People head to the bedroom when they get ready for children. Joseph Altuzarra, fashion designer and husband of Seth Weissman was out for dinner with his wife. With another couple.
“Our friends Jordan and Richie had gone through the surrogacy process, and they gave us a list of agencies to consider,”Weissman is referring to Broadway producer Jordan Roth with his husband Richie Jackson. “We talked through the whole thing.”He and Altuzarra had a baby girl in the latter part of 2019.
Lady Gaga’s camp concept is very similar to that of Camp, “Yaasss queen,”Before gay men became mainstream, surrogacy was a practice that gay men began to use. Kim Kardashian, who had complications with her first two pregnancies and was then pregnant again by Kanye West in 2018, and 2019. Since then Gabrielle Union, Cameron Diaz, Ricky Martin, Kristen Wiig, noted honorary Spaniard Hilaria Baldwin, and Real Housewives honcho Andy Cohen have all had babies (twins in Wiig’s and Martin’s cases) via surrogate. A year after Cohen’s son was born, his pal Anderson Cooper welcomed a boy of his own through a surrogate, and in May YouTube executive Derek Blasberg and his partner shared the news of their twins.
Blasberg snapped a photo of the group at Madonna’s New York performance over the summer and captioned it: “Daddies. (No, Really.)”The New York Post may name such prominent late-in life matriarchs like Janet Jackson or Naomi Campbell, who are believed not to have used surrogates. “geriatric moms.”However, none of these famous mommies or daddies are above the ground. In fact, they’re healthy, they’re thriving, and they’re everywhere. It’s okay to accept it.
In his fall 2020 ad campaign, Joseph Altuzarra and Emma, the designer.
Courtesy Joseph Altuzarra
Twenty years ago assisted reproductive technology was still in its infancy. 727 children were conceived by surrogates in 1999 when the Centers for Disease Control started to track them. By 2013, the number had risen to 3,432 and has continued climbing. This may be due to privacy concerns or the stigma around infertility. Social media and greater transparency from parents, particularly public figures, and LGBTQ couples to discuss their journeys, is making this a change.
Union, who was married to Dwyane Wade, opened up about her daughter’s birth in September in her memoir, You Got Anything Stronger?. “If I am telling the fullness of our stories, of our three lives together, I must tell the truths I live with.”Last year, New York, with its high concentration in media figures, was the 47th state to legalize surrogacy paid. This may explain the Instagram boom.
One of the most popular surrogacy agencies is Growing GenerationsThe first restaurant to open in Los Angeles was ‘The Observer’ in 1996. Today it ushers in about 100 births a year; one was Cohen’s son Ben. Teo Martinez, one the four partners, said that celebrities make up a large portion of the practice’s business.
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“Confidentiality is a big thing,”He says. “Some clients will come out and discuss it after the birth, but during the pregnancy they want a high level of confidentiality and a limited number of people on a case.”
Surrogacy is a highly personal service, just like other options for the wealthy. Parents can be as involved or let agencies do the work of a concierge. Growing Generations charges a flat fee, usually $25,000 to $40,000, but its rate for the VIP package is $100,000, for which you get one of the firm’s partners serving as point person for an unlimited amount of handholding. (The package accounts for about 10 percent of the company’s business.)
Like so many things in life, the wealthy pay for convenience and how they use it. Prospective parents will need to pay anywhere from $145,000 to $250,000 for the process. However some employers offer generous fertility/surrogacy benefits, which can reach as high as $100,000. That total includes the surrogate’s fee, the agency’s bill, medical care, related expenses, as well as payments for egg donors, IVF treatments, and all the legal work to establish guardianship of the newborn. Future parents can choose their carrier regardless of their income. All prospective surrogates are available for review and they are able to interview several before making a decision.
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Melissa Brisman is the founder and chief executive officer of Reproductive PossibilitiesNew Jersey’s, caters to high-net worth individuals, including Altuzarra or Weissman. She offers a package which includes private hospital rooms, her personal presence during the birth, as well as security that goes beyond what is expected of discretion.
“This is a very private, intimate part of their lives, and they don’t want it exposed for profit,”She says. “It’s unfortunate that they’re subject to all the normal worries in a surrogacy, plus the annoying problem of reporters writing about their infertility all over Star magazine.”
That’s not the only reason the real names of all parties involved are kept private throughout the pregnancy. “We’re doing it more for the carriers’ protection,”Brisman said. “Celebrities are used to having their privacy invaded. Carriers are not.”
There are two types. The traditional method is where a woman carries one her own fertilized eggs until she gives birth. The more common method of gestational surrogacy is where a woman carries a fertilized egg donated by an egg donor. Ideal carriers are women younger than 38 who have had a child within the past ten years, but not more than five, who are financially secure and who live in a state with legal paid surrogacy. Only 2 percent of candidates are eligible for the role. If they do, first-timers can make between $47,000 and $58,000, Martinez says. They can increase their fee by up to $5,000 or $35,000 for their second attempt.
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Some claim that the pandemic has created a wave in surrogacy but also added new wrinkles. You think traveling abroad is difficult these days? Think about the challenges of giving birth in today’s public health environment. Add to that the intricacies and sensitiveness of navigating this emotionally draining and costly process. Agencies can consult with new parents online and connect them with carriers via Zoom, but as with everything else, politics has entered the conversation: All parents want their carrier vaccinated, and that’s not always the case.
Altuzarra was Weissman’s partner, and Brisman was able to find them a surrogate. He gave them Emma, a beautiful, two-year-old girl who has already made her feel at home. fashion debut, appearing in one of the designer’s advertising campaigns alongside other important women in his life: his mother Karen and his grandmother Jeannette. Altuzarra and Weissman are in many ways the opposite of the carrier, but the arrangement worked perfectly.
“They couldn’t have been more loving, and it is an incredible gift,” Weissman says. “We’ve had them to our homes in New York City and Long Island a couple of times.” Everyone remains in touch, and now that they’ve all learned about the modern birds and bees, they’re paying it forward. Just as Weissman and Altuzarra once benefited from the wisdom of others, they’re happy to spread the gospel, even if it’s one planning dinner at a time.
This story appears on the November 2021 issue Town & Country. SUBSCRIBE NOW
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