Gabrielle Union has been open about the obstacles she has had to overcome along her journey toward motherhood.
After suffering multiple miscarriages, the actress and her retired NBA star hubby, Dwayne Wade, settled on using a surrogate, eventually welcoming daughter Kaavia James in November.
In an interview for Shondaland, Union dished about her struggles to conceive, failed IVF cycles and how her surrogate had no idea she was carrying a baby for the famous couple.
“A lot of Hollywood people will make an announcement, like, ‘Our baby arrived via gestational carrier,’ but very few are transparent about the whole process,” says the actress, 46. “There’s a fertility grassroots underground community: Once you put it out there within your social circle, they’ll find you.”
“That’s how you get your information: doctors, acupuncturists, different therapies,” she continues. “Once this group of people takes you into their arms, you’re like, ‘Oh, okay! There’s so many of you!’ “
Once Union and Wade settled on the perfect surrogate for their baby, the day came when they met her, PEOPLE reports.
“[At first], she didn’t know that it was us, although I knew all about her,” says Union. “So when we met, she walked in and was like, ‘Oh!’ I didn’t know what that meant, and she was like, ‘I have your book on hold at four different libraries.’ I said, ‘I think I can get you a copy!’
She adds, “I’d been doing a lot of library appearances with the book, and I love librarians, and here’s this woman who also frequents her local library,” she recalls. “In that first meeting, we talked about the books we love, the stacks of books we want to get through. Little Fires Everywhere, so many more. That, for me, was the sign.”
Union admits that race wasn’t an issue in selecting who would carry her first child.
“For others, if you have a same-race surrogate, there’s a fear of someone running off with your baby,” she explains. “People have all kinds of fears and things that they want. Some want [the surrogate to follow] a specific religion; or to allow TV, or no TV; or they send audio files for the surrogate to play your voice so it can be heard along with the household voices.”
“For us, we wanted: She has her own kids, a husband, she’s done this before, she knew what she was doing,” Union says. “There was no need for us to micromanage.”