Why Aren’t Surrogacy Agencies Regulated?

Often, intended parents and surrogates ask, “Why aren’t surrogacy agencies regulated?” Knowing that other family-building organizations like private infant adoption agencies and foster care agencies undergo annual review and scrutiny from official government organizations, they may be wary of the fact that surrogacy agencies don’t have this same certification process.

So, how do you know surrogacy agencies are safe if they don’t have this same certification? And why aren’t surrogacy agencies subject to the same scrutiny as other family-building professionals?

The most important thing to know is that just because a surrogacy agency isn’t regulated doesn’t mean it’s a poor choice for your family-building process. Before passing judgement on the lack of regulation, it’s important to recognize exactly why the surrogacy professional field is this way.

It’s Not Because They Don’t Want to Be

You may think that surrogacy agencies take advantage of the lack of regulation: charging whatever they like, offering as many (or as few) services as they deem acceptable, and generally looking out for themselves rather than their clients. And while this may be true with a few organizations, this could not be farther from the mark for most of the surrogacy agencies that exist today.

The best surrogacy agencies today are made up of professionals who have already made their living in the family-building process as trained social workers, medical professionals, lawyers and more. Coming from these fields, they are used to regulation and set internal standards for themselves and their agency. In fact, many of these professionals would welcome a universal regulation and certification process to add credibility to their organization and stand out from the rest. Some professionals today are even advocating for a regulation process for surrogacy agencies.

It’s Because Surrogacy is New and Rapidly Advancing

Unlike other family-building processes like adoption, surrogacy is still a fairly new way of bringing children into a family. Because surrogacy is so heavily based in science, rapid developments in how infertility is treated and the embryo transfer process itself has made it difficult to set standards. If they were to be set, they would have to be constantly updated to reflect the changes in the field.

However, the best surrogacy agencies (like American Surrogacy) stay up-to-date on these changes and reflect them in their programs and the professionals they choose. While national regulation at this point would be incredibly difficult due to these continual changes (not to mention vastly different state laws), the self-regulation that surrogacy agencies perform is an effective way of incorporating modern updates.

How You Can Choose a Professional You Can Trust

Just because a surrogacy agency is not regulated doesn’t mean there is no way of determining whether their program is professional and up-to-date. One of the best ways to determine a surrogacy agency can provide the professional guidance you need is by learning what kind of licensed services they do provide. When considering a surrogacy agency, look for the following:

Of course, it’s always a good idea to speak with former and current clients of a surrogacy agency for their opinion on whether the services offered by the professional meet your personal needs and preferences.

Here at American Surrogacy, our surrogacy specialists are licensed social workers and we only work with professional, licensed surrogacy attorneys and medical professionals. Contact us today to learn more about how we keep our surrogacy program up-to-date, safe and regulated in the best interest of our surrogates and intended parents.

10 Things Intended Parents Wish They Knew Before Their Surrogacy

If you’re an intended parent considering surrogacy, you have a big decision to make. Surrogacy can be complicated, and it’s important that you completely understand what you are signing up for when you commit to this kind of family-building process. While your surrogacy professional can always provide the information you need to start, it may be helpful to speak to other parents who have gone through the surrogacy process, as well.

When you contact the surrogacy specialists at American Surrogacy, they can help connect you to parents who are either in the surrogacy process or have already completed it. That way, you can learn the ins and outs of the process and know what to expect if you choose to pursue this path.

To help you better understand what your surrogacy may be like, here are 10 things that other intended parents wish they had known before they started the surrogacy process for the first time.

1. A surrogacy agency can be invaluable, especially if this is your first experience with surrogacy.

Surrogacy involves many different parts, legalities and professionals, and navigating that all on your own can be incredibly complicated. It’s a great idea to work with a surrogacy professional for at least your first surrogacy, as they can guide you through every step and let you focus on what’s really important — getting to know your surrogate and preparing to bring home your new baby.

Even if you think you may want to pursue an independent surrogacy, we encourage you to speak with a surrogacy agency before making this important decision.

