What’s In a Name (or title) – Gestational Carrier or Gestational Surrogate?

Surrogacy – Well, the birth and subsequent remarks made by Nicole Kidman, who just had a daughter via surrogacy with her husband Keith Urban, is causing quite a stir in their native country Australia. The web is filled with comments regarding Nicole’s statement:

“Our family is truly blessed, and just so thankful, to have been given the gift of baby Faith Margaret. No words can adequately convey the incredible gratitude that we feel for everyone who was so supportive throughout this process, in particular our gestational carrier.”

Comments such as those below are taking her use of carrier instead of surrogate to heart:

Australians are aghast that expatriate couple Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban described the unidentified surrogate mother who delivered their second child at a US hospital last month as their ‘gestational carrier.’
‘In those last two words, the woman whose body nurtured this child for nine months is stripped of humanity,’ social commentator Melinda Tankard Reist wrote in The Australian newspaper Wednesday.

‘The phrase is reminiscent of other terms popular in the global baby-production industry, such as suitcase, baby capsule, oven and incubator.’

Did she truly mean to “strip their surrogate of her humanity?” Or, did she refer to her surrogate as she was defined in her surrogacy agreement? Did she even know what the other terms there were? Does this mean she was detacted from the surrogacy? Who actually knows? Why does that matter?

As an attorney in this field, I see these wonderful women referred to as gestational carrier, gestational surrogate (which I prefer), surrogate, surrogate mother, and carrier in both the agreements and in general – sometimes it is the parents’ level of comfort and sometimes it is attorney preference. And, why is this such a big issue? The fact that she acknowledged the woman who carried her child (aka gestational carrier) is more than enough for me. What do you think?


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