5 Ways to Stay in Contact with Your Long-Distance IPs

When you choose to become a surrogate, you will play an integral part in the matching process. You’ll decide what you want in an intended parent, and your surrogacy specialist will help you find the intended parents that meet your surrogacy expectations.

However, there’s a good chance that the intended parents that you’re matched with may not be located close to you. So, if your intended parents live too far away for easy contact, how can you still build a healthy, strong relationship during the surrogacy process?

Your surrogacy specialist will always be available to help make your communication with the intended parents easier, whether that’s through offering suggestions or mediating the contact herself. Many of our surrogates who work with long-distance IPs use these methods:

1. Email and Text Communication

One of the most convenient ways for you to stay in contact with your intended parents is through sending emails or text messages. While you can certainly utilize phone conversations for urgent contact, it may be best to stick with these methods instead for sending little updates throughout your surrogate pregnancy. This way, you both can send and receive communication back and forth at your own convenience and in a way that is more casual than scheduled phone calls or visits. Texts and emails also make it easy for you to attach photos of sonograms and your growing stomach — which the intended parents will likely appreciate if they cannot be there to experience the growth of their unborn baby themselves. You and they may choose to even send updates about your own lives during this time in quick texts that, again, don’t take any time out of your days.

2. Video-Calling

When intended parents cannot be present for important milestones during your pregnancy, it can be disappointing for them. So, if your intended parents cannot make it to your doctor’s appointments, see if you can video-call them during the visit. That way, they not only get the chance to hear what your doctor has to say and ask them questions, but they can also feel like they’re physically there for important events like sonograms.

3. Phone Calling

Like video calling, having frequent phone calls is important to building a relationship with your intended parents. This is certainly an option for updating intended parents on your pregnancy journey and just for learning more about them. However, in a long-distance surrogacy, it’s important to consider time zones and each other’s daily schedule to make sure that a phone call is possible. Sometimes, if you call unexpectedly, an intended parent may automatically worry that something is wrong.

4. In-Person Visits

Generally, you will meet the intended parents in-person several times during your surrogacy process: at the beginning to meet you and solidify a match, during the embryo transfer process and when the baby is born. However, some intended parents may want to visit you outside of these settings, perhaps to be present for a doctor’s appointment or just to get to know you better. They will usually be the ones that come to you (if you want to visit them, they may be able to help cover your travel expenses). You should welcome these visits; they’re a great way to build a solid relationship with the intended parents and make the rest of the surrogacy process more comfortable for all of you.

5. Sending Them Special Gifts

Although you are in no way obligated to do so, a surrogate may want the intended parents to know a little more about her and the community where she lives while pregnant. You may wish to send your intended parents meaningful gifts from your state so they can feel more connected to you — perhaps a memento from the first time you felt the baby kick or a picture of your stomach at a state landmark. These will be useful to the intended parents as they develop a surrogacy story for their child to know as they grow up. We encourage you to speak to your surrogacy specialist to find out whether a gift you’re considering is appropriate for your relationship.

Ultimately, the kind of communication that you have with your intended parents will depend upon your personal relationship. When you first solidify your match and complete the surrogacy contract, your surrogacy specialist will help you both set expectations for communication moving forward. Of course, from there, your communication frequency may change as you become more comfortable with each other.

Long-distance surrogacies are common, and American Surrogacy is prepared to give you the support you need throughout this process. To learn more about how our surrogacy process works and what your long-distance surrogacy may look like, please call us today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

5 Facts You Need to Know for PCOS Awareness Month

When it comes to women who are dealing with infertility, some of them may have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), one of the most common ovulatory disorders. Because complications associated with the disorder can make it difficult for women to naturally conceive and carry a pregnancy to term, some women with this disorder may choose to pursue surrogacy instead.

September is PCOS Awareness Month and, at American Surrogacy, we recognize and understand the struggles that many women with this disorder experience — especially when they’re trying to have children. For those that choose to pursue surrogacy as a means to have a family, our surrogacy specialists will always offer you the support and counsel you need as you cope with this medical condition and the demands of the surrogacy process.

Even if you’re still considering surrogacy as a result of infertility struggles from PCOS, our surrogacy specialists are always available to answer any questions you have. We know that surrogacy may not be the answer for everyone, but we are here to help you make that decision from a place of knowledge and understanding.

In honor of PCOS Awareness Month, we’ve gathered some important facts everyone should know about this disorder:

1. Roughly 5 million women in the U.S. are affected by PCOS.

The disease affects five to 10 percent of women of childbearing age in the United States. Because it’s so common a disorder, it’s also the leading cause of female infertility.

2. PCOS affects fertility because of an imbalance in reproductive hormones.

In PCOS, an imbalance of hormones may cause eggs to not develop properly or not be released during ovulation as they should be. This is normally why it can be difficult for women with PCOS to naturally conceive and carry a baby to term. One of the most common symptoms of PCOS is an irregular period, which makes natural conception difficult. Despite the disorder’s name, not all women with PCOS will develop cysts; the symptoms of PCOS will vary from woman to woman.

3. PCOS does not mean a woman cannot get pregnant.

While PCOS does affect fertility hormones, the disorder does not always render a woman infertile. PCOS is one of the most treatable causes of female infertility, and your doctor can talk to you about ways to improve your ovulation and increase your chance of getting pregnant. PCOS does increase a woman’s chance of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and C-section during pregnancy.

However, some women with PCOS also deal with related and unrelated health complications that would prevent them from carrying a baby to term. These women may turn to surrogacy instead of carrying a baby on their own.

