breastmilk compensation - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 32 Old 05-31-2007, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am a surrogate mother that delivered a lovely baby boy last saturday and I am exclusively pumping for the family and the baby. Although I told them it wasn't necessary, the parents would like to compensate me for the work that it takes to pump for them.

I'm looking for resources on how we can come up with an amount. Do you all have ideas on what it a typical amount or where I can look?

thanks!

Adrienne, ManyMom, Lover of Magical Moments

3x Gestational Surrogate, Currently carrying babies for A&T and due in March!joy.gif

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#2 of 32 Old 05-31-2007, 07:01 PM
 
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My partner and I figure that the cost to feed a formula bottle is about $1.00. So if you doubled that to capture the increased nutrition of bm, then figured on ten bottles a day, you're at $20/day. But that doesn't factor in the cost of your time.

Instead, I'd pay myself a certain amount an hour - like $15 an hour, since you can watch TV or read while pumping. Assuming it takes you twenty minutes a session to pump, and you pump six times a day, we're at 2 full hours plus thirty minutes to adjust/wash bottles/etc. So that would be 21/2 hours a day at $15 an hour, $37.50 a day.

Kudos big time to you for taking this on. You rock.
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#3 of 32 Old 05-31-2007, 07:35 PM
 
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I might consider that a bit high. I ff'ed my two boys, and we paid around $100/month for formula. I also think that $15/hour is a bit high. I have a college education, 10+ years of administrative and clerical experience and I can barely bump the $12/hour payrange in my community. True, it's higher in larger cities, but I still think $15 is quite high. I don't have much to substantiate my opinion other than standard formula costs. I would suggest taking the cost of a basic formula, like Parent's Choice from WM or whatnot, and using that cost. I KNOW breastmilk is the standard and has far better value for the baby, but if they weren't compensating you, they'd be comping the formula companies, right?
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#4 of 32 Old 05-31-2007, 07:38 PM
 
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Taking what it would have cost them to FF and doubling it sounds reasonable to me- don't try to figure it out by the time it takes you to pump.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#5 of 32 Old 05-31-2007, 08:06 PM
 
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There is an agency in Los Angeles that provides wet nurses and they charge a $1000 per week. Milk banks get something like $2-6 per ounce.
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#6 of 32 Old 05-31-2007, 08:59 PM
 
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I would probably charge on a per-ounce basis, some amount that would make it worth my time in the long term. I recently pumped for someone else's baby for about a month while nursing my own baby, and it was hard work (though some of the things that made it hard were that I was nursing my own baby and looking after my toddler at the same time.)

I think it probably would have been worth my time to keep on doing it if I'd been paid around $1.75 an ounce. That's the point at which it would have made enough of a difference in my monthly budget to overcome the inconvenience involved and keep me from resenting it in the long term.

The reason I would charge on a per-ounce basis is that if my output dropped, it would make me feel guilty to charge the same amount as I had when my output was higher.

Sonja , 40, married to DH (42) since 5-29-93, DD born 11-3-2004, DS born 1-18-2007.
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#7 of 32 Old 05-31-2007, 09:33 PM
 
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There is an agency in Los Angeles that provides wet nurses and they charge a $1000 per week. Milk banks get something like $2-6 per ounce.
I live in L.A. and have never heard of any agency like this. Is hiring a wet nurse even legal? I was under the impression it was NOT.

P.S. I think charging double formula is a good idea too.
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#8 of 32 Old 05-31-2007, 10:00 PM
 
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WOW. That's a lot of money! But, wetnursing is different than just providing your pumped milk, b/c you're not actually dealing with the baby and baby's schedule, just your own pumping schedule.

I think you might also take into accout that these people offered to compensate you, you didn't ask. So you may ask what they're considering to be a reasonable compensation, and go from there.
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#9 of 32 Old 05-31-2007, 10:02 PM
 
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Personally I wouldnt charge then more than a few dollars a day.

