Back in November, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade announced they welcomed their daughter, Kaavia James Union Wade, into the world via surrogate.
The couple opened up about their experience using a surrogate in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network on Dec. 8.
“I could not let go of this idea of creating this life within me,” Union said, explaining that despite having had multiple miscarriages and being diagnosed with adenomyosis, it was hard for her to let go of wanting to get pregnant herself.
“Did I fail in some kind of way?” Union said she thought. “Am I defective in some kind of way? Am I less than in some kind of way?”
Wade said it was upsetting to watch Union go through such a difficult process trying to get pregnant, and that after all of her miscarriages he was worried “it was getting dangerous.”
“I want this for us and I want this for her, but I’m watching her do things to her body, to herself, that’s getting to the point where it’s not healthy,” he said. “And I always told her, ‘I want this baby just as much as you do, but I married you and you are the most important thing to me.’”
Union and Wade then pursued in vitro fertilization, or IVF, and a gestational surrogate. With IVF, a woman's egg is fertilized with sperm and placed in the woman's uterus. When the fertilized egg is placed in the uterus of another woman, it’s known as a gestational surrogate.
Wade brought up some negative comments people made when he and Union posted a photo with their newborn daughter where the couple is sitting in a hospital bed and Union is wearing a hospital gown.
“I think for me the most hurtful thing was once we had our baby and everybody started talking about ‘Why is she in the bed holding the baby? Why she got a gown on? Why she acting like she just had a baby?’” he said.
“And once again, people are uneducated on the process and why we decided to go skin to skin as soon as our baby came out.”
“Our surrogate went into recovery, and we were able to go immediately into another hospital room,” Union said.
“I had one of my New York & Company sweaters on, but skin-to-skin was kind of hard and because the doctors kept coming in … it was easier to have skin to skin in a hospital gown.”
Union and Wade said they’ve had to explain the surrogacy process to lots of people, including family members, and want to use their platform to debunk misconceptions people might have.
"So many people are suffering in silence,” Union said. “And every time, when we're candid and transparent about our journeys, no matter what those journeys are, you are allowing people to be seen and heard and empowered in ways that they've never been.”
This post has been updated to clarify that Union and Wade used both IVF and a gestational surrogate.