When achieving pregnancy naturally just isn’t possible, another avenue that can be pursued is surrogacy. According to WebMD, there are two types of surrogates. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is “artificially inseminated with the father’s sperm,” using her own egg; this technically makes the surrogate the baby’s biological mother, a situation that brings a host of legal complications. Then there’s gestational surrogacy, in which a woman becomes pregnant via in vitro fertilization, using eggs from the mother that have been fertilized by the father, and “the surrogate then carries the baby until birth.”
Given that gestational surrogacy is far more cut-and-dried from a legal perspective, this type of surrogacy has become an increasingly popular way for those facing infertility issues to have children, and that includes celebrities. In fact, there are numerous reasons why famous folks have used surrogates to bring their children into the world, often using special agencies devoted to streamlining the process.
From a rock music legend to a reality TV icon to a supermodel to a late-night talk show host to an Oscar-winning actor, read on to learn more about the various celebs who used surrogates.
Katey Sagal had her 'miracle' daughter via surrogacy
Katy Sagal gave birth to her first two children, Sarah and Jackson, while she was starring on Fox sitcom Married… With Children during the 1990s. As Sagal told People, she had a small nursery built next to her dressing room, and brought them on set when they were infants.
After she and husband Jack White (nope, not the White Stripes guitarist) divorced, she married Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter. “When Kurt and I first got together, he wasn’t interested in having any more children,” she explained. “He was happy being the stepparent to Sarah and Jackson. But he’d never had his own biological children, so about five years into the relationship we started toying with the idea of maybe we should raise a child together.”
By then, however, Sagal was admittedly “too old to carry a child.” After investigating adoption — which “proved to be way more difficult” than they’d anticipated — the couple decided on surrogacy. “We went through the whole in vitro fertilization process and our embryos were not really strong, but we thought, ‘Let’s give it a shot and if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.” That proved to be the case in 2007 when the couple welcomed daughter Esme (“our little miracle,” gushed Sagal) via a surrogate.
When Tyra Banks was ready to be a mom, she turned to surrogacy
Supermodel and America’s Next Top Model host Tyra Banks became a first-time mom in 2016 when she and boyfriend Erik Asla welcomed son York Banks Asla, who was carried by a surrogate.
“The best present we worked and prayed so hard for is finally here,” Banks wrote in an Instagram post announcing the newborn’s arrival. “As we thank the angel of a woman that carried our miracle baby boy for us, we pray for everyone who struggles to reach this joyous milestone,” she added.
Speaking with People the previous year, Banks detailed her struggles to conceive, and their eventual decision to go the surrogacy route. “When I turned 40, the one thing I was not happy about is that I did not have kids,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Damn, the clock is ticking!’ Since I was 24, I used to say every year, ‘I will have kids in three years.’ I kept saying it over and over again… When you’re like, ‘OK, I’m just going to do it,’ then it’s not so easy as you get older. I’ve had some not happy moments with that, very traumatic moments. It’s not something that can just happen.”
Elizabeth Banks admits she feels 'judged' for having her children by surrogacy
When actor-director Elizabeth Banks and husband Max Handelman decided the time was right to start a family, their attempts at conception failed. Banks eventually discovered why. “It was a womb issue for me. Embryos wouldn’t implant,” she told Lucky (via People). As a result, she and Handelman had their two sons, Magnus and Felix, with the help of a surrogate.
“It’s a big leap, inviting this person into your life to do this amazing, important thing for you,” Banks said of entering into the surrogacy process. “And it’s hard losing that kind of control. But our surrogate is so extraordinary, and she’s still in our lives. She’s like an auntie.”
Going public with her surrogacy journey, Banks admitted in an interview with Net-a-Porter, has decidedly had its pros and cons. “I definitely think I’m still judged for what I’ve done and that people don’t understand my choices, but I don’t feel I owe anybody any explanation,” she explained. “And, if my story helps people feel less alone on their journey, then I’m grateful for that.”
Jimmy Fallon and wife Nancy Juvonen turned to surrogacy
Viewers of The Tonight Show who watched the “at-home” episodes that aired during the spring and summer of 2020 would have certainly seen host Jimmy Fallon’s adorable daughters, Winnie and Frances, whom the comedian shares with wife Nancy Juvonen. Both girls were born via surrogacy.
After Winnie’s birth in 2013, Fallon opened up about their years of infertility struggles during a Today interview with Savannah Guthrie. “My wife and I had been trying a while to have a baby,” Fallon told Guthrie. “We tried a bunch of things — so we had a surrogate.”
According to Fallon, he and his wife had been trying to become pregnant for five years, and he offered his personal advice to others going through a similar situation. “I know people have tried much longer, but if there’s anyone out there who is trying and they’re just losing hope… just hang in there,” he said. “Try every avenue; try anything you can do, ’cause you’ll get there. You’ll end up with a family, and it’s so worth it. It is the most ‘worth it’ thing. I’m just so happy right now. I’m freaking out.”
