Some American surrogate mothers prefer bearing children for gay couples because their involvement in the pregnancy is less stressful than that of heterosexual couples. According to a feature in the New York Times, working with gay couples "minimises the need for a certain kind of emotional vigilance that can displace the surrogate's own needs from centre stage".
About 1000 children a year are born to American surrogate mothers, says the Organization of Parents Through Surrogacy, a non-profit group which records births brokered through agencies and over the internet. The average woman is between 21 and 37, has 13 years of formal education and already has two children. Many are married. In a typical contract, the woman is paid about US$20,000 in addition to medical expenses. Nearly all agencies require that the women and their husbands undergo medical and psychological tests to ensure that they can handle the strain of the unusual pregnancy.
The exact number of surrogates who work for gay couples is unknown, but about half of the 60 surrogacy agencies in the US offer special services for gay couples. John Weltman, the founder of Circle Surrogacy, an agency in Boston, says that 80% of the women on his books are willing to work for gay couples, and about half prefer to.
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