2. Surrogacy laws vary widely by state and will determine what your surrogacy journey will look like.

When you’re researching surrogacy laws in the U.S., it can be frustrating to see that many states don’t have any surrogacy laws at all. However, even if a state has no surrogacy laws, you can often still complete your surrogacy there. You’ll need to work with a professional experienced in that state to make sure you’re following the proper legal and practical steps for a safe surrogacy journey. In many cases, the surrogacy laws where your surrogate lives will determine exactly how your surrogacy will proceed.

3. It can take a long time to find the perfect surrogate.

A surrogate who meets your expectations and who you feel comfortable with will determine the whole progress of your surrogacy. If you choose a surrogate that you don’t feel is 100 percent right for you, you likely will not have the positive, genuine relationship you need for a successful surrogacy.

When you’ve been waiting so long for a child, it can be tempting to choose the first surrogate that comes your way, in order to speed up the process. However, you should take the time to find the woman who is perfect for you to have the best surrogacy possible. You always have that right, and you can take as long as you need to find the perfect surrogate for your family.

4. You should have your finances in line before starting surrogacy.

It’s a well-known truth: Surrogacy is expensive. When you’re considering this family-building process, it’s important to think about how you will budget for and afford the various costs of surrogacy, especially for the miscellaneous, unexpected fees that may arise along the way.

Rather than save just enough to cover the surrogacy process, it’s a good idea to account for unexpected costs (and the ordinary costs of raising a child after birth) before you even begin your surrogacy. That way, rather than stressing about your finances, you can focus on building a relationship with your surrogate.

Your surrogacy specialist and a personal financial advisor can help you learn more about affording surrogacy.

5. You and your surrogate must have separate lawyers.

Even if you and your surrogate have a great personal relationship and agree on every aspect of your surrogacy, you both must hire separate lawyers for your surrogacy contract process. This better protects both parties’ interests and makes sure that every potential detail is accounted for in your legal contract. Remember, you will need to pay for your surrogate’s legal fees in addition to her pregnancy-related expenses.

6. It’s not unusual to have a failed embryo transfer or miscarriage the first time.

When you’ve been waiting for a child for so long, it can be devastating if the surrogacy medical process doesn’t work the first time. But this is completely normal, and many intended parents have to overcome this hurdle before they achieve a successful pregnancy. If this happens to you, it can be helpful to reach out to infertility support groups or other intended parents who have gone through this process for guidance and advice.

7. The difficult emotions don’t go away once your surrogate is pregnant.

Once your surrogate is pregnant, you may think that everything will be happy and easy until your child is born. And, while you will be relieved of the anxiety and disappointment of waiting for a successful pregnancy, your surrogate’s pregnancy will bring all kinds of new emotions. You may feel jealousy and a lack of control at not being involved in your unborn child’s development, and some of these feelings can be difficult. Fortunately, your surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy will always be there to discuss these emotions and help you obtain any additional counseling that may be necessary.

8. You will get insensitive comments or questions.

When you begin surrogacy, you will receive questions and comments from friends, family and even strangers about your family-building process. While most of these will be well-meaning, some may be insensitive or ignorant, leaving you to clear up misconceptions. You will always have the right to discuss your surrogacy in as much detail as you desire, but you can take advantage of this situation to spread awareness and education about the realities of the surrogacy process.

9. You will create a deep personal connection with your surrogate.

As an intended parent, you will know how important your surrogate is to your family-building process. What you may not expect, however, is just how close you will become with her throughout your year or more of the surrogacy process.

Surrogacy is a partnership, and many intended parents and surrogates create a genuine relationship during this time that extends long beyond the birth of the baby. You may even create a lifelong friendship with your surrogate. This is a totally normal — and wonderful — outcome of the surrogacy journey.

10. You may have to explain your surrogacy long after the process is complete.

Just because your child is born doesn’t mean that your surrogacy journey is over. Surrogacy is a lifelong process, and you will need to think about how you will explain your child’s birth story to them as they grow older, as well as how your surrogate may or may not be involved in their life.

Even long after your child is born, you may find yourself explaining their birth story to friends, family and strangers, or being asked questions that have to be explained with your surrogacy story. Having pride in this story is important; you can’t simply pretend your surrogacy didn’t happen once your baby is born. And who would want to?

If you’re an intended parent who is either in the middle of or has completed the surrogacy process, what do you wish you had known, or what do you still want to know? Comment on this post or contact a surrogacy specialist today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) to learn more.

