Children are our future. Even in today’s dynamic world, many families are opting for more kids. Nurseries, scans, baby showers, and birth plans - there are so many sweet moments to look forward to and enjoy. Who wants more kids, though: men or women?
Although some people believe that women want children only to trap their partners, many forget that it’s the woman who has to endure more than the man. Biologically, pregnancy and birth come with multiple challenges. Mortality rates, including in the US, are shocking. So, it’s not a secret that even women who want to be mothers dread birth. This is normal - childbirth is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences ever. However, there’s emotional and social pressure on women – they must combine family life and career, which is hard and may lead to depression and self-neglect. Nevertheless, some men who forget that force their partners to become baby makers.
On the other hand, there are women who enjoy being pregnant and would happily rent out their bodies for nine months. Although surrogacy is illegal in many parts of the world, surrogate mothers can help many families bring their dreams into reality. We can see more and more celebs having children via surrogates.
Last but not least, medical advancements can help women become baby makers: multiple births are associated with IVF, there are womb transplants, and even designer babies.
But are women destined to be baby makers? Is the Handmaid’s Tale our future?
15 The Easy Way Out
Talking about big families, we can’t escape from the Kardashians. Will Kim's family expand more? According to Daily Mail, a source revealed that Kanye "would want a family of five or six if it was up to him... After having Saint, Kim was told she couldn't carry another baby - that it would be too dangerous. And she was okay with that... Kim was never going to let herself get pregnant again. It's just too dangerous for her. Kanye was initially the one pushing for baby number three."
Unfortunately, medical complications are dangerous, and celebs are not immune either. So, Kim had to have her third child via surrogate. Was it easy? In an interview with Entertainment Tonight,
Kim said, "You know, it is really different. Anyone that says or thinks it is just the easy way out is just completely wrong. I think it is so much harder to go through it this way, because you are not really in control.
I hated being pregnant and I never thought I'd ever get pregnant again... I thought this was going to be so easy, but you know, even in how much I hated it, if I could do it myself I would have preferred that. So, that inner struggle is kind of hard, but I am just rolling with it and it is what it is."
In the end, surrogacy affects the whole family!
14 Trapped In The Marriage
People believe that women have kids only to trap their partners. However, nobody talks about men who impregnate their women in order to control them. Sadly, this is a form of abuse nobody talks about. It’s called reproductive coercion, and 75% of women have experienced this type of domestic violence.
Thankfully, there are organizations that provide shelter. Expert Elizabeth Miller says, "Nationally, there is a profoundly high number of women reporting this type of abuse, across every age group and income level. I've heard everything, from men who have pulled out their partner's vaginal hormone rings to someone ripping out an IUD. Or he'll prevent her from getting birth control in the first place by cutting off her access to transportation or money — she's due for her Depo-Provera shot and he won't let her get there."
One of the many victims, which will call Sara, told Redbookmag, "I wasn't into getting pregnant right then. I wanted to start a family, just not after major surgery — I was in a ton of pain. But I went along with it to make him happy. He kept saying, 'I've got to get a baby in there.' It hurt that all I was good for was getting pregnant. All he wanted from me was to have his babies."
Hopefully, people will start talking about this form of control.
13 106 Babies; 1 Dad
When we talk about baby makers, we should mention that there are men who literally devote their time... to make babies. Ed Houben is a sperm donor who has more than 106 children.
Just like women who want to help other families, there are many men who are willing to donate their sperm. There’s nothing weird about that, right?
However, Ed has a different method. After donating sperm in cups and rooms for years, he changed his services. Ed and some women who were hoping to get pregnant simply decided to cut the middlemen... and get intimate.
According to GQ, Ed was feeling insecure about his appearance but wanted to help men and women struggling to get pregnant. However, he realized that sterile rooms do not appreciate the miracle of love and decided to have a more personal approach: he started advertising and meeting his clients.
In fact, now, Ed is known as the baby maker and many women have sex with him. The first time he made love to a client was a bit confusing, though. He stayed with the family, and as the husband explained, "She's an artist, and she feels very connected to nature. Basically she can't imagine a happy child will be created from a 12-cent syringe. She asked me to ask you, because she's too shy, if you would consider creating this child the natural way."
