November 6, 2012 — In a New York Times opinion piece, author Susan Straight writes about her neighbor, C., who works as a surrogate to help support her family. Although C. and her husband both have other jobs, they can barely afford to cover their expenses, according to Straight.
Straight notes that C. was paid $30,000 the first time she was a surrogate, $50,000 the second and $35,000 the third. When people comment that the payments are a lot of money, Straight says she tells them, "This is not a job where you take a break, lie down and rest, go on vacation for a week. She's pregnant 24-7," and could die from pregnancy-related complications.
With the most recent pregnancy, C. initially became pregnant with triplets, but two were not viable. She had early contractions and "got really sick toward the end" of the pregnancy, which ended two weeks early with a caesarean delivery. For six weeks after the birth, she pumped breast milk and drove 45 miles to the hospital every day so it could be delivered to the infant's parents.
Despite the complications, Straight writes that C. is "thinking of doing one more baby" so she can use the money toward a down payment on a house. "That's how the new normal works these days on blocks like mine," Straight concludes (Straight, New York Times, 11/3).