How to Find Surrogate Support Groups

Whether you’re a woman considering becoming a surrogate or one who has already started the process, it’s important that you find a community to support you during your journey. While you will always have the support of your intended parents, your surrogacy professional and your friends and family, many women seek out others who are going through the same process they are. This way, they have a support system of people who really understand what they’re going through in a way that other friends and family cannot.

Fortunately, there are many surrogate support groups available to you that can provide those benefits. Whether it’s a group online or a group that you meet in-person, having a number of women who are experiencing the ups and downs of the surrogacy journey at the same time you are is an invaluable resource.

Online Support Groups

The most common and accessible support groups for surrogates are those online. While it may be difficult to find a surrogate who lives near you, finding other surrogates online gives you a better opportunity to connect with many women who are in various stages of the surrogacy process — so you have friends who are not only going through the same processes at the same time as you but also so you have women who you can look to for advice moving forward.

Facebook is one of the most popular social media platforms for surrogacy support groups like this. You can find groups for surrogates alone, surrogates and surrogacy professionals, and groups that include surrogates, professionals, intended parents and anyone else interested in surrogacy. Some groups are private, so you’ll need to explain your situation before you are accepted into them.

You can find groups based on your location, but some of the bigger, more general Facebook groups include:

In addition to social media groups, there are several forums on the internet where you can share your experience and ask questions as a surrogate. These include:

While internet support groups can allow you to connect with a wide variety of women who are surrogates or considering the process, you should always take caution with these online groups. Because anyone with any degree of experience with surrogacy can join these groups, not all information posted will be accurate or helpful. If you ever have any questions about legal or medical processes, it’s best to talk to your surrogacy specialist, fertility clinic or lawyer rather than ask strangers on the internet.

In-Person Support Groups

In other cases, you may be interested in speaking with fellow surrogates in-person. This way, you can create tangible friendships with local women that you can spend time with and lean on for support whenever you need it.

Your surrogacy specialist and fertility clinic may be able to help you connect with other women, who may become your “cycle buddies,” or women who going through the process at the same time as you.

In addition, you may look for other surrogates by searching for local groups through:

Again, don’t hesitate to reach out to your surrogacy professional to help find local surrogates with whom to share your experience and questions. Your professional is likely the best way to find these local women and start your own informal surrogate support “group” or relationship. After all, no one should have to go through the process of surrogacy alone.

7 Tips for Creating an Intended Parent Profile

When you work with American Surrogacy or another surrogacy agency, you’ll usually be asked to make an intended parent profile as part of your search for a prospective surrogate. But what exactly is an intended parent profile, and how do you make one?

An intended parent profile is an important part of finding the perfect surrogate for your family. It’s a way for prospective surrogates to learn more about you before you even have your first conversation, giving a woman a chance to feel more connected to you and help her determine which intended parents might be best for her. Just like you’ll be required to make an intended parent profile, all prospective surrogates will create a surrogate profile that you can view as well.

Your surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy will always be available to help you through the process of making an intended parent profile, offering suggestions and answering any questions you may have. Here are some of the tips we recommend to intended parents going through this process:

1. Include important information about who you are.

An intended parent profile is designed as a way for a prospective surrogate to get a little peak into a prospective family’s life and personality to gauge whether they might be a good fit for her. Therefore, it’s important that you include information and photos in your profile that accurately describe who you are. American Surrogacy will work to protect your personal information; all of our profile information is kept within our company.

While every profile is unique depending on what certain intended parents wish to communicate about themselves, a good intended parent profile includes:

  • A written introduction of you and your family
  • Information about your home, neighborhood and community
  • A personal letter to prospective surrogates explaining why you’re pursuing surrogacy
  • Photos of your everyday life, including you, your family, your home and your hobbies and interests
  • Any other information you think makes your family unique

2. Be descriptive with your profile.

When a surrogate is looking at your profile, she wants to learn more about exactly who you are and why you might be a good fit for her. Therefore, the more detail you can include, the better she can determine if you might be a good partner for the next year or more. A vague intended parent profile may not be enough for a prospective surrogate to feel a connection with and show interest in you.

3. Share your emotions.

For many intended parents, it’s been an emotional journey toward the surrogacy process. It’s these emotions that motivate prospective surrogates to help families like you, so you shouldn’t shy away from including them in your intended parent profile. Be honest about how you got to your surrogacy decision, and use your letter to a prospective surrogate to express just how much her consideration means to you. The more honest you are with your emotions, the more likely that a surrogate will feel a connection with you.

