Does She or Doesn”t She? (Only her fertility specialist know for sure)
When we look at celebrities like Elton John, Ricky Martin, or Neill Patrick Harris who have had children over the years itвЂ™s a no- brainer that they used an egg donor to create their families. But when we hear about female celebrities around the globe who have had children in their 40вЂ™s, we wonder вЂ“ вЂњDid she or didnвЂ™t she?вЂќ Society perceives that if you look young, your eggs are young.В However, the reality is when you are in your mid-forties and early fifties, your eggs arenвЂ™t going to work even though your body may very well carry a pregnancy to term and you may look great doing so. So why all the secrecy surrounding celebrities infertility who may or may not have used egg donation or IVF treatment in general.В Is it ego?В Is it shame?В Is it because infertility treatment equates to being older which equates to being less marketable as far as Hollywood, Bollywood or the rest of the entertainment world is concerned?
Is IVF and egg donation the global entertainment worldвЂ™s dirty little secret?В Now, weвЂ™re not saying that any of the following women used IVF or egg donor to have their childrenвЂ¦ in fact, most have not admitted reproductive help of any kind (although some did admit to at least IVF help вЂ“ particularly the ones who used gestational carriers).В But take a look at the following list and draw your own conclusions:
- В Geena Davis, an American actress, had her twins at 48.
- В Jane Seymour, an English actress, had her twins at age 44.
- Nicole Kidman, an Australian actress, was 43 when she had her daughter with the help of a gestational surrogate.
- Cherie Blair, wife of EnglandвЂ™s former Prime Minister gave birth at age 45.
- Susan Sarandon, an American actress, had a baby at age 46.
- Somali-born model Iman, married to rocker David Bowie, gave birth at 44.
- Helen Fielding, an English novelist/screenwriter best known for her character Bridget Jones, gave birth at 48.
- Arlene Phillips, an English choreographer, gave birth at age 47.
- Holly Hunter, an American actress, had her twins at 47.
- Cheryl Tiegs, a global icon in the world of modeling, had twins at age 52.
- Marcia Gay Harden, an American actress, was age 45 when she gave birth to her twins.
- Helena Bonham Carter, an English actress, had her baby at age 42.
- Joan Lunden, an American television personality, went on to have two sets of twins at age 52 and 54 with the help of a gestational surrogate.
- Elizabeth Edwards, the former wife of American presidential hopeful John Edwards, gave birth to her daughter at age 48 and her son at age 50.
- Kelly Preston, an American actress and wife of John Travolta, В gave birth to a son at age 47
- Halle Berry, an American actress, is currently pregnant and 46.
- Mira Sorvino, an American actress, gave birth to her last child when she was 44.
- Mariah Carey, musical superstar, gave birth to twins at age 42.
- Beverly DвЂ™Angelo, an American actress, was 49 when her twins were born.
- Sarah Jessica Parker, an American actress, had twins with the help of a gestational surrogate at age 44.
- Nancy Grace, an American television personality, was 47 when she brought her twins into the world.
- Farah Khan, a well known-prestigious Indian film director, gave birth to triplets at age 43.
Farah is one who admitted using IVF, she was quoted as saying: “When the choice is to either go childless or IVF, there is no room for doubts. I was 43 when I had my kids and my biological clock had stopped ticking long time ago.” However, she left the egg donation part out.В So did she?В Or didnвЂ™t she? Do you see a trend here? IVF equals shame for many women and that in itself is incredibly unfortunate. Pregnancy for most women is a rite of passage.В ItвЂ™s something that we typically donвЂ™t think about until the time comes when we want to be pregnant and then itвЂ™s a really big deal.В It becomes an even bigger deal when you discover that you might be one of the many individuals in the world who might not ever conceive or give birth in your own lifetime вЂ“ or if you happen to be one of the lucky ones who does itвЂ™s going to be after seeking a lot of help and spending a lot of money.
When our bodies arenвЂ™t cooperating and doing something that we believed our whole lives we could or would do, itвЂ™s simply devastating.
