended parents decide that surrogacy is right for them. Every intended parent is different, but there are a few key reasons why surrogacy may be the best path for them.

They Want a Genetic Child

Like many people, intended parents have often dreamed for years about a child that has their genetics — someone that shares their eyes, their nose, their face. It’s hard to let go of the dream of a “mini-me” that reflects who you are. Just because a couple struggles to conceive on their own doesn’t mean these dreams go away — or that they move past them to automatically adopt instead.

Parents who can conceive on their own aren’t judged for their desire to have a biological child, so why should intended parents be? Before you ask why people didn’t choose adoption, consider this situation: Wouldn’t you try to have a genetic child yourself if assisted reproductive technology (ART) allowed for it?

They Have Remaining Embryos

Often, intended parents who pursue surrogacy have already gone through rounds of unsuccessful IVF procedures. An intended mother may know she cannot carry a child but, if the couple has remaining embryos, the decision of what to do with them is complex. Storing embryos forever can be costly, but it can be difficult to dispose of them or donate them to another couple.

If intended parents have remaining embryos, surrogacy may be the next logical step for them. This ART method will give them the chance to use the embryos they have spent money creating and give them the last chance to have the biological child they have dreamed about.

They Want More Control Over Their Family-Building Process

In many ways, surrogacy provides a level of involvement in and control over a family’s creation that adoption does not. In surrogacy, intended parents are an equal partner in the process; they can mutually select the surrogate they wish to carry their baby, they can create a surrogacy contract of expectations for their surrogacy journey, and they can be present for important doctor’s appointments and the birth of their child.

In private domestic infant adoption, parents are chosen by a prospective birth mother, and she may choose them at any point in her pregnancy — even after she has given birth. Adoptive parents will have no guarantee that an expectant mother is receiving proper prenatal care or avoiding dangerous substances, and they usually won’t be present for the birth of their child. The wait time for adoption is difficult to predict. Hopeful parents can wait months or years to be matched, and there is always the chance of an adoption disrupting when a prospective birth mother changes her mind.

Often, hopeful parents who choose surrogacy are comfortable paying more to have a degree of control over their family-building that the process of adopting a baby cannot provide. It’s an understandable choice, especially if the parents have already spent months or years on failed fertility treatments.

Adoption is Not as Easy as It Seems

Adoption is a very different process from what some people believe it to be. If you’re wondering why intended parents don’t “just” adopt a baby, you need to first understand the complexities of the adoption process and why it’s not as easy as some people make it out to be.

Whether parents choose to adopt from foster care, adopt an infant domestically or adopt internationally, there are many regulations and requirements that have to be met. While it’s true that there are many children in foster care waiting for homes, a parent cannot just go and adopt a child — they must complete background checks and home studies, be matched with the perfect child for their situation, and then have a child be placed in their home for a certain amount of time before they can legally adopt them. Of course, hopeful parents must also consider the difficulties of raising an older child who may have experienced trauma in his or her life.

Adoption is not an easy or simple way to add a child to a family; in many ways, it is just as complex as the surrogacy process. It’s also not the right answer for every hopeful parent.

It’s normal to be curious about intended parents who you will be spending a year or more working intimately with. Remember that before you find intended parents, you will have the chance to learn more about them and the path they took to surrogacy. Parents who have chosen surrogacy are not “selfish”; they have just chosen the path that is best for them.

To learn more about intended parents who work with our surrogacy agency, please call 1-800-875-2229(BABY) or contact our surrogacy specialists online.

4 Ways to Cope with Pregnancy Envy During Surrogacy

Intended mothers who pursue surrogacy go through a lot. Often, they have spent months or years undergoing in vitro fertilization and other fertility treatments to no avail, have decided to pursue surrogacy and its additional costs, and are willing to accept the physical and emotional complexities of having another woman carry their child.

For many women, this aspect can be one of the most challenging of their surrogacy. When an intended mother has dreamed of being pregnant and having a baby for years, it can be difficult to watch someone else go through the process she thought she would go through herself.

