Military wives become surrogate mothers
Elizabeth Nila's old street in Murphy Canyon could have been called Surrogate Lane. Four other women on her cul-de-sac in the military housing complex near Tierrasanta had given birth to babies for other people.There is much more. Surrogacy has become a thriving industry in places like India, but this is the first I have heard of military wives carrying babies for others. It really is not that much money for nine months of someone's life. They are performing a valuable service.
Nila is part of a sorority of military spouses who are surrogate moms. She has two children of her own and is expecting a sixth surrogate child this fall.
“I get great satisfaction out of being able to help someone who can't have a child by themselves,” she said.
Surrogacy brokers and fertility specialists interviewed for this story said 20 percent to 40 percent of their surrogates are military wives, and they praise the women's sense of discipline, commitment and cooperation. Most surrogates are paid $20,000 to $35,000 for carrying a child.
Not coincidentally, the military's main medical provider, TRICARE, is one of the few health care insurers nationwide that doesn't ban coverage for surrogate pregnancies. By hiring a woman with TRICARE benefits, intended parents avoid paying about $20,000 for a standard surrogacy medical policy. They also dodge deductibles and co-payments.
The financial advantage is clear enough that some surrogacy offices offer a $5,000 premium to military surrogates.
Money alone isn't enough to justify delivering a child for someone else, said Christina Slason, 29, a Navy wife from Tierrasanta who gave birth to her first surrogate baby in January.
“It's not a lot of money for a lot of work,” said Slason, who has four children of her own. “Ultimately, you do it because you want to make somebody happy.”