BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Surrogate pregnancies work by a woman being matched with a family and carrying a child with that family's DNA. While popular in bigger cities, this service is only now starting to catch on in Kern County.
Megan Casselman is a mother of two, and works with special education students in Bakersfield. But her other job is being a surrogate mother. Right now, she is preparing for her second surrogate pregnancy.
"I'm overwhelmed. How do I give myself to two different families again. But I am excited to bless another family with another baby," described Casselman.
During her first surrogate pregnancy, Casselman was matched with a family from Germany. She delivered them a baby boy, who she gave to the family within an hour of the birth.
She did have doubts going into the process and had questions about "how she is going to give this baby up, how close could she get with the family and would would be the whole process of carrying a child and then moving on with her life afterwards."
All her questions were answered by the surrogate agency, with who she is going through for her second pregnancy. But unlike the first one, which she said she did to enjoy giving a life to another family, this pregnancy plan is more about the salary.
"They cover everything from maternity clothes to doctors visits to medical. Everything is covered," she described. Along with all costs covered, surrogate earn a salary of a range between $20,000-$50,000.
All payments and terms are outlined in lengthy contracts that are written by lawyers. Marc Widelock is a Bakersfield lawyer that specializes in surrogacies and adoptions. According to him, "as the surrogacies become more accepted, people feel a little easier about it. It's not so new world as it was 15 years ago."
He also noted that surrogacies are on the rise in Kern County.
To become a surrogate mother, the best advice from Casselman is to do your research and mentally prepare for the task.