4. PCOS can increase the rate of developing other health problems.

Unfortunately, women who have PCOS are also at an increased risk of developing:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Unhealthy cholesterol
  • Sleep apnea
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Endometrial cancer

Because of these risks, it’s important that women with PCOS monitor their condition closely and work constantly with their doctor to preserve their health.

5. PCOS diagnosis can be tricky.

Because the symptoms of PCOS can vary widely for each woman, proper diagnosis of the condition is not always easy. In fact, less than 50 percent of women with PCOS are properly diagnosed. Without present cysts or obvious ovulation and hormone disruptions, many women think their symptoms are just intense side effects of their menstrual cycle. However, if you feel that something isn’t right when it comes to PCOS-like symptoms, talk to your doctor, who can further investigate if you have the disorder. As with any medical condition, the importance of being proactive cannot be understated.

PCOS can be a difficult fertility disorder to deal with, but remember that there are many women with PCOS who have successfully created a family one way or another. To learn more about your family-building options with American Surrogacy, please give our surrogacy specialists a call today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

50 Acronyms You Need to Know for the Surrogacy Process

When you begin the surrogacy process, there’s a lot of learning to be done. Not only will you need to learn all about how surrogacy works and how each professional will help you complete your surrogacy, but you may find that these professionals and any support groups you become a part of toss around acronyms that you’ve never heard of.

The medical surrogacy process can be complicated, with long medical terms that don’t roll off the tongue quite as easily as some might hope. But, if you don’t know the shorthand for these terms, you might become confused.

To help you out, we’ve defined some of the more common surrogacy terms that you need to know, whether you’re an intended parent or prospective surrogate.

1. RE = Reproductive Endocrinologist

A reproductive endocrinologist is the fertility specialist who assists intended parents through their infertility struggles. This will likely be one of the first professionals intended parents interact with. After they decide to pursue surrogacy, a reproductive endocrinologist will work with the intended parents and the surrogate to coordinate the embryo creation and transfer process.

2. OB = Obstetrician; OB/GYN = Obstetrician/Gynecologist

After a healthy pregnancy is confirmed by the reproductive endocrinologist, the OB/GYN is the professional who will work with the surrogate throughout her pregnancy to make sure she and the unborn baby are healthy.

3. ART = Assisted Reproductive Technology

Assisted reproductive technology is the vast term that encompasses all methods of assisted reproduction, including surrogacy, in-vitro fertilization, gamete donation and more.

4. IVF = In Vitro Fertilization

IVF refers to the ART technique of retrieving mature eggs and sperm and then fertilizing embryos in a lab.

5. AI = Artificial Insemination

This is the process of injecting semen into the vagina or uterus through a method other than sexual intercourse. While not used in gestational surrogacies, some traditional surrogates do complete at-home inseminations (AHI) in this manner.

6. IP(s) = Intended Parent(s)

The intended parents are the people who are trying to have a biologically related child through surrogacy. More specific terms include:

7. IF(s) = Intended Father(s)
8. IM(s) = Intended Mother(s)
9. PIF = Potential Intended Father
10. PIM = Potential Intended Mother
11. PIP = Potential Intended Parent
 12. TS = Traditional Surrogate

A traditional surrogate is a woman who is genetically related to the child that she carries, usually through donating her eggs as part of the IVF process.

13. GC = Gestational Carrier

A gestational carrier (or gestational surrogate) is a woman who carries the intended parents’ child. She is not genetically related to the baby.

14. BCP = Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are sometimes used in surrogacy when a fresh embryo is created. A surrogate will take the pills to coordinate with the intended mother’s or egg donor’s cycle before transfer.

15. E2 = Estradiol

Estradiol is an estrogen medication that surrogates take to prepare for the embryo transfer, mainly to help grow the lining of the uterus.

16. LH = Luteinizing Hormone

Luteinizing hormone, also known as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), is closely monitored during the surrogacy process. It’s a hormone that’s secreted by the pituitary gland to stimulate the growth of the ovarian follicle in the development of eggs and control the menstrual cycle.

17. P4 = Progesterone

Progesterone is a hormone that maintains pregnancy by preparing a woman’s body and regulating the monthly menstrual cycle. Surrogates take progesterone supplements to prepare the uterine lining.

18. PIO = Progesterone in Oil

This is another progesterone supplement.

19. SubQ = Subcutaneous Injections

These injections are the common way that pregnancy and preparation hormones are administered to prospective surrogates and women who have their eggs retrieved.

20. HSC = Hysteroscopy

A hysteroscopy is a procedure that allows a doctor to look closely at a woman’s uterine lining. It can be used to diagnose infertility or diagnose any difficulty in a surrogate’s ability to successfully carry a baby.

21. CM = Cervical Mucus

Cervical mucus is a good representation of a surrogate’s fertility and usually has to reach a certain level before an embryo transfer can occur.

22. ENDO = Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus instead. In many cases, those with endometriosis struggle with fertility problems. It may even be the reason that they turn to surrogacy.

23. ET = Embryo Transfer

The embryo transfer is completed by the fertility clinic once a surrogate’s body is deemed ready to accept an embryo.

24. FET = Frozen Embryo Transfer

Rather than a fresh embryo transfer, this kind of transfer involves a frozen embryo, usually left over from intended parents’ previous IVF treatments.

25. DE = Donor Egg

A donor egg is used to create an embryo for an intended parent who may be a single man, a same-sex male couple or an intended mother whose eggs are not viable for healthy embryos.

26. ED = Egg Donor/Donation

This is an acronym used when a surrogacy process includes an egg donation.

