Primary school sex education might have scared us all into thinking pregnancy was a by-product of sexual activity, but for many who have actively tried for pregnancy, the reality is a far different picture. Millions of people around the world struggle with infertility each year and, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 per cent of the female population between ages 15-44 are struggling to get pregnant. While there are numerous causes for infertility (age, endometriosis, and tubal occlusion to name a few), scientific developments have seen a number of reproductive assistance procedures emerge.
In vitro fertilisation - more commonly known as IVF - involves stimulating ovulation, retrieving eggs from the ovaries, fertilising the eggs and then finally transferring the eggs into the body in the hopes of inducing pregnancy. The process is a lengthy one; a single round of IVF can take three weeks to complete, although it’s not uncommon for the procedure to take even longer. While many have seen their pregnancies come to fruition through IVF, it is not a guaranteed solution and chances that a round of IVF will lead to a pregnancy vary greatly depending on the underlying reason why the patient is having difficulty conceiving as well as their age. If all that wasn’t enough, the procedure can cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars.
Recently, sportscaster Erin Andrews revealed that she was undergoing her seventh round of IVF. In a Facebook post, Andrews wrote: “The entire treatment takes such a mental and emotional toll on your body. You feel like shit. You feel bloated and hormonal for a week and a half.” She continued, “You could go through this whole experience and get absolutely nothing out of it - that’s the crazy part. It’s a ton of money, it’s a ton of time, it’s a ton of mental and physical anguish. And more times than not, they’re unsuccessful.”
Despite the fact that infertility is a common issue for many women and men around the world, IVF and other types of reproductive assistance procedures continue to carry something of a stigma and are rarely discussed openly and without judgment. The reality is that these procedures are a fact of life and something so many people turn to. Perhaps now, more than ever, we need to put such conversations in the spotlight, if only to ensure that those going through the experience feel less alone. With that in mind, here are six celebrities who have opened up about their infertility struggles.