Taking Surrogacy Delivery Photos — What to Know

If you’re considering surrogacy as a way to build your family, you’ve probably come across beautiful photos of intended parents and surrogates sharing in the delivery experience together. Just as women giving birth to their own children hire photographers to capture this life-changing moment, intended parents whose child is being born via surrogate also use this method to commemorate the moment they’ve been waiting for forever.

But, you may wonder: What is the process of delivery photos like when the woman giving birth is not the mother, and how do you suggest this to your surrogate, who is already giving so much to help you reach your parenthood dreams?

Fortunately, most surrogates will be thrilled at the idea of having delivery photos taken. Having already had children themselves, they will understand how important this moment is and, more than likely, will be completely on board with this process.

Why Delivery Photos Can Be So Special

If you have not yet started the surrogacy process or been matched with a surrogate, the idea of taking photos of another woman giving birth to your child may seem odd and even intrusive. But surrogacy delivery photos are much more than that.

Photos taken during the time that your surrogate gives birth will capture everyone involved in the process — not only her but also you, your spouse (if applicable), your surrogate’s spouse and your doctor. Surrogacy is a partnership, and delivery photos of a surrogate pregnancy capture that relationship perfectly.

By the time your surrogate gives birth, she will not be a stranger. Instead, she will likely be a close friend who you have created a genuine relationship with. Therefore, the intimate photos taken during delivery will seem natural. They will capture that unique relationship you have and both your and your surrogate’s emotions while she is giving birth.

For many intended parents, these photos are priceless, no matter who is the one giving birth — you are all working toward the same end goal.

How to Broach This Idea to Your Surrogate

Whether you know you want delivery photos taken when you first start your surrogacy process, or whether it’s an idea that you have during your surrogate’s pregnancy, it’s important that you discuss this openly and honestly with your surrogate. After all, the photos will feature her as much as you, and she will need to be comfortable with this process before you start scheduling a photographer for her delivery.

If you know you want surrogacy delivery photos early on, this can be discussed in your contract when you initially match with a surrogate. However, if you are unsure of how to bring this topic up after you have been matched with a surrogate, your surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy can help mediate a discussion of this idea.

Your specialist can also offer suggestions on how to make the process as comfortable as possible for all involved. As intended parents, you will be responsible for the costs of hiring a photographer for the delivery, and you’ll need to speak with them and your surrogate to create a photography plan that everyone is comfortable with.

As mentioned before, most surrogates will be happy to have delivery photos taken — but taking the time to ask her about her preferences and her comfort level before moving forward will mean a lot to her. If your surrogate is uncomfortable with this idea, you should never try to pressure or force her into changing her mind.

A Note to Surrogates

If you are a surrogate who is interested in delivery photos at the hospital, your situation is a bit more unique than if an intended parent suggested this idea to you. While you will be included in any surrogacy delivery photos, you will need to be respectful in suggesting this idea to your intended parents — as they have just as much say in the decision as you.

If you have a good relationship with your intended parents, you may suggest this idea in a light-hearted and no-obligation way. If you are unsure of how to suggest this to your intended parents, your surrogacy specialist can always help mediate this conversation. You may even suggest splitting the fee of a photographer at the hospital if these photos are incredibly important to you.

As always, remember that both intended parents and surrogates have a say in this process, just like with shooting maternity photos. By respecting each other’s wishes and determining what you are both comfortable with, you can come up with a plan for photography at the hospital that produces photos you will cherish forever.

To learn more about how the delivery process works for a surrogate pregnancy, please contact our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) today.

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Male Factor Infertility

When it comes to babies, family-building, adoption and surrogacy, the conversation tends to revolve around women. It’s easy to assume that because mothers are the ones carrying the pregnancy, they are also the ones who care most about having children — and, when efforts to conceive naturally fail, it’s easy to assume that women are the ones with the fertility problem.

But the truth is that male factor infertility plays a role in 30 to 50 percent of infertility cases, according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and it can be just as emotionally challenging to overcome as female infertility.