27. LMP = Last Menstrual Period

A surrogate must be aware of her LMP, which is the last time her period started, so that fertility specialists can know when she is most fertile and able to accept a transferred embryo. Usually, a fertility clinic tracks this closely.

28. CD = Cycle Day

A cycle day is the first day of a woman’s menstrual cycle. The first day of her period is Day 1.

29. 2WW = 2 Week Wait

The two-week wait refers to the time between when an embryo is transferred into the surrogate’s uterus and when she can be tested for a positive pregnancy.

30. DP3DT = Days Post 3-Day Transfer

Many fertility clinics will either transfer an embryo three days after fertilization or five days after fertilization, depending on how the embryo is developing. Surrogates use this term to mark the days after a transfer is complete.

31. DP5DT = Days Post 5-Day Transfer

This is another acronym to mark days after a transfer is completed.

32. DPT = Day Post Transfer

This is a more general acronym for post-transfer day tracking.

33. PET = Post-Embryo Transfer

Again, this is another term for the time period after a transfer is complete.

34. BETA = Blood Test for Pregnancy

BETA hCG levels are the chemical and blood levels that determine if a surrogate is pregnant. Surrogates and fertility clinics will track their BETA levels; while an increasing BETA level means a surrogate is pregnant, a declining BETA level means a surrogate is not pregnant.

35. hCG/HCG = Human Chorionic Gonadotropin

HCG is the hormone tested for during a blood test for pregnancy (BETA), as it’s the hormone created by the placenta during pregnancy.

36. HPT = Home Pregnancy Test

While fertility clinics and intended parents prefer the absoluteness of a blood pregnancy test completed at the clinic, some surrogates take home pregnancy tests in the days leading up to their BETA to see if their positive pregnancy read gets stronger.

37. POAS = Pee on a Stick

This is another acronym for a home pregnancy test.

38. BFN = Big Fat Negative

This is a term used more by surrogates than by a fertility clinic, as it’s an acronym for a negative pregnancy test.

39. BFP = Big Fat Positive

On the other hand, a BFP is a positive pregnancy test.

40. PG = Pregnant

This is an acronym surrogates use to describe where they are at in their surrogacy journey, either after they complete a pregnancy test or otherwise.

41. US or U/S = Ultrasound

Ultrasounds are completed at various stages in the surrogacy process to make sure a baby is developing correctly.

42. CB = Cycle Buddy

A cycle buddy is the woman or women that surrogates share their infertility treatment cycle with. Surrogates find cycle buddies either through their fertility clinics or surrogate support groups and support each other through all stages of their surrogacy process.

43. CVS = Chorionic Villus Sampling

This sampling is a prenatal test conducted to diagnose chromosomal abnormalities, like Down syndrome and other genetic disorders. Fertility clinics will usually test several embryos with this process before determining which one they will transfer to a surrogate’s uterus.

44. M/C = Miscarriage

Sometimes, an embryo that has implanted does not survive to full term. A miscarriage usually occurs within the first trimester, and the embryo will either be expelled naturally or through a surgical procedure.

45. D&C = Dilation and Curettage

A D&C is a medical procedure used to remove tissue from the inside of the uterus. It’s commonly used as an abortion procedure when an embryo implants in a surrogate’s uterus but fails to lead to a viable pregnancy. Before a new embryo can be transferred, the old embryo must be removed through this minor surgical process. A D&C can also be used to diagnose and treat certain uterine conditions.

46. GD = Gestational Diabetes

A surrogate (or any other pregnant woman) may develop gestational diabetes while she is pregnant. This doesn’t mean she will have diabetes after she gives birth, but it is a condition that must be monitored closely for her and the baby’s health.

47. SCH = Subchorionic Hemorrhage

This is a hematoma that develops in about 25 percent of pregnant women. While a subchorionic hemorrhage usually regresses, it’s important that surrogates who experience any kind of unusual vaginal bleeding while pregnant contact their doctor.

48. EDD = Estimated Due Date

This is when a surrogate is expected to give birth, although she may be induced or scheduled for a C-section later on.

49. PBO = Pre-Birth Order

A pre-birth order is a legal document that protects the rights of the intended parents. It establishes their parental rights before the baby is born, usually allowing for them to have their name on their baby’s birth certificate upon delivery.

50. VBAC = Vaginal Delivery After C-Section

When women who have previously had a C-section are able to deliver their next baby vaginally, this is called a “VBAC.” The women’s OBGYN will help determine if this is a possibility for her.

These are just a few of the important surrogacy acronyms you need to know if you’re interested in the surrogacy process. The better you understand the terms and different steps of the surrogacy journey, the easier it will be for you. When you work with American Surrogacy, your surrogacy specialist will help explain these different processes to you and make sure you understand all the necessary terms to have a successful surrogacy. To learn more today, please give us a call at 1-800-875-2229.

For a more extensive list of surrogacy acronyms, check out Adoption.net and All Things Surrogacy.

Taking Surrogate Maternity Pictures — What to Know

When parents are expecting a baby, many wish to document their parenthood journey with maternity photos. Just because you are expecting a baby via surrogate doesn’t mean that you can’t do the same, although the process for surrogate maternity pictures may require greater discussion and more creativity that it would for a mother carrying her own child.

If you’re curious about documenting your parenthood journey and the surrogacy process, it’s important that this is a decision made together with your surrogate. Your surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy can also help you figure out whether surrogate maternity pictures are right for your surrogacy and, if so, help you move forward with that process.

If You’re Considering Surrogacy Maternity Photos

While it’s natural to want to document the time when your unborn baby is developing, you may not know how to approach maternity photos when another woman is carrying your child. Ultimately, whether or not you should consider surrogate maternity pictures will depend upon your relationship with the surrogate. Because this involves her as much as you, she’ll need to be comfortable with this idea before moving forward with it. If she is uncomfortable with it, you should not pressure or force her.

