International Midwives Day: The Role They Play in Surrogacy

Surrogacy is a life-changing journey. But, like any family-building experience, it wouldn’t be possible without the help of some very important people.

Today, we’d like to highlight and celebrate the essential work that midwives and doulas do to provide care to intended mothers and their newborns, as well as gestational carriers. May 5 happens to be International Midwives Day, and the theme for this year is Midwives with Women.

If you’re a surrogate or intended parent, then you might have thought about using a midwife or a doula at some point. Both of these professionals are great resources, but how do you know which one is right for you? Should you use both or neither? We’ll share a little information about your options to help you get started.

What’s the Difference Between a Midwife and a Doula?

Both a midwife and a doula can be extremely helpful during childbirth — especially for women who are looking for the kind of specialized care an obstetrician can’t offer. But, not a lot of people know what kind of services they can provide or how they differ.

Here’s what you can expect from each one:

  • Midwives: A midwife is a trained health care professional who supports women during labor, delivery and the postpartum period. She’s also able to provide care to newborns. Midwives aren’t doctors, but they have completed a graduate program in midwifery. There are also several types of midwives, but the most common is a Certified Nurse Midwife, or CNM for short. Although they’re registered nurses, they can’t perform certain deliveries, like a c-section. Because of their restrictions, they’re best used for women with low-risk pregnancies.
  • Doulas: A doula is very similar to a midwife. These professionals provide the emotional and educational support that women often need during pregnancy and the difficult postpartum period. However, a doula is not a maternity care provider. This means that you can’t use one to replace a midwife or your doctor. Still, their experiences as a birth coach are invaluable for both intended parents and surrogates.

If you’re using a midwife, you should be prepared for the chance that they’ve never delivered a baby via surrogacy before. In that case, you’ll want to prepare them for the unique surrogacy experience. Here are a few tips, if they need some background knowledge:

  • Make sure to explain what the surrogacy process.
  • Provide an outline of your birth plan.
  • Make sure they know they can contact your specialist if they have any questions.
  • Communicate your feelings.

Why You Should Consider Using a Doula or a Midwife

If you’re a surrogate, using a doula or a midwife can be a great help during childbirth. Pregnancy is already stressful enough, and it can be extremely helpful to have another experienced professional on your side. For surrogates, these birth coaches can offer:

  • Prenatal support and education
  • Birth planning
  • Support and education
  • Counseling postpartum

Doulas and midwives are also a great resource for intended parents, too. Some of their services include:

  • Childcare education
  • Newborn support
  • Support for you as a new parent
  • And more

While a doula or a midwife can be a great resource for both parties, they’re not for everyone. Before you choose one, please make sure you’ve done plenty of research to make sure you’ve found a great professional.

Sharing Your Plan with Your Specialist

If you’re thinking about using a doula or a midwife, let your specialist know. There are a lot of choices that you’ll have to make in your birth plan, and this is one of the most important. Using either one can be advantageous, and your specialist can help you decide which one is right for you.

This decision must be made by both the surrogate and the intended parents, so it’s crucial that everyone is on the same page. Your specialist can help mediate the conversation until you can come to a decision that’s right for both parties.

If you need help finding a midwife or a doula, your surrogacy specialist may refer you to local professionals in your area. The OBGYN or hospital might also have some resources available to help you get started. For additional resources, check out these websites:

If you have any other questions about using a midwife or a doula, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your surrogacy specialist for more information. And, if you plan on using either, let your specialist know as soon as possible. Finding the right doula or midwife takes plenty of time and research, so don’t rush yourself when it comes to choosing the right one for you.

How to Talk to Your Employer About Parental Leave

There’s something special about those first moments that you spend with your baby —their laugh, their smile, and all the little things that make them so unique. We know that you’ll want to soak up as much time as you can with your little one. But there’s one small thing to worry about: getting time off from your job.

Every parent deserves to have time to bond with their child after birth. If you’re an intended parent, you’re probably wondering if surrogacy is included in your employer’s  parental leave policy. You might even be worried about how to broach the subject with them in the first place or about how they will react.

These fears are common, but there is some important information you should know to put your mind at ease.

What Kind of Benefits Can Intended Parents Receive?

Both surrogates and intended parents can receive FMLA, also known as the Family and Medical Leave Act. This protection includes 12 weeks of unpaid leave for various reasons, including the birth of a child. However, please keep in mind that FMLA does not include paid leave. It also comes with certain restrictions. For example, only covered employers offer FMLA. Employees are also required to work a certain length of time before they’re able to receive it.

Before taking leave, please check with your employer or HR to understand all of their policies. Ultimately, it will be up to your employer to decide whether or not you can receive leave.

You can also take this time to see if your employer offers paid parental leave, if any. If that option isn’t available, you might have to work out a flexible schedule with your spouse that includes working from home or working part-time.

Don’t forget to ask your employer what kind of options are available and to create a plan with them before leaving.

How to Talk to Your Boss

At some point, you’ll need to tell your boss about your surrogacy journey. Depending on your employer, you may or may not be the first employee to share  surrogacy news  — so they might not know what to expect.

