Motherloading: Inside the Surrogacy Boom

“Ashley Mareko was built for pregnancy. “I have great hips,” she told me over the phone. 

Mareko, 38, a Hawaii native who lives with her husband and teenage daughter in their RV near the beach in San Diego, heard about gestational surrogacy—where she would grow someone else’s baby in her own womb—at a Bible study group. “I thought it was the coolest thing,” she remembered. She said she felt called to do it. 

Mareko, who already had two kids of her own, had a friend who was going through chemotherapy, and she offered to carry a baby for her. But both women were worried: “What if I got attached to the child? What if it doesn’t work, and the friendship is ruined?” Mareko told me.”