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Gestational Surrogacy In Hollywood: A Vanity Thing?

Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Okay. So listen. My name is Monica Bielanko and I am addicted to The Real Housewives of any damn city in the United States. What? Shut up. You know you have your embarrassing television addictions and if you don’t we can’t be friends. Seriously. Because I spend a lot of time watching my programs.

The latest city to hit the franchise is Beverly Hills. It might be my favorite. I could study the plastic surgeried faces of these women for hours. The first episode alone was better than any episode of Hoarders I’ve seen so far. And I’ve seen a few.

Camille Grammer. She could be 25. She could be 125. Who knows? Probably not even her. There she is, tanned, toned and made up within an inch of her life. Camille plays tennis, dances, rides horses… I don’t know what all she was up to in that snazzy montage of wealthy comings and goings depicting the glory that is the (wife of) celebrity life. Of course she’s got development deals in the works. Whatever.

What slayed me was when Camille trotted into her house to introduce the world to her two children and four, yes, one, two, three, FOUR full-time live-in nannies. I scraped my jaw off my bulging belly in time for the next announcement about Camille.

She and her husband, Kelsey Grammer, used surrogate mothers to carry their children. Surrogacy is when another woman carries the pregnancy. The embryos are sometimes from the parents-to-be, and in other cases, they involve an egg donor.

I admit it. I made a snap judgment and assumed that Camille used a surrogate because she didn’t want to lose her figure. Then I did a bit of Googling and read some chatter about Irritable Bowel Syndrome. For real? Is this a thing? Irritable Bowel Syndrome can keep you from being pregnant? Am I a jerk for being skeptical? Reading this seemed to validate my jump to the vanity conclusion.

Former American Idol star Chris Daughtry and his wife had twins today via a surrogate. Apparently his wife had a partial hysterectomy several years ago. Surrogacy seems appropriate and very likely, their only option. Medical problems like that and infertility issues are likely the reason most couples use surrogates.

Age also plays a big factor in couples turning to gestational surrogacy as it’s unlikely women 45 and older can produce eggs. That may have been the case with 44-year-old Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick. The couple announced they used a surrogate for their twins, born in 2009. Model Sheryl Tiegs and Joan Lunden also have twins via a surrogate. Not together, of course. Wouldn’t that be a story! With their respective husbands. Born when both women were in their early fifties.

But using Camille Grammer as an example, it isn’t just women over forty taking the surrogate route.

Gestational surrogacy has become increasingly popular in Hollywood and among wealthy women in recent years and it makes me wonder: is it a vanity thing? Do these women not want to “ruin their figures”? Or am I totally misjudging the woman who uses four nannies? Let me reiterate; I understand fertility problems, and older women wanting children. But when something like Irritable Bowel Syndrome is brought up as a reason for two surrogate pregnancies, I’ve got to wonder. Have you seen Camille Grammer? You’d wonder too.

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