Sometimes, surrogate maternity pictures can be discussed early on during the contract phase of your surrogacy. Other times, intended parents may not think about maternity photos until later in the surrogacy process — and may not be sure how to bring the topic up with their surrogate. Your surrogacy specialist can help you mediate this conversation and offer suggestions to make both parties feel comfortable. Most surrogates will be thrilled to help you document this part of your parenthood journey, although they may have different preferences for how they want to be shown in these photographs. When you have an open conversation about what you each desire in surrogate maternity pictures, you’ll be able to come to a photo style that makes both of you happy. These photos will be something you’ll get to treasure forever.

Ideas for Surrogacy Maternity Photos

So, what are some different styles of surrogate maternity pictures, and which are right for you?

Like other maternity photos, surrogacy maternity photos are only limited by your imagination. As mentioned before, your surrogate’s interest in being a part of these photos will also play a role in how your photographer stages these memories.

Some surrogates would rather have maternity photos focus on what she thinks is most important — the baby. Instead of showing herself in the photo, she may be most comfortable with a photo that highlights her pregnant belly. There are many beautiful ways of doing this:

Other surrogates may be more excited to be a focal point in your surrogate maternity pictures — and invite you to be a part of them as well. Your photographer can find a creative way to incorporate you all into maternity photos for a sentimental snapshot that you both will cherish.

Check out some of these ideas:

These are just a few of the ideas available to you if you’re considering taking maternity photos with your surrogate. If you and your surrogate decide to take maternity photos, make sure you both are included in conversations with the photographer about what you prefer. A surrogacy is a partnership every step of the way, and surrogate maternity pictures are no different!

A Note for Surrogates

If you’re a surrogate, remember that you are just as important a part of the surrogacy process as the intended parents — which means you should always have a say in any maternity photo plans that are made. You are never required to do anything you’re uncomfortable with, so if you feel like you are being pressured to participate in a photography session, let your surrogacy specialist know.

On the other hand, if your intended parents have not mentioned surrogate maternity pictures and it’s something that you’re interested in, take the same respectful approach that intended parents might take with you. Evaluate your relationship and, if you’re comfortable doing so, suggest the idea in a light-hearted and no-obligation way. Just like you, they have a right to say “no” if maternity photos with you aren’t something they’re interested in. Even if they do turn your offer down, you can still enlist a photographer on your own to document this important moment in your life.

If you ever have questions about surrogate maternity pictures (whether you’re a surrogate or an intended parent), American Surrogacy encourages you to speak with your surrogacy specialist. She can provide suggestions on not only how to bring this topic up but how to make the photography session a great memory for all involved.

3 Things to Do With Breastmilk as a Surrogate

After you give birth to a baby as a surrogate, you will likely be dealing with several side effects of your pregnancy and childbirth journey. One of these is the production of breastmilk. While you may have utilized your breastmilk to feed your own children after they were born, knowing how to manage your breastmilk in a surrogate pregnancy can be complicated.

The decision of what to do with your breastmilk will be made long before the medical processes even begin. In fact, it will be discussed early on in your surrogacy contract stage, when you and the intended parents will discuss what preferences they have (if any) in regards to your breastmilk.

As with every other part of your surrogacy journey, you will have a say in this part of the process. Your surrogacy specialist will also be available to counsel you through your options, of which there are generally three:

1. Pump Milk for the Intended Parents

Some intended parents may look to take advantage of the many health benefits that breastmilk provides and ask you to pump your breastmilk for them. Then, they will use the milk to either feed their baby through bottles or in combination with their own breastmilk through a supplemental nursing system.

You will not be required to pump milk for intended parents unless you are comfortable doing so. You will always be compensated properly for taking these additional steps to help the intended parents in the early stages of the baby’s life. If you decide to do this, your surrogacy specialist and your doctor will make sure you understand how this process will work.

2. Donate Your Breastmilk

Even if your intended parents do not wish to utilize your breastmilk, there are many other families looking for donated breastmilk to supplement their baby’s feeding. Organizations like the National Milk Bank and the Human Milk Banking Association of North America make it easy for you to donate and store your milk to help those in need, especially for those families with sick or premature infants in the hospital. To donate breastmilk, you’ll need to commit to donating a minimum of 200 ounces after undergoing a screening process and getting approval from your doctor.

This is a personal decision to make, as breastfeeding does require a lot of time and effort. But, for many surrogates, donating their breastmilk is a great way to continue the altruistic giving process they started during their surrogacy.

3. Stop Your Lactation

Breastfeeding and pumping is not right for everyone — and that includes surrogates. If you don’t wish to pump your milk for someone else, that’s completely your right. Instead, you can take medical steps to dry up your milk supply after the baby has been born.

The best way to dry up your milk supply is by speaking to your OB/GYN, who can give you professional advice on accomplishing this. The process may include the age-old cabbage leaf compresses, additional drugs and more. Before taking steps to dry up your milk, though, make sure you talk to your doctor to ensure that you’re doing it safely. Improper methods can lead to painful mastitis and plugged ducts.

If you’re not sure what you will do with your breastmilk after you give birth, talk in detail with your doctor to learn more about your options. If you wish to pump your breastmilk for the intended parents, your surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy will help ensure you receive the proper compensation and your rights are protected throughout this process.

Remember, deciding to pump breastmilk or not is a very personal decision — and one that’s entirely up to you. No matter what you decide, you can still be eligible for the surrogacy process.