Below, you’ll find some tips for navigating this conversation:

  • Talk to them early: It’s important to specify when you plan to take leave, so that your employer can plan ahead. If you don’t give them enough heads up, they might not be able to help as much. Or, even worse, you might find that you’re already scheduled for that time off. It never hurts to be early, but it can hurt to start too late, so plan ahead.
  • Try to talk face-to-face: This is the best way to have a conversation with your employer. Try to plan for when they’re free and set some time aside to talk about your parental leave plan. This is also a good time to go over what arrangements are available to parents pursuing surrogacy.
  • Determine what your maternity leave will look like: Some parents decide to take the whole 12 weeks of FMLA available to them, while others need less. Read through your employee handbook to see what your company’s policy is regarding maternal and paternal leave.

Keep in mind that, for many, surrogacy is still a relatively new concept. There are some employers who won’t be understanding if an intended parent asks for leave. Unfortunately, this means that intended parents could face some challenges in the workplace.

If this turns out to be the case, or your workplace doesn’t offer arrangements for parents pursuing surrogacy, you might be at a loss wondering what to do next. If you face any discrimination at all, don’t be afraid to get HR or a lawyer involved to advocate on your behalf. It might even be a good idea to talk to them first for some more tips.

Remember: You deserve to have as much time as any other parent to bond with your baby.

What’s Next?

Navigating parental leave as an intended parent can be confusing, but we’re here to help. If you have any other questions about parental leave as an intended parent, don’t hesitate to reach out to your surrogacy specialist for more information.

What If Your Spouse Wants to Become a Surrogate?

Becoming a surrogate is a life-changing journey.

So, if your partner has decided to become a surrogate, the news will probably come as a shock. And, as their partner, you want to do everything you can to support them. But it can be hard to work through the emotions that you’re feeling right now.

Many spouses of women who want to become a surrogate are supportive, proactive, and encouraging. And, yet, others may be feeling worried, anxious and uncertain about the process ahead.

While there is no right or wrong way to feel about this decision, there is one thing that we want to make clear upfront: Your support will be a crucial part of this entire journey. That’s why, in this article, we’ll go over some things you should know when your spouse decides to become a surrogate — and a few ways that you can stand by her side.

Working Through Your Emotions

It’s not every day that you find out that your spouse wants to become a surrogate. At this point, we bet you have plenty of questions. Rest assured, this isn’t a decision that your spouse came to lightly.

Choosing to become a surrogate involves many factors. Maybe she’s always dreamed of helping someone else grow their family. Or maybe it’s an idea she’s stumbled upon recently, and after plenty of research, she’s decided it’s the right path for her.

You’re also probably full of mixed emotions. Some spouses are very supportive of the idea of surrogacy, making their partner’s journey that much easier. But, there are many spouses who aren’t understanding of the decision to become a surrogate.

First, we want to say that you’re not alone for feeling this way — but it’s possible for these feelings to change. Your emotions may come from a place of misunderstanding. Surrogacy may still be a whole new concept for you. You might worry about how this will affect your partner’s well-being, your family and you.

If you are unsupportive of your spouse’s surrogacy goals, it will be near impossible for her to move forward. She needs your support during this life-changing, complicated process. Before shooting down her idea, hear her out — you may find yourself convinced.

If you’re not sure where to turn to, please reach out to a surrogacy specialist to learn more. You and your spouse can also speak with a counselor about what you’re feeling before moving forward.

We know that this news is a lot to take in, so don’t feel bad about needing some time to process everything. When you are ready to talk, a specialist will be there to support you.

How You Can Support Your Spouse’s Surrogacy Journey

We know that starting the surrogacy process can be a stressful time for everyone. In that case, here are a few of our tips for supporting your partner through their surrogacy journey.

  • Learn about surrogacy: Education is one of the best tools. If you’re new to the surrogacy process, then you’re probably feeling a bit wary. The good news is that there is plenty of information available for you to peruse. And there’s no better time to learn than right now. Your spouse will have also done plenty of her own research, so don’t be afraid to bring up any questions you have about the process. You can also reach out to a surrogacy specialist for more information, too.
  • Talk it out: Your spouse wants to know what you’re thinking — so don’t bottle it up. After learning more about the surrogacy process, you can use that knowledge to share your thoughts with your spouse rather than just saying no. As her partner, you should be comfortable sharing your misgivings, so that the two of you can come to a solution together.
  • Remind them that you’re there to help: Your spouse is your partner in all things. You should remind her that you’re always there to listen and lend an ear. When things don’t go as planned, she should always know that you’ll be the first one to listen. For the next year or so, she’s going to count on you when things get tough.

Please remember that these are just a few of the ways that you can support your spouse. If you have any other questions, or if you need more tips, don’t forget that you can always reach out to a surrogacy specialist for help.

7 Deeper Things to Look for in Intended Parents

When you’re a surrogate, carrying someone else’s child is a life-changing responsibility and partnership that you take very seriously. You understandably want to make sure that you have a strong connection with the parents — you shouldn’t settle for carrying for just anyone. 