4. Choose photos carefully and include captions.

An important part of your profile is the pictures that you choose. Pictures are perhaps the best way to connect with prospective surrogates, so you should choose a variety of photos that show off you, your family and your lifestyle. They should be high-quality, recent photos that represent what your family and your life is like.

5. Always edit.

Whether you’re making a profile on your own or through American Surrogacy’s media specialists, always take the extra time to edit your profile for written errors and design flaws. While surrogates are interested in who your family is, a clean and polished profile makes it easier for them to view and stay engaged with your information.

6. Ask for help if you need it.

When you work with American Surrogacy, you will have a media specialist who will help you create this profile. Your surrogacy specialist will also be there to offer suggestions and support through this process. If you have questions or concerns, don’t be afraid to reach out; these professionals have experience crafting these profiles and can give you experienced advice about what kind of photos and text to use.

7. Always be honest and be yourself.

There is no “right” way to make an intended parent profile; they are all so different based on what each family wants to share. Therefore, there is no benefit for anything but honesty. Trying to make your family look better by omitting or altering facts is not only unethical but also unnecessary. Surrogates show interest in families for many different reasons, and it’s impossible to say exactly why a surrogate will choose intended parents. If you’re making your profile, it’s important to just focus on accurately representing yourself and your life, and you will find the perfect prospective surrogate for you.

To start the process of making your intended parent profile today, please contact our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY). Our 20-year experience in crafting profiles like this can help you find the perfect prospective surrogate for you.

3 Tips for Teachers Explaining Surrogacy to their Students

It’s October, which means that the school year is finally in full swing. Teachers and students have adjusted to their new relationships in the classroom and are finally ready to get down to work.

As a teacher, you spend a majority of your time with these students and have likely grown to love them as your own. However, if you’re expecting a baby via surrogacy or will be carrying a baby for another family, another child will soon become a part of your classroom (whether physically or not), and it’s important to address this with your students and their families.

Surrogacy is a beautiful way to build families and should be something that you’re proud announcing to anyone who’s interested. But, when the tiny humans you’re telling about your surrogacy may not comprehend the logistics involved, it can be a tricky situation.

No matter whether you’re an intended parent or a prospective surrogate, there are some steps you can take as a teacher to help share your exciting news:

1. First, address the topic with your students’ parents.

Every student is at a different point in their understanding of how the human reproductive system works, and it’s usually not your responsibility as a teacher to give them all the details. This will be up to their parents — which means they should be the ones that you share your announcement with first.

You may choose to write a letter explaining your situation to your students’ parents and then leave it up to them to address the topic with their children. You can use this letter to explain how surrogacy works and how parents can talk to their children about this topic, as well as suggest books and other resources to learn more about the surrogacy process. Make yourself available to parents who might have questions and, if you’re planning on announcing your surrogacy to your students in class, let them know what you’re planning to say.

The specialists at American Surrogacy are happy to provide you a letter like this to share with your students’ parents.

2. Be prepared for questions, and answer them age-appropriately.

If you decide to address your surrogacy with your classroom, your surrogacy specialist can help you create a list of talking points that are appropriate and should answer most of your students’ questions. Again, the detail and information you give will be determined by your students’ ages; what first-graders and what seventh-graders need to know about surrogacy are completely different.

You’ll also need to recognize that when you announce your surrogacy to your students, you will open yourself up to questions from curious minds. Be prepared to answer these questions in an age-appropriate manner, and try to make your surrogacy just a normal part of your classroom. Your students will eventually move on past the topic of your surrogacy as they find more interesting and new things to talk about.

3. Make surrogacy information readily available in your classroom.

While surrogacy may not be a constant topic of discussion, you can still take steps to provide more surrogacy information for your students to normalize the process. You can choose to include books about surrogacy in your classroom library, like:

If you have an older group of students, you might provide books about in vitro fertilization and surrogacy in your science resource section instead. If a student ever approaches you and wants to learn more about your surrogacy, you can refer them to more informational resources, too. Typically, any information you find about “telling your children about surrogacy” can be tweaked for conversations with your students.

As with every other part of your surrogacy journey, your surrogacy specialist will also be available to help you prepare for and navigate this conversation with your students and their parents. It’s natural to be excited and want to share your parenthood journey with those who are most important in your life — and just because you’re involved in the surrogacy process doesn’t make it any different.