This experience can often cause confusing emotions. If you are an intended mother considering surrogacy or currently in the surrogacy process, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the pregnancy envy you may feel.

Understand the Positives that Come from this Situation

As much as it may sting to see another woman carry your child, remember the reason you chose surrogacy — to give yourself the genetic child you’ve dreamed of for so long. When pregnancy envy becomes too much, think about all of the positive things this path will give you. You’ll be present for your baby’s birth, raise them from birth, and have a child who shares your genetics. At the end of the process, it will all be worth it.

What should you not do? Focus on the positives of not being pregnant (or let anyone try to convince you of them). If loved ones know you are struggling through pregnancy envy, they may try to make you feel better by mentioning all of the pregnancy experiences you are saved from: morning sickness, bloating, weight gain, etc. However, most intended mothers find that thinking about these things only exacerbate their envy. After all, they would take all of those “negatives” in a heartbeat if it meant they were able to be pregnant with their own child.

As tough as it can be, remember that there are positives that stem from the situation you are in — and the envy will pass when you meet your little bundle of joy.

Don’t Feel Obligated to Attend Baby Showers

This rule is helpful to both intended mothers who are pursuing surrogacy and hopeful mothers who are struggling with infertility. When you are coping with feelings of jealousy and anger about someone else’s pregnancy, you never have to participate in something that exacerbates those feelings (like a baby shower or baby clothes shopping). You must always do what is best for your own mental health.

If you are invited to an event that you know will only cause difficult emotions, don’t feel guilty in sitting it out. Consider sending a nice card or gift instead; your friends will understand.

Keep Conversations About This Topic Short

When you are an intended mother, people will often have questions for you about your surrogacy experience. Some of these questions may revolve around how you feel having a surrogate carry your baby — questions which can be hard to address when they bring up uncomfortable feelings.

You always have the right to answer or not answer whatever questions you receive about your surrogacy process. Sometimes, when people ask you about the aspects you’re struggling with (like missing out on pregnancy), it can be easier to just move past the topic. Dwelling on how you feel may only cause you more pain.

Fortunately, you can always respond to questions by stating you’re uncomfortable talking about it or that your contract prevents you from talking about it. People will usually pick up on this discomfort and drop the subject, allowing you to share these intimate feelings with only those you trust, like your spouse or your surrogacy specialist.

Be as Involved as You Want to Be in Her Pregnancy

How you cope with your pregnancy envy will always be up to you. What works to alleviate some intended mothers’ feelings may not work for you. This is where honest discussions with your surrogacy specialist can be so beneficial.

For some intended mothers, being involved in their surrogates’ pregnancies can help them overcome the feelings of jealousy and disappointment they feel at not carrying their own children. Surrogacy is a close partnership between intended parents and their surrogate; an intended mother can be there for the embryo transfer, important ultrasounds and the birth of her child. If she creates a close relationship with her surrogate, an intended mother can be updated on all the important moments of the pregnancy and feel like she is not missing as much as she thought she would.

However, some intended mothers might find this contact too much — and that’s completely normal. Still, because surrogacy is a partnership, it’s important that both parties are on the same page about contact moving forward. Only then can it be a positive emotional experience for all involved.

When you work with American Surrogacy, your surrogacy specialist will always be there to support you as an intended parent. If you find yourself struggling with pregnancy envy, your specialist can provide the counseling and guidance you may need to move forward in a positive manner.

7 Hard Parts of Being a Surrogate

If you’re considering becoming a surrogate, you’ve probably heard about all the wonderful parts of this journey: helping to bring a child into the world, creating an intimate relationship with the intended parents and more.

However, being a surrogate is not all butterflies and rainbows. After all, it’s a huge commitment of your time, energy and your body to help another family. It’s normal for there to be tough times during the journey, and it’s important that you understand what they might be before deciding on this path for yourself.

