On last week's episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Kris Jenner and Kim Kardashian discuss the possibility of surrogacy, with Kris offering to carry Kim's third child. We had a lot of questions. Mainly, is that even feasible? Or safe (for the surrogate and baby)? So we did what any KUWTK enthusiast with a journalism degree would do — we called an expert.
Dr. Rebecca Booth, OBGYN, gave us some insight into the world of "advanced maternal age surrogates," and her intel genuinely shocked us. Dr. Booth, who does not treat Kris Jenner or Kim Kardashian, has never cared for such a patient in her 28 years of practice, but is very familiar with the concept. She says an advanced maternal age surrogate mostly has the same concerns as any other patient.
"Historically, the biggest block to this phenomenon is fertility, the biologic clock. So once that's been assisted, beyond the limitations of a women's natural fertility curve, then the basic concerns evolve around the physiology of the patient, which is actually true of any obstetrical patient," Dr. Booth said. "What is her overall health and how will that be compromised, or in some ways, enhanced by the pregnancy. And I think the latter is what gets very little attention. So it's very easy to talk about the compromises because the most obvious, I think."
One's health can be enhanced by pregnancy, you say? We were curious as to the possible benefits for an advanced maternal age surrogate, of which, according to Dr. Booth, there are several.
"For example, the hormones of pregnancy where we often think first of risk, there are also great benefits to bone density and to connective tissue and elasticity in the joints and even some stimulation for muscular tissue from the testosterone and estrogen that comes associated with the early hormones that will theoretically be given to her and then later from the placenta," Dr. Booth said. "So these soft tissue benefits even go further into other positive aspects of hormonal vitality such as increasing the collagen and lubrication in her skin, all over her body and her vaginal tissue certainly, as well as encouraging scalp hair and nail growth. And these are the sorts of things that we take for granted as being from the prenatal vitamins when they’re actually from the hormones of pregnancy."
Somehow we can picture benefits such as increased collagen being especially attractive to Kris. Bear in mind, however, that most of these benefits will regress following childbirth, with the exception of bone density, which is a longer-lasting effect. Aside from the biological impact, there are also social aspects beneficial to the surrogate, such as the ability to help one's daughter grow her family, especially since there would ostensibly be a more intimate bond between keeping it in the family as opposed to enlisting a random surrogate's help.
All-in-all, it's completely possible for an advanced maternal surrogate to carry a baby to term successfully — and it poses "very little" risk to the baby, per Dr. Booth. As of now, much of the research devoted to advanced maternal age births are skewed to reflect studies concerning women who used their own egg. When a younger egg is used in a surrogate situation though, those risks are all but nullified.
Looks like Kris really could carry Kim's third child, but we know from last week's episode that Kourtney has dibs. With this family, though, who knows what will end up happening? It looks like we'll all just have to stay tuned and keep up.
(Photos: Timothy White/E!)
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