In the end, love is a miracle, and babies conceived in love are divine.
12 Things Happen
Forcing a woman to get pregnant is a form of abuse. However, there are also children who are forced to get married and get pregnant. Child marriages are a huge problem in many parts of the world, and a severe form of violence. Often kids under ten are forced to marry men over 60 and give birth before puberty.
One of the many victims is Leyla from Iran who was destined to become a baby maker. According to Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, she recalls her first night, "I didn't know what I was doing. I remember well, my hands were shaking. I wanted to tell Ali that the game was over. Let's go to sleep and tomorrow I would go back to my mother's house and help her with sewing." Leyla had her first intercourse at 10 and the doctor she met the next day said, "These things happen. She said it was hard at first but that I would get well later. I shouldn't worry if I bleed again after sleeping with my husband."
Unfortunately, according to data, child marriages do happen a lot. According to UNICEF, more than 17% of Iranian girls are forced to marry under 18, especially in rural areas where girls have no access to education or legal rights.
11 27 Kids - A Record
Families like the Duggars keep surprising us. However, there are some record-breaking mothers out there whose life is more than shocking. According to the Guinness World Records, the greatest number of children to one mother is 69. Mrs. Vassilyev was the wife of Feodor Vassilyev who lived in Russia in the 18th century. She gave birth 27 times: 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets and four sets of quadruplets. According to records, she gave birth to 69 children between 1725 and 1765.
It's believed that Mr. Vassilyev had a second wife who gave birth to 18 children, 6 pairs of twins and 2 sets of triplets.
Of course, some people are suspicious about these numbers, but it’s a fact that centuries ago the fertility rate – or the average number of children per woman – was high. This makes us wonder how women managed to cope physically and mentally with pregnancy and birth. Considering the lack of medical help or epidurals, things get even more terrifying. Also, it shows that women didn’t have the time to recover. And what about the emotional and financial demands that come with children?
Were women designed to give birth and become baby makers?
10 Handpicked By The King
We all love Michael Jackson. However, his life was marked by controversial acts. After he had Prince Michael I and Paris - with his ex-wife Debbie Rowe, the King wanted another baby.
According to Contact Music, an insider revealed,
"Michael wanted a designer baby. He had two wonderful children but wanted one more and was quite specific on the gene pool he wanted to tap into.
He chose Helena because she had a Latino background but she was also a US citizen and had quite fair skin. He liked her because she was very attractive and seemed stable and intelligent. She was a nurse or medical assistant, which he also liked."
This is weird, though. In the end, surrogates get egg donors, which means that Blanket didn't receive any of Helena’s traits.
9 Can You Count?
Talking about baby makers, we can’t escape from reality TV. Michelle Duggar is one of the public figures that are famous for having many children. While the thought of having 19 children is scary for many people, it seems that Michelle is still eager to expand her family.
She’s had 13 natural births and four c-sections, which must be a huge demand on the body. However, as Mrs. Duggar told Radar Online, experience helps. She also said that "Good nutrition plays a big part in that. Also, we've gone through Bradley childbirth classes and have regular OB checkups throughout pregnancy."
Still, pregnancy comes with many risks. In fact, Michelle knows that having more kids might be impossible or result in miscarriage, especially at the age of 47. According to Daily Mail, she says, "I am in that season of life where if we're not able to have any more, then I'm fine, I'm happy with that."
It’s weird, though - when Michelle got married she didn’t want children straight away and focused on her career. It was four years later when she got her first child. After that, Michelle went back on the pill but somehow conceived and had a miscarriage. After talking to a Christian doctor, the Duggars realized that life is the only thing that matters. And here we go, 19 children, and counting: Joshua, twins Jana & John-David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, twins Jedidiah & Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn-Grace and Josie.
Family joy from above!