How You’ll Stay in Contact with International Intended Parents

When you become a surrogate in the U.S., you will have the option of carrying a baby for an international couple. Many of these intended parents live in countries where surrogacy is illegal or highly restricted, and working with an American surrogate may be the only way they can have a biological child of their own.

American Surrogacy is proud to help international intended parents create their families and, when you become a surrogate through our program, you will have the option to be matched with these international parents. As always, the matching process is mutual, so you do not have to work with an intended parent unless you’re comfortable doing so.

If you’re unfamiliar with how international surrogacy works, you may be unsure of how you’ll be able to work with intended parents who live in another country. After all, how do you stay in contact with intended parents who may live thousands of miles away?

Your surrogacy specialist will work with you throughout the surrogacy process to mediate contact and make your communication with the intended parents as easy as possible. But, with the advance of technology, staying in touch with international intended parents is not as difficult as it may seem. We’ve outlined below some ways surrogates communicate with these kinds of intended parents:

1. Email and Text Communication

In many ways, an international surrogacy is not that different from a long-distance surrogacy within the United States. In cases where surrogates and intended parents live in different time zones, email and texts are generally the best ways of communicating. It’s quick and convenient; intended parents and surrogates can respond whenever is best for them, and lots of information can be shared.

Many surrogates choose to email their intended parents after every doctor’s appointment that the parents cannot make it to, even attaching sonograms photos if possible.

2. Scheduled Skype and Facetime Conversations

While time zones may make impromptu phone calls difficult, many surrogates and international intended parents set up conversations in advance and use an internet-based service to speak with each other. As long as you discover a time that works best for both of you (for example, a morning for you and an evening one for them), speaking to each other will not be as difficult as you may think. The intended parents will also pay for any expenses incurred for these international conversations.

3. In-Person Visits

Depending on where the intended parents live and what their financial situation is like, you may expect to see them in-person more often than you think. All intended parents are required to travel to the U.S. two times: for the embryo transfer process and for the birth of the baby. However, it’s not uncommon for intended parents to make an extra trip or two for doctor’s appointments and to meet you early on in the process, before the embryo transfer takes place. Like domestic intended parents, international intended parents are excited at the chance to get to know you and will take additional steps to make that happen.

Remember, as a surrogate for intended parents, you will not be required to travel outside of the United States. However, many surrogates and intended parents develop close friendships, and some intended parents even offer surrogates the chance to explore their country with a trip early in the pregnancy or shortly after. You and the intended parents will communicate to determine which in-persons visits (and where) will work for the both of you. Your surrogacy specialist will always be there to help mediate.

When surrogates are curious about contact with international intended parents, one of the first questions they usually ask is, “What about the language barrier?” While there are certainly intended parents who speak a different language, many of them actually have a decent grasp of English or speak the language fluidly, thanks to a culture of multilingualism in their home country. In many cases, surrogates and intended parents can easily communicate and even share their culture with each other without the assistance of a translator. However, if you are matched with an intended parent who does not speak English, American Surrogacy will happily provide you with a translator to make this communication process possible.

The specialists at American Surrogacy are always available to answer any questions you have about communication in international surrogacy, the international surrogacy process and the surrogacy process in general. Please feel free to contact us today to learn more.

How Do You Announce Your Surrogacy on Social Media?

When you decided to start your surrogacy journey, you probably shared your decision with some of your close friends and family members. But, when a pregnancy is finally confirmed and is far enough along, you may want to shout your surrogacy story from the rooftops and let everyone know how excited you are for this baby to be born.

Most of the time, intended parents and surrogates turn to social media as a convenient way to notify everyone in their network about their surrogacy decision. However, there are some important things to consider before posting about your surrogacy online.

Surrogacy is an intimate process, and it’s understandable if one party of the surrogacy wants to keep certain information confidential. Ideally, this is discussed early in the surrogacy process as part of your surrogacy contract, but it’s also a discussion that can be mediated by your surrogacy specialist, if you so desire. The most important thing is to always respect each other’s privacy and interests — in a way that still allows you to share your good news with everyone that you know.

Here are some general guidelines to follow when announcing your surrogacy journey on social media:

1. Talk to your surrogate or intended parents before posting anything.

As mentioned, it’s important to lay down ground rules when you choose to announce and/or document your surrogacy journey. Can you use the intended parents’ or surrogate’s names in the post? How much information about the pregnancy can you reveal (like due date, gender of the baby, etc.)? How much information about the intended parents or surrogate can be posted in this announcement?

Remember, an announcement posted on the internet may reach far beyond the original intended audience of friends and family members. For this reason, many surrogates and intended parents try to keep identifying information private, instead using initials or first names only when posting about the surrogacy process.

2. Look around for examples you like.

Announcing your surrogacy on social media is a big deal, and many intended parents and surrogates want to make sure their announcement perfectly captures how they feel about this process. You may wish to share a maternity photo you all have taken together, or use a cute poem or phrase to share your announcement. It’s a good idea to look through surrogacy websites and other social media to find announcements you want to model your own after.

3. Express your excitement and use this as an opportunity to educate others.

Unfortunately, not a lot of people are familiar with how the surrogacy process actually works. When you announce your surrogacy on social media, make sure you include information or links to information to help others understand the process in more depth. That way, you’ll avoid ignorant questions and comments and instead be able to focus on your excitement and others’ congratulations.

4. Be prepared for negative feedback.

As mentioned above, some people who don’t understand surrogacy will see your surrogacy announcement. Therefore, you should be prepared for friends and family who don’t understand your decision to express their opinion. This is something important to consider before posting your surrogacy announcement; will potential negative feedback undermine your happiness and excitement? If so, you might want to refrain from posting anything on social media about your surrogacy and instead only tell people in person.

