Celebrity Fertility Stories That Helped Change the Conversation
In a recent interview with Allure, acclaimed actress Jennifer Anniston unexpectedly revealed she struggled with infertility in her late 30s and 40s. She reflected, “It was a challenging road for me, the baby-making road…It was really hard…I was throwing everything at it.”
Unfortunately, Anniston is not the only one with this experience. It’s estimated that about 10% of women of childbearing age in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant. The inability to achieve pregnancy is an extremely sensitive and emotional circumstance, made worse by society’s demand for women to naturally become mothers.
Many people who experience infertility feel this pressure and refrain from sharing their stories due to feelings of shame and failure. However, this lack of conversation leaves many to suffer alone. To change this dynamic and engender connections among those dealing with infertility, many celebrities, in addition to Aniston, have used their platforms to speak out on their unconventional paths to parenthood.
Nicole Kidman and Ectopic Pregnancy
In a 2007 interview with Marie Clare, actress Nicole Kidman revealed that she had experienced a miscarriage as well as an ectopic pregnancy, in which a fertilized egg implants and begins to grow someplace other than the uterus, such as the fallopian tubes. In some cases, the growing embryo can cause the fallopian tubes to rupture, leading to life-threatening if left untreated. Luckily, this was not the case for Kidman, who went on to have two daughters, one via surrogate. Kidman’s story not only brings attention to a serious pregnancy complication, but also serves as a reminder to remain hopeful, even after a loss.
Paloma Faith and Secondary Infertility
In September 2020, British singer Paloma Faith announced her second pregnancy, following six rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Faith’s experience is what is known as secondary infertility, meaning there is an inability to conceive or carry a baby after previously giving birth. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, secondary infertility affects millions of parents, yet is seldom discussed. Faith’s story highlights the pain and difficulty that many experience when trying to expand their families.
Chrissy Teigen, IVF, and Pregnancy Loss
Model Chrissy Teigen has been one of the most vocal celebrities on the subject of infertility. Teigen and her husband John Legend had tried to conceive naturally for 9 years before using IVF. Unfortunately, it took multiple rounds of IVF before finally conceiving their daughter Luna, and then their son Miles two years later. In an interview with The Cut, Teigen reflected on the emotional difficulties that can occur after a failed IVF round, including feelings of resentment towards those without fertility issues.
Given her fertility journey, Teigen did not think she would ever be able to conceive naturally. However, in August 2020, Teigen and John Legend announced their third child was on the way. Sadly, the pregnancy was met with issues early on, involving severe bleeding that required bags of transfusions, and eventually resulted in a miscarriage.
Gabrielle Union and Surrogacy
In September 2021, Gabrielle Union released a deeply personal essay on her path to parenthood via surrogacy. Union had been diagnosed with adenomyosis, a condition in which uterine tissue grows into the muscular tissues of the uterus, making a healthy pregnancy very difficult. Union pursued multiple rounds of IVF and suffered a series of miscarriages, before finally turning to surrogacy. Union had known that surrogacy was her best option, but admitted being unable to give up on her longing to experience pregnancy at that time. Although having immense gratitude for her surrogacy journey, Union acknowledges that the experience was not easy. For many, Union’s story opens the conversation on the emotional complexities that can accompany using a surrogate.
Natalie Imbruglia and Sperm Donation
At age 44, Australian singer Natalie Imbruglia found herself single, yet with a strong longing to be a mother. In 2019, she decided to take matters into her own hands, delivering a healthy baby boy via sperm donation and IVF. In an effort to dispel the taboo surrounding single motherhood and sperm donation, Imbruglia decided to go public with her story. Imbruglia recognized that there are plenty of adults who wish to be parents, but may not want, or have the time to find the perfect partner to start a family with.
Camille Gutay and Egg Donation
A year after trying for a baby naturally, actress Camille Gutay sought medical help and was told her ovarian reserve was ‘equivalent to that of a 50-year-old’. Gutay subsequently went through five failed rounds of IVF, before considering using an egg donor. Although Gutay initially had difficulties accepting egg donation as an option, she and her husband eventually found a donor that was right for them and welcomed a baby boy in October 2019. Gutay hopes sharing her story challenges the stigma and shame around infertility, and inspires other women to share their own experiences.
If any of these stories align strongly with your own, we hope you feel more confident in your own decisions and are encouraged to speak freely on your journey. Needless to say, infertility is a difficult and emotionally complex experience; however, stories such as these, as well as your own, can help make the world a more comfortable place for those grappling with infertility.