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.

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.

China’s Sex Ratio: How Skewed Is It?

Chinese One-Child Policy poster (The Galloping Beaver)

Chinese One-Child Policy poster (The Galloping Beaver)

Late last year, China ended its one-child policy, where each family was only allowed to have…one child. (Bet you didn’t see that one coming.) Though its rules have relaxed in recent years, this is the first time the practice has been officially abolished. (But we’ll see how long it takes for the policy to actually die down, data-wise.)

We’ve all heard about how skewed China’s sex ratios are; we’ve heard about how the country overwhelmingly favors male children to the detriment of an equal sex ratio. But what are the numbers behind this phenomenon?

Consulting firm Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. released data in 2010 that revealed that Chinese women bear .71 of female births during their lifetime. That year, men outnumbered women by 50M+. The birth rate at that time was 120 boys per 100 girls, which works out to a sex ratio of 1.2.

If you’re a visual learner, here’s what that ratio looks like, especially in context with other countries:

China's male births compared to other countries' male births ('Business Insider')

China’s male births compared to other countries’ male births (‘Business Insider’)

As Business Insider notes:

That means lots of single, possibly angry males. Hard to imagine anything good coming out of this.

The policy was made into law in 1979, and abolished in 2015. That’s 36 years. Thirty-sex years of selected sex-selection in favor of boys at the expense of girls. (Fun fact: Kim Kardashian West participated in this when she was trying to get pregnant with her now-son.)

Scary, right? We’ll see how the new policy helps attempt to reverse this long-running trend.