Do You Get Paid To Be A Surrogate
If you’ve ever wanted to have kids but weren’t able to get pregnant naturally or were unable to carry your own child, then perhaps you should consider becoming a surrogate mother. In fact, it’s estimated that 4 out of 10 women who give birth through artificial means are doing so as a surrogate mom. The practice of human reproductive technology has been around since the 1800s when French surgeon Pierre Fournier performed the world’s first known successful test tube baby using an egg from a woman impregnated via artificial insemination. Today, there are more than 2 million American babies born each year to people who had no ability to become parents through their natural conception.
In 2010, about 1 percent of all U.S. births took place as a result of surrogacy, with an additional 3 percent taking place internationally. There are three main types of surrogacy contracts — traditional, gestational and same sex — and they vary depending on a couple’s specific circumstances. If you’re interested in finding out if being a surrogate is right for you, here are some things to know.
What Is Traditional Surrogacy? When a woman becomes pregnant via artificial insemination, she is considered a traditional surrogate. This type of surrogacy contract involves two parties: the intended parent(s) who will be raising the embryo, and the biological mother who provided the uterus. The intended parents make up the majority of this arrangement, paying the surrogate a fee for her services. For example, the fees may include lodging, meals, medical expenses and other living costs.
Traditional surrogacy contracts also allow the intended parents to keep any legal rights to the fetus once its heart begins beating. However, the law varies from state to state, and in some states, the surrogate has full custody of the infant while others grant sole care of the child to the intended parents.
Gestational surrogacy is when a woman carries another person’s fetus until it reaches viability. She provides both physical sustenance and emotional support, although she usually doesn’t bear children herself. With gestational surrogacy, the intended parents still retain most legal rights over the child. They also provide genetic material to ensure the child will be healthy. Once the fetus is delivered, doctors remove it from the mother and transfer it to the intended parents. After delivery, the doctor makes sure everything is proceeding normally during labor and delivery.
With gestational surrogacy, the surrogate receives a flat fee for her time and effort (which can range anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000), plus reimbursement for health insurance premiums, travel expenses and other miscellaneous costs.
Finally, there’s gay male surrogacy, which occurs when one man donates his sperm to create embryos with eggs donated by lesbian couples who want to conceive a child together. These arrangements aren’t legally recognized in every state, but many states do recognize them under certain conditions.
Who Can Become A Surrogate Mother? Anyone who meets these requirements can become a surrogate mother:
You must meet at least one of these criteria:
Be between 18 and 42 years old
Have given birth before
Be mentally competent
Have adequate prenatal care
Have no prior history of sexually transmitted diseases
Have no major illnesses
Agree to donate your ovum (egg)
Provide informed consent
How Do You Know If It’s Right For You? If you think you might be interested in pursuing surrogacy, talk to your partner about what he or she wants to accomplish and whether you feel comfortable providing the necessary resources. Also, discuss how religious or spiritual beliefs factor into your decision. Some religions frown upon surrogacy because it involves procreating outside of marriage. Others believe it’s unethical to reproduce without intending to raise the child yourself. Finally, some faiths discourage surrogacy altogether due to concerns regarding exploitation and commodification of motherhood.
If you decide to pursue surrogacy, consult a lawyer or fertility specialist to help navigate the complexities involved. And remember, you’ll need to take several steps to prepare for the procedure itself, including:
Losing excess weight
Trying to conceive
Consulting a doctor
Choosing an agency
Selecting potential donors
Preparing the home environment
Finding a donor
Testing the donor
Recruiting a surrogate
After the birth, the surrogate agrees to return the child within 48 hours — usually the same day — unless otherwise specified in the agreement.
So, now that we know what surrogacy entails, let’s look at the pros and cons of helping someone else bring a new life into the world.
Pros and Cons of Being a Surrogate
First off, it’s not exactly cheap. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the cost of having a baby ranges from about $15,000 to $75,000, depending on where you live. Of course, the price depends largely on factors like the number of hospital visits required, complications during childbirth and how much assistance you receive from your doctor. On top of those costs, you’ll have to cover transportation expenses, food and housing. Depending on your location, you could end up spending thousands just on lodging alone.
On the bright side, the financial burden isn’t completely yours. Many agencies compensate you for your efforts, and you generally won’t incur any extra charges beyond your regular check. Even though some agencies charge clients hundreds of dollars per month for their services, you typically only pay for them once you deliver the baby. So even if the total cost is higher than you anticipated, you’ll only pay for the work you actually perform.
Another perk of working as a surrogate is the flexibility. Since you’re essentially caring for someone else’s child, you can set your own schedule. As long as you find someone trustworthy, you shouldn’t encounter too many problems when it comes to getting days off. Plus, you’ll be free to leave whenever you want.
Lastly, surrogacy offers a chance to help others. While you obviously won’t be involved financially, there are plenty of ways you can contribute. Some agencies offer training programs that teach expectant mothers how to best care for newborn infants. Other organizations offer educational opportunities or encourage volunteering.
All in all, surrogacy is rewarding for both parties involved. But if you’re considering it, you should weigh all of the options carefully, especially if you’re already trying to sustain a family or plan to adopt. Talk to your partner about the possibility, ask questions and seek professional advice before making a final decision.
According to the International Society for Assisted Reproduction Technology, the total number of international ART cycles conducted worldwide increased from 13,822 cycles in 1990 to 211,723 cycles in 2005.
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