3 Differences Between Gestational and Traditional Surrogacy

Whether you’re a prospective surrogate or an intended parent, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you’ll pursue a gestational or traditional surrogacy. There’s a lot of buzz and controversy surrounding these two types of surrogacy, so it’s important that you know the truth about them before moving forward with your surrogacy journey.

There are many nuanced differences between gestational and traditional surrogacy, and the best way to learn about each in more detail is by talking with one of our surrogacy specialists. In the meantime, here are three important differences to know about traditional vs. gestational surrogacy.

1. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate is not genetically related to the child she carries. In traditional surrogacy, her eggs are used to create the embryo for the intended parents.

Gestational and traditional surrogacy are deemed separate surrogacy processes because of the way the intended parent’ embryos are created — a decision that impacts the rest of the surrogacy process. In gestational surrogacy (the most common form of surrogacy today), intended parents create embryos with their own sperm and egg, or using a sperm or egg from a gamete donor. However, in traditional surrogacy, a surrogate uses her own eggs to create an embryo for the intended parents, either through the in vitro fertilization process or through an artificial insemination. Therefore, a traditional surrogate is the biological mother of the baby that she carries, while a gestational surrogate is not at all related to the baby.

This important difference between traditional surrogacy vs. gestational surrogacy informs the rest of the surrogacy process — from the medical procedures involved to the legal process required. As you’ll read below, traditional surrogacies are much more complicated due to this genetic relationship. 

2. The legal process is much more complicated in a traditional surrogacy than in a gestational surrogacy.

When a woman is carrying a baby for other people, the legal process is already complicated. Necessary steps must be taken to draw up a contract that protects both the intended parents’ and the surrogate’s rights, and a lawyer must ensure that the intended parents’ parental rights are established as early as possible in the pregnancy or after the child is born, usually through a pre-birth or post-birth parentage order.

However, when the surrogate is genetically related to the baby that she’s carrying, establishing parental rights can be a bit more complicated. That’s because, unlike a gestational surrogate, a traditional surrogate has inherent parental rights because of her genetic connection. Therefore, there is the possibility that she decides to enact those parental rights, creating more risk for the surrogacy process in general.

3. It’s much easier to find a surrogacy professional that will help you complete a gestational surrogacy than one who will assist with a traditional surrogacy.

Because of the legal risks and additional considerations needed for traditional surrogacy, it’s rare for surrogacy professionals to assist prospective surrogates and intended parents who wish to complete this process. Because gestational surrogacy is much safer, it’s a much more common process for intended parents and surrogates, and there are plenty of surrogacy professionals like American Surrogacy who will help you reach your surrogacy goals in this manner.

If you’re looking to complete a traditional surrogacy, recognize that you may have a harder time finding a professional who is willing to work with you through this process. After you find an intended parent or surrogate who has the same surrogacy goals (which can be just a difficult), you may need to complete an independent surrogacy out of necessity — which places far more responsibility on both parties in the surrogacy. In most cases, those who complete traditional surrogacies are single men, gay male couples or heterosexual couples who use a female relative to have a genetic connection when they can’t both share their genes with their child. American Surrogacy, like many surrogacy agencies, cannot work with those hoping to complete a traditional surrogacy.

These are by no means all of the important things that intended parents and prospective surrogates should know about gestational and traditional surrogacy, but they’re often some of the biggest deciding factors for those who are choosing between the two surrogacy paths. For more information, we advise you speak to your fertility specialist or our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) to learn more about which surrogacy process — traditional surrogacy vs. gestational surrogacy — might be right for you.

Remembering Lost Pregnancies and Infants this October

Oftentimes, the path to surrogacy is filled with emotional ups and downs — including devastating heartbreaks. Whether that’s from an inability to get pregnant, a miscarriage or other infant loss, many families who work with American Surrogacy experience a tragedy in their family-building journey before they turn to our agency for help.

That’s why we’re recognizing the month of October as Pregnancy, Infant Loss and Miscarriage Awareness Month. Far too many families grieve in silence, never having the opportunity to come to terms with their loss of an infant or a pregnancy — so we’re encouraging all families (whether they’ve dealt with this tragedy or not) to take time this month to recognize those who have experienced this loss. No one should have to grieve alone, and this month of remembrance helps those to live with their loss in a healthy way.

