The XX Factor

You Want My Body for 3 Bucks an Hour?

Jessica , Kerry , and Sarah , your posts have me curious about the price of parenthood in surrogate situations, for both “intended parents” and surrogates. I crunched some numbers using the $20,000 payment that you mentioned, Sarah, and was shocked to realize that a surrogate making that much for a full-term pregnancy would earn less than half the federal minimum wage. When you consider that a pregnant woman is pregnant all day, every day, for nine months, $20,000 amounts to about $3 an hour.

This is obviously a highly unscientific calculation. You can be pregnant and continue to work (although you can also be pregnant and miss work because you’re at the doctor, or throwing up, or asleep). So help me out, DoubleX ers who have had kids: At what point in a pregnancy does the forthcoming bundle of joy really start interfering with your life? How many “billable hours” could a pregnant woman expect to rack up? And is there any way to figure out just compensation for an endeavor as complicated as carrying someone else’s child?

Photograph of a pregnant woman by David DeLossy/Getty Images.