 
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#10 of 32 Old 05-31-2007, 10:55 PM
 
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Sorry momuf8tobe, you're right:

http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,...612710,00.html
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#11 of 32 Old 06-01-2007, 01:20 AM
 
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i have no clue what to charge but wanted to let you know what a great thing your doing how long are you going to do this for ?
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#12 of 32 Old 06-01-2007, 02:39 AM
 
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I live in L.A. and have never heard of any agency like this. Is hiring a wet nurse even legal? I was under the impression it was NOT.
I've heard of this somewhere recently. Why would a wet nurse be illegal?

dd1 4/7/05 dd2 8/22/07 and b/g twins born 5/23/10
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#13 of 32 Old 06-01-2007, 03:10 PM
 
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I'm really surprised that it is legal, just because it's the sale of bodily fluids. I'm not saying whether I disagree or agree about the legality of it, just surprised. Offers to sell bm on craigslist or ebay are always pulled. Anyway I'm so that's all I'll say about that!
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#14 of 32 Old 06-01-2007, 03:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mtnhighmama View Post
I am a surrogate mother that delivered a lovely baby boy last saturday and I am exclusively pumping for the family and the baby. Although I told them it wasn't necessary, the parents would like to compensate me for the work that it takes to pump for them.

I'm looking for resources on how we can come up with an amount. Do you all have ideas on what it a typical amount or where I can look?

thanks!


I think you're awesome for what you're doing!!!!

Me Hubby
Colin 1/13/04 Elena 1/18/07
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#15 of 32 Old 06-01-2007, 09:37 PM
 
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I would think that a price by the ounce would be fair for both parties.
I would set the price about $5 an ounce because pumping is not easy for all and especially since the baby wont be there to help with let down.
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#16 of 32 Old 06-02-2007, 12:34 AM
 
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Congrats on your surro son mama!

I have also been a surrogate (twice!). For my second surrogacy I nursed the girls in the hospital and then pumped for 12 weeks. I also drove to their house and nursed them for 2 weeks (they live about 40 minutes away). I wasn't compensated at all. When I started out, I felt like I didn't want to be compensated. By the end though, I realized that I did deserve something for all the time and effort put in to pumping. I hate to admit it, but I really started to resent the fact that I had to rearrange my schedule so that I could pump every two hours (day and night) for babies that weren't mine. I'm not saying that's how you will feel, just trying to give some insight I guess. I can't help with how much to ask for as compensation, but I like the idea of charging by the ounce.

Good luck mama! Congratulations again

Sarah loving wife to Scot...joyous mama to...
Emilee and Elaina and our newest addition Elliot Bell 9/15/10
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#17 of 32 Old 06-02-2007, 12:42 AM
 
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You are AWESOME for exclusively pumping for the baby!!!!! I had to EP for my baby, she could not nurse. It was so much work! As per cost, I do feel you deserve something. I would charge according to your life. If you are trying to take care of other children and working, I would charge more than if I was a housewife who had lots of extra time. I would charge the same rate as formula. (cheap formula if I had lots of time, more expensive formula if it were a true pita) I would be afraid that if formula was a lot cheaper, they would choose to buy the formula instead if they had a tight budget that week. I would try to keep it reasonable. I am curious, are they having to supplement with formula at all? I was very lucky, and had a fabulous supply as an EPer.
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#18 of 32 Old 06-02-2007, 04:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by momuveight2B View Post
There is an agency in Los Angeles that provides wet nurses and they charge a $1000 per week. Milk banks get something like $2-6 per ounce.

Good grief.

Are we talking about this mom making a ton of money here or providing breast milk for a baby she carried for nine months?

Is it even remotely realistic for the baby's parents to pay $4000 a month for breast milk when they can feed the baby formula for $100 a month? On a per ounce basis, assuming an average of 24 ounces per day (likely more as baby gets bigger), you'd be looking at $48/day or $1440/month at $2/ounce. Triple that for $6/ounce and your figure goes to $8640/month.