If you do get negative feedback, you can always take this as another opportunity to educate people. You can also choose to be selective with your privacy settings, to make sure unsupportive family and friends cannot see your announcement.

5. Remember that there are pros and cons to announcing your surrogacy online.

When you choose to announce your surrogacy online, you are opening your intimate process up to a wider range of people — and opening yourself up to questions that those involved in a natural pregnancy may not experience. For example, people may ask you about fees and the intended parent or surrogate you’re working with. They may not think about how rude these questions can be; they just come from a place of curiosity. You’ll need to prepare yourself to answer these questions, usually with a generic phrase like, “Sorry, but my surrogacy contract doesn’t allow me to discuss that.” Many intended parents and surrogates say they are working with a friend (without mentioning that they actually became friends after they started working together) to avoid more nosy questions.

On the other hand, announcing your surrogacy to a wider range of people can also save you from other uncomfortable questions. For example, if you’re a surrogate and don’t tell people in your life, they may make assumptions when they see you pregnant and then without a baby after you give birth. Likewise, intended parents who weren’t pregnant and who then suddenly have a baby may get inquisitive questions from those who weren’t aware of the surrogacy in the first place.

Ultimately, how and if you decide to announce your surrogacy online will be up to you and the intended parent or surrogate that you’re working with. If you do decide to announce on social media (you’re never obligated in any way to do so), your surrogacy specialist can always give you advice on what information to include, how to best answer people’s questions and more.

What is Preimplantation Genetic Screening in Surrogacy?

You may have heard that an important part of the surrogacy medical process is the preimplantation genetic screening, or PGS. But what exactly is PGS, and why does it need to occur?

PGS is the medical process that determines whether an embryo is healthy enough to be transferred to a surrogate’s uterus. Rather than chance a miscarriage or the birth of a child with a genetic condition, PGS allows fertility professionals to gauge the health of an embryo ahead of time — reducing the likelihood of unsuccessful results.

PGS examines the specific chromosomal makeup of each embryo. This is where genetic disorders or conditions can be detected. If an embryo does not have the proper number of chromosomes (26 — 13 from each parent) or seems to have another abnormality in chromosomes, it is known as an aneuploid or abnormal embryo. These embryos are usually not suitable for implantation, and a fertility specialist will seek out another normal embryo instead.

PGS is usually completed in all surrogacy processes, no matter the genetic history of the intended parents or gamete donor (some intended parents who have already completed IVF will have completed this screening, as well). While the screening does help to confirm whether either parent is a carrier for a genetic condition or passes on increased chromosomal abnormalities because of their age or other factors, it’s also completed for the safety of the surrogate. By screening multiple embryos from the intended parents, fertility specialists can choose the healthiest one for transfer — eliminating the need to transfer multiple embryos “just in case.” This protects the surrogate from the risks of carrying multiples.

So, how does PGS work?

The PGS process takes place after embryos have been successfully fertilized and incubated. About 5 to 7 days after the fertilization process, fertility specialists remove certain cells from the embryo that will eventually develop into the placenta (this does not impact the development of the embryo). These cells are passed along to a laboratory, where specialists examine them for chromosomal abnormalities. Results are usually made available to the fertility clinic and intended parents after 7 to 10 days.

While intended parents have the chance to choose their fertility clinic, they usually will use the genetic screening company that their clinic has already developed a partnership with.

It’s important to note that PGS does not screen for specific diseases but just for at-risk embryos with genetic abnormalities (some chromosomal conditions, like Down’s syndrome, are easy to detect by counting chromosomes). To identify diseases, intended parents and their fertility clinic may instead choose to complete pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, which screens for single-gene defects. Both PGS and PGD can be performed at the same time.

Keep in mind that neither of these processes are a replacement for prenatal screening later on in a pregnancy.

Why is PGS in surrogacy so important?

While genetic screening can be important in every in-vitro fertilization pregnancy, it’s especially important in surrogacy. Because the woman carrying the child is not the intended mother, it’s important that her safety is protected, as well. Completing PGS makes sure only the best embryos are transferred to her uterus, decreasing the chance that she experiences a miscarriage or other pregnancy complications later down the line.

It’s also helpful for the intended parents, who may have already gone through years of infertility before deciding on surrogacy. By only transferring the best embryos, they reduce the chance they will experience more disappointment if an embryo does not successfully implant.

When you work with American Surrogacy and the fertility clinic for your surrogacy process, we will coordinate to make the embryo transfer process as safe and efficient as possible. Your surrogacy specialist will always be there to offer you advice and support, especially if your genetic screening and IVF process takes longer than anticipated.

To learn more about how American Surrogacy will coordinate with your fertility clinic, or to learn more about the medical process of surrogacy in general, please contact us today.

How to Manage a Long-Distance Surrogacy as an Intended Parent

When you’re starting the surrogacy process as intended parents, you may have hopes of being there for every step of the surrogacy process and attending every doctor’s appointment — but this may not be a possibility for every intended parent.

Sometimes, you find the perfect prospective surrogate — but she’s located farther away than you may have hoped. This shouldn’t deter you from pursuing the match. It’s common for intended parents and surrogates to live a distance from each other, and many successful surrogacy relationships flourish despite a long distance.

At American Surrogacy, our surrogacy specialists will always be available to help you through the challenges of a long-distance surrogacy — and help you understand how this kind of surrogacy can actually be easier than you think. In fact, there are a few steps that are key to managing when your surrogate is located far away.