President Ronald Reagan first proclaimed this month of remembrance back in 1988, saying:

“National observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, 1988, offers us the opportunity to increase our understanding of the great tragedy involved in the deaths of unborn and newborn babies. It also enables us to consider how, as individuals and communities, we can meet the needs of bereaved parents and family members and work to prevent causes of these problems.”

While the entirety of October is an awareness month, Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. “Remembering Our Babies,” an organization to spread awareness of this issue, encourages everyone to light a candle at 7 p.m. on Oct. 15 to represent the pregnancies and infants that were lost too early.

The organization also offers guidance for coping with grief of a lost pregnancy or baby throughout the year. Friends and families can view suggestions on how to support and counsel loved ones going through this grief process.

In addition to the worldwide candle lighting, you can also see if an organization near you is hosting an awareness walk or activity within the month of October. You can also submit information about an event you’re hosting for advertising on their website.

For those who are dealing with an infant or pregnancy loss, it’s important to commemorate this day and acknowledge what you’re feeling. Some ideas include:

  • Releasing balloons or butterflies
  • Planting a tree
  • Having a memorial service
  • Giving to a charity that supports infants and children and their families

Whatever you decide to do on this day, it should be something that makes you feel better, even if it that feeling is bittersweet.

The surrogacy specialists at American Surrogacy are also available to provide counseling and support to our intended parents who are coping with their grief during this difficult month. We can also refer you to trusted professional counselors for more support, if you need it.

You may wish to reach out to others who have experienced an infant or pregnancy loss. Try these support groups and resource centers for more suggestions on coping with your grief:

You can also find a full list of infertility and infant loss groups in the United States here.

While this month can be difficult, remember that you are not alone. It’s important to acknowledge your feelings and appropriately cope with your grief, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help and support from others if you need it.

Considering a Non-Traditional Birth in Surrogacy? What to Know

While the majority of women choose to give birth in a traditional hospital setting, there are also women who choose to give birth in a non-traditional way. This may include a home birth, a birthing center or birthing rooms in a hospital — and studies show that more and more women are choosing this option when they give birth.

The option of a non-traditional birth is not limited to women giving birth to their biological children, however; today, non-traditional births are also available for those involved in a surrogacy process. Whether a non-traditional birth is suggested by a surrogate or an intended parent, it is a suggestion that must be accompanied by a detailed discussion to make sure it’s in the best interest of all involved.

The Different Kinds of Non-Traditional Births

Usually, when a woman gives birth, she elects to have the process overseen by her OB/GYN in a hospital setting. She will likely have a vaginal birth or a Cesarean section depending on her individual health situation.

However, some women can choose to have a non-traditional birthing experience, which can include:

  • Home Births: A woman gives birth in familiar surroundings at home, without drugs or episiotomies. A midwife attends the birth to assist and to transfer the woman to the hospital in case of emergency.
  • Freestanding Birthing Centers: Women who want a more natural birth without being at home may choose a birthing center. These centers promote natural births without induction or stimulation to start labor and utilize no C-sections or drugs. However, they are equipped with medical equipment just in case. Freestanding birth centers offer prenatal care throughout the pregnancy and postpartum checkups, eliminating the need for a hospital.
  • InHospital Birthing Centers: Birthing centers within hospitals offer the same natural birth experience, although prenatal visits will probably be conducted at your caregiver’s office. These centers are usually available to any midwife or doctor with admitting privileges to the hospital.

Within these general settings for a non-traditional birth, women may choose methods like water births, hypnobirthing and other alternative methods for a more natural, drug-free birth.

These non-traditional birthing methods are not for everyone, so it’s important that a woman meets specific health requirements before she can be cleared to give birth in a more natural way with less access to medical intervention. If you have questions about whether you can complete a non-traditional birth, it’s best to speak with your OB/GYN and your surrogacy professional.

If You Want a Non-Traditional Birth

Whether you’re an intended parent or a prospective surrogate, you have the right to suggest a nontraditional birthing experience. However, it’s important to recognize that your desire for a nontraditional birth may impact how long you wait for a match in the surrogacy process.

At American Surrogacy, we make matches between intended parents and surrogates based on mutual desires — which includes the manner in which the surrogate will give birth. Therefore, this is decided before the medical procedures even start. Your surrogacy contract will include the method of birth, so if you’re interested in the idea of a non-traditional birth, this is something you’ll need to make known from the start.