If male infertility has played a role on your path to surrogacy, you’re not alone. To open up the conversation about male factor infertility, here are five important things everyone should know about the condition:

1. There are many different causes of male infertility.

There are many factors that can contribute to male factor infertility. According to RESOLVE, the national infertility association, some common causes include:

  • A blockage or other structural abnormality that affects the flow of sperm
  • Low sperm count or quality caused by a sperm production disorder
  • Ejaculatory issues that prevent the sperm from ever reaching the egg
  • Immunologic disorders that prevent fertilization
  • Azoospermia, a condition in which the testicles do not produce any sperm
  • Obstructive azoospermia, in which sperm is produced but blocked by an obstruction
  • And more

Some of these infertility issues are caused by underlying health problems, like hormonal imbalances. Prior surgeries and radiation from cancer treatments can also damage reproductive organs and sperm.

2. Seeing a doctor should always be your first step.

If you and your partner have been trying to conceive for one year without success, it’s time to see a doctor about possible infertility issues. Both partners should schedule a consult and have a workup done to determine the potential cause of their infertility (and identify any other underlying health issues). Of course, you should also always see a doctor if you notice any lumps, swelling, pain or other abnormalities affecting the groin area.

Some men are reluctant to take this step, but when it comes to your reproductive health, it’s important to be proactive. Seeing a doctor is the only way to get to the bottom of what’s causing your fertility problems — and to make a plan for how to move forward. Your doctor will assess your medical history and perform a semen analysis and other medical tests to diagnose your fertility problems.

3. There are options for overcoming male infertility.

With rapid advances in reproductive medicine and technology, there are now more options available to couples struggling with infertility than ever before. Depending on the type and cause of your infertility, there are several courses of treatment your doctor may recommend, from in vitro fertilization (IVF) to sperm washing and intrauterine insemination.

There are also more family-building options today than ever before. If fertility treatments aren’t right for you, you might consider other family-building options, like surrogacy or adoption. While it’s important to remember that these options are not “cures” for infertility, they will allow you to finally bring home the child that you’ve dreamed about for so long.

4. Male infertility can have emotional implications.

Just like for women, an infertility diagnosis and treatment can be an emotional rollercoaster for men — even if they’re not willing to admit it. Society often links manliness and fertility, which can lead men to experience shock, anger, sadness, guilt and low self-esteem following a male factor infertility diagnosis.

Talking about these feelings can be difficult, but it’s important to acknowledge the emotional pain of infertility in order to fully heal and move forward with your family-building journey. Infertility counseling may help you in coming to terms with your infertility diagnosis, communicating with your partner and deciding what steps to take next.

5. Infertility isn’t one partner’s problem.

Whether you’re dealing with male factor, female factor, unexplained or combined infertility issues, this condition doesn’t just affect one partner — it affects both of you. Pinpointing the cause of your issues to male factor infertility isn’t about “blaming” one partner; it’s about getting to the root of the problem so you can move forward with the family-building option that’s right for both of you.

Remember to communicate openly with your partner and support each other through this journey. It takes two (or more) to build a family, so you should both be on the same page when it comes to the next steps following an infertility diagnosis.

If you are considering surrogacy as a family-building option, or if you would like to learn more about moving from infertility to surrogacy, contact us today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

7 Reasons Why Women Want to Be Surrogates

Let’s face it: being a surrogate is hard. The women who pursue surrogacy often have to put their own lives on hold, sacrificing much of their time and energy (not to mention their physical comfort) to bring a child into the lives of another family.

Whether you’re thinking about surrogacy as a hopeful intended parent or prospective surrogate, or you’re simply curious to learn more about a process that is commonly misunderstood, this may leave you wondering: Why do women want to become surrogates?

The amazing women who choose surrogacy come from many different backgrounds and have many different reasons for taking this journey. In general, though, here are a few common reasons why a woman might want to partake in this life-changing process:

1. She enjoys being pregnant.

A genuine love of pregnancy is absolutely critical for any woman interested in surrogacy. The typical surrogate is someone who takes great joy in the miracle of pregnancy and has had positive pregnancy experiences with her own children.

Surrogacy agencies and clinics require that prospective surrogates have a history of successful, healthy pregnancies, and many encourage women to start this process only after their own families are complete. For many women, surrogacy is an opportunity to experience the joy of pregnancy again, even if they’re not planning on raising any more children themselves.

2. She wants to build lasting friendships.

Surrogacy is an intimate and collaborative process, and many surrogates and intended parents end up forming genuine friendships that last long after the surrogacy is complete.

