Celebrities who used surrogates, as change to UK law recommended
To make things easier for intended parents, the Law Commission has suggested significant reforms to UK surrogacy law, but activists argue more must be done.
In a review that was commissioned by the Government, the Law Commissions of England and Wales and Scotland made a new road to legal parenthood recommendation that would grant intending parents parental rights from the moment of the child's birth.
Intended parents currently have to wait for a court order, which is supposed to take six weeks but sometimes takes much longer. The intended parents would have those rights from birth under the proposals, but the surrogate wouldn't be allowed to revoke her consent or exercise her parental rights until six weeks after the baby was born.
The guidelines do not apply to overseas surrogacy or "double donation”, which involves using both donor sperm and donor eggs.
Also, there are no plans to legalise paid-for surrogacy in the UK. While intended parents are permitted to pay for a few expenses, such as medical bills and lost wages, they are not permitted to assist surrogates with expenses, such as rent, and they are not permitted to financially recompense them.
The usage of surrogacy has grown recently, as the report notes, especially as increasing numbers of celebrities are taking that path.
But which celebrities have taken the surrogacy route?
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
People reported in January 2019 that Kanye West and his now-divorced wife Kim Kardashian used a surrogate to carry their third kid, Chicago, and their fourth child, Psalm, as well.
After giving birth to daughter Chicago in January 2018, the reality star posted on her website: “We are incredibly grateful to our surrogate who made our dreams come true with the greatest gift one could give and to our wonderful doctors and nurses for their special care,”
Kardashian West, who experienced placenta accreta during both of her pregnancies with son Saint and daughter North, thought surrogacy was the safest and healthiest option for the birth of her next two children.
Elton John and David Furnish
“We decided to go the surrogacy route and have children of our own. The dominoes fell very quickly,” Sir Elton John stated in an interview with the NY Times magazine about himself and his partner David Furnish in October 2016.
“It was only through fate, really,” Sir Elton added of becoming a dad through son Zachary Jackson Levon and Elijah Joseph Daniel, who were born to the same surrogate.
The pair had initially tried to adopt.
Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick
In June 2009, actors Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker used a surrogate to give birth to Marion Loretta Elwell (often known as Loretta) and Tabitha Hodge.
SJP gave birth to son James Wilkie, but encountered problems conceiving afterwards, so turned to surrogacy. She told Edit magazine, “I only got to give birth once. I would give birth as often as I could, if I could.”
When asked about having children later in life, Parker said, “I’ve had a lot of opportunities to do the things that I wanted to do, like sleep.”
Michael Jackson had all his children through surrogates. Debbie Rowe, whom he also briefly married, was a surrogate to Jackson’s first two children, Michael Joseph “Prince” Jackson Jr in February 1997, and Paris Katherine Jackson in April 1998.
Prince Michael II, often known as “Blanket” who changed his name to Bigi in 2015, was the youngest child of the late King of Pop Jackson and was conceived through an unnamed surrogate in February 2002.
Ricky Martin and Jwan Yosef
Ricky Martin had Matteo and Valentino, twin boys born in August 2008, via surrogacy.
The singer, who has been married to Jwan Yosef since 2017, told People magazine, “Adoption was one option, but it's complicated and can take a long time.
“Surrogacy was an intriguing and faster option,” he added. “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!”
Ricky and Jwan then had daughter Lucia and son Renn through surrogacy in 2018 and 2020, respectively.