The Surrogates

D.C. is the only jurisdiction in the country in which all surrogacy contracts are prohibited. Any party involved can be imprisoned for up to a year and fined as much as $10,000. Maryland has no statutes or limitations governing gestational surrogacy and has become one of the world’s hot spots for surrogacy. Virginia is another relatively surrogacy-friendly state.

For would-be parents—especially couples with fertility problems, gay couples, and single dads—surrogacy’s appeal has grown as both domestic and international adoptions have become harder.

But the reasons women decide to carry someone else’s child are less obvious, especially when they do it for a stranger. Who would endure the morning sickness, weight gain, out-of-control hormones, and constant doctors’ appointments—not to mention labor—without the payoff of a new baby at the end? For a mere $20,000 to $30,000?

The answer, in part, is women who love being pregnant, suffer few of the unpleasant side effects, and even enjoy giving birth.

Surrogacy usually costs more than six figures, but what is it like to be an actual surrogate? In The Washingtonian, Alexandra Robbins and Ali Eaves talked to women who advertised themselves on surrogacy sites, including 40-year-old Kathy Powers, who said she “craved pregnancy but not another child,” which made her an ideal surrogate. Their story addresses other things like, what kind of relationship the surrogate will have with the child after birth (none for some, while others visit and send birthday and holiday gifts), and difficult questions parents using surrogates face, like how they would feel if they discovered that the baby would have genetic defects (in one case, the couple asked the surrogate to have an abortion, and the surrogate refused).

Photo: George Ruiz

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