Surrogacy America Blog Feed Kirby Tue, 11 Dec 2018 11:14:30 -0500 How Has Surrogacy Changed over Time? blog/how-has-surrogacy-changed-over-time Mon, 28 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0400 The perception of surrogacy has changed slowly over the past few years. As more couples and individuals consider surrogacy as a way to grow their families, the process has become less foreign to the general population. Celebrities who have chosen surrogacy have certainly done their part to “normalize” this form of modern family-building. Even with all of the celebrated progress of the past decade, surrogacy has endured a long road to get to where it is today, and there is a long road ahead still.

Surrogacy law, state-by-state
Surrogacy law is determined at the state level. This means that certain types of surrogacy agreements may still not be legal, depending on where you reside. Couples who reside in states that are not surrogacy-friendly will need to work with a surrogate who lives in a state favorable to surrogacy. As of late, more states typically allow surrogacy agreements, or at least do not necessarily oppose them, but some states still entirely prohibit surrogacy.

Traditional versus gestational surrogacy
First performed in 1985, gestational surrogacy has largely become the preferred surrogacy method. In gestational surrogacy, the surrogate mother has no biological connection to the child she is carrying. The child is the product of either the intended mother’s eggs or those of an egg donor. In a traditional surrogacy agreement, the surrogate mother does share a biological connection to the child as her eggs are used. Due to the emotional and legal concerns that arise from traditional surrogacy arrangements, gestational surrogacy has been widely considered as a safer alternative and continues to serve as the preferred choice for modern growing families.

Special Program of Assisted Reproduction (SPAR)
In 1999, the Special Program of Assisted Reproduction (SPAR) emerged, which allowed HIV+ men to contribute their own sperm toward the surrogacy process. SPAR uses HIV testing and sperm washing to help remove the risk of transmission from father to child.

The rise of LGBT family building
Modern family-building services are closely linked with the LGBT community, and surrogacy services serve the needs of same-sex men who use an egg donor and surrogate mother to have a child. Learn more about LGBT services at Surrogacy America.

Life after Gestational Surrogacy: A Guide for Former Surrogate Mothers blog/life-after-gestational-surrogacy-a-guide-for-former-surrogate-mothers Thu, 20 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Becoming a gestational surrogate is an extraordinary act for which Surrogacy America expresses deep admiration and gratitude. We understand that the surrogacy process can be all-consuming right up to the moment the baby is born, and then things can seem especially tricky, even after the counseling and support the surrogate received prior to and during pregnancy.

Surrogates are carefully screened prior to matching with intended parents to ensure that they understand their role as a surrogate mother and they are prepared for the experience of completing their pregnancy. That being said, just because the surrogate delivered a baby and fulfilled her role doesn’t mean the experience is simply “over.” Surrogacy America has provided a helpful guide below to aid surrogates as they transition from the surrogacy experience.

  • The surrogate’s relationship with the intended parents and their child is determined prior to completion of the surrogacy agreement. These talks are the designated time to discuss expectations and wishes for how involved the surrogate will or will not be in the lives of the couple she so graciously helped. It is essential that both parties are completely honest during these discussions – if anything is held back or someone agrees to something they are unhappy with, there’s no opportunity to change it once the agreement is signed and the medical process begins. Read our Surrogate Mother Checklist to learn more.

  • Continue to use a support network after the child is born. Surrogates need the support of family members, friends and even support groups during the surrogacy process, and this need will not discontinue post-childbirth. Family and friends are going to be some of the most understanding and supportive people as the transition from surrogate motherhood begins, and support group members hold the benefit of sincerely knowing what other surrogates are going through every step of the way.

  • Take the time to work through any difficult emotions. The weeks and months post-childbirth can be fraught with emotionally-charged, hormone-driven moments as the body settles back into its normal routine. Pushing away or ignoring emotions during this time for the sake of “moving on” is ill-advised because it can lead to larger emotional issues and troubles in the future.

Most important, former surrogates need to remember that they are never alone. There are many resources both in-person and online that can provide guidance and support.

Three Questions Surrogate Mothers Are Tired of Being Asked blog/three-questions-surrogate-mothers-are-tired-of-being-asked Mon, 26 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Surrogacy is a remarkable gift to a couple unable to grow their family without the help of third-party reproduction. The decision to become a surrogate mother is not one that women take lightly. Those accepted into surrogacy programs are screened to ensure that they fully understand their role. They are also given an opportunity to outline their expectations for the surrogacy process – from the moment they are matched to prospective parents through childbirth.

