Banks said she was unable to carry her sons due to infertility issues, which she calls her “broken belly,” so she and her husband, Max Handelman, opted to use a surrogate. While she is thrilled to be a mother, Banks said not everyone understands her particular path to motherhood.
“I definitely think I’m still judged for what I’ve done and that people don’t understand my choices, but I don’t feel I owe anybody any explanation,” she told the magazine.
As women become more open about their reproductive choices, the Charlie’s Angels director is opening up, too. “[W]omen’s reproductive issues were things you would whisper about in small circles,” she said, but now, “there’s #ShoutYourAbortion and IVF Facebook groups.” Banks is adding her own story to the ongoing, evolving conversation. “If my story helps people feel less alone on their journey, then I’m grateful for that,” she said.
Celebrities have become more open about their use of surrogates. Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West worked with a surrogate for two of their four children. Kardashian West opened up about the experience to ET, explaining that surrogacy is much harder than people may realize. "Anyone that says or thinks it is just the easy way out is just completely wrong. I think it is so much harder to go through it this way because you are not really in control," Kardashian West said in November 2017. “It’s definitely a harder experience than I anticipated.”
Actor Gabrielle Union also opened up about her decision to use a surrogate to help her and her husband, Dwayne Wade, have a child after she was diagnosed with adenomyosis, which made it difficult if not impossible to carry a pregnancy to term. After multiple miscarriages and years of failed IVF treatments after working with a surrogate, Union and Wade welcomed their daughter, Kaavia James Union Wade, on November 7, 2018, via a surrogate..
To help others, Union has shared her own journey to motherhood in the hopes of demystifying the surrogacy process. “I’m trying to be as transparent as possible,” Union told Shondaland in an interview, “so more women have a better understanding of their bodies and periods and fertility options, and what those options look like.”
Despite feeling judged, Banks is clearly happy with the choices she has made in her life. In November 2013, she wrote about the birth of her second son, saying: “This experience has exceeded all expectations, taught us a great deal about generosity and gratitude, and established a relationship that will last a lifetime.”