April 14, 2024

What is it with Hollywood and surrogates?

Nicole Kidman brings home a surrogate baby

Congratulations, Nicole Kidman and Keith
Urban! They have taken home a new baby, Faith Margaret, born on December 28 in
a Nashville hospital. And none of the paparazzi knew — because Australia’s
most famous actress wasn’t ever pregnant!

In fact, the woman who gave birth to their
daughter was a surrogate mother, or, in Nicole and Keith’s words, a
“gestational carrier”. The child is said to be the biological daughter
of the couple. Nicole already has a daughter and a son whom she adopted
during her marriage with Tom Cruise and a daughter from her marriage
with Urban. Why they used a surrogate was not disclosed. 

Australian columnist Melinda
found it hard to join in the celebration. If the anonymous
surrogate was just a gestational carrier, what did that make Nicole and Keith?
Proud parents, or satisfied customers?

the woman whose body nurtured this child for nine months is stripped of
humanity. The phrase is reminiscent of other terms popular in the global
baby-production industry, such as suitcase, baby capsule, oven and incubator. The
detached language views women as disposable uteruses. This dismantling of
motherhood denies the psychological and physiological bonds at the heart of

raft of celebrities hiring out surrogates to have babies for them has became
almost a modern day form of wet nursing. But the lack of objective evidence
about the long-term impact of surrogacy on the surrogate mothers, the children
and the families of the commissioning parents is concerning. The process of
pregnancy, labour and delivery followed by summoning extraordinary reserves of
strength to surrender that baby, cannot be reduced to the science fiction that
the woman who does all this is merely a “gestational carrier”.

Surrogacy must be the latest Hollywood
lifestyle fad. Sarah Jessica Parker and husband Matthew Broderick took home
twins in June 2009. And Elton John and his partner David Furnish welcomed a son
to their home at Christmas. The surrogate mother is unknown and both men
“contributed” to the IVF process, so the biological father is unknown as well. “It’s the ­perfect gift for the men who have everything,” the London Mail commented sardonically.


Michael Cook