There certainly are surrogates and intended parents who are comfortable with and excited about the idea of a non-traditional birth, but the number is definitely lower than those who desire a traditional hospital birth. Be prepared for a longer wait before you are matched with the perfect prospective surrogate or intended parent. Remember, there always is a perfect match for you, and we will help you find them.

To learn more about American Surrogacy’s matching process and how you can find the perfect intended parent or surrogate for your surrogacy goals, please contact our surrogacy specialists today.

What Happens After a Miscarriage in Surrogacy

It’s a situation no intended parent or surrogate wants to experience: a miscarriage. While fertility clinics and fertility doctors take every step to make sure an embryo and a surrogate are healthy before the transfer and implantation of the embryo, miscarriages do sometimes occur.

Miscarriages are still a rather taboo topic, but that doesn’t mean they don’t happen. They’re more common than you may think; between 10 and 25 percent of known pregnancies actually end in miscarriage. Rarely is a miscarriage someone’s “fault,” as it’s usually the result of an abnormal embryo that would not have survived to term anyway.

Experiencing a miscarriage during the surrogacy process can be even more devastating because of the time and effort put into creating an embryo and the past failures an intended parent may have had with their own fertility. A miscarriage can seem like an impossible setback, but know that your surrogacy specialist and fertility doctor will be with you as you cope with this loss and decide what to do next.

Intended Parents

For many intended parents, a miscarriage during surrogacy is a reminder of their own past miscarriages or inability to get pregnant. It is heartbreaking to see your dreams fail again, but it’s important to understand the vast scope of the surrogacy process and stay positive.

There is no dramatic difference in miscarriage rates for those who conceive an embryo via in-vitro fertilization. A miscarriage during surrogacy is a natural thing, although that will likely not come as any condolence to you in your grieving process.

If your surrogacy results in a miscarriage, it’s important to take the time you need to grieve (your surrogate will also need time to physically recover before another embryo transfer can take place). This is also a good time for you and your surrogate to reevaluate your thoughts before moving forward; it’s important that both of you are still committed and comfortable continuing the surrogacy process at a time that’s best for both of you. When you’re ready, your fertility clinic will begin the necessary steps for another implantation cycle.

Remember, miscarriage is a common occurrence, and it’s no one’s fault. Your fertility clinic will have usually prepared you for the possibility of a miscarriage, and American Surrogacy will always give you the support and counseling you need to get through this difficult time. We know that it takes time to heal from a difficult loss like this, which is why you and your surrogate have the right to decide together when to start the transfer process again.

Surrogates

If you experience a miscarriage as a surrogate, it’s common to feel like you’ve failed your intended parents. This is completely untrue; a miscarriage is not your fault but instead a natural phenomenon you have no control over. Still, this can be difficult to accept, especially because it’s your body that has expelled the pregnancy.

A miscarriage will not affect your ability to become pregnant again. Your surrogacy contract will state how many transfers you will complete for the intended parents, so it’s likely that you will have another embryo transferred whenever you are physically and emotionally ready. Depending on how far along your pregnancy was, this recovery period may take longer or shorter than you expect. However, it’s important that your emotional recovery is complete before you move forward with another embryo transfer.

It’s normal to feel a range of emotions after a miscarriage, even if the embryo was not genetically related to you. We can always provide you trained counseling to help you cope with these emotions and prepare for your next embryo transfer, whenever you’re ready. Usually, within the first three transfers you complete with your intended parents, one embryo will result in a successful pregnancy and birth — so, while it may be tempting to give up after this disappointment, remember that it’s highly likely you’ll find success in your subsequent transfers.

Remember, surrogacy is a marathon — not a sprint. It’s a long process that will come with many emotional ups and downs, which is why American Surrogacy’s specialists will be there for you every step of the way. Miscarriage is always a difficult event to process but know that it’s not the end of the line. A successful surrogacy is possible, and we’ll help you complete it.

How Does a Baby Shower Work if You’re a Surrogate?

As you get closer to giving birth to your intended parents’ baby, you’ll reach an exciting point in your pregnancy. After all, the baby you have all worked so hard to bring into the world is almost here!

At this point in your pregnancy, your intended parents or their friends may choose to throw a baby shower. Baby showers are wonderful ways to celebrate the upcoming birth of the baby and help intended parents prepare with gifts and support.

However, as a surrogate, you may not be sure what the protocol is for a surrogacy baby shower. Should you expect to be invited? Do you need to bring a gift? What do you do while you’re there?