Is this baby being parented by Bill Gates or someone with that kind of money? Who is going to realistically pay well over $1000/month to feed a baby breastmilk?

I'm shocked that such numbers were even introduced into this conversation.

As for the OP question, I absolutely see nothing wrong with being compensated for your milk. But some of these numbers being thrown around are just nuts.

You should expect them to pay for any direct costs related to pumping (cost of pump, extra horns and collection bottles, storage bags, cleaning supplies, breast pads and bras for you). On top of that, I think the average cost of formula would be more than reasonable, which I'd figure to be about $100/month give or take.

If they ARE wealthy people, maybe more. But I'd think you'd have to be willing to do this not so much for the money but for the baby to have breast milk. If you give them some astronomical figure, they are likely to say 'No thanks' and who suffers then? Not saying you should do it for free, but realistically, what are they going to be willing to pay?

Maybe allowing THEM to come up with an initial figure would be better? They might be thinking $20 a month or they might be thinking $500 a month. See what they say.

Interesting topic.
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#19 of 32 Old 06-02-2007, 09:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by wifeandmom View Post
Good grief.

Are we talking about this mom making a ton of money here or providing breast milk for a baby she carried for nine months?

.
There are some things in life you just can't put a price on. I nurse my children for free but there is a personal cost. I gave up a full time job that paid $25 an hour plus benefits. That was a forty hour week that included lots of professional perks.

I CLW so I am available exclusively for my children 24/7 for a period of four to five years each. I don't pump, we don't supplement or use any artificial nipples. It is me and me alone. Being a SAHM who tandem nurses is much harder than a professional job in my experience.

The gift of breastmilk is priceless. It is nothing like formula. The parents must know this and they want the baby to have mother's milk. Whatever financial arrangements they agree upon are fine in my opinion.

Offering this service should not be compensated any less than any other professional service. That is what the parents are asking for, aren't they?
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#20 of 32 Old 06-02-2007, 12:51 PM
 
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The gift of breastmilk is priceless. It is nothing like formula. The parents must know this and they want the baby to have mother's milk. Whatever financial arrangements they agree upon are fine in my opinion.

Offering this service should not be compensated any less than any other professional service. That is what the parents are asking for, aren't they?

So is BM 'priceless' or is it something that can be bought at a price? It's either/or, but not both.

I am also fine with whatever financial arrangements the two parties agree upon. I was stating that I found it absurd to suggest the outrageous prices being thrown around, unless of course the ultimate goal is for the parents to say 'No thanks' and feed the baby in question formula because they cannot afford $1440 ($2/oz) to $8640 ($6/oz) per month to feed their baby.

My DH makes excellent money, but we couldn't afford even the low end of that scale. If we had a surrogate carry our child, I'd be MORE than willing to fairly compensate her for providing milk for my child. However, my idea of fair would honestly be not a whole lot more than what I could buy at the store. Sure, BM is great and wonderful, but it's not worth losing our house over.

The surrogate mother can certainly name any price she wants, but surely we all realize that even upper middle class folks aren't going to pay THOUSANDS of dollars each month to feed their child breastmilk.

Which is why I asked...is the goal here to provide BM to this baby at a reasonable cost OR is the goal to attempt to make the surrogate mom rich? The latter is incredibly unlikely to work anyway, simply due to economics. Unless of course the parents happen to be on the 'richest people in the world' list or something. Then perhaps she can charge thousands of dollars every month for BM.
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#21 of 32 Old 06-02-2007, 12:57 PM
 
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Another thought I had...

What is the bottom line compensation for a surrogate these days after taking into account expenses? What do they end up 'making' in the end?

Carrying a child for 9 months is more difficult IMO than pumping milk for said child once born. So I can't imagine paying MORE for pumped milk than I paid for the pregnancy to be carried by someone else. Does that make sense?