There’s no such thing as a “perfect” intended parent, because there is no such thing as a perfect person. There is, however, the ideal match for you! They’re out there right now, longing for a child and waiting for someone like you to help them. Remember that American Surrogacy will help you to find and match with those parents, so contact us whenever you’re ready to get started.

But, how will you know when you’ve found those intended parents that are truly right for you? Aside from that important gut instinct of “just knowing” and, of course, sharing the same surrogacy goals, here are seven deeper things to look for in an intended parent:

1. They’ve Grieved Any Fertility Loss, and They’re Excited About Surrogacy

You’ve likely thought about how, if you were to match with a couple who struggled with fertility or pregnancy loss, this grief may affect your relationship. Will feelings of pregnancy envy mar the joys of the shared journey? Can you all honor those losses while moving forward?

In most matches, intended parents are absolutely ready and able to move forward with surrogacy after grieving infertility.

American Surrogacy works with intended parents to make sure that they’re emotionally ready for surrogacy after infertility grief, but you yourself will also need to feel that these intended parents are as excited about this as you are.

2. They Don’t View Surrogacy as a Business Transaction

Gestational surrogacy is far from transactional! There is compensation and a lot of paperwork involved, certainly. But neither you nor American Surrogacy would want to work with intended parents who view this experience as some kind of business transaction.

And no child wants to feel as if they were the result of a simple transaction. 

You’re pursuing surrogacy because you love families, and you want to help someone create their own family. So, it’s important that you find intended parents who are also coming to surrogacy full of love — for you as well as for their future child.

3. They Get to Know You

It can be a little awkward to get to know strangers at first. Surrogacy is an intimate and vulnerable experience in many ways. But your American Surrogacy specialist will help you all get through the early stages and have the important conversations.

However, the sign of a good fit is the intended parents’ interest in getting to know you for you. It’s important that they ask questions about your abilities as a surrogate, to be sure. Hopefully, they’ll ask questions about you, your family and your interests, too, purely for the sake of creating a connection.

4. They Aren’t Just Looking for the Cheapest Option

Surrogacy is not an inexpensive family-building process for hopeful parents. It’s more than reasonable to receive fair compensation for the sacrifices, risk and effort you take on when completing fertility treatments and carrying someone else’s child — but some intended parents will want to cut corners on costs where they can.

You aren’t in this for the money, and the right intended parents will understand this. They’ll also have researched everything you’ll need to undertake as their surrogate, and they’ll understand why some amount of compensation for that is fair. 

If an intended parent is making choices based purely on cost, then they’re likely not a good fit.

5. They Talk about How Surrogacy Will Be Discussed With Their Child

This is something that all intended parents should be ready to talk about with you. Like with children who were adopted, the best policy for children born via surrogacy is openness, honesty and positivity from day one.

The right intended parents will express how they plan to talk about you with their child. Will you stay in touch so that their child can meet you someday, if he or she is interested? Will they share details about you so their child can have a clear picture of his or her birth story? Children need to understand their personal histories, and you’ll be a small but important part of that. How do you want to be talked about?

6. They Respect Your Opinions

Although this is their child and the intended parents will be leading for much of the surrogacy process, the right intended parents will also understand that this is your body. You’ll know it’s a good match when you meet intended parents who ask about your wishes and express that they will respect your input when decisions need to be made.

As the parents of this child, these people will be making many of the choices that lie ahead. However, their decisions will affect you. The right intended parents will understand this and will never put you in a position that makes you uncomfortable. This is a team effort, and they should see you as the “Most Valued Player!”

7. They Feel “Right” to You

Most of our surrogates (and intended parents) at American Surrogacy say that, outside of sharing the same surrogacy goals, they had a gut instinct that the match was just “right.” Sometimes, even something as small as a shared interest will spark that serendipitous feeling, while in other moments you may feel drawn to intended parents because of their personal story. It might just be something about their personalities and relationship.

Whatever it is, as long as you share the same goals for the relationship and journey ahead, go ahead and follow that feeling! It’s likely your heart and gut telling you that this is the right decision.

Ready to find your ideal match? Contact American Surrogacy for more information about becoming a gestational surrogate now.

6 Ways to Honor Loss During National Infertility Awareness Week

Wherever you’re at in your experience with infertility — whether you’ve recently received a diagnosis of infertility, or it’s been years since then and you’ve created a family through surrogacy or adoption — it’s alright to take a moment to honor loss this National Infertility Awareness Week.

Here are some ways you can acknowledge loss this week while still looking to the future:

1. Take Some Time for Yourself

Anniversaries that remind you of things like pregnancy losses, the feeling that everyone around you is getting pregnant, or National Infertility Awareness Week itself can all open old wounds. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, give yourself permission to take care of yourself this week. 

Everyone’s version of self-care will look different, but consider:

  • Taking a break from social media
  • Spending some quality alone-time with your spouse on a date night
  • Treating yourself to a long bath or even a trip to the spa
  • Taking 10 minutes to practice some breathing exercises 
  • Taking a weekend or day-trip alone with your spouse for a short getaway
  • Going on a long walk somewhere quiet and bringing a journal
  • Reading a book that inspires you

2. Share Your Story

You’ve never obligated to share your story, nor should you share more than you’re comfortable with — but talking about your personality fertility struggles can help you and others.

Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples in the U.S. By sharing your personal story with others, you’ll likely provide comfort and information to someone else who is, or will be, affected by infertility. Connecting with others who have experienced infertility can be mutually beneficial — feeling supported and heard is instrumental in healing from fertility losses.

Sharing your story can also be important for acknowledging the losses you’ve experienced. Some people have also experienced pregnancy loss and need others to acknowledge that those pregnancies are not simply “replaced” or something to just “get over,” even when moving from infertility to surrogacy.

If you’re ready, you can share your story on social media, on an infertility blog, speak at a local National Infertility Awareness Week event, or even just open up to a friend or family member.

3. Share Information

A simple, quick and easy way to raise awareness and to help others who are struggling with infertility is to share the facts. Resolve is a great resource to get you started, as is the National Infertility Awareness Week website if you’d like to share a link or graphic on your social media or in an email.

The whole point of National Infertility Awareness Week is to raise awareness! What better way to honor your own personal losses and journey than to call widespread attention to this common struggle. 

4. Start a Tradition

One way to deal with grief is create a tradition that allows you a special time to honor your losses. This way, you can continue to move forward with your life throughout the rest of the year but never forget where you’ve been. 

Feeling as if you’re “moving on” can be bittersweet. You deserve to be happy again, but it can be hard to let go of grief. Having a tradition that allows you to honor that grief in a special way at a special time can help you to do both. 

Consider incorporating a tradition for National Infertility Awareness Week like:

  • Lighting a candle
  • Planting a flower in a memory garden
  • Writing a letter to yourself
  • Saying a special prayer
  • Putting a wish into a box

5. Honor the Things You’re Grateful For

When you look back on your infertility journey, you might be surprised to find that you gained things that you didn’t have before, despite the losses you may have experienced. Take a moment to honor the things that you’re grateful for, in addition to honoring the things you’ve lost.

This will be different for everyone, but did you…

  • Become closer to your spouse, a friend, or a family member?
  • Turn to someone for support in a difficult moment and were met with love and comfort?
  • Find a newfound support group?
  • Discover something about yourself?
  • Experience a spiritual strengthening? 

Even though you and your relationships were likely tested in unimaginable ways, you also likely discovered something that you’re grateful for. Take a moment to write down everything in your life that you’re grateful for at this point.

Maybe you even chose to have a child through surrogacy or adoption — that would certainly be something important that you’ve gained.

6. Get Involved with National Infertility Awareness Week

One way to honor your own loss is to help others with their own losses and to help raise public awareness about infertility. Find a way to get involved with National Infertility Awareness Week, big or small. You can:

How do you plan on recognizing National Infertility Awareness Week? Let us know in the comments.

5 Tips for Traveling with a Newborn after a Surrogacy Birth

The birth of your baby is a life-changing moment shared with your family and your surrogate. But what happens after your baby has entered the world, your surrogate is ready to go home, and your baby is ready to be discharged and leave the hospital with you?

Reminders About What Happens Before Your Baby is Born

Most of the preparations for post-birth steps will be completed by your specialist and attorney.

Your American Surrogacy specialist will be in touch with your attorney before the birth to make sure that all the appropriate paperwork is sent to the hospital ahead of time. We’ll remain in touch with your attorney throughout your surrogate’s labor, delivery and recovery, in case any additional paperwork is required. We’ll notify your attorney when your baby has been born so that they can complete any paperwork needed to discharge your baby to your care during and after the hospital stay. 

In many states, most (if not all) of the legal processes can be completed before the baby is even born, so everything can be sent to the hospital in advance. However, if there are any necessary legal steps after your baby’s birth, your attorney will already have walked you through those processes, and they will be ready to put the finishing touches on that paperwork once your baby is born. 

If any additional documentation is required in your situation, you may need to sign some paperwork or wait for those documents to be processed. However, this still won’t affect your ability to bring home your baby after he or she is born.

Generally speaking, most intended parents’ attorneys and specialists will have things ready to go once the baby is cleared for discharge.

From there, all that’s left is to travel home. Traveling with a newborn born via surrogacy will, in most respects, be the same as bringing any new baby home. However, intended parents often ask how they should prepare. Here are five of our tips:

1. Don’t Stress Too Much about the Birth Certificate and Social Security Card

Is it likely that anyone is going to eye you suspiciously and stop you to ask for documentation proving that this is your child as you travel home? No. But getting the standard documentation sooner rather than later never hurts, for bureaucratic purposes. So obtain those items right away if you can, but if you can’t, it’s alright!

Many states allow for pre-birth surrogacy orders, in which case, your baby’s birth certificate will be ready to go with your names listed when you’re discharged from the hospital. If, however, you require post-birth measures, your attorney will complete the necessary steps to update the birth certificate with your names as soon as possible. Processing that might take a little longer, so don’t stress if it’s not available right away.

