Causes & Treatment

Paris Hilton Using IVF to ‘Pick Twins’ – What the TTC and Medical Community Thinks

Eloise Edington  |  28 Jan 2021


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Words by Deanna Texeira

When it comes to the world of celebrities, the notion that they are just like us, people who feel the same way we do and go through the same trials and tribulations, can be a hard concept to grasp. This is especially the case when this week Paris Hilton announced she is going through IVF treatment with boyfriend, Carter Reum, solely to “pick twins”. Saying it was Kim Kardashian who gave her “the idea” and introduced her to her fertility specialist.

She was on Trend Reporter with Mara Podcast on Tuesday, when she revealed hearing about how IVF was the “only way” that she could make sure she had “twins that are a boy and a girl”. As you can most probably guess, this created a lot of outrage within the TTC (trying to conceive) community, due to the shallow belittling of IVF, that someone has turned a serious hardship into a designer choice, like something as trivial as picking a handbag. In this IVF blog, we look at the personal and ethical side of this controversy, as well as the medical ramifications and the risks that can occur when carrying twins.

Related Article – Fertility Blog: Jess and Ryan’s Story of Changing Fertility Clinics and Hope

Reactions from The Trying to Conceive Community

In an article by People Magazine, she talks about her relationship with her “dream guy” boyfriend, Carter Reum, and how she felt like “nobody deserved that love” from her until she met him. Having her eggs frozen, Hilton does say that she found the egg retrieval process “tough, but worth it”, which could show at least a little acknowledgment of some of the unpleasant challenges of IVF. However, this was quickly overshadowed by her nonchalant talk about picking names for these nebulous “twins”. She has a name ready and waiting for her girl; “London”, but is yet to pick a name for her boy. The very notion that she has come to a decision to “pick twins” that will be a boy and a girl, is what has infuriated the TTC Community so much, when people don’t pick to go through IVF, but are forced onto its emotionally and physically taxing path, without any guarantees of success and often at huge expense that they, unlike Hilton, can ill afford.

We asked our Fertility Help Hub community on Instagram to tell us their thoughts, and these are just some of the hundreds of responses that came back…

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As anyone who has lived/is living it will know, going though IVF is a hard journey that no one wishes for. Therefore the choice to use it just so that you can “pick twins” is extremely offensive to many who do not have a choice but to go through this strenuous battle. The infertility community feel belittled about their own personal fertility journeys and feel it showcases an uneducated and privileged outlook on IVF and trying to conceive. It doesn’t do justice to the raw emotions and emotional pain that come with IVF, nor the ethically controversial notion of gender selection that is based purely on whim, rather than medical reasons (not allowed in the UK).

One IVF Warrior put it in simple terms. She pointed out that she would “never pick this” and would never wish it on her “worst enemy”, saying that those in the TTC Community weren’t out there to pick their children, they’re just trying to have children. In a community that has worked so hard to boost mor
ale, this is something that sets them back so far.

Related Article – An Open Letter to My Friends and Family About My Struggle With Infertility

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The Medical Perspective

There is also a medical side to this matter, and @babiesafter35 had a lot to say on Hilton’s decision. You can watch the informative video here. To summarise, Dr Clark (who had her own children via IVF later in life) starts by talking about the risks of twin pregnancies. She then goes on to explain how “incorrect, dangerous and irresponsible” the idea of being able to “pick twins” was. It is something that “should not be glorified”, as IVF is not there for you to “pick and choose as if in a catalogue”.

Dr Clark goes on to say that Hilton encouraging “most women to do IVF” is wrong, on the basis that just because IVF is accessible to Paris Hilton, it doesn’t mean it is accessible to everyone. She is giving those who may not know any better false hope that they can achieve their dreams simply by doing IVF with no repercussions. People need to know the complications and risks that come along with it and, as a public figure, she has responsibility to the people who look up to her.

Related Article – IVF Blog: Pregnancy after IVF

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The Risks of Twin Pregnancies

When it comes to having children, sometimes people are so focused on their goal, that they don’t think of the full picture. On this subject, Professor Alan Peaceman says that “patients are so focused on getting pregnant in any way, shape, or form that the concerns with multiples are secondary.” He went on to add that people can struggle to “understand how bad ‘bad’ can be.” Even though most patients do not demand to have twins, it is always a secret desire of theirs. However there are life threatening health concerns that come along with it”.

One study analysed data from fresh and frozen embryo transfers done at Swedish IVF clinics between 2002 and 2006, this included:

  • 991 women who gave birth to twins after a double embryo transfer

  • 921 mothers with two children born through separate rounds of IVF

They found that nearly 47% of twins were born prematurely and 39% were considered to be at a low birth weight. This was a drastic difference compared to the 7% of singleton babies that were premature and the less than 5% of babies that were born at a low birth weight. All in all, it was found that twins are more likely to have breathing complications, sepsis or jaundice. While their mothers had 2-3 times more pre-eclampsia – high blood pressure and protein in the urine – and were 4 times more likely to need a C-section than women who had two single births.

Overall, when it comes to IVF, there are certainly no guarantees.

Related Article – Fertility Warriors are Superheroes: Here’s the Proof

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