Last week, a source told People that Kim Kardashian would use a surrogate for her third baby. Kardashian and her husband, Kanye West, currently have a son named Saint West and a daughter named North West. Those two were delivered traditionally, and by all accounts, the pregnancies weren’t easy. Kim suffered from preeclampsia, a condition that affects 5 percent of women. This caused severe pain during both pregnancy and childbirth, and for the health of the babies, Kim was forced to deliver early. “My mom was crying; she had never seen anything like this before,” Kim wrote on her blog. “My delivery was fairly easy, but then going through that—it was the most painful experience of my life! They gave me a second epidural but we were racing against time, so I just had to deal. “They say that this is what some women died from as a result of childbirth back in the day, without proper care. I’m so thankful that my doctor was able to catch this and address the issue immediately.”
Doctors told the reality star that she might need a hysterectomy after her second pregnancy.
Fortunately, that wasn’t the case, but the severe health effects led Kardashian to make a difficult decision. But when the news of a possible surrogacy hit the internet, the reaction wasn’t entirely positive. Twitter users criticized Kardashian for her decision—which was, by the way, her decision.
In many ways, Kardashian’s current saga shows the stigma that still surrounds surrogacy.
Surrogacy isn’t new; in fact, the Bible references a surrogate in the book of Genesis. However, gestational surrogacy, in which a couple’s embryo is implanted into a surrogate with no genetic relation, has only been possible since 1985. Controversy has always surrounded the technology, especially in cases where a mother is technically capable of bearing a child. Surrogacy can create some ethical dilemmas, and critics often focus on these issues. For instance, couples must carefully determine whether the surrogate will have any rights to see the child, and whether the child will know the identity of the gestational mother. Those are important questions, but they’re considerations for the individuals involved—just as surrogacy is a personal medical decision. From 2004 to 2008, approximately 5,000 children were born through surrogacy, and while exact statistics are difficult to find, rates appear to be rising. One big reason: Surrogacy allows women to add to their families without undergoing high-risk pregnancies. For people like Kim K, a surrogate isn’t simply an option; it’s the only way to safely build a family. “My advice to anyone going through this or anything difficult during pregnancy is that all you can do is be hopeful, get the best information out there and just be prepared,” Kim wrote on her blog. “The more information you have, the better you know how to handle it!” That’s great advice. Let’s hope the internet listens.