The latest member of the rapidly expanding Kardashian clan was born on January 15 to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. The excited parents revealed her name, Chicago West, shortly after her birth and were met by ridicule from all corners of the internet for their unique choice. Yes, Chicago is an unorthodox name, but not altogether surprising given her siblings monikers, North and Saint. The internet loves to hate the Kardashians, but what was lost in the midst of Chicago’s entrance into the world, was how she arrived and Kim’s transparency about her conception.
Even from the first whispers of the third Kardashian-West baby it was known that Kim wouldn’t be carrying her own child. Instead she would be relying on a gestational carrier to bring little Chicago into existence. Kim suffered from preeclampsia and placenta accrete, two high-risk conditions, during her pregnancies with North and Saint. She underwent surgery to try and mend some of the damage from those two pregnancies, but was advised by doctors that another pregnancy would be dangerous for her health.
In light of her conditions, Kardashian was determined to add to her family. Writing on her blog after Chicago’s birth she explained, “After exploring many options, Kanye and I decided to use a gestational carrier. Although I have used the term surrogate in the past, a gestational carrier is actually the technical term for a woman who carries a baby that she has no biological relationship to. A traditional surrogate donates her egg, is artificially inseminated with the father’s sperm and then carries the baby to term. Since we implanted my fertilized egg in our gestational carrier, our baby is biologically mine and Kanye’s.”
Though she never released the identity of her gestational carrier, Kardashian never shied away from talking about the struggles she faced during her two pregnancies and of her experience with her surrogate. Part of this transparency has to do with the fact that she is filmed non-stop for “Keeping Up with Kardashians”, but Kim deserves some credit for shining a light on alternate ways to grow a family.
According to a 2016 article by TheJournal.ie, one in six couples in Ireland are struggling with fertility issues. While surrogacy isn’t an option for many couples due to the steep price tag and non-existent legal framework, Kardashian’s story could help to normalize the struggles a large percent or prospective parents are experiencing.
Aside from couples who are currently trying to have a baby, Kardashians’ alternate family path could inspire young women looking to have a family sometime down the line. A 2017 article by The Irish Independent states that 65pc of Irish first time mothers are giving birth in their 30s, a five-year age increase compared to the past 20 years. Women are becoming more focused on their education and careers in their 20s, saving child rearing for their less fertile 30s. Women should be able to feel confident in their decision to be career oriented, while still wanting to eventually raise a family.
So, while not every kid has a name has flashy as Chicago West, not everyone has the platform Kim Kardashian has to candidly share reproductive struggles, and the eventual happiness found down an alternate path. Hopefully Kardashian’s story serves as inspiration to women and couples looking to start a family at any stage, no matter what their struggles.
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