Here at American Surrogacy, support from our surrogacy specialists and references to trusted surrogacy lawyers and medical professionals can help alleviate some of these challenges. You are never alone when you work with American Surrogacy; we will always be there to help through both the difficult and rewarding parts of your surrogacy process.

Remember, each surrogacy journey is different, but here are some of the difficult experiences that former surrogates have reported.

1. Failed Transfer

It’s completely normal for an embryo transfer to fail, but it can still be disappointing, especially on the first try. You and your intended parents will be anxious and excited to start this surrogacy journey together, and it may seem like nothing can go wrong with the guidance of experienced medical professionals. If a failed transfer does happen, it can be devastating.

Success rates of an IVF transfer will always depend upon a clinic’s procedures, including any pre-implantation genetic screening it completes. In general, a little more than half of all IVF transfers will result in pregnancy, with anywhere from 35-40 percent of transfers failing to implant.

If you experience a failed transfer, remember that your surrogacy specialist and your medical professionals will be there to counsel you through this time. A failed transfer is not your fault as a surrogate, but it can still be an emotional process, nonetheless.

2. Medications

When you become a surrogate, you will be required to take a great deal of fertility drugs to prepare your body for the embryo cycle. Some of these medications will be taken orally, while some will require you to inject yourself at home. All of these medications will require strict planning and scheduling to ensure they are taken at the proper time.

Your doctor will always walk you through your medication schedule. Many surrogates find these medications (and their potential side effects) to be one the most difficult parts of surrogacy preparation. You may need the assistance of your spouse or loved ones to maintain this schedule or to administer certain drugs.

3. Waiting for Your Pregnancy Results

Many surrogates and intended parents are overjoyed and excited waiting for their transfer results — but that doesn’t mean it isn’t also an excruciating wait. Waiting for your pregnancy results can put you on pins and needles, whether you are waiting to take an at-home pregnancy test or receive your official ultrasound a week or two after transfer.

4. Miscarriage

Miscarriage is another unfortunate reality of surrogacy. While embryos do go through pre-implantation screening, there is still the chance that a miscarriage can occur. In most cases, the surrogacy miscarriage rate is comparable to the rate of miscarriage among women who become pregnant naturally: about 10-25 percent.

If you do experience a miscarriage, you will likely experience the same kind of sadness and grief as the intended parents, even though the embryo was not your own. These feelings will be normal, and your surrogacy specialist will be there to counsel you (and the intended parents) through this difficult time. When both parties are ready to try another embryo transfer, you will work closely with your doctor to prepare your body for another procedure.

Keep in mind: A miscarriage usually will not affect your ability to become pregnant in any future transfers.

5. Pregnancy Side Effects

Like any pregnancy, a surrogate pregnancy can come with difficult side effects — everything from morning sickness to gestational diabetes to more serious complications. You may find that your surrogate pregnancy is completely different from your previous pregnancies. The experience could be much harder or much easier, so it’s a good idea not to go into your surrogacy with certain expectations.

Remember, any necessary medical care will be completely covered by your intended parents, and your doctor and surrogacy specialist will work closely with you throughout your pregnancy to ensure your comfort.

6. Working with Distant Intended Parents

Surrogacy is a partnership, and it can be hard when your intended parents aren’t located close by. Not only will they often be less present for important doctor’s appointments, but they won’t be able to be there as quickly should something go wrong.

It can be tough to go through your pregnancy without intended parents’ close, practical support, but working with long-distance intended parents is more common than you may think. Technology like emails, video chatting and more can keep you in frequent touch with the intended parents. Your surrogacy specialist will help you create a contact plan in your surrogacy contract; that way, you can more easily build a relationship with intended parents who may not be located just a few hours away.

7. Coordination of Surrogacy Appointments

Finally, being a surrogate will impact every aspect of your life. Finding the time for surrogate appointments on top of your motherly and familial duties can be the hardest part of this journey. You may need to miss some of your children’s activities for scheduled medication and appointments, and it can be frustrating to give up some of your normal activities because of a lack of time or energy.