Each surrogacy situation is different, and the relationship that you have with your intended parent will likely play a role in your involvement (or lack thereof) in the baby shower. No matter what involvement you do have, it’s important to understand that this can be a delicate situation; whether you’re invited or not, know that you are an important part of this surrogacy process and the intended parents greatly appreciate everything you’re doing for them.

If You Are Invited

For some intended parents, throwing a baby shower and inviting their surrogate just seems the natural thing to do. You’re an integral part of their parenthood journey, so it makes sense that you would be there for the baby shower. You do not have to attend a baby shower unless you’re comfortable doing so; some surrogates would rather let the intended parents have this time for themselves and their friends rather than attending and not being sure of what to do at the event.

If you do decide to attend the intended parents’ baby shower, you may still have reservations about what role you’ll play. Here’s the most important thing: This shower is about the baby and the family you are helping to create. Make sure that the intended parents get the attention they deserve, and it will be a positive experience for all of you.

It’s understandable if the parents’ family and friends are curious about you and want to talk to you during this event. If they tend to monopolize the conversation with you, gently steer the conversation back to the intended parents, mentioning reasons why you’re happy to carry for them, why they’ll be such great parents, etc. The intended parents will greatly appreciate you for doing this. If at any time you feel uncomfortable or feel like you’re stealing the spotlight, don’t be afraid to step out so guests can give the intended parents more focus.

In most cases, the friends and family of the baby shower will treat you as any other guest, instead showering their affection on the intended parents. So, if the intended parents express a desire for you to be at the shower, you should strongly consider attending, as it will mean a great deal to them. However, if you feel uncomfortable doing so, the intended parents will also understand.

After deciding to attend the baby shower, you may wonder whether you should bring a gift. Even though you are giving the intended parents the most priceless gift by carrying their baby, you may have concerns about showing up to a shower without actually “showering” the intended parents.

You are in no way obligated to bring a gift for the intended parents, and they will completely understand that. However, if you do want to bring a present to the baby shower, it might be a good idea to bring something personal and special to your relationship. For example, you may wish to make a handmade gift for the baby (like a painting or knitted cap) or find a special memento from your home state that can be placed in the baby’s room as a representation of their surrogacy story. If you have questions about what kind of gifts are appropriate or need help thinking of some ideas, your surrogacy specialist will always be available to you.

A baby shower should always be a happy event, not one that brings you worry or concern. Understanding your role as a surrogate at this important event will help make it go much smoother for you and the intended parents.

If You’re Not Invited

Sometimes, intended parents may not wish to include their surrogates in their baby shower; instead, they may want it to be a small event of family and close friends. If this is the case for you as a surrogate, it’s important to understand that this decision is not a slight against you — and does not way diminish your importance in the surrogacy process.

Just as you may have reservations about attending the baby shower, the intended parents may have concerns about making you feel obligated to attend an event you don’t want to. To avoid that awkwardness, they may choose to simply avoid the dilemma at all. This is never a malicious move and, as a surrogate, you should understand that the decision likely has little to do with you. Whatever your intended parents choose, you should support them and their decision.

Remember, if you have concerns or questions about baby showers as a surrogate or any other special event usually reserved for the woman carrying a baby, your surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy can offer you support and guidance.  Please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) any time.

What to Expect When Testing for a Surrogate Pregnancy

Everyone knows: The surrogacy medical process is long and can seem to take forever. After months of testing and measuring cycles in preparation for the embryo transfer process, waiting for a positive pregnancy result after the transfer can seem like an impossible feat, no matter whether you’re the surrogate or the intended parent.

When you’re in the middle of the surrogacy medical process, your fertility specialist will explain in detail what to expect. But, what if you haven’t started the process or want more information on exactly what to expect when testing for a positive surrogate pregnancy?

You can read more below about what happens during the testing process for a surrogate pregnancy. As always, we recommend speaking to your surrogacy specialist and fertility specialist for more detailed information about what your personal medical process will look like.

The Clinical Process

After a surrogate’s embryo transfer process is complete, her fertility clinic will eventually test for her pregnancy with an hCG level blood test. hCG levels are the hormone levels that determine if a woman is pregnant or not. How high a surrogate’s level needs to be, however, will depend upon her individual situation, including when the embryos were transferred during the incubation period and how many days have passed since the transfer was completed.

But, how long before you can expect a result?

