The road to parenthood can be fraught with speed bumps, from infertility to being single to sexual orientation. So, we’re highlighting five famous men and women who have bridged the “infertility gap” by using surrogates to expand their families.
“[When] I was 23-years-old, I used to tell myself ‘in three years I’m going to have kids,'” says Tyra Banks, a former supermodel, entrepreneur, and CEO. “When I turned 40, the one thing I was not happy about is that I did not have kids.” After years of IVF procedures, in January of 2016, the 43-year-old actress and her longtime boyfriend, Norwegian photographer Eric Asla, welcomed their first child, York Banks Asla, via surrogate.
“He’s got my fingers and big eyes and his daddy Erik’s mouth and chin,” Banks wrote in an Instagram post accompanying the photo of his baby hat. “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.”
While the couple of five years split last October, it’s been reported that the America’s Next Top Model host is working on having another baby, again with the help of a surrogate. She’s itching for a mini-version of herself to dress up. “I don’t just want one child. I want a litter,” Banks said. “And I want to be the kind of mom where my child can come to me for anything.”
Kim Kardashian West
Kim Kardashian and Kayne West—arguably the world’s most famous celeb couples—have long been open about their struggles with fertility. During the birth of their first child, North, Kardashian suffered from placenta accreta: a dangerous complication where the placenta grows so deeply into the uterus that it cannot be separated after delivery, resulting in postpartum hemorrhage and infertility.
“My doctor actually had to stick his entire arm in me and detach the placenta with his hand, scraping it away from my uterus with his fingernails,” she says. “After all of that, I still had a piece of placenta attached inside of me, and I had to have surgery to remove it. Then I had another surgery to remove the scar tissue.”
After struggling to conceive their second child, Saint, the couple opted to have their third via surrogate. On January 15, 2018, Kardashian wrote on her website: “We are incredibly grateful to our surrogate [37-year-old Lorena] who made our dreams come true with the greatest gift one could give [our daughter Chicago] and to our wonderful doctors and nurses for their special care.”
After struggling for five years to get pregnant, Jimmy Fallon and his wife, producer Nancy Juvonen, have something new to write thank you notes about: they’ve been accepted into the two-daughters club. “It’s true. [For both pregnancies] we had a surrogate. I can’t say anything more because I don’t know what the rules are,” said Fallon, clarifying why the pregnancies were kept top secret. “I just want to say that there are angels in Dallas, Texas, so thank you so much.”
The proud papa of daughters Winnie Rose, 4, and Frances, 3, The Tonight Show host says their “awful” and “depressing” struggle was more than worth it. His advice: “If there’s anyone out there who is trying and they’re just losing hope…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.”
“I was so passionate and so directed in working on my career…[that] it never occurred to me that time was flying by,” says actress, producer, and singer Lucy Liu. “[The TV-show Elementary]…gave me the ability to take a moment, take a breather, and in that time I was able to then make the decision to go ahead and use a surrogate,” Liu said.
In August of 2015, when the single mother introduced her newest bundle of joy, Rockwell Lloyd Liu, via Instagram, she was negatively criticized by fans on social media. She responded by saying, “You don’t have to have a traditional family. It doesn’t matter the machinations of how things occur. How you love and parent a child is most important. That’s the support system, really.”
Although Ellen Pompeo is typically hush-hush about her personal life, the Grey’s Anatomy actress and her husband, producer Chris Ivery, announced the arrival of their third child, son Eli Christopher who was born via a surrogate, on Instagram in December of 2016. Pompeo gave birth to the couple’s first daughter, Stella Luna, while their second daughter, Sienna May, was also born via a surrogate.
The highest-paid primetime actress opened up about the surrogacy process on Jimmy Kimmel Live!: “This is an incredible thing to do with your life, to give the gift of carrying someone’s child. I am forever grateful and feel very blessed and grateful to her—she who will remain anonymous. I was there with her when they inseminated her, and we held hands. I looked into the microscope, and I saw the embryo.”