Red State Surrogates

Rachel R. White reports on the rise of women from conservative communities who decide to carry children for gay couples:

As gay unions become more common in America, some surrogacy firms have seen a spike in affluent urban gay couples seeking IVF and surrogacy. In 2010, the first year the U.S. Census counted gay couples and their children, one quarter of same-sex households were found to be raising children. Intended parents who work with New York Fertility Services live primarily in New York, Los Angeles, London, and Hong Kong.

Surrogate carriers, however, are more likely to be middle class and from conservative backgrounds — according to NYFS medical director Joel Batzofin, most surrogates are from rural areas in the Midwest and the South. Parents tend to be affluent; using both a surrogate and an egg donor costs between $150,000 and $175,000. Earnings for surrogates like Melissa, meanwhile, start at $25,000. The result is one of modern medicine's strangest bedfellows: Devout Christian women who lend their wombs to gay fathers.

Many are ostracized for doing so:

Texas law does not allow two same-sex parents on a birth certificate. So Melissa ended up carrying for a single gay man from L.A. It was the first time either she or Shane had actually met a gay person, but they hit it off on the first meeting. When Melissa told the intended father their story about being kicked out of the community, they all started crying.

"Our intended father’s response was that I had received more homophobia than he had in his life as an out gay man," says Melissa. Of course, he wondered if it would be safe for her to carry his baby and asked if they would receive backlash. Melissa told him yes, there would be backlash. But people were starting to come around.

Meanwhile, check out another endearing surrogate story concerning Norway's Princess Mette-Marit.