How long a surrogate needs to wait before a beta blood test will depend on the fertility specialist’s instructions, but the first testing process usually occurs anywhere between eight to 12 days after transfer. If hCG levels indicate a surrogate might be pregnant, she’ll return a couple of days later for another blood test to see if the levels keep rising. Ideally, hCG levels should double every 48 to 72 hours.

If her levels rise enough, the fertility specialist will likely confirm the pregnancy. This is usually confirmed after the third beta appointment.

Home Pregnancy Tests: Are They Worth It?

If you’re a surrogate who is part of online support groups, you may see other surrogates post pictures of multiple home pregnancy tests from different testing times. But, if all surrogates know for sure at a fertility clinic testing whether their pregnancy is positive or not, why do they do this?

Taking home pregnancy tests is just another way for surrogates to track their increasing hCG levels. Typically, women will wait three days after an embryo transfer to take a pregnancy test — although it can take at least five days after transfer for a positive pregnancy test to show up. From there, surrogates may take a test twice a day to compare the results; if a pregnancy line is getting darker, it’s usually a sign that their hCG level is rising and they are, indeed, pregnant.

While some surrogates will wait until their clinic beta testing just to be safe, other surrogates are anxious to see whether the embryo transfer worked. This comes from the desire and hope riding on their pregnancy, so it make sense that they want that validation, even if they wait to tell intended parents until a medical confirmation.

However, it’s important to note that just because a home pregnancy test comes back positive does not mean a pregnancy is in the clear. You may receive a false positive reading, or there may be other medical issues that arise later on. So, while home pregnancy tests are a good way to relieve anxiety after an embryo transfer, it’s always a good idea to rely on your fertility clinic for a secure medical result.

If you ever have any questions about testing for your surrogate pregnancy and the process involved, we encourage you to reach out to your fertility specialist for accurate, personalized information.

3 Ways to Find Positivity in an Infertility Anniversary

Whether you’re currently in the surrogacy process or still deciding if it’s right for you, the path to where you are today has likely been a long one filled with many emotional ups and downs. In addition to the small successes you’ve achieved, you may also have experienced heartbreak.

Despite the sadness these days may bring, many intended parents choose to mark the anniversaries of some of these heartbreaks, like past miscarriages, the moment they realized they couldn’t carry a child themselves and the beginning of their surrogacy journey (especially when the process hasn’t yet produced a child of their own).

While it can be a day full of grief and sadness, it’s important that you acknowledge this day and what it means to you. Ignoring the importance of this day can have dire effects for your mental health, especially as you’re also going through the emotionally trying process of surrogacy. The best thing that you can do is embrace the feelings and memory of this day — and take certain steps to help yourself get through this emotionally difficult time.

1. Communicate What You’re Feeling.

A big part of acknowledging this sad anniversary is sharing your feelings with others. Keeping what you’re feeling inside will only elevate those difficult feelings, while letting them out one way or another can be extremely cathartic. It can be comforting to turn to a trusted friend or family member (or your partner if you are going through the surrogacy process with them) to talk about your feelings. Having someone to share your feelings with can help immensely with the loss and loneliness you may be experiencing on this day.

If you don’t feel like sharing your emotions with someone else, that’s okay. Instead of ignoring your feelings, however, try to let them out through journaling or another emotive activity.

2. Commemorate the Anniversary with Something Positive.

While this day will be a sad day, you can take steps to make something good out of it. It can help to symbolically let your negative feelings go; perhaps write down your thoughts on paper inside a balloon and release it into the air, or bury your feelings in a box. To leave a positive impact on a negative day, perhaps plant a tree or donate to a charity that means something special to you. Whatever you can do to make yourself feel a little better, make that effort to add some positivity to this day.

3. Seek Out Support.

No one should go through these difficult times alone, so we encourage all intended parents coping with a sad anniversary to reach out to their surrogacy specialist for support. Our specialists can provide emotional support, as well as refer you to trained counselors if that’s something you need. Most of the time, though, you may just need a sympathetic ear — and your surrogacy specialist is well experienced in the feelings that intended parents like you go through during these difficult times.

You may also wish to seek out support groups for intended parents like yourself. You may find comfort in talking to people who have been through the same situations as you. You can search support groups by state here, or look online for other internet support groups.

Everyone is different, and the way you decide to address this sad anniversary will ultimately be up to you. However, we highly encourage that you do take steps to acknowledge and honor this day; it’s an important part of your parenthood journey and who you are today. Remember, this sad day is just one stop on your road to becoming parents and eventually holding that special little bundle of joy in your arms.