I have a secret … I’m a huge Giuliana & Bill fan. Season after season I’ve watched E! host Giuliana and her entrepreneur hubby Bill Rancic on their desperate search to have a baby. From IVF excitement and home purchases, to pregnancy, miscarriage and now breast cancer, to say the ride has been a rollercoaster would be an understatement. The couple has been very candid about their struggles and that is one of the things that make them real to viewers and the show a phenomenal hit. On this newest season the couple made the decision (after Giuliana’s breast cancer diagnosis) to try having a baby via gestational carrier and recently found out that they will be having their first child this year.
Whether you call them gestational carriers or surrogates, the concept is nothing new. Many women, famous and not so famous, have used this method to add to their growing family. Actress Angela Bassett and husband Courtney B. Vance discussed their surrogacy experience on Oprah a few years back and Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker went the surrogate road as well. However, this may be one of the few times that the actual behind the scenes struggle to conceive and the decision to actually use a carrier has been made so public by someone in the spotlight. And just from watching the show … the pain is very, very real.
As Giuliana and Bill weighed the pros and cons of using a gestational carrier, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would be able to make a choice. Sure motherhood is not just about the carrying of the child in your womb, but a lot of women would be lying if they said that wasn’t the part of motherhood they were somewhat looking forward to.
As much as we many of us may not want to experience the morning sickness, back pain, sleepless nights, cankles and childbirth, we do want to watch our growing bellies in the mirror, feel our child kick inside of us and experience all the other wonders that come from carrying your own child. I had to think, would I be comfortable with some woman, a virtual stranger to me, carrying and bonding with my child in a way that I will never get to experience? And there are other issues like, what if she doesn’t eat properly, what if she’s nuts and stalks the child later in life because she feels it’s hers? No matter how many psych tests you do, one nut can always slip through the cracks.
Clearly for Giuliana and for many other women in the world, gestational carriers are their best or only option, and if motherhood is something you truly desire, then motherhood in whatever form it comes should be a blessing. Honestly, I don’t know if I’m strong enough to make that kind of decision, and hopefully I will never have to.
I think, personally, I would rather adoption over a gestational carrier, because emotionally I don’t know if I could handle watching my child grow in another woman’s stomach. Call it selfish, but I’m just being real about what I can and can’t handle.
In any case, for some women out there who are strong enough, gestational carriers change their lives in ways they once thought were impossible. I may not be the right choice for me, but as I watched the smiles on G&B’s faces as they saw their baby on the ultrasound, there was no doubt in my mind that is was the right choice for them. And that’s all that matters.
Could you use a gestational carrier?
I kind of feel the opposite way, I think given a choice I would use a surrogate over adoption. I think the chance to have a child that would be biologically mine would probably outweigh any desire I would have to be physically pregnant. Quite frankly, wonderful option that I feel adoption is, you face the same issues you mentioned with surrogacy (prenatal care, future maternal interference, etc) and have the wild card on not necessarily knowing the genetic background of your child. With surrogacy there is still the chance for a couple who simply can not physically carry a child but have no other genetic issues to have a child that is as much theirs biologically as one carried by them. I think this is a good option for those who can make it work.