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The process of gestational surrogacy typically takes 14-22 months—far beyond the 9 months most people associate with pregnancy. Even before the medical aspects begin, surrogates undergo an extensive screening, participate in a matching process, provide records to be reviewed, and, finally, negotiate a contract. The cycle schedule and medication phase alone take about four weeks and the embryo transfer and early pregnancy takes approximately six weeks. Even prior to a successful embryo transfer, a surrogate’s body is working non-stop for ten weeks or so. Add to that forty weeks of pregnancy. For their labor, surrogates earn, on average, $27,000—which is $22,000 less than the minimum wage even in the state with the lowest minimum wage (Wyoming). If surrogates were paid California’s minimum wage, they would earn $144,000. Even more unjust, surrogates often get paid nothing until the successful embryo transfer, and all payments stop in the case of miscarriages. Gloria Steinem spoke to these labor and class issues when she described surrogacy as a process in which “women in economic need become commercialized vessels for rent, and the fetuses they carry become the property of others.” 

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