NICOLE RUSSELL: Khloe Kardashian reveals guilt, shame she felt for using another woman to gestate and birth her baby

Reality television is usually the last place to glean advice or realize hard truths about family, parenting, or relationships, but recently Khloe Kardashian, of “Keeping up with the Kardashians” fame, made a few statements that doubled as advice and a cautionary message about what it means to have a family, particularly via surrogacy, a controversial topic.

In a clip of the season three premiere of “The Kardashians,” Khloe admitted that having a son via a surrogate was a difficult experience for her, especially compared to her sister Kim’s experience using a surrogate. Season three was set to release May 25.

It was “hard for me,” she said to Kim and former brother-in-law Scott Disick. Khloe admitted she felt less connected to the baby she had via surrogate, who she named Tatum, than she did to the baby she had through a natural pregnancy, a daughter she named True. Tatum was born July 2022.

“Kim said hers was easy, and this is not easy,” Khloe said. 

Both children are fathered by her former boyfriend Tristan Thompson. 

Khloe went on to describe how strange it was for another woman to birth her child, yet she’s the one who got to take her baby home.

“I felt really guilty that this woman had my baby, and I take the baby and go to another room and you’re sort of separated,” Khloe said. “It’s such a transactional experience because it’s not about him. I wish someone was honest about surrogacy and the difference of it, but it doesn’t mean it’s bad or good, it’s still great.”

It is rumored that Kim is the one who encouraged her sister Khloe to have a baby via surrogate. Kim had two of her four children through surrogacy with father Kanye West. Both sisters have been open about using a surrogate but it is unexpected to hear Khloe being so open about having a more negative experience, to the point of calling it transactional, which is exactly what it is.

While commercial gestational surrogacy - where a woman carries the embryo made by another woman’s egg and another man’s sperm to birth - is more common among celebrities. It is not federally regulated and is heavily criticized, as it should be.

A surrogate is a rented womb, a person who is being used only for her reproductive capability, and then discarded. Often, the women who are surrogates are in a position where they need the money - so it’s wealthier women, who don’t want to be pregnant or thought they would have difficult pregnancies, who are hiring a poor but healthy womb, to carry their own child. The process of surrogacy treats women like commodities. 

Incredibly, the clip also shows what surrogacy does for the biological mother and baby. Surrogacy, as Khloe described, fosters natural feelings of disconnect between mom and baby because she does not carry the baby in her body, feeding him from her own food, feeling him kick and move around, and allowing the baby to hear her own heart beat. 

Even Kim said in the premiere clip, “I do think that there is a difference when the baby is in your belly, the baby actually feels your real heart, think about it. It touches your organs. There’s no one else on this planet that will feel you from the inside like that, like your heart.” 

While Khloe tries to say that surrogacy isn’t a bad thing, everything she describes is negative. 

If more women who have had babies via surrogacy would be as open and authentic about their experience, as Khloe was, it might deter more women from using surrogates in the future. Surrogacy uses women for their reproductive capacity only, treating them as rented objects, or rented wombs, and surrogacy also forces a disconnect between the biological mom and baby, so she feels less connected to him because she did not carry him in her own body.

The Kardashian women are rich and powerful, but often fail to demonstrate values worth imitating. Here, Khloe breaks the mold. Her authenticity just might keep one more woman from experiencing this kind of heartbreaking situation.

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