How Common is Gestational Surrogacy?

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West arrive at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in New York (The Huffington Post)

FILE PHOTO – Kim Kardashian and Kanye West arrive at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in New York, U.S., August 28, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

Last month, reality TV personality Kim Kardashian West and her husband Kanye West announced the birth of their third child. The couple’s daughter Chicago was carried via a gestational surrogate. She was created from a fertilized egg taken from Kardashian West, and had no genetic tie to the surrogate.

How common is gestational surrogacy?

It’s not that common, but it’s difficult to nail down exact numbers. The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) reported 1.5K+ babies born from gestational surrogates in 2011, up from 1.3K+ babies born via the method in 2009. Another source reports 1.4K+ babies born via gestational surrogacy.

It’s difficult to pin down an actual number, because some cases of gestational surrogacy may not reported. It’s also difficult to tell when the sample size is so small.

As the procedure becomes more widely available, we’ll be able to see how common gestational surrogacy really is.

Trends: Slaying While Pregnant

 

Beyonce's performance at the 2017 Grammy Awards (The Fader)

Beyonce’s performance at the 2017 Grammy Awards (The Fader)

It seems like almost every female celebrity is pregnant right now (and that almost all of them are pregnant with twins). But instead of lying low and taking it easy during their pregnancies, many of these women are stepping it up, and making pregnant and non-pregnant women alike look like slackers.

First case in point: Beyonce. Leave it to Queen Bey to put us all to shame. The superstar performed a set during this year’s Grammy Awards. One portion featured her leaning back in a chair perched at a very precarious angle. (I don’t know about you, but my heart was in my throat for that whole portion. And I audibly exhaled when she got off that chair.)

Beyonce had also been scheduled to perform at Coachella before withdrawing. But we can’t fault her for that, considering she’s done more while pregnant than many people do in their lives.

Serena Williams is widely acknowledged to be the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) tennis player in the world. Last month, she announced her pregnancy. When she announced the news, Williams was 20 weeks along. Someone very smart (and awesome) did the math and realized that Williams had recently played in a match while pregnant. And, as Laura Wagner at “Deadspin” put it, this wasn’t just any match:

Serena Williams won the 2017 Australian Open, her record-breaking 23rd major, without dropping a single set, while nine fucking weeks pregnant. She is the greatest of all time.

Elsewhere in entertainment, Gal Gadot has been preparing for her upcoming movie “Wonder Woman.” Last November, she shot reshoots for the movie…while also five months pregnant. And she was probably doing more than a few stunts. NBD.

It’s great that we’re seeing so many women dominate during a time in life when women traditionally have been relegated to the sidelines.

#ThrowbackThursday: Serena Williams Wins the Australian Open, 2017

Serena Williams at the 2017 Australian Open (Indian Express)

United States’ Serena Williams celebrates after winning the first set against Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic during their fourth round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

In January, tennis superstar Serena Williams beat her sister, fellow tennis star Venus Williams, in the final set of the Australian Open. The win was her seventh Australian Open title, and 23rd Grand Slam singles title. Williams is now back to being the #1-ranked tennis player in the world.

Williams was also in the early weeks of pregnancy during the Australian Open. So there’s that.

Trends: Celebrities Pregnant with Twins

Steven Yeun Instagram post (Steven Yeun)

Steven Yeun Instagram post (Steven Yeun)

Single births are so 2016. This year, it’s all about the multiples. (Births, duh.)

Seriously, this year has started off with a bang regarding celebrity birth announcements. First up, superstar/icon/QUEEN Beyonce announced that she’s pregnant with twins in an Instagram post that dropped February 1st. Naturally, the world went crazy (and that Instagram post is now the most-liked post ever). Beyonce also released photos from her pregnancy photoshoot, and later performed at the Grammys in a tribute to motherhood. As you do.

Not even two weeks later, it was confirmed that Amal Clooney (you know, George’s wife) is expecting twins. And the twins will be a boy and a girl.

There’s another couple that might be expecting twins. It’s confirmed that “The Walking Dead” actor Steven Yeun and his wife Joana Pak are expecting a child. One of Yeun’s recent Instagram posts was a series of photos of he and his pregnant wife, of which one photo features him holding up two fingers. The photo’s caption is two bee emoji.

So either they’ll also be welcoming twins this year, or Yeun is part of the Beyhive. I don’t know. We’ll find out.

It’s crazy that all these celebrities are having twins right now. No idea if any of them are through IVF and don’t want to speculate, but it’s interesting how all the pregnancies are syncing up.

 

#ThrowbackThursday: Angelina Jolie’s Pregnancy, 2008

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Cannes 2008 (Bella Naija)

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Cannes 2008 (Bella Naija)

Throwing it back nine years (?!) this week to Angelina Jolie’s pregnancy in 2008. She’s pictured here at the Cannes Film Festival premiere of her movie “Kung Fu Panda,” with the-partner (and now-ex-husband) Brad Pitt. At the time, Jolie was pregnant with twins.

Jolie gave birth to her twins, son Knox Leon and daughter Vivienne Marcheline, in July 2008.

User Engagement for Beyonce’s Pregnancy Announcement: By The Numbers

Beyonce's Instagram pregnancy announcement, 2017 (Time)

Beyonce’s Instagram pregnancy announcement, 2017 (Time)

OK, we all know that Beyonce is PREGNANT with TWINS, right? (And if that’s the first time you’re hearing this, OMG!!) The music icon announced her pregnancy on February 1st via an Instagram post on her personal account. (Later, she released an entire pregnancy photoshoot that was shot by Awol Erizku.)

