Celebrity Stories

10 Celebs You Didn’t Know Struggled with Infertility

Eloise Edington  |   18 Jun 2021

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Here on Fertility Help Hub, to show you you’re not alone, we have listed 10 celebrities who have struggled with infertility. These are ten U.S. celebrities who have travelled their own unique fertility journey to parenthood, including IVF, surrogacy, baby loss and adoption. These celebrities have shared their experiences in the hopes of normalising the very common reality of infertility. 

Words by Katherine Compton

1. Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman has four children through multiple routes to parenthood, including adoption, birth and gestational surrogacy. Needless to say, she has dealt with a lot during her struggle with infertility, but she was fortunate enough to be able to explore and afford many avenues to parenthood.

Kidman unjustly put a lot of blame on herself for struggling with infertility. In an interview with Australia’s ‘Who’ magazine, she recalled all of the ways infertility has affected her and revealed the specific struggles she has dealt with along the way:

“I had tried and failed and failed and failed. Not to be too detailed, but I’ve had an ectopic pregnancy, miscarriages and I’ve had fertility treatments. I’ve done all the stuff you can possibly do to try to get pregnant. Every woman who has been through all those ups and downs knows the depression that comes with it. So, the way it just happened with Sunday was like, ‘What?’ The percentages were so low. It is the miracle in my life.”

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2. Courtney Cox

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Courtney Cox went through two rounds of IVF before having her first child, Coco. She struggled with baby loss prior to IVF.

Before having daughter Coco, Cox said, “I had a lot of miscarriages, and I don’t think that’s something that people shouldn’t talk about, because… it was unfortunate, but it happens.”

Cox and Coco are closer than ever and regularly post on Cox’s Instagram together. Cox is also an advocate for the infertility community and has a docuseries on her Facebook Watch called, “9 Months with Courtney Cox.”

3. Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness have tried IVF twice and each time it sadly resulted in baby loss.

Jackman shared these thoughts on infertility and IVF: “Until you go through it, you don’t understand, it’s not talked about a lot.” He continues to say that miscarriage “is a massive let-down. It’s really difficult — and much harder for the woman.”

Due to laws in Australia that prevented the couple from exploring both IVF and surrogacy options at the same time, they decided to adopt two new-born babies, a boy and a girl, from the U.S.

Jackman says that the journey to parenthood has been one of the best and toughest experiences of his life, but that, once his son Oscar was born, “all the heartache just melted away.”

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4. Chrissy Teigen

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Chrissy Teigen is no stranger to IVF, which she has undergone several times. During her TTC (trying to conceive) journey, Teigen felt that IVF is mainly spoken about so long as it is successful, but people rarely talk about the turmoil that comes with IVF:

“You hear stories about IVF working the first try. But you’ll hear a lot more stories about when it takes a few times. Ours didn’t work the first time, and it was devastating. You realise that a lot of it is luck, and you can’t blame things on yourself. The first round I did of IVF, when it didn’t work, I remember thinking: oh, I was on my feet too much, and that’s why. You just look for anything to blame, especially yourself,” she said. “I think hearing stories is just really important. You realise there’s no right way to do it, or right way to react.”

Teigen went on to say: “There are so many different factors that go into being able to conceive a baby. The IVF process really makes you appreciate that… There’s no right way to do IVF. You just have to keep hoping that it will happen. It’s easy for some, and not for others. And that’s okay”.

Teigen has two children through IVF and added:

It’s a complete miracle when it works. There are so many people who still struggle, even with access to IVF. Finance is such an important factor when it comes to being able to have IVF, surrogacy, egg/sperm donation or adopting to become a parent.”

Teigen also recalled feeling unprepared when the IVF round was successful. In spite of all of her preparations to have a child, she still didn’t feel ready to be a parent, even if she felt ready for a baby.

5. Emma Thompson

For Emma Thompson, the first cycle was successful and produced daughter Gaia, but the second cycle did not work and Thompson was not sure if Gaia would have siblings:

“IVF is very upsetting. It’s a brutal process and it’s very emotional. It’s really hard. But then you pick yourself up, look around and see this unbelievably beautiful little baby you’ve got anyway.”

The couple had tried to conceive for several years before Gaia and during this time had experienced miscarriage, which ultimately persuaded them to try IVF. They continued to have IVF after Gaia, but all cycles were unsuccessful and they eventually adopted their son at the age of sixteen.

However, the process of their adoption was very unusual as they met their child, Tindyebwa Agaba, while he was homeless. They took him in and cared for him until they could make the adoption official.   

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6. Kim Kardashian

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Kim K has four children: two through IVF and two through surrogacy. However, Kim’s struggle with infertility caused surrogacy to be the only viable option for her. She suffered with preeclampsia and placenta accreta during both pregnancies, which greatly impacted her IVF success rates:

Kardashian said: “After that, I actually had to have five different operations within a year and a half to fix the damage that all of that did from the inside. From the outside I was filming and [doing] photo shoots. I asked my doctors: Can I do it one more time? And they were like: We won’t even put an embryo in you — that would be like malpractice.”