You’ll be able to apply for a social security card as soon as your baby is born, but you may need your child’s birth certificate at some offices. This can be a pain if you don’t have the birth certificate right away; you might need to wait until you get it to apply for the card. It may be helpful to have any pre- or post-birth orders on hand, just in case officials would like to see those. You can begin applying for that card on the Social Security Administration’s website

Most parents don’t have any trouble with either step, but contact your specialist or attorney if you run into any difficulties.

2. Don’t Rush It

It’s understandable if you want to get back to “real life” with your new child, but this precious early time together is very short-lived. Additionally, there are two important reasons to take your time before heading home:

The first: More time with your surrogate and her family. This is the end of your journey together, and seeing your new family together will mean so much to her. Be sure to spend plenty of time with her while you can, even if you’re excited for some quality alone time with your own family!

The second: More time to make sure your baby is healthy and sturdy enough to travel. Newborns are surprisingly tough and ready to travel fairly quickly, but they can also benefit from a day or two of bonding time and adjusting to the world before they take their first trip. If you’re planning on flying, different airlines will have varying policies on the earliest they’ll permit an infant to fly with them, so this is something to be aware of before you book that flight.

3. Choose to Drive, If You Can

The first reason we recommend driving, if possible, is because of the aforementioned policies that airlines have regarding newborns. Some may require the baby’s birth certificate as proof of age, and if you don’t have that certificate yet, it can be an additional hurdle.

It’s absolutely possible to fly with an infant, but there are some benefits to driving your newborn home:

  • Reduced exposure to illness for a new immune system
  • The ability to make stops as-needed for diaper changes and feedings
  • Less chance of significant travel delays
  • No need for proof of age (if you’re nervous about not having all of your baby’s documentation yet)

Just like when flying, you’ll still want to follow basic newborn safety practices when driving. Otherwise, this route is fairly straightforward.

4. Bring Something to Organize Documents

Again, most of the surrogacy-related documentation will already have been sent to the hospital before the birth by your American Surrogacy specialist and your attorney. However, it never hurts to bring physical copies of relevant documentation with you to the hospital, just in case you or the hospital staff need to refer to something. 

You might pack copies of:

Afterwards, you’ll walk out of the hospital with a new baby — and a lot of papers. You may receive:

  • A list of immunizations
  • A list of health screenings and panels completed
  • Your baby’s birth stats
  • Doctor’s notes
  • Discharge papers
  • Pamphlets for new parents to help with the care of their newborn
  • A birth certificate, in some situations
  • And more

Having a folder of some sort where you can safely store and access these papers — alongside whatever surrogacy-related documentation you brought with you as a just-in-case measure — will likely be helpful.

5. Follow Standard Safety and Packing Tips

Parents everywhere will have plenty of advice for you when it comes to packing for the hospital and the trip home. The biggest differences in your situation: You won’t need to pack for postpartum care, and you’ll want to pack some extra clothes and supplies in case you’re in the hospital for a while.

Of course, the most important things you’ll need to have ready before you head out of the hospital with your baby include:

  • An approved carrier/car seat, preferably already installed
  • A stocked diaper bag
  • Breastmilk (and something to transport it in), formula or a combination of both
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Extra clothes
  • Plenty of cloths and rags
  • Bottles (remember that you can always clean them on-the-go, if you need to, so don’t overpack)
  • Some plastic bags to temporarily seal up dirty spit-up rags and clothes 

Resist the urge to pack the cute, unnecessary things. For now, just make sure that your baby is safe, comfortable, warm and fed as you travel home. Keep your own bags packed with strictly practical and comfortable items, too.

If you have any questions, or you’re uncertain about preparing to travel home with your surrogacy-born newborn, you can always ask your American Surrogacy specialist, or check in with parents who have been in your shoes!

What if the Intended Parents Miss Their Baby’s Birth?

Intended parents are usually able to get to the hospital with plenty of time to spare, so they can welcome their baby alongside their surrogate. But it’s always a fear in the back of the mind of gestational surrogates and intended parents, especially in long-distance matches — what if the intended parents don’t make it in time? 

What if they miss their baby’s birth? Who would be responsible for the baby’s care and for making any necessary medical decisions until the intended parents arrive? 

While this is extremely rare (it’s never happened with American Surrogacy so far!) it’s certainly possible for an unavoidable impediment like unexpected/emergency labor, a travel ban or flight delay to prevent the intended parents from being present at the time of the baby’s birth.

Here’s what surrogates and intended parents should know:

Always Stay Calm

In the unlikely event that this happens in your surrogacy journey, both parties will be understandably upset that things aren’t going according to plan. The arrival of the baby is an important moment, and you all want to be together for that event. 

However, if something unexpected and unavoidable occurs, all that really matters is the health and safety of the baby and surrogate. No matter what, the baby will be born and the families will be united — even if it’s not as soon as everyone would prefer. Until then, stay calm and trust that each party (along with your American Surrogacy specialist) will take care of their end of things. 

The Baby Would Be Cared for By the Nurses

If the parents are significantly delayed for some reason, the gestational surrogate cannot care for the baby in the interim because she’s not the parent and has no legal rights to the child. That will be the hospital’s policy, even if the intended parents give permission for her to temporarily take over for them until they arrive. 