First, Set a Communication Schedule

Being an intended parent who lives a distance from your surrogate, one of your greatest concerns may be the fear of not knowing what’s going on. You may worry that communication with a long-distance surrogate may be much harder and instead wish to match with a surrogate closer to you.

However, it’s important to remember that wherever your surrogate is located, you will not be a part of her life 24/7. While she will be carrying your baby, she will also have her own responsibilities to attend to, including her family and her job. It’s unrealistic to expect that a surrogate keeps frequent communication with you as her first priority, regardless of where she’s located.

Instead, to maintain healthy boundaries while making both of you happy, you’ll set a contact schedule. For example, you may agree for her to video-chat you at every doctor’s appointment, talk once a week and email every other day. Therefore, for most surrogacy contact, communication will be the same no matter where the surrogate is located. When you both know exactly when you’ll receive your next contact, you won’t need to guess or worry about how things are progressing — you’ll just wait for your next scheduled talk.

Next, Keep Busy

No matter where you’re located in relationship to your surrogate, it can be a stressful time to wait until your baby is born — especially when you can’t do much to impact the development of your unborn child. That’s why it’s so important that intended parents like you take the time to keep busy to prevent yourself from worrying too much and impacting your daily life.

As your surrogate’s pregnancy proceeds, stick to your regular schedule. Take advantage of the free time you have now, as there will be little of it once your bundle of joy arrives. Of course, feel free to stay in contact with your surrogate as much as your contact schedule allows, but also find a way to spend your time in the wait between these contact periods. Many of our intended parents say that staying occupied and keeping up with their usual schedule makes the waiting process much easier, no matter where their surrogate is located.

Also, Keep the Surrogate in Mind

While your contact schedule plays a large role in developing your relationship with your surrogate, in a long-distance relationship, you may wish to take other steps to strengthen your relationship. If frequent in-person visits aren’t possible because of the distance, consider doing other things to express your gratitude and willingness to get to know her personally.

When you have your scheduled calls and emails, don’t make them all about the surrogate pregnancy and your baby; ask her how she’s feeling and get to know a little bit more about her life. Learning more about your surrogate will go a long way to establishing a personal relationship and, even when you’re not talking about your surrogacy, you will feel reassured that this wonderful woman is taking care of your unborn child.

Beyond just getting to know her, you may want to take extra steps to communicate your appreciation because you can’t do it as often in person. For example, you may send her small, meaningful gifts from your state so she knows that you’re thinking of her. Your surrogacy specialist can give you advice on what kind of gifts are and are not acceptable to send.

Finally, Give the Surrogate Some Space

As mentioned before, a long-distance surrogacy can be stressful for intended parents because of the literal and figurative distance they feel from their unborn child. However, it’s important to respect your surrogate and her ability to have a healthy pregnancy. When you overwhelm your surrogate with frequent contact and questions, you’ll create a relationship in which neither of you are happy.

Remember that before a woman can become a surrogate with American Surrogacy, she must pass extensive background screening. Therefore, when you’re matched with a surrogate, you can trust that she’s prepared for the surrogacy process and will do everything she can to have a healthy, successful surrogate pregnancy. She wants to help bring this baby into the world just as much as you do. Trust in the surrogacy process and in her ability to carry your baby, and you’ll have a much better long-distance surrogacy relationship.

Our surrogacy specialists are always available if you have any questions about matching with a long-distance surrogate or how the long-distance surrogacy process works. We want to make sure all of our intended parents and surrogates are happy with their surrogacy process, no matter the distance, which is why we will always be there to offer advice and support during this time. To learn more today, please call us at 1-800-875-2229.

10 Common Myths About Surrogacy And the Truth Behind Them

Surrogacy is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) that’s advancing at a rapid rate, making intended parents’ dreams come true in a more efficient and easier way than ever before. However, it’s still a fairly new process — and, because the nuances of the processes can change relatively quickly, there is still a lot of misinformation about surrogacy.

No matter whether you’re interested in completing a surrogacy of your own or just want to learn more, it’s important that you recognize these myths and their truths. Not only will this help you better understand surrogacy yourself, it also gives you the knowledge to clear up some of these misconceptions whenever you hear them from other people.

Here are some of the most common myths that unfortunately still exist when people think about surrogacy:

1. The surrogate is related to the baby, and she has to conceive the child in the “traditional” way.

Sometimes, when people think about surrogacy, they automatically think of traditional surrogacies, in which the surrogate is genetically related to the child she’s carrying. While traditional surrogacies are still an option, they are rarely completed today because of the inherent risks from a genetic relationship between the surrogate and the child. Instead, the vast majority of surrogacies (including those completed by American Surrogacy) are gestational — meaning the surrogate is implanted with a previously created embryo that does not include her own eggs.

On the same note, even though many people know of in vitro fertilization, they may assume a surrogate becomes pregnant after having intercourse with the intended father. While this may have been the way secret surrogate pregnancies were created before the advance of ART, this is never done today by surrogacy professionals. As mentioned, surrogacy involves in vitro fertilization, and the implantation of an embryo into the surrogate takes place under the supervision of medical professionals.

2. Surrogates are only in it for the money.

Women who choose to become surrogates do have the option of a compensated surrogacy, in which they will receive a base compensation for carrying the child (in addition to coverage of all pregnancy-related expenses). While surrogates do consider this base compensation as a way for them to reach a financial goal, that’s not the prime reason they choose to become a surrogate. They are instead motivated by helping another family experience the joy they know that parenthood can bring. Some of these women have dreamed of being surrogates since they were young, while others discovered it later in life and just “knew” it was something they were meant to do.

