by Irene Martinko
FST’s World Premiere of Wednesday’s Child centers on the hopes and dreams of the Merrit family. All Susan and Martin Merrit ever wanted was a child of their own, but when they learn they are unable to conceive the old fashioned way, the Merrits turn to surrogacy. That’s how they meet Becca Connor, a young college student with expensive dreams of her own. Becca has turned to surrogacy as an alternative way to earn some extra money to help her through college. While Wednesdays’ Child is a work of fiction, these facts surrounding surrogacy are very real – especially for couples like the Merrits who dream of parenthood.
• In the United States, it is estimated that an average of 9 children per-state are born every year with the help of a surrogacy agreement.
• The average surrogate is paid $12-$25k per pregnancy and is compensated for pregnancy-related expenses. Though this seems high, in actuality, a surrogate mother who is able to carry a child to term and makes $12k has only earned $0.50 per hour.
• The average surrogate in the US is middle class, 28-years-old, employed, and married.
• An astounding 98% of the women who apply to become surrogates in the United States are rejected during the screening process.
• It takes about three cycles of In Vitro Fertilization for the average surrogate mother to conceive.
• In Vitro Fertilization has a surrogacy success rate of about 65%.
• For surrogates under the age of 35, the success rate of a pregnancy may be as high as 60%, though this percentage does decrease as a potential surrogate ages.
• In 2011, Kristine Casey gave birth to her own grandson at the age of 61 in order to help her daughter, who was unable to conceive. She became the oldest woman in Illinois to give birth.