The whole topic of infertility, IVF, egg donation вЂ“ itвЂ™s just so socially taboo. ItвЂ™s no wonder that regardless of who you are вЂ“ public figure, celebrity, or the woman next door, itвЂ™s not the most favorite topic to talk about at a cocktail or dinner party. We donвЂ™t view infertility like we do breast cancer.В Infertility is still in that shameful place that breast cancer was many years ago until public women like Betty Ford brought it out into the forefront and made those of us afflicted with breast cancer into survivors and heroes вЂ“ as well we should be. Until we change the mindset about infertility and embrace it like we do breast cancer, itвЂ™s always going to be that thing that no one wants to talk about. Now, celebrities may be different than the rest of us.В They may The marriage may calm gemini weekly horoscope down and may prove to be quite successful. have more money.В They might be prettier, more privileged but guess what вЂ“ they arenвЂ™t more fertile.В ThatвЂ™s a myth that has been perpetuated over the years because no one is talking about it. This means that regardless of how famous you might be, the most common cause of infertility in a woman who is in her middle forties is her age. And for a myriad of reasons, many women вЂ“ not just celebrities wait too long to begin their family building вЂ“ and after a certain point thereвЂ™s not a thing you can do to make more eggs because our eggs have an expiration date. The reality is regardless of where you are in the world, AMH and FSH levels donвЂ™t lie.В By the time a woman is in her mid-forties, her fertility rate and percentage of success to conceive naturally is just about zero. Okay, okay we hear you вЂ“ not every pregnant women whoвЂ™s in her forties has undergone any sort of fertility.В However, be mindful they are the exception to the rule вЂ“ like one in a million вЂ“ for the rest of us in the world our reality is very different. Dr. Ric Porter, Director of IVF Australia was quoted as saying: вЂњA pregnant actress in her forties gets a page in a magazine, but if those same magazines printed all the stories of all the women who couldnвЂ™t get pregnant, the magazines would be the size of the yellow pages. These celebrity вЂmiracle pregnanciesвЂ™ give women ridiculous expectations. IвЂ™m yet to see a patient who had viable eggs in her mid-forties. Even with IVF, weвЂ™ve never had a pregnancy after age 45.вЂќ It is what reproductive endocrinologists all over the world face every day on the front lines вЂ“ explaining to women who are in their mid-forties the realities about their fertility, and giving them the sad news that for them to become a mother is to give up her genetics and seek the help of an egg donor.
Should celebrities make public service announcements about infertility much like celebrities make public service announcements about every other cause they are personally affected by?
Granted no woman is obliged nor should she ever be forced to share with the world how she conceived, regardless of whether sheвЂ™s famous or not.В Infertility is incredibly hard, private and personal.В However, all of this miracle pregnancy mumbo jumbo that we see in all of the magazines, the internet, and television by celebrities has got to stop.В We arenвЂ™t doing ourselves any favors by drinking the fertility Kool-Aid and believing everything we read.В This is about protecting your own fertility by being informed and aware of the facts.В ItвЂ™s also about protecting your self-esteem. Back in 2000 Larry King asked Cheryl Tiegs if she used an egg donor to conceive her twins and her reply was: вЂњNo, itвЂ™s my eggs and my husbandвЂ™s sperm so theyвЂ™re our babies. IвЂ™ve been taking care of myself for so long, I know my reproductive organs are much younger than I am.вЂќ This left me saying aloud вЂњReally Cheryl, youвЂ™re 52, really?!вЂќ WhatвЂ™s even more interesting about the whole Cheryl Tiegs thing is when she and her husband divorced, Cheryl lost custody of her newborn twins to her husband. I know it made me stop and say вЂњHmm.вЂќ I wonder what the rest of the world thought. The message thatвЂ™s pumped into the media is that for women like you and me who are looking into the fishbowl of вЂњcelebrityvilleвЂќ it can be incredibly misleading вЂ“ it equates to false hope and being complacent about your reproductive health.
So why arenвЂ™t more famous women speaking out and being honest about their fertility or infertility issues?
Lauri Berger de Brito of the Agency for Surrogacy Solutions in Los Angeles says, вЂњThe presumption is that if you look young, your eggs are young.вЂќВ For men itвЂ™s like the old adage: В вЂњMen are like fine wine they get better with ageвЂќ.В Men can continue to manufacture sperm until they die вЂ“ take a look at Tony Randall he was in his mid-80вЂ™s when he became a father. В However, in Hollywood, Bollywood, or wherever you are in the world, getting older does not go hand in hand with fertility вЂ“ women are not perceived as getting better with age especially when it comes to their eggs.
But wouldnвЂ™t it be lovely if just one celebrity would come forward, be vulnerable and say: вЂњI am a mother via egg donation and I am proud.вЂќ