Celebrities are more frequently turning to surrogacy as an answer to fertility issues.
Rumors are swirling that Alec and Hilaria Baldwin used a surrogate to welcome their sixth child, daughter Lucia, but they’d hardly be the first couple to opt for the pricey journey, which can cost prospective parents tens of thousands of dollars.
Kristen Wiig used a surrogate to welcome her twins with husband Avi Rothman, as did “RHOA” star Kandi Burrus following high-risk pregnancies.
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West used two different ones to welcome daughter Chicago and son Psalm, while Giuliana and Bill Rancic famously documented their surrogacy journey on their former reality show, “Giuliana and Bill.”
The couple concealed their surrogate’s identity during the first season of the series (which ran from 2009 – 2014), but after welcoming son Duke Rancic, Giuliana and Bill introduced Delphine, the French au pair who carried their son to term.
“Blurring her [again] would make it look like we had something to hide,” Giuliana explained in 2012.
Tyra Banks, Jimmy Fallon, Ellen Pompeo, Amy Smart, Nicole Kidman, Elizabeth Banks, Lucy Liu, Sarah Jessica Parker, Nate Berkus, Neil Patrick Harris and Jordana Brewster also all used surrogates to expand their families.
According to Jane Groenendaal, surrogacy director for New Beginnings Surrogacy Services, not every couple — especially VIP couples — would feel the same way about giving up their surrogate’s identity.
“When the surrogates match with their intended parents, [the surrogate] c an’t post things on social media without the intended parents’ permission,” Groenendaal explained to Page Six of privacy contracts, noting there isn’t a typical HIPAA form involved. “Many times it’s important to them that they don’t put up pictures of either party unless they have their consent.”
But privacy plays an important role in the surrogacy journey. In the early stages of a “match” — when intended parents secure a surrogate — the couple chooses how much information to give about themselves. Often with celebrities, they’ll choose to list only a first name on a contract.
“All the communication is done through the agency with the surrogate,” Groenendaal explained of anonymous contracts. However, both the surrogate and the intended parents have their own attorneys, who would have all contact information in case of an emergency. “Is it rare, an anonymous contract? Yes.”
She later added, “When we talk VIP, for most of them they’re worried that their private information is going to get out, so they keep their information limited in the early stages of the process because they’ve been through so much heartache trying to get pregnant on their own.”
While celebrities might want to keep their identities concealed for privacy’s sake, Groenendaal told us that “every match is different,” adding some will go to every appointment while others might only show up for the few final appointments out of fear of becoming attached.
“They can’t imagine that surrogacy is going to work for them, so they don’t want to get close and attached to their surrogate if she’s not going to get pregnant,” Groenendaal told us. “Communication definitely starts off slow in the beginning until there’s a confirmed pregnancy.”
As for the cost, it varies from agency to agency.
First-time surrogates can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $35,000, but a surrogate can be paid more depending on the type of contact. Repeat surrogates can be paid up to $50,000 in some states. VIP parents can also offer to pay more. While fees vary state to state, West Coast states, especially California, tend to have better legal protections for the intending parents, such as pre-birth orders that dictate the biological parents are the baby’s parents upon birth instead of three days after birth, as well as higher fees for surrogates.
At the end of the day, however, it doesn’t matter if a client is a celebrity or a regular person.
“Surrogacy is beautiful. It brings joy and happiness to couples who never thought they could have a child,” Groenendaal said. “Even though [Giuliana and Bill] are celebrities, what they were going through was real. These are real struggles that people go through.”