"It doesn't fit their schedule." More women than ever are choosing to use 'social surrogacy'.


“These are career women where it just doesn’t fit into their schedule but they want to have a child. It’s becoming more of an option, and if it wasn’t so expensive, I think more women would do it.”

In the United States, there’s a new frontier in the Reproduction Revolution.

Over the past five years, in a practice which has been dubbed “social surrogacy”, more women than ever in the US are choosing to go down the route of surrogacy – even when there’s no medical reason to do so.

Mamamia’s daily news podcast The Quicky spoke to The Guardian journalist Jenny Kleeman about the rise of social surrogacy in the US.

Listen to The Quicky’s full chat with Jenny Kleeman below. Post continues after audio.

During the interview, Kleeman explained that although these women want to have babies that are biologically their own, they don’t want to carry them – but despite what you may think, it’s not about vanity.

“It was always about career – this isn’t about vanity,” she said.

“There’s this idea that their careers are threatened if they either take time out from work or if their body changes.

“Obviously, the doctors that I spoke to in LA that have a lot of clients that are models and actresses, they were worried about losing their careers – especially if they were swimsuit models, for example.”

Although many may assume that it’s big name celebrities that are leading the social surrogacy trend, Kleeman explained that it’s not exactly the case.


“It’s actually the people who are doing well [in Hollywood] but haven’t made a huge name for themselves who can’t afford to take time out,” she told The Quicky.

“When you look outside of Los Angeles, there are broader reasons to do this, but once again, they’re career reasons. There are women who work in politics who are about to go on the campaign trail, where they simply would not win if they weren’t out there visibly campaigning every day,” she added.

“There are women who are single and who have frozen their eggs earlier in their career and know they have a limited window to have children, but worry that if they were to have a child, they would lose their jobs if they were put on bed rest if they had extreme morning sickness,” she continued.

Mamamia’s fertility podcast, Before The Bump, is here to answer all your questions about getting pregnant. Post continues after video.

“They just cannot risk being medically changed by pregnancy. So they decide to pay another woman to go through it on their behalf.


“It’s so sad that the world of work is so hostile to reproduction, which women bear the burden of. It’s so sad that the world we’re living in makes it so difficult for women to have babies that people who can afford it are prepared to do this.”

Speaking to Kleeman for The Guardian last month, fertility specialist Dr Vicken Sahakian explained that in places like California, where surrogacy is legal and the surrogate can be paid for their service, social surrogacy is undoubtedly on the rise.

While five years ago, Dr Sahakian would see a handful of these cases each year, he now sees at least 20 cases of social surrogacy each year.

“More and more every year. And if I’m seeing that, there are so many reproductive endocrinologists in the area who are very competent fertility specialists – I’m sure they are seeing the same,” he said.

“If social surrogacy was more affordable, more women would be doing it, absolutely. There’s an advantage to being pregnant, the bonding, I understand that, and from experience I can say that most women love to be pregnant. But a lot of women don’t want to be pregnant and lose a year of their careers.”

What do you think about social surrogacy? Let us know in the comments down below.

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