Dec. 27, 2011 — -- intro: He's pushing 70, but he's a new dad again. Robert De Niro, 68, and his wife Grace Hightower De Niro, 56, welcomed a baby girl late last week thanks to a crutch many older and same-sex couples are counting on to expand their families: a surrogate.
Helen Grace is the couple's second child. They're parents to son Elliot, 13, and De Niro has four additional children with his ex-wife and girlfriend, two of whom were also born through a surrogate.
While the average surrogacy doesn't come cheap -- costs range between $70,000 and $130,000 per birth, according to Shirley Zager, director of the Organization of Parents Through Surrogacy -- celebrities are increasingly relying on and raising the profile of the practice.
Click through to check out four more famous couples who recently had children through a surrogate.
quicklist: 1title: Nicole Kidman and Keith Urbantext: Late last year, actress Nicole Kidman, 44, and her country music star husband, Keith Urban, 44, welcomed a new member to their family: Faith Margaret Kidman Urban, born Dec. 28, 2010 via a surrogate at the Women's Hospital at Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.
"Our family is truly blessed, and just so thankful, to have been given the gift of baby Faith Margaret," the couple said in a statement at the time. "No words can adequately convey the incredible gratitude that we feel for everyone who was so supportive throughout this process, in particular our gestational carrier."
More recently, Urban reflected on how he and Kidman came to the decision to have another child.
"It felt very complete with Sunday and had she been the only girl we'd be thrilled," he told Reuters in October, talking about the couple's 3-year-old daughter, Sunday Rose. "But it's nice that Sunday's got a sibling."
"Faith is doing great and Sunday is as normal as it gets with regard to recognizing that there is this new entity in the house," he added. "We keep reminding Sunday she's got a very important job as a big sister. She's been taking to that and realizing that Faith really needs her to be her big sister."media: 15235760
quicklist: 2title: Elton John and David Furnishtext: Legendary musician Elton John, 64, and his partner David Furnish, 49, became fathers to a baby boy, Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, on Christmas Day, 2010. They opened up about their decision to have him through a surrogate to Barbara Walters in April.
The couple, who have been together for almost two decades, originally tried to adopt a 14-month-old HIV-positive boy named Lev from an orphanage in Ukraine. The country rejected their application, reportedly because of John's age and because Ukraine did not recognize their gay partnership. So they decided to mix their sperm and have their baby through a surrogate.
"At this stage it's a guessing game, because when we look at our little son, we can see elements or Elton and we can see elements of me," Furnish told Walters when asked about the biological father of their son.
While they haven't revealed who the mother of Zachary is, John said she'll be a part of their lives for decades to come.
"She's been providing him with breast milk. We have the breast milk Fedex'd from where she is," he said. "She and her family will still be a part of our lives growing up."
They've installed another female figure, in his life: Lady Gaga, who serves as Zachary's godmother. "I love her to death and a lot of people say that's crazy, but they don't know her and we do," John said. media: 15235706
quicklist: 3title: Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Brodericktext: "Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker, 46, and Broadway staple Matthew Broderick, 49, used another woman's womb to carry their twin girls, Marion and Tabitha, more than two years ago. Their surrogate, Michelle Ross, was a subject of intense media speculation, and the couple, who already had a son through traditional methods, decided to open up about their reasons for opting for surrogacy.
"Well, you know, we've been trying to expand our family for a number of years and we actually have explored a variety of ways of doing so," Parker told "Access Hollywood" in May 2009. "This was one of the things we discussed with seriousness that had real possibilities for us."
When asked if she had faced difficulties getting pregnant, Parker said, "Yeah, I mean, I couldn't pretend otherwise."
Parker also lamented the invasion of privacy that her surrogate suffered.
"The most unsavory things have been done," she said. "She's had her phone hacked, her personal computer information hacked, she's had threats against her and true harassment. ... She's had friends threatened and family threatened and she's had family of friends threatened. ... It keeps me up at night."
Luckily, both Ross and the couple's twins were OK when they were born in June 2009. media: 15235669
quicklist: 4title: Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtkatext: Broadway and TV icon Neil Patrick Harris, 38, and his partner, David Burtka, 36, had twins through a surrogate in October 2009. Boy Gideon Scott and girl Harper Grace were born through a still unnamed American woman, and the couple intends to keep a veil of privacy around their family.
In November, at the 40th anniversary gala of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, Harris told E! News that he doesn't see himself as a gay role model. Burtka agreed, saying "We really don't do anything. We take care of our kids. We're in a relationship. We love each other, but we don't go out of the way to stand on a soapbox, like Neil said."media: 15235627