Surrogacy is an idea as old as the biblical story of Sarah and Abraham in the book of Genesis. Sarah was infertile, so Abraham fathered children with the couple's maid. Today, there are many more options for people who want to grow their families — and for the would-be surrogates who want to help.
Macy Widofsky, 40, is eager to be a surrogate.
"I have very easy pregnancies. All three times have been flawlessly healthy, and I wanted to repeat the process," she says, "and my husband and I won't be having more children of our own."
For most mothers, there is no event in life bigger than giving birth to a child. Charity Lovas has given birth to eight children, yet only three of those children are her own.
It all began in 2002, when she and her family were living in Indianapolis. She says she was reading the Sunday newspaper and spotted an ad for ovum donors. She had never heard about it. She was curious.
She called the number in the ad. A woman at the other end of the line explained the egg donor program, and said they had a surrogate program, too.
As she approached her sixth month of pregnancy last year, Whitney Watts' cervix had started to shorten. It's a common problem with twins. Watts was concerned, and was taking care not to overexert herself.
But it's probably fair to say her condition was far more frightening for Susan de Gruchy, the woman who had hired Watts to be a surrogate because she and her husband were unable to conceive. Nearly 400 miles away, de Gruchy was obsessed with worry.
These days it can take a village to create a child. Technology means someone who never thought they'd be able to conceive can use a sperm donor, an egg donor and a surrogate — a woman who bears a child for someone else. But the law has not kept pace with technology, and with so many people involved, a key question remains: Who is a legal parent?