The hospital’s pediatric staff would assume care of the baby until the parents arrive.

Talk to Your Attorney

Your surrogacy attorneys may be able to work a clause into your contracts that outlines what would happen in this situation, including some advanced medical directives. Ask them what’s possible in your situation, and coordinate with your surrogacy partner as well as your specialist to make sure any relevant legal information is provided to hospital staff in advance.

Talking to your attorney will be especially important if you’re stationed overseas and need to travel back to the United States mainland to be with your U.S. surrogate. Ask your attorney and hospital if there are any exceptions that can be made in your situation, or if you can make some decisions regarding your newborn’s care in advance.

Keep Phones Close at Hand

Some of the medical and newborn care decisions that need to be made by the parents may be done over the phone. This can be tricky if the parents are mid-flight or are traveling through an area with spotty reception. However, surrogates and intended parents can try to keep an open line of communication before, during and after the baby’s birth for important updates, so we always recommend having that phone fully charged, close at hand and with the ringer on.

This will also be important in case your surrogacy specialist tries to get ahold of either of you for updates or important information!

You’ll Have the Rest of Your Lives to Make Up for One Missed Moment

If, as an intended parent, you can’t imagine missing your baby’s first breaths, try to keep things in perspective. Missing your child’s birth would be incredibly difficult. But you’ll have a lifetime together ahead of you!

Surrogates: If you’re comfortable doing so, and you know that the intended parents are about to miss their baby’s birth, consider asking your spouse or a nurse to video or photograph your labor and delivery. Being able to see their baby come into the world (even after the fact) may mean a lot to the parents. 

Your Surrogacy Specialist Will Be Ready

Whether you’re an intended parent or a surrogate, remember that your American Surrogacy specialist will be watching over your journey and making sure that things are going smoothly. Even if something unexpected and unavoidable happens, like the intended parents being delayed on their way to the hospital, your specialist will be ready. 

She will be communicating with hospital staff, your attorneys and both parties as often as possible to keep everyone in the know. We understand that sometimes things unexpectedly happen and throw a wrench in our carefully-made plans! But we’ll be ready to help everyone deal with whatever comes your way and make sure the baby is safe, happy and healthy until he or she is placed into the parents’ arms.

How to Prepare Older Children for a Sibling Born Via Surrogacy

If you have a child or several children, and you’re in the process of adding to your family through surrogacy, you’re also going to be preparing your children for a new baby brother or sister. So, in honor of National Siblings Day, American Surrogacy wanted to offer you some tips!

In most respects, you’ll talk to your children about the responsibilities of being a big sibling just like any family would. Your children will likely experience the same thoughts and feelings that most kids have when they find out they’re getting a new sibling.

However, because you’re welcoming a child via surrogacy, a few aspects of this experience will be a little different. For example, your kids won’t be watching Mom’s belly grow. They may wonder if their surrogate-born sibling will be different somehow. They may want to establish their own relationship to your surrogate and their unborn sibling.

You may not be sure of how to move forward, so here’s American Surrogacy’s advice on how to help get your children ready for their newest surrogate-born sibling:

1. Explain Surrogacy to Your Children

Having a basic, age-appropriate grasp of the surrogacy process is the first step. Reading some children’s books about surrogacy together can be a great introduction to the topic. 

Explain that there are many different but equally wonderful ways to grow a family, and this is just how your child’s brother or sister will be joining your family. Ask them if they have any questions about surrogacy, and express your excitement and pride in this shared experience — they’ll mirror your calmness and positivity!

Remember that your children will become their own ambassadors for surrogacy at school and among their peers, so give them the tools they need to answer questions they might be asked by inquisitive kids or teachers. Teaching them some basic language to use and practicing using that language at home can be helpful.

2. Continue to Talk About the Baby and Let Them Ask Questions

When you’re adding to your family via surrogacy, the concept of the new baby can be a little “out of sight, out of mind” for some kids. After your initial news, they may forget that the baby is still coming because they aren’t watching Mom’s body change. The baby’s arrival can feel very far away to a little kid!

Keep their new sibling a topic of conversation. Ask them what they’re excited to do with their little brother or sister when they’re older, or what names they like. Ask them for their help in setting up the baby’s nursery.

Take the opportunity to listen to their questions, as well. Your child might be wondering about how the baby is doing with the surrogate, or they might be unsure of what the hospital process will be like. They might also be nervous about typical big sibling concerns, too!

3. Involve Them in the Surrogacy Experience

It can be comforting for your child to feel included and clued in with what’s happening, in an age-appropriate way. Here are a few ways you could include your child in your family’s surrogacy journey:

  • Let your children meet your surrogate, if possible. You can show your child her picture or video chat with her if an in-person visit isn’t convenient. Getting to know the wonderful person who is carrying their sibling can make things feel a little more real and exciting.
  • Let your children meet their sibling at the hospital. This may also give them the opportunity to thank your surrogate for helping your whole family. 
  • Encourage your child to write letters or draw pictures to your surrogate and your baby. Mail them to her! It’ll probably bring a smile to her face.
  • Record your child reading a story to the baby, and send it to your surrogate to play. Get a jumpstart on sibling bonding!
  • Have your child pick out two special gifts — one for your surrogate and one for their baby sibling. Letting them choose a toy or stuffed animal for the baby can help things feel tangible.
  • Talk about your surrogate. Tell your child stories that she’s shared about the baby’s progress or movements. Tell your child about where she lives and what her family is like. Talk about how she’s taking amazing care of their baby sibling.

