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Am I being unreasonable to want to get paid to be a surrogate?

(200 Posts)
Geanie Tue 26-Mar-13 18:03:33

I have already been a surrogate once, I didn't get paid a penny, not even for any expenses. The parents of the baby didn't pay anything towards the pregnancy, which I was fine with at the time as I had a good job and I didn't feel that I needed any reimbursements.

I have been contacted by quite a few people asking if I am planning on doing another surrogacy soon as they are looking for a surrogate.
I do straight surrogacy and there aren't that many of us in the UK so there are always a lot of people out there looking for a straight surrogate.

I definitely want to be a surrogate again, however, since my last surrogacy I was made redundant and am now self employed doing whatever I can to earn and get by, and to be honest I am really struggling.

I use quite a few surrogacy forums online and have noticed quite a lot of UK surrogates are now asking for a specific amount of 'payment' for their part as a surrogate.

I know that it is not allowed to be paid for surrogacy in the uk, but a surrogate is allowed to be paid 'Reasonable expenses' and they are pretty easy going when it comes to what those reasonable expenses are for as long as it is under a certain amount, usually around £15,000.

When we went through all the legal stuff after my last surrogacy I was told that they don't usually even question or check up on anything under £10k, as that is considered the standard amount.

I have thought about it quite a lot and I don't see why I shouldn't be able to benefit from this, I mean realistically I am going to be giving the parents a child, and pregnancy is hard. I don't see why, as long as I am upfront about it, I cant ask for a certain amount towards my 'expenses' during the surrogacy.

I'm not looking to make a profit or buy fancy gadgets or go on holiday. I would just use the money to help pay my rent and bills during the pregnancy.

So would I be unreasonable to do this?

(I have NC for this BTW. Pom bears, the MN scarf, bum sex at centre parks on a friday, and so on.)

SneezingwakestheJesus Tue 26-Mar-13 18:41:00

But I see a lot of women advertising themselves as surrogates what a ££ price attached, and since I feel I am doing it for entirely the right reasons I don't see why I shouldn't also have a financial benefit for the job that I am doing.

Isn't asking for money and benefiting financially just the same as have a price tag attached? Doesn't that take it out of being for entirely the right reasons and plopping you into the category of women you don't agree with?

rocketupbum Tue 26-Mar-13 18:41:15

Thats ok jumpjackhash (which came out as jumping jackass on my predictive!). They are friends, lovely people who have had very back luck and deserve a break.
Also for those asking straight surrogacy is when you use your egg and host is when the egg is donated/transferred.

SummerInSicilia Tue 26-Mar-13 18:41:57

Our society needs to stop being so coy about this. You should be paid, you're filling a demanding role.

jumpingjackhash Tue 26-Mar-13 18:42:19

Thanks for explaining the difference between straight and gestational.

SneezingwakestheJesus Tue 26-Mar-13 18:44:00

Oooh I've changed my mind since your last post! If its using your own eggs then that's definitely still a massively huge gift to give even if you were being paid so I think some expenses would definitely be reasonable.

KoalaFace Tue 26-Mar-13 18:45:26

You want to do it for the right reasons and are not being coerced so I think being paid is fine as long as it is not extortionate for the potential parents.

jumpingjackhash Tue 26-Mar-13 18:46:34

Thanks rocket (your predictive might be right given the kind of day I've been having! grin). I can see how doing this for friends would lead you to feel weird about the money element.

jumpingjackhash Tue 26-Mar-13 18:48:25

But who decides what's 'not extortionate'? When does one potential surrogate claim the right to charge more than another (due to looks, intellect etc)? Do you do refunds if the baby isn't to the new parents' liking?

<disclaimer: the last question was a joke>

SergeantSnarky Tue 26-Mar-13 18:51:10

On my third pregnancy and tis a third nightmare with GD acid reflux hurt back sciatica insomnia and did i mention acid reflux?
Plus the actual risk and pain of giving birth and not your baby at the end of it.

15K sounds like a bargain to me.

KoalaFace Tue 26-Mar-13 18:53:07

Oh god I don't know! It's so difficult. But for surrogates to get nothing seems completely unfair and unrealistic. There may be more women willing to do it if they could afford the time of work, the possibility of not getting work due to pregnancy, etc.

jumpingjackhash Tue 26-Mar-13 18:55:44

I completely agree that a surrogate should have some recompense - it's just how that's determined is clearly a massively grey area!

DontmindifIdo Tue 26-Mar-13 18:58:33

I think there's an interesting element as you are self employed, so I assume time to go to appointments, if you have morning sickness and can't work, if you have hip problems or other health issues that means you can't work during the pregnancy/have to stop a month before the pregnancy/take a long time to recover afterwards, then you won't be entitled to sick pay so this is an expense of the surrogacy. Depending on what you earn now, that could easily amount to £6-7k - then if you have to have new clothes, travel costs to appointments, food supliments etc, you could get close to £10k without going beyond covering direct costs due to the pregnancy.

That you are prepared to hand over what is biologically your child is also unusual - be careful you don't feel you are 'selling' your baby. I can see that it would be emotionally easier if the eggs weren't yours and the baby wasn't in anyway your biological relation.

If you want to work out what's not extortionate, how about work out what say, 2 weeks pay to cover scans and midwive appointments, finishing work at 34 weeks, then having 6 weeks afterwards to recover would cost you in lost earnings. Add onto that other expenses for clothing, foods, travel to/from appointments, what would that come too?

