Surragacy

Katherine - posted on 03/23/2011 ( 12 moms have responded )

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Cafemom

Suppose a strange couple came upon you on the street and thrust their child in your arms. They ask you to care for the child for months upon months, feeding, protecting, and caring for the baby with much self-sacrifice, pain, and risk to your health. Would you do it? Would you do it for free?

Now imagine instead of on your hip, someone asks you to care for their child in your womb. It is not your egg nor your cells nor your DNA. You are simply asked to be a surrogate. You want to help, but pregnancy is work. It's a strain on any woman, yet this back-breaking, 24-hour-a-day, exhausting work is not valued enough to merit minimum wage in some states. You're just a vessel so that another couple may have the gift of parenthood.

Now imagine you have your own children -- which, in essence, qualifies you for this job in the first place. You have bills to pay, but your ability to work could be jeopardized by carrying another's child.

In fact, most people consider motherhood the hardest job they have ever had. Some, mainly lawmakers, male lawmakers, do not. Apparently to them, the burden and beauty of pregnancy are so under-valued in some states that women are expected to do it for free. It seems so unfair outside the womb and there are no questions of it being worth the hundreds to thousands of dollars that childcare costs. But caring for a child inside the womb? Supposedly, it's unethical to be paid a dime.

Some suggest it is akin to selling babies. Yes, you are supposed to give this gift to strangers out of the goodness of your heart. Rubbish!

Don't blame the strangers. They just want to be parents. They would do anything to have their own child. They'd gladly pay you for your gift ... except it's illegal to pay for surrogate mothers in Washington and many more states.

I found this out when I first came to Washington from California. It had long been a wish of mine to be a surrogate mother to a couple who could not conceive or perhaps someone who had triumphed over cancer. I even had the cutest little gay couple in my dreamy mind. They would provide the batter, they'd find themselves a juicy, fresh egg from a cute college girl, and I'd cook 'em up a baby as healthy as my three.

However, I thought it would be only fair to be recompensed for the physical stress not on just me, but on my young family. I slept a lot more while pregnant. I found housework impossible with morning sickness. And oh, the cravings. The extra food. The need for babysitters. The extra leaning on my husband. The risks. The deprivation of red wine and sushi. God forbid if there were complications, C-sections, gestational diabetes, infections, or worse ...

I'd like to see one of those male lawmakers try to carry a baby, much less labor 24 hours to push it out. My guess? Suddenly surrogacy would be a million-dollar industry.

Back to that dream, I found Washington was one of those states where it's illegal to recompense a woman for carrying someone else's DNA for 9 months. Luckily, six years later, that seems poised to change. Passed 57-41 in the House and scheduled for a hearing in the Senate, new legislation would finally legalize compensated surrogacy in Washington state.

"This takes a practice that is occurring out of state and underground in our state ... and moves it to a place where there's more protection for the intended parents, the surrogate, and the children being born," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle.

Finally, it appears a deal will be struck, supported by the National Organization for Women and Planned Parenthood, which balances protecting and empowering women who have children for a fee with protecting parents.

The bummer? At 38 years old, I am too old to be a viable candidate anymore. Still, I am happy the bill looks close to passing. Child-bearing women should be paid just as men are paid for their sperm deposits and young women are paid for their egg donations.

So this bill? Win-win? To me, a moderate conservative, yes. The government really has no business putting their noses in this issue in the first place. To Catholic groups and some of my fellow more right conservatives, no. They shriek it's tantamount to selling babies!!

"We are treating children as a commodity; we have real concerns about the selling of a child," said Sister Sharon Park. Russell Johnson, representing the Family Policy Institute of Washington, compared surrogacy parenting to slavery. "It's based on an exchange of money rather than the best interest of the child .... Allowing women to be bought and sold as livestock should not be allowed," Johnson said.

Expecting women to bear children not their own, without payment, sounds more akin to slavery. Yes, it's a choice, but it's also work. Even paid, it's not going to rake in the money. Typical surrogates in the United States receive payments of $20,000 to $25,000. I reckon for a full-term 40-week pregnancy, that is still less than 50 cents an hour.

Yes, 50 cents or less an hour for grueling IVF treatments, bed rest, C-sections, stretch marks, and morning sickness.

And you? Do you think the risk and work of surrogacy should be paid? Would you take on the danger and exhaustion of a pregnancy for a stranger who couldn't have their own, for free? Do you object to others being paid? Is it baby brokering or fair recompense?


What? Of course I's want to get paid. I'm not carrying around someone else's child and having to endure the emotional and physical pain, and not get paid-----sorry.

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Katherine - posted on 03/23/2011

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What the heck is going on in this thread? It says Jodi posted, then I see no post from her. I look to see who posted and there is only one post from Jodi???!!!!!

[deleted account]

The idea of a woman being paid to be a surrogate seems fine to me. If they want to look at it as selling a child um not her egg not her child shes just being the oven for someone else bun...that to me is a service and should be viewed as such. She can do it out of the kindness of her heart but the demands financially alone should be compensated I feel thats a simple request to make. I'd actually look at donating eggs or sperm as more of a child selling issue than the act of surrogacy. Anyway personally I would do it for a loved one no cost but I definately wouldn't say no to them bringing me in some fresh veggies and buying vitamins for me. As for a stranger I mean I''d expect some sort of help after all it is their baby not mine. I've been on the other side of this when due to a health issue there was a possiblity of me having to have a hysterectomy, friends and family would surrogate for me in a heartbeat and in that situation It'd be hard for me not to be following them around buying healthy food and paying for yoga classes. So maybe writing a cheque gives the wrong idea but I see nothing wrong with reasonable compensation for providing that service.

[deleted account]

I have 3 children and while i was in a relationship i thought i could do it. Now i don't know if i will ever have another child and if i did i couldn't give it away. Maybe if i ever get married again it would be something to consider but to be in the position i am of possibly never having another child of my own i know i couldn't do it for anyone else.

[deleted account]

I don't know..i had a complication second time around and it was touch and go at the end.I don't know if i could bring myself to have another child let a lone a child for another couple.
If something were to go wrong its my life and the life of there baby.I have a responsibility to my two children already.I would love to be able to bring life into the world for another couple if i knew going into it, it would have a happy ending.We can't tell the future now can we, maybe some lol.
My take on it anyway.

Katherine - posted on 03/23/2011

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I'd do it for a family member hands down. It's just with a stranger, I would never see the child again, the emotional aspect of it would get to me.
I think it's fair t paid. You are doing a great service, if the people didn't have the money then maybe I would reconsider.

Lady Heather - posted on 03/23/2011

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For my sister and a couple of my closer cousins, yes. At this point feeling as disgusting and barfy as I do...I certainly wouldn't go through this for anyone else. But of course if you ask me in a few months I'll tell you I'd do it for anyone because it's the most glorious thing ever.

Laura - posted on 03/23/2011

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I think the option to get paid should be there and be between the surrogate and the parents but I don't think it should be expected. Sure medical bills and any other expenses incurred should be taken care of, but most people do this to feel good and help some one not to get paid.

If however you had to quit working as a result of the pregnancy I think they need to pay what you are losing.

JuLeah - posted on 03/23/2011

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The medical costs are paid, often her living expenses, food, travel are paid. She often gets paid a lump sum at delivery too. They call that?? not sure, cause she can't be paid for delivery, so they call they a 'new start fund' or some such thing. She gets paid.
And there are many couples who can't have bio kids without such help. There are many folks willing and able. It is often a family member. They don't do it for money, they do it out of love. You can view it in a neg light, or see it as bringing life into the world, offering somone you love the gift of a child to raise .... many ways to view it.

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