4. Be Reassuring and Express Your Excitement

Kids pick up on our emotions and look to parents to see if they should feel positively about a new situation. Speaking and behaving in a way that shows you’re proud of this surrogacy journey will set the example for your children to follow suit. Setting this tone now will especially be important for your surrogate-born child. Show your children that this is a happy and exciting time for your family. 

Even so, your child may still be afraid of the big changes ahead or may feel some uncertainty toward the surrogacy process. Keep assuring your children that things are going to be alright. The surrogacy process can be hectic and emotional, but your children will look to you for normalcy and positivity in the adventure you’re undertaking together.

In many ways, these feelings are the same that any family experiences with the arrival of a new child. Surrogacy can make things seem a little challenging at first glance, but the enormous benefit that it will have for your family will be lifelong.

Want more tips and suggestions on preparing your children for a sibling born via surrogacy? Reach out to your American Surrogacy specialist anytime for personalized advice.

10 Reasons You Might Switch Surrogacy Agencies

Beginning a second surrogacy journey, whether you’re a hopeful intended parent or a returning gestational surrogate, is an exciting opportunity. But depending on your situation, you’ll also be asking yourself a few questions like:

  • “Do I want to partner with the same surrogate/intended parents as last time?”
  • “Do I need or want to find a new surrogacy partner?”
  • “What else do I want to change about my surrogacy experience, knowing what I do now and having discovered my own preferences from my previous journey?”
  • “Do I want to use a surrogacy agency this time instead of trying to go it alone like last time?


“Do I want to work with a different surrogacy agency?”

Now that you’ve been through the surrogacy process, you’ve likely discovered some likes, dislikes and aspects that would be perfect “if only X, Y, or Z.” In your upcoming surrogacy journey, you can learn from your experiences — and that might include working with an agency you think might be better fit for you.

It’s okay to work with a different professional from your last surrogacy journey! Many people do. Here are 10 reasons why you might switch surrogacy agencies:

1. You want national reach but personalized connections with your professional.

A lot of people work with a local professional their first time around. The biggest benefit of a smaller, local professional is that you’re often able to go into their office and have a personal connection with your professional. However, these local professionals are often understaffed; have fewer resources.connections and less experience; and aren’t able to match you as quickly.

By working with a national surrogacy agency, you can match with anyone in the U.S. However, you still want an agency that will be able to give you the personal attention that you and your surrogacy partner deserve. Choose an agency with national reach and nationwide connections — but with a one-on-one level of attention.

2. Your previous professional didn’t have any surrogates or intended parents waiting for your match.

Ideally, you won’t spend too much time waiting for the right match. However, some agencies will have a long list of waiting intended parents and no surrogates, or vice versa. Choose an agency that has a history of relatively quick matches (and successful, happy ones). 

A good surrogacy agency will actively be advertising for intended parents and surrogates who meet the necessary criteria, so anyone who is waiting for their perfect match won’t have to wait for long. This is another reason why national agencies like American Surrogacy are usually preferred over smaller, regional professionals. And this is especially why people choose to work with agencies rather than searching on their own: Agencies will find them a safe match in less time.

3. You want a more experienced professional who can provide you with support, resources and guidance both before and after your surrogacy journey.

Your surrogacy agency is your guide through a complex and emotional process. There are so many unknowns in surrogacy, even if this isn’t your first time. 

If your previous professional didn’t provide you and your surrogacy partner with the support that’s so vital to a successful and low-stress experience, then it can put you off from wanting to even pursue surrogacy again! 

A good agency will make sure that both parties are well-educated and prepared before ever beginning — and that everyone has access to support throughout their surrogacy journey and beyond. Neither you, your surrogacy partner, or either of your families will ever be on your own in this when you work with American Surrogacy.

4. You don’t want to be limited to matches within your immediate area.

This is a common frustration with people who previously worked with a smaller, local professional. A local agency or attorney is usually restricted to working within the immediate area. But the truth is, you aren’t going to find many matches that way, and the chances that you find the perfect match for you within your town are slim.

National surrogacy agencies like American Surrogacy are able to work with intended parents and gestational surrogates throughout the U.S., so your match is based on compatibility above location. The connection between intended parents and surrogates is one of the greatest indicators of a happy and successful surrogacy experience — location is the smallest factor in that equation.

5. You didn’t “click” with your previous surrogacy professional.

Again, surrogacy is a highly emotional experience for everyone involved. Many choices will be made with your “gut” and your heart, within reason. Not feeling a genuine connection with your previous surrogacy professional is an absolutely legitimate reason for switching agencies.