As much fuss was made about Kim Kardashian breaking the Internet in 2014, Beyonce actually *did* the damn thing. Beyonce now has the most-liked photo on Instagram.

Here are some numbers to put this fact in context:

Likes on Beyonce’s 2017 Pregnancy Instagram Announcement (#): 10,468,451 

Beyonce’s Instagram Followers (#): 94.8M

Pregnancy Announcement User Engagement (# of likes/# of followers): 11.04%

Number of Likes the Pregnancy Announcement Received within 30 minutes of posting: 1.2M+

Number of Likes the Pregnancy Announcement Received within 1 hour of posting: 2.4M+

Amount of time it took for the pregnancy announcement to become Instagram’s most-liked photo: Less than 8 hours

Number of Likes the Pregnancy Announcement got to become Instagram’s most-liked photo: 6.33M

Second most-liked Instagram photo of all time: Selena Gomez sipping a Coke

Number of Likes for second-most-liked Instagram photo of all time: 6.4M

 

 

#ThrowbackThursday: Beyonce’s Pregnancy Announcement, 2011

Beyonce at the VMAs, 2011 (The Daily Mail)

Beyonce at the VMAs, 2011 (The Daily Mail)

By now, everyone in the entire world knows that Beyonce is pregnant with twins. (And if this is new to you, who are you? Do you even exist? I have so many questions.) The superstar revealed her pregnancy in an Instagram post to her personal account, followed by more shots of her pregnancy photoshoot to her website.

Remember, this is the second time Beyonce has unleashed a pregnancy announcement on the unsuspecting world. Way back in 2011, she announced her pregnancy at the MTV Video Music Awards (a.k.a. the VMAs). Technically, she announced it twice: once on the red carpet, cradling her bump while clad in a flowing orange gown, and then during her performance onstage. During the latter, Beyonce rubbed her bump and said to the crowd, “I want you to feel the love that’s growing inside of me.”

Of course, we now know that daughter would be Blue Ivy, age five.

The Philippines Might Get Access to Free Birth Control

Birth control pills (Salon)

Birth control pills (Salon)

Women in the Philippines might soon get access to free birth control.

The Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order for women of the country to receive free birth control, as well as access to further reproductive health services.

The order implements the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Act of 2012, which promotes family planning with the support of the state. It was signed into law that year. The order took 13 years to be signed into law (so it was introduced in 1999…yikes).

It’s estimated that there are currently 6M women without birth control within the country, with 2M women classified as poor. There are 24 live births per every 1K people, giving the country the 66th highest birth rate in the world. Considering that abortion is illegal, the need for some form of birth control is high:

More than half of all pregnancies in the Philippines are unintended, according to the Guttmacher Institute, and more than 90 percent of unintended pregnancies occurred in the absence of modern contraceptive methods.

Duterte’s goal is to completely eradicate any “unmet family planning needs” by 2018.

The U.S. Abortion Rate is at its Lowest Numbers Since 1973

Abortion protestors (FIUsm)

WASHINGTON – JANUARY 22: Pro-choice advocates participate in protest in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building January 22, 2010 in Washington, DC. Activists from across the nation gathered to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which decriminalized abortion in all fifty states. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)Abortion protestors (FIUsm)

A recent study released by the Guttmacher Institute found that the U.S. abortion rate has fallen to its lowest rate since 1973.

The study claims that in 2014, the abortion rate is 14.6 abortions per ever 1K women of childbearing age (defined as ages 15-44). The rate peaked at 29.3 abortions per 1K women in 1980-1981. In 2013, the abortion rate “fell below 1M for the first time since the 1970s.”

Number of abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 (The Guttmacher Institute/NPR)

Number of abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 (The Guttmacher Institute/NPR)

The study also found that 12% of clinics had at least one patient who tried to self-induce her abortion. There was no correlation between the closing of abortion clinics and more restrictive abortion laws by state. In areas where more abortion clinics opened, there was not a higher abortion rate.

There appears to be a substitution effect at work, with other birth control methods taking the place of abortion. Most notable is that of the intrauterine device (IUD), which has gained in usage over the past several years.

But why 1973? 1973 was the seminal year where the U.S. Supreme Court handed down their decision on Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion. It’s a good sign that women are using more birth control methods and not having to rely on abortion to get rid of unintended pregnancies.

Trump Bans Funding for International Organizations that “Promote” Abortion

Trump signs international abortion ban (Lifesite)

Trump signs international abortion ban (Lifesite)

Well, that was quick.

On his third day in office, Trump showed his hand on female reproductive rights (not like we didnt already know…) He moved to block U.S. aid for organizations that “promote” abortion. In this case, “promoting” abortion means presenting it as a viable option and/or providing abortion counseling.

Similar rules have been in place since 1984, when President Ronald Reagan instituted the first rule known as the Mexico City policy. (The policy was named for the location in which Reagan announced it.) Depending on which party is in office, the bill has been repealed (by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama) and reinstated (by George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush).

Despite the fact that the policy has been around for over 30 years, it’s unclear whether it’s actually working:

Health experts say the policy has not led to a decline in abortions in the affected countries. Some research suggests that it has had the opposite effect: increasing abortion rates by forcing health clinics to close or to restrict contraceptive supplies because of lack of funding. Others say the restriction only heightens the risk of illegal and often unsafe abortions.

A study completed by the Stanford University School of Medicine in 2011 found that the Mexico City policy was “linked to increases in abortion rates in sub-Saharan African countries.” But the study also found that it was difficult to link a country’s abortion rates back to the policy.