Rise in Women Using Surrogates for Social Reasons

Some women choose not carry their own baby so it won't affect their career or body.
4:11 | 04/18/14

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Transcript for Rise in Women Using Surrogates for Social Reasons
A new article about surrogate mothers in "Elle" magazine, is stirring up controversy. They're calling it the fertility industry's best-kept secret. The number of women who are choosing to use surrogates for social, rather than medical reasons. Paula Faris has the story. Reporter: For most women, carrying your own baby is a time of ultimate joy. Seen time and again in movies. But in the surprising article in "Elle" magazine, revealed more and more women are turning to surrogates. Not because they can't conceive, but because they don't want to. It's a phenomenon some are calling social surrogacy. This is a wonderful opportunity for women to have more choices. Reporter: Dr. Sara jhutty matches women who have nonmedical reasons for not wanting to carry their own babies. She says their reasons run the gamut from not wanting to interfere with their careers to being afraid of what pregnancy will do to their bodies. We have people who are afraid of being pregnant. Some people work in an industry where image is very important. They don't want to have to go through the changes that happen in the woman's body when they get pregnant. Reporter: But even with the interest in social surrogacy on the rise, it's still a touchy subject. Women are really guarded about issues involving their bodies and pregnancy and surrogacy because they're afraid of being judged. Reporter: And that's not the only thing giving some women pregnant pause for concern, with surrogacy costing around $100,000 or more per child, it may not be for everyone. You have to ask yourself why you're doing this. Are there real benefits of bypassing the beautiful experience of carrying the child? Reporter: For "Good morning America," Paula Faris, ABC news, New York. Joining us, now, Dr. Jen Ashton, our ABC news senior medical contributor. I know you want to weigh in on this. How common is this? Not common at all, you guys. In 2012, there were just about 2,000 of these social surrogacies. This is not even legal in every state in the country. So, it's really, really rare. And there are some guidelines from the American society for reproductive medicine. Want to read them now. The surrogates should only be used when a true medical condition precludes the intended parent from carrying a pregnancy or would pose a significant risk of death or harm to the woman or the fetus. These are just guidelines. Should they be binding? This is a slippery slope, right? There's legal issues, social, medical, financial. I mean, this is something that is incredibly complicated. And we have no data on this. We have no long-term data. In science, we like to refer to that. Even doctors are struggling with the question of what is a valid indication? And one of the reasons, apparently, is some women have a fear of giving birth? I think everybody is slightly afraid when they walk into that labor room. But there's a lot more to fear ahead. If that's what's stopping you, I they big red flags. How about the first time your kid turns to you and asking you something and you go, I have no idea? You get over that. That's every day. It's my job as an obstetrician, it's the job of a midwife to help a woman over the nine months of her pregnancy, deal with those fears. As we all know, whether it's pregnancy or something else, if fear were the rate limiting stuff, it would stop us from living. That's an opportunity to grow as an individual. And critics have said, you know, this is just selfish and frivolous. What do you think of them? The question is, is it the -- yeah. Is it the epitome of vanity selfishness? Or is it the way of the future? And the fact of the matter is, as an obstetrician, I can't pass judgment. As a mom, I cannot wrap my brain around this. But the fact is, not everyone's cut out to be a parent. And carrying a baby does not a mother make. There's foster parents, stepparents, adoptive parents. They are just as much as mother as the person who carries the baby. Well said. Wow.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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