Giuliana Rancic expecting, joins celeb surrogate trend

Giuliana Rancic, the E! News host, says she and husband, Bill Rancic, are expecting their first child, via gestational surrogate, this summer.

Bill and Giuliana Rancic and Bill Rancic are expecting their first child via a gestational surrogate.

Giuliana Rancic, the host of E! News, and her businessman husband Bill Rancic,  announced yesterday that they are having a baby. And the internet is going crazy.

See, Ms. Rancic’s isn’t just another celebrity pregnancy.  In fact, Giuliana isn’t really, technically, traditionally, pregnant at all. 

After years of struggling to conceive – the emotions around which they shared on their Style Network reality series “Giuliana & Bill" (strange world, no?) – the couple said yesterday that a gestational surrogate would be giving birth to their child this summer.

“We are so thrilled that our prayers have been answered,” they wrote in a statement. “We are absolutely ecstatic to be sharing this with everyone who has been following our journey.”

Surrogacy – where another woman carries a couple’s child, either with her own or an implanted embryo – is one of the more controversial methods of infertility treatment in the US. And if you go by celebrity news, it seems to be increasingly common:

Over the past couple of years, Nicole Kidman and husband Keith Urban had a baby daughter via surrogate (January); Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick had twins (June 2009); and Elton John and partner David Furnish had a baby boy (Christmas Day).

The statistics for gestational surrogacy in the US show a wider increase, as well. The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology and the Centers for Disease Control report the number of infants born to gestational surrogates increased to 1,400 in 2008 from 738 in 2004.  (Some groups involved in surrogacy – both pro and con – say they believe these numbers are low.)

Gestational surrogacy makes up a small percentage of the babies born from other types of intense fertility treatment. According to the CDC, which reviewed data from 441 fertility clinics nationwide, 60,190 infants were born after Assisted Reproductive Technology, the term that describes all treatments that involve handling women’s eggs or embryos, including in vitro fertilization. But it has received some of the most intense criticism.

Some critics have speculated that surrogacy would become the new vanity C-section for the Hollywood set, with women who don’t want to go through the “inconvenience” of pregnancy and childbirth simply outsourcing those duties to another, usually lower income, woman. Others worry about the ethical implications for the surrogate; still others wonder about the religious implications of the scientific management of childbirth.

But for parents such as the Rancics, who did not conceive after in vitro fertilization, surrogacy means one thing: joy.

Ms. Rancic called their gestational carrier “a dream come true.”

“To finally get that call from the doctor that you’re pregnant and you’re having a baby.... It was just another world,” she said.

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