Every day for the month of RHM, IFAASA would like you to meet our ‘unofficial Infertility Spokespersons’. Those in the public spotlight who have shared their struggles — with natural pregnancy, IVF, surrogacy, adoption, miscarriages, early menopause and the definition of parenthood — with the world.
No longer taboo talking material, these celebs are helping to shine a spotlight on one of the most common problems women face
Often referred to as a silent disorder, infertility is rarely discussed. Fertility isn’t a problem that discriminates and each year, an increasing number of celebrities are stepping forward and sharing their personal journeys and struggles with infertility. In addition to Chrissy Teigen and Tyra Banks, a number of celebrities have spoken openly and honestly about their struggles in getting pregnant. By doing so, they play an enormous role in helping to destigmatise infertility and spark much-needed awareness and conversation.
For some reason, people are more sympathetic when celebrities are having trouble because it’s in the news, and people sympathize more for people that come into their homes every week and for people that they idolize. Sometimes the best advocacy is simple exposure.
There’s something powerful about people, especially celebrities sharing their honest, emotional paths to parenthood. It’s not always as easy as peeing on a stick and then — POOF! — you’re a mom. We need people, especially those that the world perceives as ‘perfect’ to speak publicly about their ordeals and remind us that, after all, we’re all human (regardless of post code, beauty and tax brackets), and anyone can be 1 in 6.
As much as we hold celebrities up on a pedestal, revere and envy them, they are after all just people with the same emotional and financial worries that we have.
Courtney Cox-Arquette, from Friends fame, was quoted as saying “In vitro is a wonderful thing that people can do in this day and age, and I’m lucky enough to be able to afford it.”
Tom Arnold and ex-wife, Shelby struggled with infertility for 5 years. To compensate for Tom’s low sperm count and poor motility, they tried IVF with ICSI 5 times with no success. In People, they discussed how difficult infertility has been on their marriage and the cost of IVF (Guess what? Their insurance didn’t cover it either.)
Actress Valarie Pettiford and her husband, Tony Rader have been trying to conceive for over 5 years. She told Ebony magazine, “I felt so isolated and alone. It’s difficult to talk about, but I want other women out there to know that they are not alone; there is support.”
“You grow up as a woman…thinking you’re going to have a child and that it’s just kind of your God-given right to the next step,” Dixie Chicks Martie Maguire told Good Morning America. “And then when it doesn’t happen, you’re shocked and saddened, and it’s such an emotional journey to go on.”
42-year-old Hunger Games actress Elizabeth Banks and her husband had wanted a family, but endured years of unsuccessful attempts caused by embryo implantation issues. She told the magazine FABLife “I am so tired of seeing on my social media, ‘Why don’t you have kids? Why don’t you have kids?’ You don’t know — you don’t know what I’m going through … When I was 23 years old, I used to tell myself, ‘In three years, I’m going to have kids.’ Then I turned 24. ‘In three years, I’m going to have kids.’ Every single year I kept saying that. And then after awhile, it’s like, OK, now I want to, and it’s not so easy.”
After actress and shoe designer Sarah Jessica Parker and actor hubby Matthew Broderick had their first child, James Wilkie, in 2002 they struggled to expand their family. But when James was 6 years old, Parker confirmed to Access Hollywood that she and Broderick were expecting twins via surrogate. She is quoted as saying, “I knew there would be lots of opinions about, `Well, why didn’t you adopt? Why didn’t you do this? Why didn’t you do that?’ and the truth of the matter is, it wasn’t one or the other for us … “We had explored, and continue to explore, all options, and this one just happened first. This isn’t the period at the end of the sentence.”