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Kim Kardashian West has been vocal on “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” and social media about her decision to use surrogates for the births of her two youngest children with Kanye West: their 2-year-old daughter, Chicago; and their son, Psalm, who was born in May 2019.
Recently, the reality TV mogul shared that she used a “surrogate therapist” to help facilitate communication with her surrogate while preparing for the birth of Chicago.
Kardashian West shared her experience in an interview with celebrity divorce attorney Laura Wasser, for Wasser’s podcast, “All’s Fair.”
“You get your surrogate attorney, you get your surrogate broker and then the broker recommended that we use a therapist that would communicate with me first and then communicate with her and kind of be our liaison,” Kardashian West said in a preview of the podcast interview published by E! News.
Kardashian West continued: “Toward the end we got close enough where we could communicate really without that. [The therapist] would suggest, ‘Hey, I think you guys should communicate once a week through text, maybe on Mother’s Day. She’s a mother as well. Maybe get her a massage or something that’s appropriate for her to pamper.'”
Kardashian West said in the podcast preview that the “surrogate therapist” would help with communication “if anything was uncomfortable” between her and the surrogate.
“She would be that buffer to say, ‘This is who I want in the room. What are you comfortable with? How does this work?'” Kardashian West said.
Kardashian West added that for the birth of her fourth child, Psalm, she did not use the “surrogate therapist.”
“I didn’t need it for my second one because I kind of knew the drill,” she said.
While the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) does not appear to have an official definition for the “surrogate therapist” term Kardashian West used, the committee does recommend the use of independent mental health counselors in parent-surrogate relationships.
In a list of recommendations for families and patients considering gestational surrogacy, the ACOG outlines benefits that mental health counseling can provide for parents and surrogates alike.
“Mental health counselors can assist the intended parent(s) in anticipating issues surrounding disclosure of the pregnancy and the child’s genetic lineage,” according to the ACOG.
“For gestational carriers, mental health counselors can assist in anticipating issues surrounding questions and concerns from family and community as well as potential attachment issues for the gestational carrier during pregnancy and after delivery,” the ACOG reports.
The committee also recommended independent mental health counseling for both the surrogate and the parent(s) so all parties can take into account ethical and legal considerations and medical risks prior to the birth.
“Counseling of the gestational carrier and the intended parent(s) by independent, experienced mental health professionals and guidance from independent, appropriately qualified legal counsel are effective in anticipating and preparing for unplanned outcomes,” the ACOG report said.
While Kardashian West seemed to speak mostly to her “surrogate therapist” as someone who helped foster communication and a connection with her surrogate during the pregnancy, the National Infertility Association (NIA), a certified non-profit organization recognized by the National Health Council, highlights the benefits of counseling for prior to even forming a parent-surrogate relationship.
An online guide from the NIA defines a fertility counselor as “a facilitator with all parties involved” who are “presented with two sets of clients — the intended parents and the gestational carrier — each with their own agendas, concerns, and perspectives.”
The NIA goes on to explain the importance of psychological counseling with the parent(s) and surrogate prior to the birthing process.
“A discussion of about the wishes surrounding the relationship with the couple during and after pregnancy, and with the future child, is essential,” the NIA says. “It will also help ensure that [the surrogate] works with intended parents who have similar wishes and expectations of the relationship.”
Representatives for Kim Kardashian West did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.