Infertility has historically been taboo, with women bearing the brunt of the blame for their perceived “shortcomings.” In the past, little was known about the causes of infertility, though the stigma and shame were rampant. In the Middle Ages, people believed that infertility was God’s punishment for sinful ways, with a slight improvement in knowledge until the 1800s when infertility was recognized as a medical condition. Infertile women were still viewed as “broken,” with blame being tied to the cervix or uterus issues. Luckily, today much more is known about the causes of infertility, including both male and female factors. Though there have been improvements medically and socially, infertility is still not discussed as openly as it should be. Women significantly often feel outcast and alone when their social media friends share pictures of baby showers, births, and milestones. The mental toll infertility takes very real, with anxiety, depression, and grief encapsulating hope after each unsuccessful round of IVF or IUI. The reality is, infertility does not discriminate, and it affects 1 in 8 couples in the US. Men and women that are struggling deserve to be heard, validated and supported. With the large platform that celebrities have, many have bravely chosen to shine a light on their challenges to conceive, most recently Meghan Markle. As more speak publicly about infertility, the less and less taboo it becomes. Read about your favorite celebs infertility journeys below.
Celebrities Discuss Their Infertility Journeys
In 2015 Tiegan, model and TV personality, spoke to Tyra Banks about the public’s interest in her reproduction, “I can’t imagine being that nosy, like, ‘When are the kids coming?’ because who knows what somebody’s going through, who knows if somebody’s struggling? I would say, honestly, [that] John and I were having trouble. We would have had kids 5, 6 years ago if it had happened, but my gosh, it’s been a process.” Though Tiegan and her husband now have two children thanks to IVF, they recently revealed that they lost their third child by sharing raw photographs you can view here.
Gabrielle Union, actress, and author spoke to Redbook magazine about her struggles with IVF. “So far, it has not happened for us,” she said. “There’s a certain amount of shame that is placed on women who have perhaps chosen a career over starting a family younger. The penance for being a career woman is barrenness. You feel like you’re wearing a scarlet letter.”
Before welcoming her daughter in 2018, Union lamented in her book “We’re Going to Need More Wine,” that “For three years, my body has been a prisoner of trying to get pregnant.”
Actress Nicole Kidman has quite a large brood including two adopted children with Tom Cruise and two biological children with current husband Keith Urban. Though Kidman got pregnant with their first child Sunday Rose at the age of 40, she experienced secondary infertility when trying to conceive a second time.
Their second child, Faith, was born via gestational carrier. Discussing her decision to seek out surrogacy, Kidman said, “Struggling with fertility is such a big thing and it’s not something that I would run away from talking about. We were in a place of desperately wanting another child. I couldn’t get pregnant. I get emotional just talking about [the surrogacy] because I’m so grateful.”
On her popular reality show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Khloe openly discussed her infertility journey, specifically her experience with IVF. After giving birth to her daughter True and undergoing IVF three different times, she was unable to form a viable embryo. The reality star then opted to try IVF once again in 2020.
In her own words, “My plan was to have kids closer in age…but with COVID and everything, my plan’s been a little delayed. I definitely do want more kids. I have so many brothers and sisters. I think it’s such a blessing — especially during these times — to have a family member or people that you can play with and rely on and just have a buddy through life.”
When considering discussing your own journey, just remember there is no “normal” way to talk about infertility and pregnancy loss. Everyone has different perspectives and emotions surrounding such a tragic experience. Your message will resonate with someone. Moreover, it may be exactly what someone needed to hear or see to get through their day. So, write your story, paint your story, sing your story, photograph your story, just put it out there because we are stronger as a community.
Sending love and blessings to you!