Supportive family members and friends are a core part of the surrogacy process. Unfortunately, even well-meaning individuals can ask insensitive, even rude questions from time to time. These questions stem from a lack of education about third party reproduction, and surrogates often take up the mantle in a teaching role to explain their decision and how the process will work. This being said, there are still unwanted questions surrogates can face, and are frankly tired of hearing. Surrogacy America understands this frustration and has prepared a guide on how such questions can be hurtful, even if your intention was to simply ask a question.

1. “Are you getting paid a lot? How much?”
Before you ask a surrogate about compensation, consider if you would ask someone about payment in other types of settings. Not every surrogate will feel comfortable discussing her compensation, and surrogate compensation can vary from state to state, agency to agency, and even from surrogate to surrogate. The specifics of financial gain from surrogacy is up to each surrogate to disclose if she chooses to do so.

It is also important to mention that assuming compensation is the only reason a woman would choose to become a surrogate is entirely unfair and untrue. This type of decision is complex and cannot be summarized in a number.

2. “Won’t it hurt to give up a baby?”
This may be the most painful question surrogate mothers face as it not only undermines their decision to help a couple in need, but also places judgement on behalf of the surrogate. The undercurrent of such a question is: How can you give up your baby?

Gestational surrogacy occurs when the surrogate does not share a biological connection to the child she carries to term, so the child is not her biological baby. Surrogates are carefully screened to ensure that their role is clear and they accept that they are carrying someone else’s child to help build someone else’s family.

3. “Will you ever see the baby again?”
The relationship a surrogate mother has with the child she carried and delivered is discussed prior to embryo implantation during the surrogacy agreement. All parties must make their expectations known before an agreement is signed. Sometimes, couples and their surrogate agree to part ways after the baby is born. Sometimes, the relationships exists through shared photos and other types of correspondence. Some surrogates and prospective parents agree to remain friendly for in-person visitation. Any decision a surrogate makes should be respected.

How to Avoid Becoming Overwhelmed When Finding a Surrogate Mother blog/how-to-avoid-becoming-overwhelmed-when-finding-a-surrogate-mother Fri, 26 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Finding the right gestational surrogate to help build your family is a critical first step in the surrogacy process. Many who choose this path to parenthood decide to work with a surrogacy agency, who helps them find the right woman to carry the pregnancy on behalf of the parent-to-be. This woman is not biologically related to the baby she will carry and give birth to.

Agencies like Surrogacy America have case managers that are dedicated to make navigating the world of third-party reproduction as easy as possible. They are available to answer questions and provide guidance on this journey to parenthood.

Getting started with gestational surrogacy
The first step on the prospective parent end of the process is to carefully review your agency’s website to ensure that you understand their services, fee schedule and common FAQs. The next step, should prospective patients choose to work with Surrogacy America, involves a consultation with one of our experienced case managers to answer or address any questions and concerns you may have. If you decide to move forward with the surrogacy process, you will be assigned a case manager who will assist you moving forward.

Finding a surrogate mother
Prospective parents can choose a gestational surrogate from our database. Our surrogate roster includes a number of extraordinary women who are waiting to be matched with deserving future parents. Your criteria for a surrogate mother is ultimately up to you, but our case managers can recommend easy ways to narrow your search by helping to define your priorities.

Once you select a surrogate that you would like to work with, your case manager will facilitate a conference call between all parties to ensure that a match is agreeable. Once a match is made, medical pre-screenings can be scheduled and legal assets can begin to move forward.

Helpful resources for prospective parents
The Surrogacy America blog has an entire section dedicated to topics relating to finding a surrogate mother. You can search for information regarding surrogacy costs, surrogacy law, common questions and concerns about the surrogacy process, the emotional journey to surrogacy and more.

Some of our most popular blog posts include:

Answers to Top Concerns Prospective Parents Have about Surrogacy
How Much Will It Cost to Use a Gestational Surrogate?
How Is Gestational Surrogacy in the United States Different from Other Countries?
Why Is Surrogacy Not Allowed in Some States?