8 Infamous Octomom
Compared to some records, being pregnant and giving birth six times is not much. Nadya or Natalie Suleman conceived via IVF and gave birth five times: to Elijah, 16, Amerah, 15, Joshua, 13, Aiden, 11, and 10-year-old twins Calyssa and Caleb. The sixth time she got pregnant, though, was the most curious case ever. She gave birth to octuplets, Makai, Josiah, Isaiah, Jonah, Maliyah, Jeremiah, Nariyah and Noah, the only surviving set in the world. Thus, Suleman became known as the Octomom.
However, being a baby maker is not easy: kids need financial support to survive, and in fact, Suleman was accused of not being able to provide for her family.
As she told Daily Mail, "Every day I would wake up with the ugliest, dead, visceral feeling inside of me." So, she got involved in adult films to pay the bills and started earning money in a dance club.
Now, she is trying to improve her life, and although she thinks she was "very foolish, immature and selfish" back then, she can’t "imagine my life at this point in time any different than it is."
In the end, 14 children are her blessing.
Note that Suleman is not the only one: multiple births are possible and twins are not rare - simply because many eggs are fertilized during the treatment and implanted back in the uterus.
Being a baby maker is not easy. How many would you have?
7 Using Her Mother's Womb
While some mothers are able to have many children, there are women who cannot have any kids. We are not talking about infertility issues but rare medical complications. Emelie Eriksson from Sweden couldn’t have a child... because she didn’t have a womb. However, something that seems impossible became true. She gave birth to a boy... and the most curious thing is that she and her son were born from the same womb. Emilie received a uterus from her mother. She told Daily Mail, "It's like science fiction. This is something that you read in history books and now in the future when you read about this, it's about me. I hope this will be a reality for everyone that needs it." The operation was performed by Dr. Mats Brannstrom who has delivered five babies so far via donated wombs.
It was her mother who suggested that, "But then I said to Emelie, 'I'm so old, I don't need my womb and I don't want any more children. This is your only chance to have a child and you should take it'."
This shows that mothers are willing to do anything for their children - because love can overcome obstacles and bring dreams into reality.
6 Giving Back
Although some people say that pregnancy and birth are completely natural processes - which they are - they are also personal and unique experiences. Therefore, carrying someone else’s baby, going through all the physical and hormonal changes, and experiencing birth pain only to see other people happy is an altruistic gesture.
Rayven Perkins from Austin, Texas, who’s a mother of a girl and a boy, has been a surrogate mother a few times in her life. For her, being a baby maker is a way to give love to the world and bring happiness to families who cannot have children. As she says, according to Babble, "We’re not rich people … but it’s one way our family can give back in a really big way.
I have been a surrogate mother three times (twins in February 2007 and a little boy in June 2008), and I’m about to give birth this month to my fourth surrogate baby.
The best part is knowing you did this for the right reasons when you deliver the baby and the parents finally see him or her. But there are a lot of sacrifices a surrogate makes."
Yet, for her surrogacy is like a long babysitting project and she has no regrets at all. Quite the opposite – she is willing to give the world more babies.
Children are our future, right?
5 The Hardest Part
Surrogacy is a controversial topic and there are many reasons a woman may carry someone else’s baby. However, creating a new life comes with lots of emotional and hormonal changes. There’s no way a woman can keep an emotional distance from the first kicks and scans.
For surrogate mother Robin Kaufer from Seattle, Washington, who’s a mother of two, "The hardest part was when they took the baby from me." As she told Babble, "I was a gestational carrier for a friend whose child is now three. I had gone through fertility treatments on my own as a single mom. At 40, I turned to in vitro to have my kids. [A friend and I were talking] and she said her sister couldn’t carry a pregnancy, and I said I’d do it. It took me four tries, and I was surprised they wanted to try the fourth time. Losing three pregnancies was hard on me. But the toughest part was when they took the baby from me."
Still, Robin reveals that her own past and struggles have motivated her to help other people dealing with infertility. She says she’d do it again if her age allowed her. In the end, families come in lots of shapes.
4 The Burden Of Not Being Able To Get Pregnant
Some people ignore the emotional and physical burden on surrogates, saying surrogates are baby makers who do it only for the money. But in the end, surrogate mothers are angels who help families.