In addition, many surrogates find a strong sense of community with each other through support groups, online forums and more. Surrogates often form strong bonds and lasting friendships with these women, who understand what they’re going through in a way no one else can.

3. She can learn more about her own health.

While not a primary reason for most women to become surrogates, every prospective surrogate does go through an intensive screening process that can help her learn more about her body and her overall health. Surrogates receive top-notch healthcare (as well as emotional support and counseling) before and during their pregnancy — all free of charge.

4. She sets an example for those around her.

There’s nothing like a baby bump to attract excitement and questions — and as such, many surrogates find themselves on the forefront of the conversation about surrogacy. Many surrogates are passionate about sharing their stories and spreading awareness of surrogacy and other family-building methods, and they take pride in setting an example of altruism for their own children and other people in their lives.

5. She earns a deep sense of personal satisfaction and pride.

Not everyone has what it takes to be a surrogate — and the women who do can take great satisfaction in knowing they’ve changed the world in a way not many others can. Surrogates make a lasting impact on the lives of intended parents and their families for generations to come, and in turn, many surrogates enjoy a deep sense of pride, empowerment and gratification throughout their surrogacy experience.

6. Surrogacy can help her reach financial goals.

Many assume that surrogate compensation is the primary motivator for most women who become surrogates, but that’s actually not the case. Surrogacy agencies gauge a woman’s motives for surrogacy to ensure they’re not solely monetary; if a surrogate is interested only in the financial benefits of surrogacy, the process will likely not be worthwhile or fulfilling for her.

For many surrogates, then, this compensation is just the icing on the cake — an added benefit that can be used to help them reach certain financial goals, like paying for their education or putting a down payment on a house.

7. She wants to help hopeful parents.

Ultimately, a surrogate’s motivation usually comes down to one thing: a deep desire to help intended parents complete their families. Surrogates know the joy of raising children themselves and want to give that experience to hopeful parents who can’t conceive on their own.

Whether she is working with known intended parents or strangers, LGBT parents or a straight couple struggling with infertility, a surrogate will make a huge impact on the lives of the families she partners with — and seeing the intended parents hold their new baby for the first time makes the whole journey worthwhile.

If you’re interested in becoming a surrogate for these or any other reasons, please contact a surrogacy specialist today at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

Are IVF Babies Healthy When They Grow Up?

Despite its proliferation into the mainstream medical field in recent decades, assisted reproductive technology is still a fairly new way of building a family. Therefore, overreaching studies of the effects of the in vitro fertilization process are still few and far between. Sometimes, intended parents considering surrogacy or another ART procedure ask, “Are IVF babies as healthy as babies conceived naturally?”

A study published last year attempts to answer that question, with results indicating that there is really no difference between the health of babies conceived via IVF and those conceived in a traditional manner.

IVF Fertility recently reported on the study from Israel, which took into account more than 250 adolescents (aged 16 to 20) who were born via IVF between the years of 1982 and 1993. Medical professionals evaluated each person’s medical and mental health as part of their mandatory pre-draft military evaluation. They found some interesting things:

  1. Adolescents conceived through IVF had a lower rate of discharge from military service for health reasons than children conceived traditionally. When they were exempt from service, it was typically for personality disorders and behavior, rather than serious medical issues like those in the control group.
  2. IVF individuals scored slightly higher in cognitive function.
  3. Multiples (like twins and triplets) born through ART methods had significantly lower body mass indexes than ART singletons or the comparison population.
  4. IVF adolescents had significantly more doctor’s appointments than the control group, although it was unclear whether this was due to more medical issues or just having parents who more regularly sought medical attention.

While there were certainly limitations to the study, it seems to indicate that children born via IVF and other ART methods are typically just as healthy as those conceived naturally.

As always, the experience and professionalism of a fertility clinic will play a key role in a safe and healthy embryo transfer, just as prenatal care and medical attention will increase the likelihood of a healthy child born via surrogacy or another ART method. Therefore, it’s important that all intended parents do diligent research to seek out a fertility clinic that’s right for them and can provide the professional services they need.

The surrogacy specialists at American Surrogacy can always provide references to fertility specialists for intended parents like you, based on your personal preferences and family-building goals. To learn more today, please contact us at 1-800-875-2229(BABY).

