Celebrity Surrogate Explains Why 'Women Who Carry Babies For Others Are Heroes' — 'I'm Worried That Surrogacy Is Being Taken Too Lightly'

Surrogacy is undeniably complex, yet talking openly about the process humanizes and celebrates everyone involved.

pregnant person standing over a crib Freestocksorg / Pexels

Having a baby is an incredibly emotional journey, one replete with concurrent joy and worry. There are so many ways to create a family, whether through adoption, IVF, or surrogacy, all routes towards parenthood are equally valid.

The process of surrogacy is complex and often stigmatized, both for intended parents and gestational carriers. After her three experiences as a surrogate, Shanna St. Clair knows just how fraught it can be.


As a ‘celebrity surrogate,’ Shanna St. Clair explained why ‘women who carry babies for others are heroes.’

Gestational surrogacy is a process in which a person "carries and gives birth to a baby for another person or couple." The gestational surrogate is impregnated through IVF, and has no genetic relation to the baby they carry. Surrogacy is legal in the US, although it’s not federally regulated, meaning that laws vary state by state. 

St. Clair’s personal journey as a mother is what inspired her to become a surrogate. She and her husband had three children together; as someone whose first-born daughter was stillborn at 26 weeks, she intimately understood the pain and grief of losing a baby and the yearning to be a parent.


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She felt deep empathy for women with infertility, along with the desire to support people struggling to become parents. After discussing it with her family, she contacted a surrogacy agency and started the process to become a gestational carrier.

“I looked at surrogacy as a gift I could give another woman,” St. Clair stated, explaining that her decision had nothing to do with her family’s financial situation. She detailed the comprehensive steps she took to become a surrogate, saying, “I had to undergo a psychological evaluation. I had to be cleared not only by my GP but by my gynecologist. I had to have an ultrasound, blood tests — it was a lot.”


She recognized the inherent nuances of the relationship formed between a surrogate and the intended parent, saying, “You have two women, who may have never previously known each other and probably come from completely different social and financial backgrounds, joining together in this incredibly intimate process to create a baby.”

Her first experience as a surrogate was rooted in the “instant connection” St. Clair had with the intended mother, who couldn’t carry a baby due to a medical condition. The woman was from a “well-known and wealthy family.”

Despite the differences in their backgrounds, St. Clair and the couple had a strong bond. “They were both kind and grateful and made an effort to get to know me and my husband and my children,” she said.

It took seven attempts over the course of three years for St. Clair to carry a pregnancy to term, which “did take a physical and mental toll... I was very emotionally invested in it.”


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shanna st clair explains why surrogates are heroesPhoto: MART Production / Pexels 

The couple were in the delivery room when St. Clair gave birth to their son, and the families are still in touch. “It was a happy experience for all of us,” St. Clair said.

That joy and fulfillment resonated deeply for both women, which led to the new mom to connect St. Clair with a woman she knew who was seeking a surrogate. The woman, “Catherine,” was a celebrity in her early 40s. She wanted to be a single mother and had gone through years of failed pregnancies with past surrogates. 


Within a month of their initial conversation, St. Clair and Catherine signed a contract for three attempts at pregnancy. Yet the dehumanizing way Catherine treated St. Clair during the process made it clear that she viewed St. Clair solely as a means to an end.

“I naively expected us to have this instant bond over having a child together and it wasn't there,” St. Clair said. 

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St. Clair’s difficult experience as a ‘celebrity surrogate’ made her ‘worried that surrogacy is being taken too lightly.’

She described how Catherine left the clinic before St. Clair had the first embryo transfer, without thanking her first. She initially gave Catherine grace, saying, “She already had failed pregnancies and I thought maybe she was trying to protect herself from further disappointment.” 


Both the initial transfer and the following transfer failed, yet when St. Clair reached out to console Catherine, “She was nonchalant — and I was mystified by that.” The third transfer was successful, but St. Clair reported that Catherine “didn’t seem particularly excited.”

St. Clair was in the early stages of pregnancy when Catherine called to tell her that another surrogate had just given birth to her son, and she wanted St. Clair to know before it was announced in the news.



“When I remarked that she'd never told me she had another surrogate, she said words to the effect that she had been under no obligation to tell me,” St. Clair reported.


In weeks that followed, her hormone levels dropped and it seemed like the pregnancy wouldn’t go to term. She shared the information with Catherine, and asked about her new baby and what to do about her remaining bills. 

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Catherine texted back, stating, “Our relationship has ended. I am appalled at your coldness over the birth of my child. Forward your bills.” Two weeks later, St. Clair had a miscarriage.

Months had passed when she saw Catherine on television, publicly insulting surrogates. The comment made St. Clair burst into tears. 


Her negative experience as a celebrity surrogate led St. Clair to question certain people's motives behind hiring a surrogate.

She acknowledged the reality of people with medical conditions who can’t carry pregnancies, yet she also believes surrogates are often seen as disposable commodities.

shanna st clair explains why surrogates are heroesPhoto: Pavel Danilyuk / Pexels

“I'm worried that surrogacy is being taken too lightly,” she stated. “You can order your designer clothes and shoes and your designer baby... I think when you have money and privilege, there's a danger of people thinking, ‘I can get someone to grow a baby for me.’”


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St. Clair was a surrogate a third and final time, giving birth to twins for a couple she met at a fertility conference. She described it as “another beautiful experience,” one that offered her a sense of healing.

“I think women who carry babies for others are heroes and it's a wonderful thing to do, as long as both sides know exactly what they're getting into,” she concluded. 

St. Clair expressed her hope for people to be more open and vocal about having babies via surrogate. She explained, “I feel sad for women who grow these wonderful lives for nine months, passing it to someone else, and that the trials they went through are not acknowledged.”


There are multiple paths to parenthood and all of them should be valued. St. Clair’s experience as a surrogate offers an interesting and highly nuanced perspective on what makes a family into a family.

There’s validity in her belief that surrogacy should be openly acknowledged. To do so would destigmatize the process for everyone involved. It would uplift those who carry pregnancies alongside parents, announcing to the world that love and community are what create a family. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers family issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.