Alternative Reproductive Resources Uncovers the True Price of Gestational Surrogacy

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For surrogates, the lump sum of about $25,000 in compensation is usually what gets everyone’s attention. However, Alternative Reproductive Resources knows the time, effort and inconvenience involved. When you break it down, it doesn't end up looking so huge.

"If you break up the $25,000 compensation to someone with an average eight-hour-a-day job, it roughly averages $11 an hour for just the nine-month pregnancy, which is all day and night,” says McLaughlin.

Informal surveys of the surrogates with which Alternative Reproductive Resources work show that helping others is the shared motivation – not money – for 99 percent of them. Alternative Reproductive Resources (ARR) is a leading Chicago-based egg donation and gestational surrogacy agency.

Jodi, of West Branch, IA, recently gave birth to twins (a boy and girl), but she doesn’t claim to be their mother. That’s because she carried them as the gestational surrogate for a Chicago couple wanting to start a family. Gestational surrogacy is when a woman bears a child that is biologically unrelated to her.

What was behind Jodi’s motive to carry two babies for some one else? Like most of ARR's surrogates, it wasn't the $25,000 to $35,000 in compensation that is typically what a gestational surrogate earns. In fact, she was thinking of her sister.

“When my sister was diagnosed with endometriosis, surrogacy was an option that was discussed,” says Jodi. “We found out that she would, after all, be able to carry a baby on her own, but I still had this overwhelming feeling that I wanted to help others facing such circumstances make their families. So my husband and I took it a step further.”

“Helping others create families is the really the true motivator,” says Mary Ellen McLaughlin, a partner at ARR who works with gestational surrogates. “Women who do this for monetary reasons are often disqualified during the psychological evaluations, which also help determine the attitude and commitment to the surrogacy process.”

Compensation for gestational surrogacy is intended to reflect the time, effort and inconvenience the process entails. The process can take up to two years or longer.

“If you break up the $25,000 compensation to someone with an average eight-hour-a-day job, it roughly averages $11 an hour for just the nine-month pregnancy, which is all day and night,” says McLaughlin.

“And that doesn’t factor in the hours spent on psychological exams, medical procedures, meeting with agencies, attorneys and intended parents. Unfortunately, it’s that lump sum that gets everyone’s attention.” (Visit http://conceptionconnections.wordpress.com/2010/07/28/step-by-step-understanding-the-surrogacy-process/ for a step-by step guide on the surrogacy process.)

For Jodi, accepting the money made her feel a little uncomfortable, but she understands why it’s there. “My sole purpose was to help a couple create a family,” she says. “However, a lot of time and details were involved.”

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