3 Things You Need to Know for World Cancer Day

Here at American Surrogacy, we know that many intended parents come to us after facing challenges in their lives. Some of our intended parents have found themselves struggling with infertility after a fight that was their hardest yet: cancer.

We recognize that many intended parents pursue surrogacy or another family-building method because their own fertility has been compromised by previous battles with cancer and the debilitating treatments it requires. That’s why we’re joining with the Union for International Cancer Control to raise awareness of World Cancer Day this Sunday, Feb. 4.

This year’s campaign continues the theme of “We can. I can.” — which emphasizes the power everyone has to reduce the global burden of cancer. To do our part, we’re raising awareness of the effect that cancer has on many people who wish to become parents and face infertility struggles during or after cancer treatments.

Here are three things you need to know about how cancer can affect the fertility of intended parents:

1. While cancer in the reproductive organs can affect fertility, most fertility issues come from the treatments involved with cancer.

Although the drug therapies involved in treating cancer are very good at killing cancer cells, they also have the potential to kill other important cells as well (which is why most chemotherapies cause hair cells to die). Therefore, there is a potential that certain cancer-fighting drugs can damage a woman’s eggs or a man’s sperm production. You can view a list of the drugs that can cause the most potential damage here.

2. How cancer affects a person’s fertility depends on several factors.

While certain drugs do have a higher risk of affecting a man or woman’s fertility, there are several other things that determine loss of fertility during and after cancer. This includes:

  • The age of the patient. For example, women who are treated before they are 35 have the best chance of becoming pregnant after treatment.
  • The steps taken to preserve fertility. A woman’s eggs can be frozen before cancer treatments in case the drugs she takes damage her eggs and ovaries beyond recovery.
  • The time from treatment to becoming pregnant. Women who have had chemotherapy before puberty or young women whose menstrual periods begin again after chemo are at risk for early menopause. However, if a woman gets pregnant too soon after her treatments, she has a higher risk of miscarriage or carrying a baby with genetic problems.
  • The type of cancer. Cancer of the reproductive organs may require removal of or surgery on those organs, which often causes infertility for both men and women.
3. Fertility outlooks for young people with cancer are better than ever.

The good news is that men and women diagnosed with cancer have a better chance of having a child naturally than ever before in the past. Today, women diagnosed with cancer are presented with fertility preservation techniques like egg-freezing to make it more likely that they can have a biological child later on in their life, either through their own pregnancy or through a method like surrogacy.

When a young woman is diagnosed with cancer, her oncologist will often discuss her options for preserving her fertility at the same time that they discuss possible cancer treatments. Oncologists will often refer women to a gynecologist or reproductive endocrinologist for more information on preserving their fertility before they begin their chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Some good news: One study revealed that of the women who became pregnant after their cancer treatments, the rate of miscarriage and stillbirth was comparable to women who had not battled cancer.

Those who are interested in the effect of cancer on fertility should always speak to a medical professional for more information, especially if the question pertains to their own fertility. Know that if you cannot have a biological child on your own, the specialists at American Surrogacy are always available to talk to you about your family-building options and help you achieve your dream of having a biologically related child.

To help spread awareness of World Cancer Day, share information about the campaign with your friends and family through social media, word of mouth and more. Sharing this blog post is a good place to start.

With a little bit of help from everyone, we can work towards eradicating these diseases that bring pain to so many, especially those wishing to become parents.

10 Tips for New Surrogates

If you’re considering becoming a surrogate, congratulations! You’re about to embark on a life-changing journey and join thousands of women who have made a huge difference in someone else’s lives.

However, as much research as you’ve probably done up until the point, you may still have questions and concerns. What is it really like to be surrogate? How can you prepare for this journey?

Fortunately, when you work with American Surrogacy, your surrogacy specialist will be there to support you throughout your journey. Whatever advice and answers you need, she can provide them or help you find additional resources to help you, like former surrogates or professional counselors.

To help you prepare for this new step in your life, we’ve gathered some top tips from former surrogates who were once in your very situation:

1. Remember that you are part of a team.

Surrogacy is an involved process with many complicated aspects and steps. You will need to work closely with your surrogacy professionals and your intended parents to complete it successfully. While you will play an important role in the surrogacy journey, it’s not all about your experience; it will be a give-and-take with everyone else that’s involved.

