Just one day after appearing at the Golden Globes and interviewed on the red carpet, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman revealed yesterday they’re the parents of a new baby daughter.  Funny, Kidman didn’t look pregnant at the Golden Globes.  The baby was born December 28th.  Huh?  They are the biological parents, but another woman carried the baby to term.  Most people know the process as a surrogate mother.  It’s called a gestational carrier – legal in some states….illegal in others.  It’s emotional, legally complex and in states where it’s legal it works like an adoption.

Keith and Nicole have a two-year old daughter that Nicole gave birth to, but the surrogate process is used when a couple can’t conceive or there’s a problem with a woman’s ability to carry a baby.

And the process isn’t cheap.  In addition to the medical expenses, the parents have to pay all the legal expenses and take care of the surrogate mother’s expenses too. 

Typically the biological parents undergo in vitro fertilization to produce an embryo.  If that can’t be done – donated sperm, eggs or an embryo itself is used. The surrogate mother then carries the baby to term.

What happens if the surrogate mother doesn’t want to give up the baby?

The famous case of Baby M went to the courts in 1985 when exactly that happened.  The New Jersey court ruled contracts for surrogate motherhood were illegal, but in the best interests of the baby awarded custody to the biological father.

In most states where the process is legal – the names of the biological parents or the intended parents are placed on the birth certificate at inception.

It is not legal in New York State.

SOURCES:   Human Rights Campaign, babycenter.com