During this vulnerable and life-changing experience, you want to know that the person who is going to be guiding you through the ups and downs will have your family’s interests in mind. American Surrogacy’s specialists are always here for you and your surrogacy partner, and we’ll take the time to understand you and your needs before we ever begin the process.

6. You want a professional who focuses on the needs of children first.

Children are at the heart of every surrogacy journey. Surrogates are there to protect and care for children when their parents are unable to. Intended parents long for a child and entrust their unborn child’s care to a woman who is ready for such a responsibility. 

A surrogacy agency’s responsibility is to ensure that those intended parents and surrogates are putting the child first, too —ot just the health of children when they’re in utero, but their emotional and mental health as they grow. That’s why agencies like American Surrogacy educate intended parents and surrogates about supporting children who are born via surrogacy — encouraging pride in their birth story, staying in touch with those involved in the child’s birth and more.

7. You want support in facilitating a stronger bond with your surrogacy partner.

It’s always hoped that you and your surrogacy partner, whether that’s a gestational surrogate or intended parents, will share a deep emotional connection and that you’ll truly enjoy this life-changing experience together. Ideally, you’ll gain a lasting friendship from this, as well as the joy of bringing a new life into the world.

But new relationships can be a little awkward at first when you’re matched with a stranger. And it can be important to have an experienced professional help you all navigate the details of this process, including the legal and financial aspects. 

At American Surrogacy, your specialist will help you and your surrogacy partner work through the necessary details, have the important conversations and get to know one another. From there, you can continue your relationship to whatever extent both parties are comfortable with. We’ll just help you get off to the best possible start.

8. You want a professional that will ensure all candidates meet the highest screening standards.

More than anything, it’s important that everyone involved (especially the child) is safe, healthy and happy. That’s why it’s so critical that both parties complete thorough screening processes.

Everyone must come to the surrogacy process completely ready — physically, emotionally, financially and mentally. Our specialists at American Surrogacy take this very seriously. That’s why we spend so much time talking prospective surrogates and intended parents through the process, screening everyone and making sure that they’re excited and prepared in every way.

9. Your previous professional wasn’t available when you had questions. 

Nothing is more upsetting than not being able to reach your professional when you need them. When you trust a surrogacy agency to act as your guide through such an important process, you also trust that they’ll be there for you should you ever have a question, concern or a new development.

American Surrogacy is always here for our surrogates and intended parents — before, during and after their surrogacy journeys.

10. Your previous professional only gave you (unrealistic) platitudes rather than transparent facts and options.

As you likely know from your previous experience with surrogacy (and parenthood), not everything is perfect all the time! All the preparation in the world can’t prevent something unexpected from happening.

American Surrogacy never sugarcoats or promises that everything will always go precisely according to plan. We all know that babies can be a little unpredictable, for one. We’re committed to providing surrogates and intended parents with honest, transparent and realistic descriptions of the choices in front of them at each stage of the process, and we’ll always offer our expert opinion in an effort to help you do what’s best for your families. 

Thinking about switching surrogacy agencies? We encourage you to reach out to a specialist at American Surrogacy to learn more about how we go above and beyond other professionals.

New York Legalizes Gestational Surrogacy

After a long back-and-forth battle in the state legislature, the Child-Parent Security Act was finally passed as part of the 2020 New York State Budget on April 2, 2020. The Act now legalizes gestational surrogacy in New York State, allowing intended parents and gestational carriers to join in enforceable compensated gestational surrogacy contracts.

Protecting Modern Families Coalition has been working with New York lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to push for the Act’s legalization over the last 10 years. The Act now brings New York into the modern age of surrogacy, allowing intended parents’ rights to be recognized from the moment of their child’s birth.

The Act also allows for:

  • Compensated gestational surrogacy arrangements
  • Legal protections for gestational surrogates, including:
    • The right to make all health and welfare decisions regarding themselves and their pregnancy, including whether to terminate or continue the pregnancy
    • Independent legal counsel of their choosing, paid for by the intended parents
    • Access to a comprehensive health insurance policy paid for by the intended parents
    • Access to counseling and life insurance
  • Simplified process of securing parenthood for non-biological parents
  • Single women to legally and successfully use a sperm donor to build their family

New York, like its neighbor New Jersey, has a history of anti-surrogacy policies, stemming from the infamous “Baby M” case in the 1980s. For decades, intended parents in New York had to travel to another state to bring a child into their family — often thousands of miles to the surrogacy capitol of the U.S., California. Their stories and the tireless work of family advocates and lawyers like those at Rumbold & Seidelman brings those family-building processes closer to home.

“The Child-Parent Security Act will serve as a national model for forming and protecting families as well as the surrogates who want to help them,” said Rev. Stan J. Sloan, CEO of Family Equality (the organization spearheading the Protecting Modern Families Coalition). “New York has a proud tradition of progressive leadership, and today we add to the legacy of Seneca Falls and Stonewall by saying loudly and clearly that love makes a family.”

American Surrogacy applauds these protections to New York surrogacy legislation and stands ready to help intended parents and prospective surrogates in the Empire State reach their surrogacy dreams. For more information about working with our agency, please call 1-800-875-BABY(2229) or contact us online.