By Macaela Mackenzie
Congratulations are in order for Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Nick Jonas! The couple confirmed on Friday that they’ve just welcomed their first baby.
“We are overjoyed to confirm that we have just welcomed a baby via surrogate,” Chopra Jonas posted on Instagram. “We respectfully ask for privacy during this special time as we focus on our family.”
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The couple, who celebrated their third wedding anniversary in December, have spoken in the past about wanting to have kids—but kept their plans tightly under wraps. “[Kids are] a big part of our desire for the future,” Chopra Jonas, 39, told Vanity Fair in January. “By God’s grace, when it happens, it happens.” While neither Chopra Jonas or Jonas have spoken about their fertility or family planning process publicly, it has officially happened.
Having a baby via gestational surrogacy (which is where a surrogate carries an embryo they are not genetically related to) is still fairly rare. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 31,000 pregnancies in the U.S. used a gestational surrogate between 1999 and 2013—that’s about 2% of all pregnancies resulting from assisted reproductive technology during that period. Part of that may be because surrogacy is legally complex. Most states now allow some form of paid gestational surrogacy, per The New York Times, but surrogacy contracts can be limited. And outside of the U.S. legal gestational surrogacy is even less common. The practice can be a game changer for LGBTQ+ people and those who have dealt with fertility challenges, but there's also a lot of debate surrounding surrogates’ rights and health.
Even in a legal landscape that varies from state to state and country to country, data suggests gestational surrogacy is getting increasingly popular. The number of pregnancies involving a gestational surrogate increased from 727 in 1999 to 3,432 in 2013, according to the CDC.
Celebrities who’ve used surrogacy as a path to parenthood like Jonas and Chopra Jonas are helping to reduce the stigma. Kim Kardashian West famously welcomed two of her children via surrogate after experiencing serious pregnancy complications. “The love you’ll have for your kids is exactly the same. There’s no difference except there was someone else that was the carrier,” she said per US Weekly. Gabrielle Union has also been very public about her decision to use a surrogate to welcome her daughter Kaavia James after many rounds of IVF and several miscarriages. In her book You Got Something Stronger? Union wrote about her feelings on the stigma surrounding surrogacy: “I wanted the experience of being pregnant. To watch my body expand and shift to accommodate this miracle inside me,” she wrote, per TIME. “I also wanted the experience of being publicly pregnant. I would shake off the distrust society has for women who, for whatever reason—by choice or by nature—do not have babies.” But ultimately, as Union wrote, “Everyone comes to the decision differently.”
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