Honor National Infertility Awareness Week with Surrogacy America blog/honor-national-infertility-awareness-week-with-surrogacy-america Mon, 24 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Surrogacy America is proud to honor couples and individuals who struggle with infertility all year round, but we are especially proud to highlight the importance of infertility treatment, care and support during National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). Held April 23-29, 2017, NIAW is an important opportunity to spread awareness regarding infertility, and this year’s theme of “Listen Up!” is no exception.

How you can Listen Up!
Listen Up! refers to taking time to hear or read real stories from infertility patients. Infertility is an entirely case-by-case experience, and a lot of generalizations are made about the different ways people can become parents. Not every infertility journey ends with in vitro fertilization (IVF), a common misconception. Sometimes medications are used, surgery is involved or third-party reproduction (egg donor, sperm donor or a surrogate mother) is necessary in order to conceive.

Because one in eight couples struggle to conceive, it is possible that many of us know someone who has faced difficulties building a family without knowing it. Even with decades of medical advancements, favorable legal changes inclusive to modern family-building efforts and a society generally more open to these issues, many couples still face infertility quietly and on their own. Of course, how much you wish to share and who you choose to share it with is entirely your decision – your comfort and privacy come first. That being said, there are many avenues for support that infertility patients could be missing out on.

Support groups – Infertility support groups can be held online or in person. They can be male-only, female-only, or for couples. Support groups offer a unique opportunity to speak with and hear from others in your situation along the road to parenthood. Many former fertility patients report on the positive impact support groups had during moments of stress and concern during treatment.
Hear from real people – Personal infertility journeys come in every shape and form, and while it can feel especially lonely post-diagnosis, reading stories from other patients can go a long way toward making this process less painful.
Share your story – Sometimes, the most cathartic move an infertility patient can make is to tell their story. Again, how much you share is up to you, but putting your journey into words and sharing with others can be a significant form of stress relief.

Surrogacy America is proud to highlight the importance of NIAW and we hope you’ll share how you participated in this year’s NIAW with us on social media.

How Much Will It Cost to Use a Gestational Surrogate? blog/how-much-will-it-cost-to-use-a-gestational-surrogate Fri, 17 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500 The great benefit of third-party reproductive services like surrogacy, egg and sperm donation is that they offer an opportunity for infertile and LGBT couples and individuals to either share a genetic link with their child or carry a pregnancy they might otherwise not have been able to bring to term. The cost of using a gestational surrogate to help build your family, however, remains a big question mark for some, especially for those who are new to third-party reproduction.

In theory, this is all very exciting (and it should be!), but the actual cost of these processes can easily overwhelm future parents who don’t know which fees are required and what purpose each fee serves. This is entirely understandable -- third-party reproduction is still growing in popularity and discussions on cost aren’t as common as they are for other fertility procedures. Surrogacy America understands how daunting the process can seem when you’re just starting out, so we’ve helped detail surrogacy fees and costs below.

Please note: The total cost of the surrogacy process can vary. For example, experienced gestational surrogates can command higher compensation than first-time surrogates. Fees noted below reflect our best estimates so prospective parents can plan accordingly.

The surrogacy program fee: $19,900
Gestational surrogate compensation: Starting at $35,000
Trust account management fee: $1,000
Surrogate attorney fee: $1,000
Prospective parent attorney fee: $1,200
Surrogate psychological evaluation: $1,500

Additional fees for our surrogacy program can vary. For example, if a cesarean section is needed during delivery, then the prospective parents will be responsible for this $1,500 fee. Another example of an additional potential fee is if there are multiples or if bed rest is required for the surrogate per a doctor’s order.

Please visit this link for a full, detailed list of surrogacy fees and costs.

Making paying for surrogacy easier
Surrogacy America is dedicated to making family building affordable, which is why we offer a payment schedule that allows you to pay 50% of the surrogacy program fee when a match is made and the remaining 50% when the surrogate you have been matched with is approved by your physician.

If you have questions about the cost of surrogacy or if you are interested in learning more about the surrogacy process, please contact our case managers today.

The Surrogate Mother Checklist blog/the-surrogate-mother-checklist Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500 Becoming a surrogate mother is an incredibly generous decision, and surrogates deserve a great deal of support before, during and after their surrogacy journey. Any first-time surrogate can admit that they have questions from the moment they fill out their application, and Surrogacy America is happy to address every concern. Ask our case managers a question!

