Why do women become surrogates? In the US, it’s not money
- They have requisite maturity- typically 25 and older.
- They have had all their own kids. This is important. First up, they are fertile. Second, they don’t want any more. Third, they don’t risk the possible loss of fertility.
- They LOVE being pregnant. A woman who hated pregnancy or had troublesome pregnancies does not volunteer to be a surrogate.
- Child birth is pretty straightforward. Woman who have had Caesars or long deliveries rarely want to be surrogates. A woman who has had a 40 minute child birth is much more likely to volunteer.
- They want to be able to give the gift of life. Everyone knows someone who has been unable to have children. In Australia it is estimated that 1 in 6 couples struggles with infertility. This motivation is the one clear motivation for surrogates above all others. In my experience whether the intended parents are friends, family or strangers, this motivation remains the same.
What I have experienced is similar to what research has shown about surrogates in the US. US surrogacy is compensated surrogacy, unlike Australian which remains altruistic. One might think that the motivation of surrogates in the US is that they are to be paid. This is not their prime motivation. Recent research presented to the American Psychological Association, by Aaron Anderson, Kim Bergman, Robert-Jay Green and Seth Pardo showed that less than 8% of surrogates put payment as a motivation for their being surrogates.
Data were selected only from surrogates who indicated they were willing to help gay men become parents. They were paid approximately $25,000 for surrogacy.
The results of the research were not surprising for those who work with surrogates. Motivations that were most frequently expressed were: “Want to give or help others”(56%); “Like being pregnant”(43%); and “Empathy regarding others’infertility”(38%). Decision-making processes most frequently described were: “Thought about being a surrogate for a while” (58%), “Own family is complete”(57%) Perceived ability and confidence” (27%), and “Researched Surrogacy before”(27%). Surrogates scored higher than the control group women on ego strength and social responsibility, and lower on negative emotionality/neuroticism.