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Why Women Become Surrogates


by Pamela MacPhee, Author, Delivering Hope: The Extraordinary Journey of a Surrogate Mom, January 27, 2011

Assuming that women can’t possibly want to spend nine months pregnant for a stranger, people often curiously charge that surrogates must be desperate for the money. Let me offer an alternate perspective.

As a family member, I was not compensated for carrying a baby for my cousin; however, none of the surrogates I have met are poor and desperate for cash. In fact, those circumstances would preclude a potential surrogate from being chosen by any reputable surrogacy agency. While the money they receive for putting their lives on hold to carry someone else’s child is helpful to these women, it is not the reason they choose to become surrogates.

We are motivated instead by a desire to help, by our joy of being mothers, and by a wish to do something extraordinary in our lifetimes that will have a positive impact on the world around us and make our lives more meaningful. The money is a bonus.

Most surrogates are among a percentage of women who absolutely love being pregnant and giving birth to new life, so those nine months — while sometimes challenging — are also joyful, because once again they are experiencing a new life starting inside their bodies. While I found my own three pregnancies to be wondrous in many ways, I also experienced hard core nausea and difficult deliveries that normally would have shied me away from a surrogate pregnancy. But more than anything I wanted to help my cousin become a father, to seize the opportunity to be his hero.

And I found, as most surrogates do, that delivering that dream to a new parent is incredibly fulfilling, and makes those challenges and inconveniences of surrogacy, pregnancy and delivery pale in comparison. I may have given my cousin a family, but I got so much in return. Their gratitude and that of their families will nurture me for the rest of my life. And the baby’s knowledge and understanding as she gets older that I wanted to help bring her into the world — that so many of us came together because we wanted her to be here — is an overwhelming reward all by itself.

Surrogacy is truly an extraordinary journey. We surrogates are not desperate for money, but desperate to help those women and couples out there who are suffering from infertility and unable to complete their families on their own. We are desperate to provide hope.

Pamela MacPhee graduated from Stanford University in 1986 with a degree in Human Biology. When her cousin’s wife was diagnosed with cervical cancer and subsequent infertility, she wanted to do something to help. After some serious research and internal soul searching, she knew in her heart she wanted to be their surrogate mom. Her offer became extraordinary surrogacy journey which ended 18 months later with the birth of a baby girl, Hope. MacPhee is the author of Delivering Hope: The Extraordinary Journey of a Surrogate Mom, published in 2009.