Remember, this is only temporary. You will have chosen to become a surrogate to make a difference in someone’s life, and it will be all worth it in the end. Choosing to work with American Surrogacy is the first step toward tackling these challenges and creating a positive surrogacy journey for you and your intended parents.

If you have any questions about the potential challenges of surrogacy or want to learn more about how our agency helps to minimize any risks and complications, contact our specialists for free at 1-800-875-BABY(2229).

Celebrating Mother’s Day at Different Stages in Your Surrogacy Journey

Mother’s Day, as exciting as it is for many women, can also be emotionally challenging for those who have not yet achieved their motherhood goals. Whether you are still struggling with infertility, are in the middle of the surrogacy process or have had a child through surrogacy, your motherhood experience will be different from that of many other mothers.

This isn’t a bad thing — it’s just something to recognize when this day of the year comes along. Even long after motherhood is realized, the pain of infertility can rear its ugly head. Therefore, Mother’s Day can be a trigger for even the happiest of mothers.

At American Surrogacy and our partner agency American Adoptions, we celebrate mothers in all stages of their parenting journey. Below, you’ll find some advice for women in all parts of the surrogacy journey to make this Mother’s Day as positive as possible.

If You’re Struggling with Infertility

Women who are not yet mothers can have the hardest time on Mother’s Day. After all, it’s a day that celebrates all that you don’t yet have — but desperately want. When struggling with infertility, it can seem like your body has betrayed you, and being hounded with images of happy mothers and children can be emotionally devastating.

Know this: You always have the right to do what makes you happiest on this day. Your emotional well-being is always the most important thing.

Some intended mothers decide to completely sit Mother’s Day out. They know that trying to celebrate this day, even with important maternal figures in their lives, can make things harder — especially if you know you’ll receive endless questions about having children yourself. If this is the case for you, do an activity that is completely unrelated to the holiday and brings you joy. Use your coping mechanisms for your infertility journey to let out your emotions and address how you’re feeling.

On the other hand, you may wish to jump into Mother’s Day and turn your negative feelings into positive energy toward the important maternal figures in your life. Take the attention off of yourself by focusing on your own mother and other family members. Celebrating with your loved ones can sometimes help you forget your sadness and even enjoy yourself on this emotionally complex day.

If You’re in the Surrogacy Process

If you’re in the middle of a surrogacy journey on this Mother’s Day, you are likely feeling some conflicting feelings. You will need to address these emotions in order to have a positive day.

If your surrogate is pregnant, you probably can’t wait until this time next year, when you’ll finally have the little bundle of joy you’ve been waiting for so long. Because of this excitement, Mother’s Day might be easier than you imagine. You may consider including your surrogate in your Mother’s Day mentions; she would certainly appreciate receiving a token of appreciation like flowers or a small gift. After all, she is the reason you will be a mother, and she may be giving up precious time with her own children to help you reach your goals.

At the same time, you shouldn’t shy away from the more negative feelings you may have during this time. Your journey to motherhood is unique; you are missing out on some key experiences like pregnancy and childbirth. It’s important to acknowledge any feelings of jealousy or sadness on this day, or they may come back to haunt you later. Recognize how special your motherhood journey is, and don’t shy away from the realities of your situation.

Remember, if you are struggling with complicated emotions during your surrogacy experience, your surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy is always available to offer guidance and suggestions.

If You’ve Had a Child Through Surrogacy

Finally, if you’ve successfully had a child through surrogacy, it may seem like your Mother’s Day would be like any other mother’s — full of joy and love. However, there are still some important things to consider after your motherhood goals have come to fruition.

The fact that you have a child now does not erase the months and years you likely spent lamenting your infertility. Don’t be surprised if these latent emotions show up at the most unexpected times, including during Mother’s Day celebrations. Your sadness about not experiencing pregnancy may reappear, especially when your child starts asking questions inspired by traditional Mother’s Day crafts at school.