VinoEsmeralda Tue 26-Mar-13 18:59:31

There is a shortage of surrogates- big demand why not pay? More people of child bearing age might become surrogates and women unable to carry their own baby full term are able to have a child, everyone is a winner IMO..

Geanie Tue 26-Mar-13 19:00:53

In america it is completely legal to pay a surrogate for their services. The whole process it handled by surrogacy lawyers and legally binding contracts are drawn up. Because of this the biological parents are always the legal parents of the baby, before and after birth, and the parents have a legal right to make decisions regarding their unborn child and the way in which the surrogate acts while pregnant with their child.

In the UK because there are not laws yet in place, other than you cant advertise and you cant be paid more than 'reasonable expenses' it is very difficult for surrogacy to be handled legally. because of the law any surrogacy contract can not be made legally binding and so can not be held to in court. Also because of the current laws even if the child is 100% biologically the parents the surrogate is legally the mother and has to give up her parental rights to the child before the biological mother can get a parental order.
So technically if the surrogate wanted to keep the baby legally she could, even if it was not biologically related to her. Which although extremely rare, is still very very wrong.

Xmasbaby11 Tue 26-Mar-13 19:03:43

Of course you should get reasonable expenses. Otherwise, only wealthy women could afford to do it. You shouldn't have to work long hours and need time to recover too.

Go for it OP. It is still a wonderful thing you are doing.

HorryIsUpduffed Tue 26-Mar-13 19:09:00

A friend of a friend has been a host twice (plus a heartbreaking mc surrogacy and four children of her own). She absolutely does it to spread the love.

That said, pregnancy does incur costs such as improved diet in many cases, travel costs for appointments, loss of earnings, etc. I didn't work full time in the third trimester of even my first trimester (used leave to work four days), and time for ivf appointments or AI/NI sessions would have to come out of annual leave as well, I imagine.

I don't think that £10k is a lot compared to possible loss of earnings particularly for a contractor, freelancer, or someone self-employed.

Maryz Tue 26-Mar-13 19:09:08

I don't think you are being unreasonable, as if you are currently unemployed presumably you couldn't job-hunt during pregnancy (or if you did you are unlikely to get a job at the moment), so I have no problem with "expenses" in theory.

But I think you need to think it through more. Not from a money point of view, but from the point of view of what will be expected of you. If money changes hands (expenses or not), it may well be viewed by the parents as them "paying you". Therefore will they feel they have a right to tell you what to do, what to eat, where to go, what not to do etc. Will there be a build-up of resentment between you and them if your life is different from the life they feel they are "paying" for?

And will your criteria for choosing a couple be different - will you choose on need and whether you like them and they would make good parents, or on the basis of "can they afford it"?

I think even expenses changes the goalposts. I'm certainly not saying it is wrong. Personally I think being a surrogate is worth much more than mere money (and during my infertile years I would have paid a small fortune if I had met someone willing to hand me a baby), but I do worry that (like adoption) once money comes into it, the whole motivation, from both sides, undergoes a radical change.

EasilyBored Tue 26-Mar-13 19:11:06

Of course all reasonable expenses should be paid, including time off work if needed.Anything more than that and you are not giving a gift (and I think it is a wonderful thing to do for someone), you are selling your body. Ok it's for 10 months, not one night, but it's not disimilar. I suppose it's how you feel about that that is important?

Morloth Tue 26-Mar-13 19:15:00

The law is there to prevent people from renting out their womb.

Geanie Tue 26-Mar-13 19:16:24

So if I said I wanted to do a second surrogacy,
I want to do a straight surrogacy (using my own eggs) I am willing to do a home insemination (which will save the parents thousands of pounds)
I can provide a reference from my previous parents.
I am happy to be very flexible, following any requests (such as dietary) that the parents may have and travel frequently to visit the parents.
and I would like to be paid £1000 a month for the duration of the surrogacy arrangement.

Does anyone this that sounds unreasonable?

AThingInYourLife Tue 26-Mar-13 19:18:55

"Because of this the biological parents are always the legal parents of the baby, before and after birth, and the parents have a legal right to make decisions regarding their unborn child and the way in which the surrogate acts while pregnant with their child."


Jesus, that's really fucked up.

expatinscotland Tue 26-Mar-13 19:20:23

Definitely don't see £15000 as too much if you are self-employed and sustain loss of earnings.

expatinscotland Tue 26-Mar-13 19:21:52

"Because of this the biological parents are always the legal parents of the baby, before and after birth, and the parents have a legal right to make decisions regarding their unborn child and the way in which the surrogate acts while pregnant with their child."

NO, they don't. There is just now a major case going on there in which a host surrogate found out the baby was disabled. They wanted to the surrogate to terminate. She would not and could not be forced to. The couple wound up giving the baby up for adoption.

AThingInYourLife Tue 26-Mar-13 19:24:56

Thanks, expat, I was confused

I have friends who used a surrogate in the US and I didn't think that was their arrangement at all.

I'm also pretty sure it varies state by state.

Geanie Tue 26-Mar-13 19:26:04

Its not really like that AThingInYourLife, I think i worded it wrong.
Everything is agreed upon and put into the contract before they get pregnant, so the surrogate agrees to everything first.

However, if there is a need the parents have the rights to make decisions regarding their unborn child, where as in the UK the surrogate had the legal decision making rights not the parents.

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