And in the end, even if a surrogate 'profits' $50K or more for those 9 months, who is going to pay that kind of money for breastmilk when those little cans of Enfamil are way, way cheaper and readily available? Nobody pays a surrogate to carry a baby that they could safely carry themselves, and I'd venture to say nobody is going to pay a surrogate for milk they could provide an alternative for if the price difference was a budget buster.
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#22 of 32 Old 06-02-2007, 01:08 PM
 
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I don't know what to suggest for prices but I just wanted to show my support... to give the gift of carrying a child is more than I can imagine, but this is the icing on the cake... you've got a heart bigger than the world Mama!!
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#23 of 32 Old 06-02-2007, 02:46 PM
 
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Wifeandmom~ I'm not trying to be difficult, but I don't want to see breastmilk undervalued either. I am willing to pay what is costs to have professional services. I have paid thousands of dollars for medical procedures that lasted sometimes minutes. Even housecleaners in our area are charging $20 an hour and nannies want $12 an hour to care for newborns.

Surrogacy is a professional service but in some cases women are able to do this as a gift. I have breastfed a friend's child and wouldn't dream of being paid.

If someone is able to give their breastmilk as a gift then that is wonderful. I also don't see anything wrong with being reinbursed at a professional rate.

There is a huge personal cost in pumping for a baby. Not just time taken from ouselves but also our family, hormonal changes, emotional connection and the need to ensure product safety. A woman may want to continue this connection to the baby and family but what if it becomes too much? All of this should be part of the surrogacy contract since it is a continuation of the professional relationship. The parents need to make provisions for the costs of breastmilk just like they did for the rest of the process. If that was overlooked then I would want to go back to the drawing board and get a new contract to cover the on-going relationship.

Historically wetnurses have been taken advantage of and devalued.

I don't think any woman should feel she has to devalue her services because if she doesn't then they will go elsewhere and feed formula. That would be the choice of the parents just like any other parents. She is not responsible for their choice any more than the millions of other people who are choosing formula.
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#24 of 32 Old 06-02-2007, 06:06 PM
 
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I have been eping for nearly 17 months. Not only have I fed my baby during that time and donated to a milk bank, but have also supplied milk for 7 other babies. I donate all of my milk. I see it as a way to help a baby to get a better start in this world. Families have offered to compensate me financially and I have declined. I have received thank you cards, gifts for dd, and gift cards for me when I was finished supplying milk for various families but I don't except money. I love knowing that these babies are getting the best possible nutrition from me.
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#25 of 32 Old 06-02-2007, 06:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by momuveight2B View Post
Wifeandmom~ I'm not trying to be difficult, but I don't want to see breastmilk undervalued either. I am willing to pay what is costs to have professional services. I have paid thousands of dollars for medical procedures that lasted sometimes minutes. Even housecleaners in our area are charging $20 an hour and nannies want $12 an hour to care for newborns.

Surrogacy is a professional service but in some cases women are able to do this as a gift. I have breastfed a friend's child and wouldn't dream of being paid.

If someone is able to give their breastmilk as a gift then that is wonderful. I also don't see anything wrong with being reinbursed at a professional rate.

There is a huge personal cost in pumping for a baby. Not just time taken from ouselves but also our family, hormonal changes, emotional connection and the need to ensure product safety. A woman may want to continue this connection to the baby and family but what if it becomes too much? All of this should be part of the surrogacy contract since it is a continuation of the professional relationship. The parents need to make provisions for the costs of breastmilk just like they did for the rest of the process. If that was overlooked then I would want to go back to the drawing board and get a new contract to cover the on-going relationship.

Historically wetnurses have been taken advantage of and devalued.

I don't think any woman should feel she has to devalue her services because if she doesn't then they will go elsewhere and feed formula. That would be the choice of the parents just like any other parents. She is not responsible for their choice any more than the millions of other people who are choosing formula.
It doesn't really matter to me one way or the other. 'I don't have a horse in that race' as my Daddy would say.

