Many celebrities have publicly announced becoming parents through surrogacy. With the most recent high profile announcement, from Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas, we wanted to revisit the progress our society has made to embrace this family-building method for hopeful parents nationwide.
In traditional surrogacy arrangements, the surrogate mother provided the egg and carried the baby. This meant that she had a genetic connection to the baby. This type of surrogacy arrangement was the only option in the past. However, thanks to advances in in vitro fertilization (IVF) and egg donation, surrogacy has come a long way in recent years. In 1984, the first baby conceived with the help of an egg donor was born. Then, following the ‘Baby M’ case in 1986, where a surrogate decided she couldn’t give up the baby (who, again, was genetically related to her), many in the surrogacy field developed a greater interest in gestational surrogacy. “Traditional Surrogacy” eventually became outlawed in many US states.
Today, the gestational carrier simply carries the baby – the egg comes from the intended parent or a donor.
Laws surrounding surrogacy have also evolved with time. Legal frameworks across the US ensure that gestational surrogacy is a viable family building option and that all parties are protected throughout the process and beyond. States generally considered to be surrogacy friendly include California, Connecticut, Illinois, Arkansas, Maryland, Washington D.C., Oregon, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Washington State.
More recently, New York made the leap from not supporting commercial/compensated surrogacy to now having one of the best frameworks via the Child-Parent Security Act (CPSA) – you can read more about this new law in our article.
Check out our United States surrogacy law map for a closer look at your area. As of today, gestational surrogacy is only prohibited in Michigan and Nebraska. Louisiana prohibits commercial surrogacy.
While surrogacy may seem as a modern concept to some, it’s actually been around for millenia! The team at Worldwide Surrogacy Specialists share some interesting history about the origins of surrogacy: the first mention of surrogacy can be found in the Book of Genesis, where Abraham’s wife Sarah, herself infertile, asks her maid Hagar to carry her husband’s child. Ancient Babylonian law allowed surrogacy in cases where a married woman couldn’t get pregnant.
Due to media misinterpretations, surrogacy has often been (incorrectly) reduced to a family building option reserved for the rich and famous, specifically those who do not wish to carry a pregnancy – but many are now aware that it’s so much more than that.
There are several reasons why someone might choose to start or grow their family through surrogacy, which might include:
In a bid to change the narrative, raise awareness, and demystify the process, many celebrities are now sharing their experience. That said, many other (“non-famous”) families in the infertility community are also bravely sharing their stories on Instagram and other social media platforms.
Aside from Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra sharing their happy news, in recent years Kim Kardashian added two little ones via surrogacy, after experiencing two high-risk pregnancies. Sarah Jessica Parker and her husband turned to surrogacy after trying to expand their family for a number of years following the birth of their son – and were finally able to have their twin girls. Bring It On Star Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade had a daughter via surrogate after Gabrielle was diagnosed with adenomyosis, a condition where the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows into the muscular wall instead.
Andy Cohen is also a father through surrogacy. Speaking in 2018, he shared: “After many years of careful deliberation, a fair amount of prayers and the benefit of science, if all goes according to plan, in about six weeks time, I’m going to become a father thanks to a wonderful surrogate who is carrying my future”. Inspired by his own experience, he advocated for the CPSA in New York, helping to get the law passed.
It’s safe to assume that growing their family through surrogacy is not something these celebrities decided on a whim – the process is long, emotional, and requires coming to terms with what is most likely a big change in your life plans, regardless of star status. Speaking to Us Weekly, Nicole Kidman described her experience before the birth of her daughter via a gestational carrier as a “roller coaster ride with fertility”.
There’s still much to be done to normalize conversations around surrogacy. We’re grateful though, that so many families are now working towards this by sharing their personal stories and how surrogacy helped them build the family they’ve always wanted.
Mom of two via surrogacy Candace Wohl documented her long journey on her blog Our Misconception, and also shared with us tips on how to have a healthy relationship with your gestational carrier, and why she chose to induce lactation leading up to her daughters’ birth.
After having their first son via IVF, then going through multiple IVF cycles and loss, Every Body Matters founder Alex Kornswiet (who is also the mom of three behind the informative + inspiring @ourbeautifulsurprise Instagram account) and her husband used a surrogate for their second child. In our Instagram live conversation, Alex shared “how difficult it was for her to accept that she won’t be able to carry a child, but that at one point, they realized that ‘the goal is not for [her] to carry a child, it’s to have a healthy child.”
Fighting Infertility Author and co-founder of The Samantha and Kyle Busch Bundle of Joy Fund, Samantha Busch is also documenting her surrogacy journey. After going through IVF to conceive their son, doctors told Samantha she wouldn’t be able to carry another pregnancy. After a number of failed cycles, in November 2021, Samantha and her husband announced that they are expecting a baby girl via a gestational carrier.
While many have traveled the surrogacy route, it’s no secret that surrogacy can be expensive.
Ranging from $70,000 to $180,000, surrogacy requires a substantial investment, but there are ways to finance it. Our article How Much Does Surrogacy Cost provides a thorough breakdown of all costs involved and then another helpful resource, Options for Financing Surrogacy, offers practical ways to finance the journey and make it more affordable.
Surrogacy is a family building option for all. If this is the right option for you or for someone you know, just know that you are not alone. You can also help normalize this family building method by sharing this post to further educate and inform.
Finding the right fertility provider is often a long and challenging journey. That’s why at GoStork, we’re here to support you as you research your family-building options, connect with providers that may be your ideal match, and make your final decision about which to move forwards with. Join us today to keep learning about your fertility options, and to find the ideal providers to help you on your journey. Start by creating your account here.