One great way to help gestational surrogates feel better prepared for the process is to know what to expect along the way, from knowing if you qualify for our surrogate mother program, to the questions to ask before signing a surrogacy contract, and even what to bring to the hospital for delivery.

Before you apply to become a gestational surrogate

  • Make sure you meet all the requirements
    • Some requirements include: age (between 21 and 40), BMI (19-32), obstetric history (must have given birth to at least one child and be raising that child), source of income (cannot be on public assistance), and criminal history (must pass a background check).
  • Have a plan for discussing surrogacy with family and friends
    • Knowing how to talk about your surrogacy plans to your children, other family members and friends is important. Not everyone will be familiar with the surrogacy process, and even well-meaning inquires can seem judgmental when coming from a lack of education about third-party reproduction. No one wants to be put on the defensive about their choices, so anticipating the conversations you’ll have and knowing what you want to say can be helpful.

Before you sign the surrogacy agreement

  • When a surrogacy agreement is being drafted, both parties -- the intended parents and the gestational surrogate -- will have their own legal representation. This is the appropriate time to vocalize your preferences on topics such as the relationship you will share with the intended parents during and after surrogacy, medical concerns and hypotheticals, and who will attend doctor appointments and delivery.

Before you give birth

  • To be a surrogate, you must have given birth to at least one child who you are currently raising, so you’re already familiar with what you actually need and didn’t end up using during your last delivery. Because surrogacy involves the intended parents who may also be present at the birth, there are a few items to bring that are especially important to have on the day of delivery:
    • Insurance information
    • Birth plan
    • Surrogacy agreement or contract
    • Pre-birth order
Surrogacy on the Rise? LGBT Families Seek Third-Party Reproduction Services blog/surrogacy-on-the-rise-lgbt-families-seek-third-party-reproduction-services Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500 Using a gestational surrogate to build a family has slowly grown in popularity, particularly within the LGBT community. For same-sex male couples specifically, working with an egg donor and surrogate mother provides the opportunity to have a baby with whom one or both partners share a genetic connection. Surrogacy America is a proud LGBT ally, and we work with all couples and individuals regardless of their sexual orientation. Modern family building is ever-evolving, with new technologies and changing laws shaping the process for same-sex male couples year after year.

Same-sex male family building
Surrogacy America has partnered with Egg Donor America to help couples build their families, both in cases of infertility and gay family building. Egg donors are carefully screened, both medically and psychologically, to ensure that they understand their role in the donation process and are prepared for their donation cycle. Gestational surrogates are also screened once a match has been made with intended parents. The relationship with both the egg donor and surrogate before, during and after childbirth is agreed upon before a donor match is made and before the surrogacy cycle begins.

The Surrogacy America experience
The case managers at Surrogacy America understand that choosing third-party reproduction can feel overwhelming. Choosing an egg donor and surrogate mother, coordinating cycles and working with attorneys to craft a surrogacy agreement requires many decisions, but you are not without support. Your dedicated case manager is ready to assist or provide recommendations and resources through every step of your journey to parenthood.

As more LGBT couples turn to surrogacy, the process becomes increasingly normalized not just within the gay community, but across modern family building. As a team, we are proud to be just one part of this growth.

Surrogacy America invites same-sex male couples to learn more about LGBT surrogacy:

Surrogacy and the LGBT Community
Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Using a Gestational Surrogate
Where Do I Find a Surrogate Mother?

If you are interested in using a gestational surrogate to building your family, please contact Surrogacy America today.

Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Using a Gestational Surrogate blog/ten-mistakes-to-avoid-when-using-a-gestational-surrogate Wed, 23 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500 Navigating the surrogacy process, including finding the right gestational surrogate to help build your family, can be overwhelming and stressful. Fortunately, experienced case managers like those at Surrogacy America aid and support clients with every step along the road to parenthood, from finding a surrogate mother who meets the ideal criteria, to selecting a fertility center, to providing a template for a surrogacy agreement once a match is made.

