Gabrielle Union Says Her Surrogate Didn't Initially Know It Was Her and Dwyane Wade
By Jackie Willis
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Gabrielle Union says there was "a sign" that helped her choose a surrogate who would give birth to her and Dwyane Wade's daughter, Kaavia James, six months ago.
In an interview for Shonda Rhimes' Shondaland, the 46-year-old actress is open and honest about her process finding a surrogate after suffering multiple miscarriages and having several failed IVF cycles.
"I'm trying to be as transparent as possible," she begins, "so more women have a better understanding of their bodies and periods and fertility options, and what those options look like."
"A lot of Hollywood people will make an announcement, like, ‘Our baby arrived via gestational carrier,’ but very few are transparent about the whole process," Union continues. "There’s a fertility grassroots underground community: Once you put it out there within your social circle, they’ll find you."
The "Bring It On" star says upon her first introduction with her surrogate, the woman told her that she had been to "four different libraries" to find Union's memoir, We're Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True. "Here's this woman who also frequents her local library," she recalls. "In that first meeting, we talked about the books we love, the stacks of books we want to get through. Little Fires Everywhere, so many more. That, for me, was the sign."
Union says prior to meeting her surrogate, the woman didn't even know she would be interviewed by the famous couple. "[At first], she didn't know that it was us, although I knew all about her. So when we met, she walked in and was like, 'Oh!'"
As for what she and Wade were looking for in a surrogate, she notes, "Race wasn't an issue for me, but for others, if you have a same-race surrogate, there's a fear of someone running off with your baby. People have all kinds of fears and things that they want. Some want [the surrogate to follow a] a specific religion; or to allow TV, or no TV; or they send audio files for the surrogate to play your voice so it can be heard along with the household voices."
She adds, "For us, we wanted: She has her own kids, a husband, she's done this before, she knew what she was doing. There was no need for us to micromanage."
Union -- who just celebrated her first Mother's Day -- also takes a moment to clear up a big misconception about surrogacy, saying that a "gestational carrier [like ours] has no genetic tie to the baby."
"Each journey is different. Kaavia was jaundiced when she was born, and my dad was like, 'Your surrogate must've been light-skinned!' I was like, 'What? Dad, there's no genetic -- she's just jaundiced. She will change color when she's healthy,'' she remembers explaining to her own father.