Lately there have been some negative surrogacy-related news stories making the rounds. There is one story in particular that seems to have captured everyone's attention that I won't link to because, in my personal opinion, the surrogate is looking for media attention and did not go about her surrogacy in the correct way.
That being said, it's extremely frustrating to read one-sided articles claiming that surrogates are simply "low-income, uneducated women who are being exploited." My eyes can't roll far back enough in my head when I read lines like that. I understand surrogacy is not perfect and that, in many ways, the law has not caught up with how far reproductive sciences have come.
I also understand the problems with international surrogacy. It breaks my heart that poor women in poor countries really could be exploited for the use of their uterus. But we're not talking about that, we're talking about U.S. surrogacy. The laws may vary from state to state but any reputable agency or reproductive endocrinologist has strict standards when it comes to surrogates.
Yes, surrogacy can be messy if one skips steps or rushes the process. I'm sure there are some women who see surrogacy as an easy paycheck. They don't think about everything one must endure to be a surrogate and that it is certainly not all about the money. Surrogacy is about helping families become whole. It's not about the surrogate at all. It's about the parents and the baby(ies).
Sure, maybe a few "bad eggs" sneak by the process and make surrogacy look bad, but the majority of surrogates I know are smart and capable and far from being exploited.
When I first started researching surrogacy, I discovered that in order to become a surrogate you cannot be on any kind of government assistance. This isn't a handout and it is in the best interest of all parties involved that the surrogate be stable and on her feet. There are no guarantees in surrogacy and it could be a long time before you see a paycheck, so if you're looking to surrogacy to make ends meet, then it's not for you. Get your life together and come back when you're really ready.
Of all the surrogate mothers I have met none of them are experiencing financial strain. They either have stable jobs themselves or are stay-at-home moms in stable committed relationships in which their partner works full-time.
Another requirement for surrogates is that they must undergo a psychological evaluation. My husband and I sat in the psychologist's office for hours completing tests and talking with the doctor about every facet of our lives. Nothing was off the table. The doctor wanted to make absolutely sure that we were both of sound mind before going through with the surrogacy. Also, it was important for us to understand exactly what we would be getting ourselves into because, again, surrogacy is not for the faint of heart.
Finally, I can't speak for all surrogates, but I certainly am not uneducated. I graduated at the top of my class in high school and went to college on a scholarship. I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and went on to graduate school where I earned a Master's in Counseling. I have a good education and I'm constantly learning more. I read books and take classes for my own personal enrichment.
The claims certain interest groups like to make about surrogates being exploited is laughable in my opinion. Sure, maybe a few "bad eggs" sneak by the process and make surrogacy look bad, but the majority of surrogates I know are smart and capable and far from being exploited. And that includes me.