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Is ‘Social Surrogacy’ On The Rise?

(credit: thinkstock)

(credit: thinkstock)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Having another woman carry your baby might not be for everyone, but it’s becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. – at least according to an article from the U.K.’s The Telegraph.

The piece, published Thursday, claims “social surrogacy” – or choosing to have another woman carry a baby that’s genetically yours to term based on personal reasons rather than medical necessity – is on the rise.

In the past, women who’ve been unable to have a baby have resorted to surrogacy, but now, some are apparently choosing to pay a surrogate in order to maintain their shape, spare their bodies the physical hardship and avoid having to take time off from work.

One woman, Mari Smith, who was reportedly interviewed for The Telegraph story, told the publication she was working 60 hours a week to run her company and didn’t really have time to get pregnant. She also said she hated the idea of being “ripped head-to-toe” by a baby.

Of course, there are those who don’t fully agree with what women like Mari are choosing. The manager of a London fertility clinic spoke out about social surrogacy, reportedly telling The Telegraph, “To me, unless you have a medical reason to do so, it sounds like you’re going to get yourself into a lot of trouble and make something more complicated than necessary.”

While there’s no solid evidence within The Telegraph’s article that so-called social surrogacy is up, recent research does suggest surrogate pregnancies are up overall. A 2010 study from the non-profit Council for Responsible Genetics says the number of babies born to gestational surrogates in the United States grew 89% from 2004 to 2008. And a simple Google search for “surrogate mothers” yields thousands of results.

Regardless, surrogacy – whether medically ‘necessary’ or not – is a complicated issue in the U.S. Laws vary from state to state, with some states banning it outright and others having no regulations whatsoever. Currently, no federal laws exist.