2. Communication is key.

You and the intended parents will be pursuing a very intimate process with each other, so it’s helpful to build a positive and strong relationship from the beginning of your journey. There may be difficult moments throughout your surrogacy, and being able to easily and effectively communicate with each other will make those moments easier to move forward from.

3. Be prepared for the emotions of the process.

Surrogacy comes with both emotional highs and lows, and your surrogacy specialist will help you prepare for them. However, understand the potential for things like miscarriages, failed transfers and selective reductions and think about how you may respond to these situations. Remember, your surrogacy professional can help you connect with trained counselors if you need them.

4. The hormones from medication and pregnancy will affect you.

When you become a surrogate, you’ll potentially go through more hormonal changes as you take pre-transfer medications to regulate your hormones. The experience may or may not be comparable to your past pregnancies. Be prepared for the possibility that these hormones may affect your personality more than they did before.

5. Don’t feel pressured into a match unless you’re sure it’s right.

As a surrogate, you have the right to only carry for a family that you are 100 percent comfortable with. If this means you have to wait longer than normal to find the intended parents that you feel a connection with, that’s okay. Your surrogacy specialist will work with you to find the perfect family who fits all of your surrogacy preferences and goals.

6. Be comfortable with your contract and don’t sign anything until you are ready.

Similarly, you do not have to agree to the terms of your contract until you feel that your rights and interests are protected. You will be provided a personal lawyer for this stage of the process, and you can take all the time you need to discuss with him or her all your questions or concerns. You are never obligated to start any surrogacy processes until you sign your contract but, once you do sign, you will be legally obligated to follow every responsibility outlined in it.

7. Follow your contract and everything will be fine.

It’s normal to worry whether you are doing everything “right” in your time as a surrogate. However, as long as you follow what is stated in your contract and stay healthy as you are pregnant, you will be the best surrogate that intended parents could ask for. If you ever have any questions about your responsibilities, speak with your surrogacy specialist.

8. Be prepared for not everything to work out as planned.

Unfortunately, everything in your surrogacy journey may not work out the first time. It’s not uncommon for a surrogate to take a while to find the perfect intended parents, for the first transfer to fail or even for a miscarriage to occur. It can certainly be disheartening when a situation like this occurs, but know that it’s completely normal and that your surrogacy professionals will be there to help you move forward.

9. Stay in touch with your surrogacy professionals.

It’s been mentioned throughout this list, but don’t underestimate the importance of your surrogacy professionals throughout your surrogacy journey. They exist to support you through the challenges and rewards of the process — especially for first-time surrogates who aren’t sure what to expect. Don’t be afraid to reach out for their assistance when you need it.

10. Take care of yourself.

It’s easy to get lost in the bigger picture of your surrogacy journey – you’re helping to create a family and carrying the dreams of intended parents in your uterus. However, it’s important to remember the basics of caring for your physical and mental health during your surrogacy. Whatever else is happening, make sure to take the necessary steps to keep yourself healthy, as it will be instrumental to ensuring a positive, healthy surrogacy journey for everyone.

Want more tips from surrogates or have your own to add? Consider reaching out to surrogate support groups or contacting a surrogacy specialist at American Surrogacy to be connected with other surrogates like you.

The Truth About Multiple-Embryo Transfers

It’s an important conversation that every prospective surrogate and intended parent should have with their medical professional: How many embryos should I be comfortable with in a single transfer?

Ideally, this conversation should take place well before an embryo transfer — even before someone starts the surrogacy process at all. However, new research from FertilityIQ estimates that 1/5 of all patients undergoing infertility treatments are only educated about the facts of a multi-embryo transfer immediately before the procedure itself.

Clearly, both intended parents and surrogates need to advocate for themselves while preparing for this step of the surrogacy process.

At American Surrogacy, our specialists will help connect you with an appropriate medical professional early on in the process. This way, you can learn about the pros and cons of transferring multiple embryos to make the best decision for you.

Rather than solely relying on one doctor’s recommendation, it’s important that intended parents and surrogates do their own research to learn about this topic from several resources. To help you start that process, we’ve listed some of the basic information you need to know in this article.