Lucy Liu used a surrogate to fulfill her dream of motherhood
In August 2015, Lucy Liu took to Instagram to share the first photo of her new son, Rockwell. According to a statement from Liu’s rep provided to Today, Rockwell was “brought into the world via gestational carrier. Mom and baby are healthy and happy.”
A few months later, Liu paid a visit to Today, where she gushed about how much she was enjoying motherhood. “Every day is just a miracle and a dream,” she said. “Because everything is so different every day. You’re not even thinking about ‘Is it Monday or Tuesday’ or ‘What time is it? anymore, you’re just thinking about how he’s changed from minute to minute and his reactions — also, how you are and how you grow as a human being, being around another human being like that.”
In an interview with People, Liu opened up about her decision to use a surrogate. “It just seemed like the right option for me because I was working and I didn’t know when I was going to be able to stop,” she explained. “I decided that was probably the best solution for me, and it turned out to be great.”
Ellen Pompeo's second child was born via surrogacy
In April 2009, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Ellen Pompeo was pregnant. That September, the Grey’s Anatomy star and husband Chris Ivery welcomed their first child, daughter Stella Luna. Five years later, Pompeo tweeted that the couple had welcomed a second daughter, Sienna, “born via surrogate.”
During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Pompeo explained that her baby — then two months old — “was born via surrogate, so I felt an obligation to keep the surrogate’s privacy.” Host Jimmy Kimmel interrupted, “Pardon my ignorance on this, but when you have the baby through the surrogate, does your husband visit her in a motel room?”
Pompeo laughed, and proceeded to walk Kimmel through the process. “No! No! Although, she is gorgeous,” she said. “I was present for the insemination…I held her hand. So, they take the sperm…Medically, Chris Ivery has to do what he has to do and provide what he has to provide, and then I had to provide something as well, you know? You have to retrieve the egg. And then they put it together in a dish, the lab technicians, and then they make the embryo. Then they insert the embryo into the woman who will carry the child.” Pompeo told Kimmel that she is “forever grateful” to the surrogate.
Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent used surrogates
Nate Berkus and husband Jeremiah Brent are the parents of two children, son Oskar and daughter Poppy. Both were delivered by surrogates. The interior designers — who star in TLC reality show Nate & Jeremiah By Design — first announced Poppy’s impending arrival via Facebook in 2014, “thanks to a surrogate.”
Berkus and Brent spoke with USA Today about how positive both their experiences with surrogacy were. As Berkus said, they’d had “lovely relationships” with the two women who carried their children, and planned to be “thanking them forever” for “completing our family.”
The couple also made sure to include Poppy in the process prior to her little brother’s arrival, introducing her to the surrogate and even bringing Poppy along when they accompanied her to appointments with the doctor. They even showed her ultrasound photos of Oskar in utero. When their kids are old enough, they said, they want them both to appreciate the way they came into the world. “The kids are going to want to know someday how it happened,” they said. This way, “there won’t be ambiguity or surprises.”
Tabloids invaded Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick's surrogate's privacy
Sarah Jessica Parker gave birth to son James Wilkie in 2002. In 2009, a rep for Parker and husband Matthew Broderick told Us Weekly that the couple was “happily anticipating the birth of their twin daughters later this summer with the generous help of a surrogate.”
In an interview with Access Hollywood (via Today), Parker explained why they decided to use a surrogate. “Well, you know, we’ve been trying to expand our family for a number of years and we actually have explored a variety of ways of doing so,” she said. “This was one of the things we discussed with seriousness that had real possibilities for us.” Asked if she and Broderick had encountered their “fair share of disappointment” in trying to become pregnant, she confirmed they had. “It would be odd to have made this choice if I was able to, you know, have successful pregnancies since my son’s birth.”
While their experience with surrogacy itself was positive, that was not the case with how the tabloids treated their surrogate, identifying her publicly. “I am incredibly outraged by the sort of extraordinary and unprecedented invasion of her privacy,” Parker said. Who can blame her?
Being a mother is what matters to Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman is the mother of four, including older children Isabella and Connor Cruise — whom she adopted with then-husband Tom Cruise — and the two biological children she shares with second husband Keith Urban, daughters Sunday Rose and Faith Margaret. While Kidman gave birth to Sunday, Faith was born with the help of a surrogate. “No words can adequately convey the incredible gratitude that we feel for everyone who was so supportive throughout this process, in particular our gestational carrier,” said the couple in a statement to People to announce Faith’s arrival.
Kidman has been very open about her struggles to conceive, revealing she and Cruise decided to adopt after she’d experienced multiple miscarriages. “They told me I was probably not going to be able to have a child, a birth child. It was, ‘OK, that’s it.’ And then, out of blue…” she told Tatler of her surprise when she became pregnant with Sunday.
