Although Surrogacy has made itself well known or, dare I say it, popular, still I believe that the general population wonder what motivates women to become surrogate mothers or gestational carriers. It is understood that infertile couples or singles will explore all their options, surrogacy included, but why in the world would a perfectly healthy woman want to go through a pregnancy, labor and delivery for mere strangers? (which happens in a majority of the cases.)
The first conclusion usually is money. I would like to dispel that myth right away. A first time carrier with her own health insurance may be entitled to compensation/reimbursements between $18,000 and $20,000. What is this money used for? Its illegal to 'sell' a baby, or your body for that matter, so why is money involved at all? This compensation is to be used while the surrogate is pregnant with a child to support her throughout the pregnancy. She can use it for anything she likes but it is earmarked for food, insurance, local transportation, and general living expenses. Other 'benefits' listed in a contract may be clothing, child care, out of state travel, house keeping and invasive procedures. Often it takes months before a surrogate becomes pregnant and even then it may take 2 or 3 IVF treatments. Any compensation is minimal. She quickly finds that she could make more money working at a fast food restaurant for minimum wage!
Perhaps attention is the motivator? Some women enjoy being the center of attention while pregnant and as a surrogate, attention is a huge part of the journey! Not only is her own family focused on her but her IP's and their family are all in the picture...waiting for the big day to arrive. It is a heady feeling and maybe one of the many reasons why some women become surrogates more then once.
Could it be that she actually enjoys being pregnant? A woman who is raising her own children may have LOVED being pregnant however, as much as she adores her own kids, economically it's just not feasible to raise a dozen or more babies...so combined with helping another couple she can enjoy the experience of being pregnant again.
Maybe the reward in being a surrogate is helping another family enjoy what she already has, babies.....a new generation...a branch on the family tree. Seeing the faces of her Intended Parents as she sees them holding THEIR own baby is sometimes all the incentive that some women need.
Honestly I think its a combination of all of the above. Any extra money that comes into a home, through surrogacy or a raise or a windfall, is always welcomed. I have heard of some women buying a much needed car, taking their family on a dream vacation, paying off bills, paying tuition for their own child and yes, even a down payment on a house. Having the ability to help another family and enjoying all the gratitude and rewards that come with that is a wonderful feeling....one that stays with you for the rest of your life especially if the relationship lives up to what you dreamed it should be. Knowing that, as a surrogate, there is a little life out there making some very special people happy is a wonderful feeling. A heady experience that, often times, makes a woman willing to carry for someone else again....and again!