Payment for surrogate mothers

The New York Times has been running a series of stories about surrogate mothers (latest). In a July 6, 2014 article the Times says that the expected compensation for the woman who carries the baby for 9 months is about $ 25,000 (range from $ 20-30,000). Meanwhile the agency that carries a filing cabinet and a Web site around gets $ 20,000 and the lawyers who carry a PDF or two get $ 10,000. So the surrogate mom who does all the work gets paid less than the bureaucracy of surrogacy.

Per month of pregnancy the surrogate mother is receiving about $ 2800. Yet, according to attorneys interviewed recently for a book project the typical price received from a potential child support defendant in Massachusetts for an abortion is $ 250,000 after two or three months of pregnancy (the profitability of a pregnancy and abortion varies from state to state depending on each state’s child support guidelines and the extent to which obtaining custody of a living child will be profitable). So the woman who seeks to get paid for having an abortion gets paid at least $ 83,333 per month of pregnancy, 30X as much as the woman who gets paid for having a baby. Add in the fact that surrogacy fees are income and therefore taxable while abortion fees are potential tax-free if considered to be payment for physical damage and/or a pre-payment of tax-free child support (see this Forbes article), the abortion retailer may actually be netting 50X per month of pregnancy compared to the incubation retailer.

I can’t figure out if these discrepancies are a sign of an immature or a mature market…

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

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