The Basics and Risks of the Transfer Process

In every in vitro fertilization process, intended parents will need to decide how many embryos they want to transfer to the mother’s (or surrogate’s) uterus. Usually, this decision will be influenced by several factors, like:

A fertility doctor should speak at length with intended parents about this decision, as it’s one that has many different repercussions for all involved. Unfortunately, not all doctors take this approach — instead recommending one path over another, after which intended parents often go with the suggested embryo transfer number.

While each medical situation is unique, it’s important to note that transferring more than one embryo comes with well-documented risks. Carrying multiples increases medical complications for both mothers and children by almost five times. These medical complications, like early birth, can cost parents more money and cause more emotional distress than a single birth resulting from a single-embryo transfer.

Still, doctors may recommend multiple embryo transfers in older women to increase their chances of pregnancy, despite these risks. No matter what the situation, all intended parents should be fully educated about both options long before the transfer takes place.

So, Which is Better: A Single- or Multiple-Embryo Transfer?

It would appear that single-embryo transfer is the safer path to take, right? It may be, but many American intended parents today aren’t following this path.

As a whole, intended parents in the U.S. complete far more multiple-embryo transfers compared to single-embryo transfers than other countries — in fact, more than twice as often as intended parents in Australia, based on FertilityIQ’s research. This is due to several factors.

In the U.S., the cost of an IVF process is much more expensive than the cost of those in countries where the healthcare system is paid for or greatly subsidized by the government. Therefore, intended parents often transfer more than one embryo their first time to reduce the chance that they need to pay for more than one transfer process.

Research also shows that there is no consistent education offered to intended parents among fertility clinics. The amount and accuracy of information will vary based on the doctor being used — which could be a possible reason why so many intended parents choose to do a multiple-embryo transfer early in the process.

The discussion about how many embryos to transfer in the surrogacy process is an even more complicated one. After all, the risks of a multiple-embryo transfer will not be carried by the intended parents but by the surrogate — which should impact the intended parents’ desire to transfer multiple embryos in the first place.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine usually only advises one healthy embryo be transferred in women up to age 38, because “in patients of any age, transfer of a euploid embryo has the most favorable prognosis and should be limited to one.” Therefore, many surrogates and intended parents will determine during their legal contract phase that their embryo transfer will be limited to one for each transfer process. If it is decided that multiple embryos will be transferred, the contract should also address the financial protections for the possibility of carrying multiples and any subsequent complications.

If intended parents or a surrogate are considering a multiple-embryo transfer during surrogacy, we recommend you speak in detail with your surrogacy specialist and your fertility doctor for more information about the risks and benefits of doing so. The surrogacy specialists at American Surrogacy are always available to discuss your personal surrogacy situation if you call them at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) today.

Task Force Recommendation a Step Toward Legal Surrogacy in New York

For years, intended parents and surrogates who live in New York have been forced to decide: Do they complete a surrogacy in their home state, where surrogacy contracts are unenforceable and compensation is illegal, or do they look to a different state to make their surrogacy dreams come true?

New developments from the state’s Health Department’s Task Force on Life and Laws indicate this dilemma may not exist for much longer.

In December, the state task force issued a recommendation that New York do away with its decades-old ban on commercial surrogacy. The recommendation cited cultural changes and advances in reproductive medicine science — like the use of in vitro fertilization in gestational surrogacy — as an encouragement to legalize this modern family-building process. Soon after the recommendation’s announcement, the National Infertility Association issued a statement in support.

The movement toward legalizing gestational commercial surrogacy has been building for a long time in the New York legislature. In 2012, a bill called the “Child-Parent Security Act” was introduced that would allow surrogacy arrangements for surrogates with no genetic relationship to the child they carry. However, this bill stalled in both houses of the state legislature.

The recommendation has its critics from the task force, and what will happen from here is still up in the air. Most likely, the aforementioned surrogacy bill will be introduced again into the legislature, to be debated on in roundtable discussions.

In the meantime, stay up to date on the most recent developments, and always speak with a New York surrogacy attorney if you are interested in the current state of surrogacy laws there.

If you are interested in learning more about the surrogacy process in a surrogacy-friendly state, the specialists at American Surrogacy can answer your questions and help you connect with an intended parent or surrogate in one of those states. Please contact our surrogacy agency at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) to start your surrogacy process today.