At American Surrogacy, all of our potential surrogates are thoroughly screened, including in regards to their motivations. If we sense that a woman is only interested in surrogacy for the money, she will usually not be cleared for the surrogacy process.

3. A surrogate can change her mind and keep the child after it’s born.

In a gestational surrogacy, this is a nearly impossible thing to do. Because a surrogate is not genetically related to the child she is carrying, she has no parental rights to keep a child after birth. In addition, your surrogacy lawyer and surrogacy professional will make sure that the intended parents’ rights are protected while the surrogate is still pregnant. A pre- or post-birth parentage order establishes those parental rights and, many times, makes it possible for the intended parents’ names to be placed on the birth certificate at the hospital.

In addition to these legal protections, a surrogate rarely wants to “keep” the child she is carrying. The surrogates who work with American Surrogacy have already completed their families and have no desire for another child. A surrogate does not have the emotional connection with the intended parents’ baby like she had while carrying her own; she thinks of herself as “babysitting” the unborn child until they’re born, at which point she is happy to see the baby meet and go home with their parents. All of American Surrogacy’s surrogates are provided emotional counseling throughout the process and are required to have one child already, as just another way to provide an emotional balance throughout her surrogacy.

4. The parents who choose surrogacy don’t want to deal with the stresses and risks of being pregnant, so they hire someone else to do it for them.

We’ve all heard it: “She decided to use a surrogate because she obviously didn’t want to ruin her perfect body or deal with the side effects of pregnancy.” This is a completely false and hurtful comment; intended mothers would do anything to be able to carry their own child, and many have already gone through years and thousands of dollars’ worth of IVF treatments before turning to surrogacy. Surrogacy is usually the last chance they have at a biologically related child. It’s also not cheap. Therefore, to suggest that intended parents are only using surrogacy for convenience is completely out of touch with the realities of the surrogacy process.

5. Surrogacy is an unethical practice where women sell their wombs and intended parents profit off vulnerable women.

Surrogacy is not only an ethical practice where both parties want the same thing — it’s also a highly regulated one that protects the rights and interests of both parties involved. Laws across the United States ensure that both surrogates and intended parents are not taken advantage of, and professional surrogacy agencies like American Surrogacy make sure that their clients are properly cared for throughout the process. Surrogates want to carry a child for intended parents, and they are properly compensated for doing so. As long as your surrogacy is completed by an experienced surrogacy professional and attorney, it will be a positive experience for all.

6. Surrogacy is illegal where I live.

There are some states that have strictly defined laws regarding surrogacy and other states that do not — but just because your state doesn’t have any surrogacy laws doesn’t mean that surrogacy is not legal for you. Lawyers in these states have created specific legal processes to complete surrogacies in a way that protects all involved; it may even be easier to complete a surrogacy process in one of these situations. Odds are, if you want to complete a surrogacy in the United States (whether you live in the states or in another country), it’s completely possible for you.

You can always call our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229 to learn more about whether surrogacy is legal where you live.

7. Surrogacy is selfish when there are so many children waiting to be adopted or fostered.

As mentioned before, many intended parents who choose surrogacy do it as a last chance to have a biologically related child. They may have a few embryos left from previous IVF cycles, and they don’t want them to go to waste.

Regardless of their infertility successes or failures, most people have an inherent desire to have a child who is genetically related to them. That’s a completely rational and understandable desire. After all, are the parents who can have biological children naturally also selfish for not adopting instead? Of course not — and neither are the intended parents who choose to pursue surrogacy. Adoption isn’t right for everyone and, ultimately, how a person chooses to create their family is their own personal decision.

8. Intended parents are not able to bond with a baby that is being carried by another woman.

Surrogacy is a partnership; intended parents and the surrogate work together through every step. While the intended parents may not be able to experience every moment of the pregnancy, they will be able to be a part of milestones like doctors’ visits, baby showers and the birth of their child. A surrogate is happy to let the parents be a part of her surrogate pregnancy, and she may even make a pregnancy scrapbook to document the parents’ pregnancy for their future child.

Intended parents can bond with their child even when another woman is carrying him or her. They can speak to the child in person or over a recording that the surrogate plays, they can be there to feel the baby kick and move, and more. Ultimately, it will be up to intended parents and the surrogate as to what kind of pregnancy contact is possible and acceptable during this stage of the surrogacy process.

A bond with a child is less about who is carrying them and more about who cares for them after birth. Many intended mothers report feeling a strong maternal connection with their newborn immediately after birth.

9. I can’t breastfeed my baby if he or she is born via surrogacy.

Breastfeeding as an intended mother is absolutely possible in surrogacy — and highly recommended. A fertility doctor can help intended mothers breastfeed their babies by prescribing the proper hormones and inducing lactation. As long as intended mothers put in the time and effort into inducing lactation, they can successfully breastfeed their baby like any other mother.

10. I can’t afford surrogacy.

While surrogacy can be an expensive process for intended parents (it’s completely free for surrogates), it certainly is still a possibility with the proper funding and financial research. Intended parents may choose to take advantage of grants and loans and other fundraising options to afford their surrogacy journey, and the specialists at American Surrogacy can work with you to find a financial solution that’s best for your family. Contact us today to learn more about our fee schedule, and contact a financial advisor for counseling on how to best move forward with your surrogacy costs.

These are just 10 of the common misconceptions about surrogacy, and they’re certainly not the only ones. One of the best ways to recognize the myths about surrogacy is by talking to an experienced surrogacy professional like American Surrogacy. Our specialists can answer any questions you have and help you fully understand exactly what the surrogacy process entails. To learn more today, please call us at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).