She can, of course, name her price. Shoot for the moon if that's what makes her happy.

She should, of course, realize that if she *does* choose to tell this couple she expects THOUSANDS of dollars each month for milk that she won't have to worry with pumping at all.

Are we encouraging her to 'make a statement' so to speak? Cause that's about the only thing that is going to be accomplished by telling them the milk is going to cost them more than they could possibly ever realistically afford. Assuming she wasn't a surrogate for a multi-millionaire that is.

I fail to see the point in advising a surrogate mom to name such an unrealistic amount of money for pumping when nobody but the richest of the rich would ever be able to afford it. What good does that do?

If she really doesn't WANT to pump for this baby, and that is certainly fine if she doesn't, she should tell them she wants thousands of bucks for her milk. I'm sure they'll politely decline.

If she DOES want to pump for this baby, as I suspect she must or she wouldn't have come here to begin with, setting a realistic amount would obviously be necessary if it's going to work. Does anyone *honestly* think $2-6 PER OUNCE is even remotely reasonable?
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#26 of 32 Old 06-02-2007, 07:07 PM
 
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Does anyone *honestly* think $2-6 PER OUNCE is even remotely reasonable?
It depends on the people. I know plenty of couples with a combined annual income of 200-300k.These people are doing very well but I wouldn't call them wealthy. If they have already spend over 200K on fertility treatments and a surrogate mother they are probably also willing to spend $2000 a month on breast milk for the first year. Other people may decide to use a combination of formula and breastmilk, so they might only be spending $500 to $1000 a month which is doable for many people in the 75-100K income bracket. If the parents are doing it for ideological reasons, then the cost of breastmilk is secondary. It would probably come from their discretionary income, anyway.
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#27 of 32 Old 06-02-2007, 10:12 PM
 
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It depends on the people. I know plenty of couples with a combined annual income of 200-300k.These people are doing very well but I wouldn't call them wealthy. If they have already spend over 200K on fertility treatments and a surrogate mother they are probably also willing to spend $2000 a month on breast milk for the first year. Other people may decide to use a combination of formula and breastmilk, so they might only be spending $500 to $1000 a month which is doable for many people in the 75-100K income bracket. If the parents are doing it for ideological reasons, then the cost of breastmilk is secondary. It would probably come from their discretionary income, anyway.
Well then, I hope this baby is lucky enough to have parents who not only make upwards of $100-300K per year, but parents that didn't spend their life savings just to HAVE this child and are therefore able to pay out the nose for breastmilk.

I suppose if the baby is from your average middle class family, he doesn't get the luxury of breastmilk. Nice.
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#28 of 32 Old 06-02-2007, 10:36 PM
 
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Wow I have so many things to say here....I EPump for my DD (16mths this week) and it is the hardest thing I have ever done and my life has not always been a cup of tea.

My supply on the pump was not the best so I had to pump a lot to barely meet her need, I had an undiagnosed breast infection that went on for almost 8mths making pumping excruciatingly painful, and a very high needs fussy baby to care for.

The $$ value of breastmilk can only be set by the parents. As for me if I could not physically provide BM myself I know I could not afford to buy it from a milk bank and milk share can only provide so much so I would have used a majority of formula. I don't think if I was in this situation (the same as the OP) the family could pay me enough to truly compensate me for all the sacrifice needed. With that said I believe the OP mainly has to do it out of the goodness of her heart. :

Let me cost it out for you....
for the first say 4mths I pumped 3-4hrs/day = 21-27hrs/week
Even at min wages (say 7/hr) that would be = $147-$189/week, $588-$756/mth
Now I pump 2hrs/day and still make the same amount of milk = 14hrs/week, $100/wk, $392/mth

That is just the actual time pumping, their is still the time spent washing pump parts/bottles and in truth that is about 30mins/day.

