* Fertility doctor Lorni Arnold discusses how women nowadays choose this method in fear of hurting their carreers or bodies.
What once started as a caution for preventing the significant risk of death and other serious health conditions to women, now becomes the new big trend? Surrogacy, similar like the case of the c-section, which later became a very common chosen option when delivering babies, was only considered for life threatening cases and completely infertile couples. The number of women considering this option grows more and more, for less serious reasons.
“Social surrogacy” is on the rise, according to ELLE Magazine, where the mothers state reasons such as ruining their bodies or careers in order not to carry their own babies.
Lorni Arnold, fertility doctor from San Diego gave the perfect nickname for this, he called these cases “designer surrogacy”. He pointed out patients who “did not want to become fat”, marathon runners who didn’t want to miss the marathons. She also explained that pregnancy may be a financial burden to women, caused by the several months halt from their careers. Moreover, some women do not take their pregnancy leave before they deliver, but other women can be bedridden for months.
Mari Smith, a wedding photographer (whose name is altered in order not to reveal it), began considering surrogacy because she couldn’t handle the risk of killing her business. She and her husband have been postponing having a baby, because the business has finally kicked off. Furthermore, investing into building her brand, working 60 hours a week and potential morning sickness situations were simply enough reason for her to consider this.
With the biological clock ticking for the 36 year old Mari, she consulted on this issue with a psychologist friend who owns a surrogacy agency – Conceptual Options. Joking about how women cannot time their pregnancy, she just wished she could have a surrogate. Coming as a surprise, her friend was absolutely supportive, which made Mari even more determined even though the cost of surrogacy is astonishing $100,000, thinking it’s the best option, investment and a good way to finally enrich the family.
Certainly, giving birth is quite painful, and yes, it can affect the body, and advices from friends who had unusually hard childbirth frightened Mary even more.
So Mary is one of the many women who decide not to become pregnant naturally, but rather not carry their baby even if they are capable of.
Well it seems morally questionable, but the rules or norms for surrogacy are not very clear or very binding. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine suggests that surrogacy should be used only ‘when a true medical condition precludes the intended parent from carrying a pregnancy or would pose a significant risk of death or harm to the woman or the fetus.’ However, this statement is interpreted differently by different doctors, only with the excuse that they don’t want for their patients to think that they are being judged.
The celebrity cases – excellent illustration of judgment as an issue when talking about surrogacy – Sarah Jessica Partner got twin daughters through a surrogate, Nicole Kidman as well got a daughter when she and her husband paid a good amount of money to a carrier – lots of comments, rumors and skepticism arose from these situations, even though both actresses were in their forties, where the risk of pregnancy is higher for mothers and their fetuses.
For Mari the wedding photographer, the issue of judgement is not enough of a reason to persuade her not to use the method of surrogacy. She said – ‘I could be out [of work] three or four months, people could forget about me. I have to be out there constantly producing and being visible.’