Kardashian had two frozen embryos remaining from her previous IVF cycles which were available for her to use only through surrogacy. Of this, she says:

“I’m so thankful for my beautiful kids, no matter how they came to me — they came to me. I’m so thankful for surrogates. I’m really thankful for my family. I grew up with so many siblings. I just loved being in a big environment. I would have gone through the same pain and back for the result of having my babies. It was all worth it.”

7. Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks struggled with seven failed cycles of IVF before deciding to have her son, York, through surrogacy. Banks admitted on her show, FABlife, that judgement from others had a huge impact on her while TTC:

“I am so tired of seeing on my social media, Why don’t you have kids? You don’t know what I’m going through, you have no idea. For any women, it’s  none of your business what somebody is going through. Whether they want to have a child or don’t ever want to have a child or may have a child on the way, its none of your business, okay? Until somebody wants to make it your business.”

Banks also explained that postponing pregnancy is where her infertility struggles began. Due to the trajectory and success of her career, each year she would postpone trying to conceive as it just wasn’t the right time, until it eventually impacted her IVF success.

She tried IVF throughout her career on ANTM. On set, people recalled Banks administering stimulation injections and this cycle of IVF was initially successful, but ultimately resulted in loss.

Banks admitted that she was was anxious the whole way through the surrogate’s pregnancy, as she doubted that it would be successful after so much trauma. She was only content when she finally held her son. “There are so many stages of pregnancy.” She said. “It’s like: Okay, it’s a healthy embryo. Okay, it’s month one. I was just constantly living on edge until I held him for the first time.”

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8. Celine Dion

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Celine Dion struggled through seven rounds of IVF until she could have her three sons whom she calls her pride and joy.

Dion and husband René Angélil started TTC in her early thirties for a few years but had no luck. They were confused because Dion was still young, and they didn’t comprehend male factor infertility. It wasn’t until Angélil developed throat cancer and decided to freeze his sperm, that the sperm was studied and male infertility was diagnosed. They realised that he had a low sperm count and low sperm motility. This explained why they were struggling to conceive.

Following this, Dion underwent two surgeries in preparation for IVF. Their first round of IVF was successful and their first son was born. However, the following six rounds of IVF were unsuccessful until the seventh promised triplets. She unfortunately lost one of the triplets early into the pregnancy, and so they were delivered of twins (prematurely through Caesarean). During this time, she used fertility acupuncture to increase her IVF success chances. Fertility acupuncture increases blood flow to reproductive organs, and some consider this a helpful incentive when trying to conceive:

“I thought, as long as my health permitted me and unless my doctor thought I physically couldn’t do it, then I would go on with the IVF until someone told me to stop.”

Dion also suffered a miscarriage following her second unsuccessful round of IVF and said, “It happens in life, in general, and people who are not on the TV or in the newspapers, they go through this all the time.”

9. Elizabeth Banks

Elizabeth Banks, director of Charlie’s Angels, had two sons through gestational surrogacy in 2011 and 2012 after explaining to Net-a-Porter’s about her fertility issues, which she referred to as her “broken belly.” Specifically, she struggled with embryo implantation and so she decided to try surrogacy.

She told the same outlet that she felt judged for using a surrogate: “I definitely think I’m still judged for what I’ve done and that people don’t understand my choices, but I don’t feel I owe anybody any explanation… If my story helps people feel less alone on their journey, then I’m grateful for that.”

In Women’s Health magazine, Banks explains that other couples’ stories of surrogacy helped her to overcome her doubts and decide to use a surrogate too:

“It helped that other moms had said that, once they had their babies, they forgot they were ever pregnant,” she told them in a 2012 interview. “So once my focus became the baby and not the pregnancy, it was a very easy decision.”

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10. Sarah Jessica-Parker

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Sarah Jessica Parker and her husband Matthew Broderick have three children, their first by natural conception (2002) and their twin daughters through gestational surrogacy (2009). Parker does not disclose her reasons for surrogacy.

She describes meeting her daughters to Vogue magazine as a surreal, timeless moment:

“Meeting your children rather than giving birth to them, it’s as if, um, it’s — suspended animation. The gestational experience is gone. It’s as if everything else disappears for a moment, and the world goes silent and — I can’t explain it except to say that nothing else existed.”

Hopefully, hearing what these celebrities have to say about their experiences with infertility has illustrated that infertility can affect anyone. A few of the celebrities mentioned talk openly about their experiences on social media, e.g. Kim K and Courtney Cox, so it might be worthwhile following their Instagram accounts for more personal experiences and fertility advice from them.

Most of these celebrities who have struggled with IVF can relate to the physical, mental and emotional turmoil that infertility can cause. However, they are also aware that the financial struggle has been overcome for them by their circumstances and fortunately that was not a concern for them. 

There are some free or more affordable IVF options – keep up to date with these by subscribing to FHH, as we post updates on fertility clinics that offer financial help to those who are struggling to conceive.

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