Five months after the announcement that Kandi Burruss and her husband, Todd Tucker, would be expanding their family via surrogate, baby Blaze is happy, healthy, and giving us all of the baby fever. Kandi---who is the mother of a teenaged daughter, Riley, and 4-year-old Ace, and stepmother to Kaela---has been transparent throughout her surrogacy journey which has been a rollercoaster, to say the least.
The 43-year-old Real Housewives of Atlanta star recently sat down with ESSENCE and shared advice for women who may be considering surrogacy as an option but don't know where to start. According to Kandi, the answer to that question is early. She explained:
"You need to start having those conversations now, because it's not a fast process. The IVF clinic we used requires mental health testing from the surrogate and the parents. [In therapy] they bring up questions you probably didn't even think about."
While Kandi and Todd, who have been married since 2014, chose IVF to conceive their son Ace, the reality star shared that she later learned that surrogacy was an entirely different ball game. Along with grappling with her own fears and insecurities, Kandi and her husband had to come to terms with a number of rules and regulations that could make anyone apprehensive about the process:
"The overall thought process is: It's your baby but their body. Meaning, if [the birth mother] is not feeling well or things are [effecting her health] she can say, 'Terminate the pregnancy.' Although it didn't stop me from wanting to move forward, there are a lot of things you don't know."
After overcoming her initial anxieties about choosing surrogacy, Kandi was then forced to bear the brunt of external opinions. You can't pick apples from a banana tree and you can't expect people who haven't been in your position to understand what you're going through––even if it is your family. She explained:
"I had a family member say something like, 'You're not concerned that you're not going to bond with your baby?' It's like, of course I am concerned. I didn't need you to rub it in. You just have to remember everybody is not privy to how the process works. As you're educating yourself, you might want to educate your whole family and all your friends."
"A lot of people aren't going to be sensitive to your situation, because they don't really know a lot of information about it."
Today, Kandi is proud to say that she has no regrets about her decision and has even gained a friend in the process. On the Tamron Hall Show, she explained:
"Don't get me wrong that some people prefer not to have a relationship with the carrier and that's fine. In the beginning I was feeling this sadness because it was like, 'Oh my God, I'm not carrying my own child.' Once I got through that part of it I just started enjoying it because it was like, 'Okay, we got a healthy baby on the way.'"
For the full interview, click here.
Along with Kandi and Todd, here are three other celebrity parents that chose surrogacy:
Angela Bassett & Courtney B. Vance
Tibrina Hobson/Film Magic
Gabrielle Union & Dwyane Wade
Tyra Banks & Erik Asla
Featured image by Instagram/@kandi.