Surrogacy America advises intended parents to do these 10 things to avoid common mistakes when going through the surrogacy process, from the time a gestational surrogate is chosen to the moment the cycle is complete:

1. Consider if you’re truly ready to move forward with surrogacy.
For those who need a gestational surrogate to have a baby, it’s very important to avoid rushing into the surrogacy process until you are ready. The transition to gestational surrogacy from unsuccessful fertility treatments or a difficult infertility diagnosis shouldn’t be forced. We advise that couples and individuals take the time they need to carefully consider surrogacy before contacting a reputable agency.
2. Debunk old surrogacy myths and misconceptions.
Some old myths about gestational surrogacy persist today. There are many reasons why a couple may choose to use a gestational surrogate and a variety of motivations for a woman to become a surrogate. Misunderstandings about the surrogacy experience are harmful to those families who are grateful that they can benefit from assisted reproductive technology (ART).
3. Don’t skimp on research.
Not all surrogacy agencies are alike, so intended parents are strongly advised to do their due diligence while researching surrogacy agencies. Experienced, qualified surrogacy agencies have strong, well-regarded reputations.
4. Don’t forget to ask for testimonials.
Most reputable surrogacy agencies can provide detailed testimonials from intended parents and former surrogates alike. These stories will give a real feel for what it’s like to work with this agency.
5. Consider your gestational surrogate criteria.
Being matched with a surrogate mother is a similar process to being matched with an egg donor. You will search through your chosen agency’s surrogate database to find a suitable surrogate. The more specific criteria you have, the fewer options you will have to choose from.
6. Be open to different types of surrogates.
The journey to surrogacy may not have been your first choice, so choosing a surrogate that best fits your needs may require open consideration as to your surrogate’s location, depending on the laws of the state in which you reside.
7. Don’t ignore your wishes and expectations when drawing up a surrogacy agreement.
Be very honest about your expectations for the surrogacy process prior to signing an agreement. Decisions about your relationship with your surrogate during and after her pregnancy will need to be made during this time.
8. Immediately voice your questions and concerns.
Questions or concerns about your match or the surrogacy process should be discussed as soon as possible. There is no need to put off seeking answers if you are worried about an issue.
9. Plan how you will discuss surrogacy.
Knowing what you will say to your family and friends can make conversations about surrogacy much easier. Your level of openness is entirely up to you, but it can be helpful to plan and know beforehand what you will and will not share.
10. Seek support, even if you think you don’t need it.
There are many organizations and forums dedicated to supporting those using third-party reproduction, including surrogacy-specific groups. Support groups can be online or in-person, and they can cater to men-only or women-only groups if preferred. They can also cater to couples or individuals.

Why Should I Become a Surrogate Mother? blog/why-should-i-become-a-surrogate-mother Becoming a surrogate mother for a couple or individual in need is an incredible act of kindness and generosity. When you carry and give birth to someone else’s child because they are not able to do so themselves, it is an inspiring accomplishment and its impact will be treasured by the family for the rest of their lives. For women considering becoming a gestational surrogate, it’s natural to wonder what the process feels like and how much the surrogacy process will impact your life. These are entirely logical concerns, and Surrogacy America welcomes prospective surrogate candidates to contact our case managers with any questions. That being said, there are many benefits to becoming a surrogate, some of which might come as a surprise.

Surrogate mothers build families
Whether a couple or individual is LGBT or requires a surrogate due to infertility, some families are in a position where they are unable to become pregnant on their own. Surrogates fill an incredibly important role by safely carrying someone else’s child to term and delivering their baby. Surrogacy is a proud accomplishment that you will carry with you for the rest of your life.

Surrogacy is a role best suited for women who have already completed their own families, but sincerely enjoy the experience of being pregnant. Being a surrogate mother is an opportunity to enjoy pregnancy one more time -- or more, if you choose to be a surrogate again.

New relationships
The status of your relationship with the intended parents and their baby is decided between you and the parents before surrogacy begins. For some, communication, visits, and the relationship between your two families will continue to develop and grow long after your time as a surrogate. Others may not want to retain a relationship with their surrogate. These expectations are determined before a surrogacy agreement is signed in order to ensure that all parties are on the same page.

When you become a gestational surrogate, you join a community of women who have also shared in the same surrogacy journey. Surrogates are encouraged to join support groups during and after the pregnancy in order to share their experience and connect with others who have the same feelings about the process.

If you are interested in becoming a surrogate mother, please view our list of surrogate requirements and begin an initial application.