“I think because I’ve experienced motherhood in so many different ways,” Kidman said in an interview with CNN. “I’ve experienced adoption, birthing a child and I’ve experienced surrogacy. I’m like when it comes to it, I just wanna be a mama.”
Elton John and David Furnish welcomed both their sons with the same surrogate
When Elton John and husband David Furnish decided to start a family, it was clear they wouldn’t be taking the traditional route to parenthood. Initially, reported Us Weekly, the couple hoped to adopt a boy and his HIV-positive brother from Ukraine; when their adoption attempt was denied by Ukrainian authorities, they decided to move forward with surrogacy.
As People reported, their surrogate gave birth to the couple’s first son, Zachary, on Christmas Day 2010. “We are overwhelmed with happiness and joy at this very special moment,” they said in a statement. “Zachary is healthy and doing really well, and we are very proud and happy parents.” Interestingly enough, there were actually two women involved in the surrogacy, reported the Daily Mail, with one supplying the egg and the other carrying the baby to term.
The couple utilized the same surrogate to carry their second son, Elijah, born in 2013. According to a report in The Sun (via Daily Mail), the surrogate was paid £17,340 for giving birth to their first child and £20,000 for carrying baby number two. “Five years ago, we never thought we’d have a family,” said Sir Elton in a 2013 interview with Extra. “It’s changed our lives.”
A surrogate brought twins into the lives of Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka
Neil Patrick Harris and husband David Burtka welcomed their twins — son Gideon Scott and daughter Harper Grace — in 2010, via a surrogate. “It’s a lot harder for gay guys [to have children], although we tried!” Burtka joked during an appearance on The Wendy Williams Show.
As Harris explained in a 2014 interview with Barbara Walters, both he and Burtka became biological fathers after enlisting an egg donor and a surrogate. “We inserted one of my sperm and one of David’s sperm into two eggs, with the hope that they would both take, just because we both wanted to be dads biologically, and both took, miraculously,” he explained.
As for determining which twin is his biological child and which is Burtka’s, he told Walters (via CTV News) that he had “no interest in [finding out]. We are their parents and I love them both implicitly.” However, he confessed that both he and his husband “certainly have suspicions just based on their behavior.”
Ricky Martin became a dad of twins thanks to a surrogate
Back in 2008, Ricky Martin revealed he was now livin’ la vida daddy with the birth of fraternal twins Valentino and Matteo, who’d been delivered via a surrogate. In an interview with People, the singer explained his decision to utilize the services of a surrogate.
“Adoption was one option, but it’s complicated and can take a long time. Surrogacy was an intriguing and faster option. I thought, ‘I’m going to jump into this with no fear.’ I put my name on the list for one baby and then found out I got two!” he said, revealing he didn’t discover he’d be having twins until his surrogate had already been pregnant for several months.
Divulging that he was present for the birth — which took place via C-section — he also shared his awareness that, as a then-single gay father of twins, his family is certainly not typical. “I know people say this is a different type of family,” he said. “Yes, my babies don’t have a mom [present]. But I have a lot of incredible women in my family that will always be there for them.”
After birthing five kids, Hilaria Baldwin found a surrogate
Alec Baldwin had one child during his brief marriage to actor Kim Basinger, model Ireland Baldwin. When he remarried in 2012, the 30 Rock star and wife Hilaria Baldwin wasted no time in building a family together; the following year, she announced the birth of their first child together, daughter Carmen.
Fast-forward to 2021, when the Baldwins announced they’d welcomed their sixth child together, sharing the news on Instagram. Following news of the new addition to the family, a source confirmed to Today that the couple’s infant daughter, Lucia, had been born via surrogacy.
As Hilaria told Us Weekly after having her fifth, she was keeping an open mind about whether they’d have more children, admitting she hadn’t initially envisioned herself with so many. “I’ve learned that I thought I was gonna have one kid and now, all of the sudden, I have a gigantic brood, so who knows?” she said.
Kim Kardashian used a surrogate after two difficult pregnancies
Kim Kardashian and then-husband Kanye West (she filed for divorce in February 2021) conceived their first two children naturally, but Kardashian experienced some serious complications during both pregnancies. When she was told it would be risky if not impossible to have a third, they decided to try another route and connect with a surrogate.
In an interview with Elle, Kardashian explained, “I refer to her as a surrogate, but it’s completely my and Kanye’s DNA, so technically that’s called a gestational carrier. A surrogate is when they use the husband’s sperm and the surrogate’s egg.” While interviewing candidates, Kardashian revealed she knew instantly when she had found the right match. “It was a feeling,” she said. “You know when you can trust someone.”
Kardashian and West subsequently had a fourth child, also via surrogate — although they were forced to find a different woman. As a source told E! News, they were hoping to use the same woman who carried their daughter, Chicago, but the woman had actually become pregnant and was expecting her own child. In May 2019, the couple announced the birth of their son, revealing his name to be Psalm.
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