Also since my supply was so rocky in the beginning and I was in SOOO much pain pumping I had to rent a hospital grade pump, forget what I pay since it is a bit more than normal and say it costs 50/mth.

Also the BM freezer bags cost if you buy in bulk about 0.20/piece. And wow do they add up quick. About 6/day if you put 5oz in each (and that is alot).

Basically the costs are high for some woman depending upon how their body responds to the pump. OS mammas have their problems like buying deep freezers for all the milk and having to pump all the time or risk getting infections. Some like me have to fight for every drop which in the EPing world usually means more time on pump and more $$ for herbal supplements like fenugreek. :

When people ask if I work I say YES, I pump BM for my daughter. They give me a funny face but at times I was spending more time pumping than many part time working moms spend at work. So I truly don't think it was an exaggeration. I still see it as my "job", I think that is why I have been able to keep at it for so long. I do it for so many reasons; mainly the fact that little people thrive on BM and their are "things" in BM that I can't get anywhere else. For my Lola it seems like a small price to pay for such a short time, what is say 2yrs in a lifetime.

That said I think first the OP needs to do this because she sees it as valuable for the little babe she carried. You have to rearrange your whole life schedule to do it properly and effectively long term; pump in the car, bathrooms sometimes, during the night, it is a real pain in the A$$. But if she is compensated strictly for her pump, BM storage (possibly a deep freezer if she has an OS), pump parts and other BM/EPing accessories then the rest should be mainly a gift of whatever type ($$, or barter) the two parties see fit. It is really a gift of LOVE on the OPs part.

Mountain Biking bikenew.gifMama of 3 little beans, .      Epumped 1pump.gif 22mths for dd1 (2006) notes.gif
Nursed fly-by-nursing1.gifmy homebirth.jpg babe, dd2 (2008) until self weaned at 3yrsbouncy.gif. We survived a major nursing strike.

Awesome homebirth.jpg for Baby #3 who turned out to be a babygirl.gif (Aug 2013)!   

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#29 of 32 Old 06-13-2007, 12:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What an interesting and insightful converstion. I wish I had returned here earlier.

I am the original poster, and I appreciate the discussion. This was a difficult thing for me, as I wanted my surroson to have breastmilk (and for hisparents to be able to afford it!), and because I wanted to continue to nurture him. And, of course, the benefits for me as well. But it also felt a little odd taking comp for something that I would freely give. In the end, I chose to view this as I would a compliment, and accept graciously.

After a lot of research, what I finally pieced together is that there is a huge range of compensation. I chose not to be compensated by the ounce for a number of reasons. First, I can't see how it would be possible financially at the going milk bank rates. Second, I didn't want the added pressure of counting every single little drop and worrying whether it was enough or not enough. And third, I didn't want to have to worry about someone telling me I was doing something illegal by selling bm. This way, my time and energy is what I am being compensated for, not the actual bm.

I ended up telling the parents that the average seemed to be between $100 and $400 per week, plus expenses. I left it up to them to decide on a number that they could afford. They also purchased the pump that I wanted.

It was a struggle to accept the comp, but I am glad I did. The parents feel good about being able to give me something in exchange for the time and energy it takes to pump. And, I am appreciating that they are appreciating my time and energy.

2 and 1/2 weeks in, and goodness, this is a lot of work! I don't mind it, I just think I didn't realize!

Thank you all for your kind words about the surrogacy and the pumping. I feel so honored to have helped create this amazing new family and sometimes wonder what I could possibly have done to be led down this path...

Adrienne, ManyMom, Lover of Magical Moments

3x Gestational Surrogate, Currently carrying babies for A&T and due in March!joy.gif

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#30 of 32 Old 06-13-2007, 09:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnhighmama View Post
Although I told them it wasn't necessary, the parents would like to compensate me for the work that it takes to pump for them.
Since it is them wanting to pay why don't you let them come up with the amont? They might be willing to pay you more than you think.
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