Along the same line, you might find that your child wants to send a card to his or her surrogate on Mother’s Day. This does not mean that you’re not “mother” enough for him or her; it’s actually a sign of your child’s maturity and understanding of their surrogacy journey. Your surrogate played a large role in bringing your child into the world, and it’s a wonderful gesture to appreciate her on Mother’s Day.

If your child doesn’t suggest it, you may still consider including your child’s surrogate in Mother’s Day to teach your son or daughter gratitude and appreciation from an early age. Your surrogate is an important part of your child’s story, and she should not be forgotten. Mother’s Day is a day that celebrates all people who play a maternal role: whether they are female or male, related to the child or not. There’s never an issue with including more love and appreciation on this day.

How to Approach Mother’s Day as a Gay Male Parent

Mother’s Day: A day when hardworking moms get breakfast in bed, flowers and gifts, and a day full of what they want to do. But, for thousands of families across the U.S., Mother’s Day is a bit complicated — because there’s no mother to celebrate.

Male fathers who have used surrogacy know that their child having a mother is in no way more important than having two loving, doting parents who happen to be men. But, when schools and society make such a big deal about Mother’s Day, it’s normal to not know how to approach this topic with their kid.

In most cases, children of two gay dads don’t overthink this holiday as much as their parents do. They accept the roles their fathers play in their lives and don’t feel left out on Mother’s Day.

However, if you’re a gay father concerned about how to address this subject with your child, find some guidance below.

Addressing the Role of an Egg Donor in Your Child’s Life

It makes sense for you to consider your child’s egg donor — their biological mother — when the second weekend of May comes around. After all, this woman is your child’s “mother” in a certain sense, even if she is not involved in their life in the way that a live-in mother would be.

If your child approaches you about celebrating his or her biological mom on Mother’s Day, don’t take it as a sign that you and your partner (if applicable) are not enough for him or her. All children are curious about their biological parents, whether they are born through an egg donation or they have a birth mother through adoption. Mother’s Day can be a great opportunity to open up a conversation about your child’s egg donor that may not have been there before.

You’ll want to always have your child’s egg donor be an open topic of conversation but especially on Mother’s Day, when your child may question why they don’t have a mother of their own to celebrate. If your egg donor is known, suggest that your child write her a card on this holiday — not so much a “Mother’s Day” card as an “Egg Donor’s Day” card. That way, your child can feel included in the holiday even if he or she doesn’t have a mother to celebrate.

To Involve or Not to Involve The Surrogate?

Similarly, many gay male couples use Mother’s Day as a way to celebrate their child’s surrogate. Some even decide to make it “Surrogate’s Day” instead.

However, when doing this, you will want to clarify that your child’s surrogate is no way their mother. Explain that, yes, other children may be brought into the world by their mother, but just because a surrogate gave birth to them does not create the same relationship. If you have properly explained your child’s surrogacy story, this will come as no surprise to them — but don’t be surprised if they ask more questions around Mother’s Day, especially if they are younger.

This can also be a great opportunity for your child to develop a relationship with their surrogate, if both parties are comfortable doing so. You might consider visiting your surrogate on Mother’s Day, or help your child create a card or letter for her, expressing their appreciation and how much her decision means to your family.

You also have the right to not involve your surrogate as you feel comfortable. However, even if you don’t make Mother’s Day completely about your surrogate, teaching your child empathy and appreciation by acknowledging her on this day is important.

How to Involve Your Child in Mother’s Day Celebrations

Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be a big deal in a household with two fathers. The amount to which these kinds of families celebrate this day varies greatly; some deem this day another Father’s Day, while some don’t acknowledge it at all.

However, whatever you choose for your own household, recognize that your child will likely complete Mother’s Day activities at school and at other activities. It can be awkward for them to not be involved in these arts and crafts, so make sure to inform your child’s teachers about their situation prior to these activities and suggest alternatives for your child.

One of the most popular paths gay fathers take? Using Mother’s Day to celebrate the women in their child’s life who play an important maternal role.