For Kymberli Barney from Hinesville, Georgia, a mother of twins, 10, a boy, 8, and a daughter, 4, "The hardest part was shouldering the burden of infertility." She told Babble, "My husband and I initially had trouble conceiving. Once the problem was figured out I got pregnant easily – and surrogacy was a way of paying it forward because as far as infertility we got off easy.
Even as a child, I was fascinated by childbirth and thought about being an obstetrician. I always wanted to be pregnant, and it hurt when it didn’t come easily for me."
"When I delivered the baby by surrogate [in 2007], that was magical… Since then I have been actively involved and matched four times, but it never worked out again. We’ve had several cycles with both couples that resulted in miscarriages due to poor egg quality. By last August I was physically and mentally exhausted, so I decided to retire... The hardest part for me was shouldering a lot of the burden of infertility for the sake of the parent," she continued.
Surrogate mothers do help people.
3 It’s Also About The...
It’s not only about infertility. There are gay couples for whom surrogacy is the only way to have children.
As Kelly Rummelhart, a mother of two boys and one girl, says, "Some people do it for the money…but for me it’s also about the activism… I remember in high school I had a friend that was gay and I wondered how he would have a baby. At the same time, a straight couple on Days of Our Lives had a baby by surrogate. I thought that was amazing, and I wanted to do that for someone.
Then once I had my own kids, I thought how happy I was having my kids and couldn’t imagine what it would be like for someone who couldn’t have babies."
She also added: "I knew I wanted to work with a gay couple and [I found] Growing Generations… I think it’s ridiculous that gay men can’t get married and in some states can’t adopt. I don’t have a million dollars to donate to these causes, but I do have a working uterus. I’ve delivered two sets of twins for two gay couples."
So, surrogacy is also a great way to support causes one cares about.
2 Give & Receive
Some people are surrogates for strangers, other women for gay couples, and some mothers... for their own family.
Natasha Skinner, a mother of one son and four daughters, told Babble, "Giving something is as important as receiving something. I was a surrogate for my sister-in-law, my husband’s brother’s wife. She has cystic fibrosis so she could not carry a child, but they could genetically create a healthy baby with her egg and his sperm. It was important for my husband that we had family support, especially if I wasn’t feeling well. We already had five kids, so if that meant making a meal or driving a kid somewhere, other family members stepped in. My mother-in-law helped tremendously. And my sister-in-law’s family helped, mostly by providing meals or by watching the kids when I went to the grocery store to get food."
However, becoming a surrogate mother is not easy. As Natasha says, the daily shots are painful. Nevertheless, it’s not a secret that family support is crucial. For Natasha, the fact that she can see her nephew, the child she gave birth to, is also essential. For sure, surrogacy brought this family together and made the emotional bond miraculous.
The more the merrier, right?
1 The Most Wanted
Surrogacy is a controversial topic and many disapprove of it. But surrogate mothers can help people. As Beth Goodman told Glamour, "If I can give my kidney to someone who needs it, why not give a baby to someone who can't have one?"
In fact, 1,000 surrogates give birth in America and many are military wives, which is up to 19% of all surrogates. According to Glamour, Karen Synesiou, director of the Center for Surrogate Parenting in LA, says, "Military wives make very good surrogates. They're independent and self-sufficient since their husbands are away from home a lot." Many chat on a daily basis with the couple whose children they’re carrying, and many take the situation seriously and passionately.
At the same time, it’s a commercial relationship.
As Beth, a mother of two says, it’s not only about the desire to help other couples, but it’s a financial decision. Her husband was not earning enough as part of the US military in Florida, so surrogacy was the only way she who could help her family and send her kids to college. It’s the same for many military wives whose husbands are away.
It’s a two-way street. However, many people dislike surrogacy and the money involved.
References: Babble, ContactMusic, Daily Mail (Duggar), Daily Mail (Emelie Eriksson), Daily Mail (Octomom), Daily Mail (Kardashian), Elite Daily, Glamour, GQ, Guinness World Records, RedBookMag, and Rferl.org.