Instead of ignoring Mother’s Day, use it as an opportunity to appreciate women like your child’s grandmother, aunts, close family friends and more. Suggest that your child create cards and put together small gifts for these women instead of focusing on the “mother” aspect of the day. Consider taking any childless women who play a role in your child’s life out to a nice meal or spend some quality time with them. They will appreciate it, and your child won’t feel left out of the Mother’s Day activities.

More than anything else, don’t stress about Mother’s Day if you are a gay dad. It can be tempting to overthink a holiday that has such significance in society today, but know that the lack of a mother has not been proven to harm a child. With proper foresight and preparation, you can create a Mother’s Day for your child that is meaningful and that works best for your family.

4 Ways to Respond to Infertility & Surrogacy Shaming

If you are an intended parent struggling with infertility or in the middle of the surrogacy process, you are well familiar with the difficulties of the path you are on. You know the sacrifices and tough decisions you made to get to where you are. That’s why it can be so frustrating and infuriating when someone else comments upon your personal life: a growing trend called parent shaming.

For some reason, with the power of social media, people feel compelled to hide behind their computer screens and judge other parents for their choices — whether that’s adoption, IVF, surrogacy or simply their parenting styles. When you’re going through the difficult process of assisted reproduction, these comments can be grating, especially when the commenter doesn’t really understand what your personal journey involves.

These are just a few of the comments you may have received or heard:

Why didn’t you just adopt? There are so many waiting kids.

Why did you spend all that money on IVF if you can’t even get pregnant?

Well, maybe if you just relaxed and didn’t stress about having a kid, you’ll actually get pregnant.

We’re sad to see the trend of IVF- and surrogacy-shaming become normalized online. So, what can you do as an intended parent to combat this shaming and judgement?

1. Think before you respond.

When someone comments harshly about your choice to pursue IVF or surrogacy, it can be tempting to quickly respond, fueled by the hurt and anger you’re feeling. However, take a deep breath and think about what you’re saying. Sometimes, to defend themselves, intended parents deflect by shaming the commenter for their parenting decisions. However, responding with judgmental comments will do nothing to solve the online-shaming problem.

2. Respond politely and with kindness.

Instead of lashing out, be considerate. Just because you are not speaking to the person face-to-face does not mean they don’t deserve the same kind of respect you would give in an in-person conversation. Politely thank them for their comment, but respectfully agree to disagree.

3. Educate them about IVF and/or surrogacy.

Often, judgmental comments about assisted reproductive technology come from a place of misunderstanding. For example, some people may believe that surrogates are “giving up” their own baby, which can inspire hateful comments. Take this opportunity to educate the commenter about the realities of the path you’ve chosen. Explain how you came to this decision, and emphasize that it was the right choice for your family.

4. Politely excuse yourself from the conversation.

Unfortunately, many people don’t come to social media to have an open, productive conversation. They don’t wish to have their mind changed but to instead reiterate their own points over and over. Therefore, it can sometimes cause more harm than good to engage them in a lengthy discussion. Instead, remind them that how you build your family is no one’s business but your own. You can also say you aren’t comfortable discussing your intimate family decisions with them. If they continue to engage you, ignore them or take steps to block them.

Remember, your emotional well-being is what really matters — not the opinion of someone on the internet.

Taking Steps to Stop the Cycle in Your Everyday Life

To stop infertility- and parent-shaming, consider your own life. Do you find yourself being critical of other parents, whether you express those opinions or not? Odds are, you have at some point — you’re only human.

But, when those thoughts arise, take a minute to remember that everyone’s situation is different. What you see as a breakdown in parenting may be a parent dealing with an impossible situation, like financial troubles or a death in the family. No parent is perfect all the time, and it’s not productive to criticize things that a parent is likely already self-conscious about.

There is no “right” way to be or become a parent, and it’s not your place to tell someone what they are doing is “wrong.” Instead, show a little kindness and support, especially of people who might share different beliefs than you. We could all use a bit of understanding in this day and age.