Celebrity Stories

Jennifer Aniston, fertility & putting egg freezing on the radar

Jessie Day, Senior Editor  |   11 Nov 2022


In her socially groundbreaking profile with Allure this week, Jennifer Aniston said she ‘would’ve given anything’ for someone to have urged her to freeze her eggs while she was younger. 

It’s a topic we cover every day. But never so impactful as when a woman this famous pulls egg freezing – and fertility – into the mainstream. Out of the shadows, and the closed communities, and into the spotlight. Jennifer Aniston isn’t just famous. She’s a global institution. With over 40 million followers, a word from her carries enormous weight. 

We hate that she – and all the other women in this situation – had to go through it. But we’re watching the surge of interest and enquiry into egg freezing with something like validation. Surely this much attention will put fertility on the agenda/radar/curriculum earlier, and with less shame and misinformation attached? 

Here’s the story, and the recommendations behind the headlines.

I was throwing everything at it. I would’ve given anything if someone had said to me, ‘Freeze your eggs. Do yourself a favor.’

In her interview with Allure, Aniston says, 

“I was trying to get pregnant. It was a challenging road for me, the baby-making road.”

This zooms us back a few years, to when glossy press was more of a thing, and social media more of a ‘Wild West’, in terms of governance, than it is today. An incredibly hard time to be super-famous, and trying (and trying) for a baby. 

Aniston goes on to say, 

“All the years and years of speculation … It was really hard. I was going though IVF, drinking Chinese teas, you name it. I was throwing everything at it.” 

This resonates with the team. And, we know, for so many people in our TTC community. From weekly acupuncture and diet overhauls to internal scans, surgeries and endless tests, ‘throwing everything at it’ really sums it up.

It’s hard to keep the faith, when ‘everything’ doesn’t seem to be working. But we’ve spoken before about toxic positivity, and the preference to keep infertility under wraps, to avoid more distress, and, for some of us, out of shame. 

Throwing the spotlight on egg freezing, Aniston says, 

“I would’ve given anything if someone had said to me, ‘Freeze your eggs. Do yourself a favor.’ You just don’t think it. So here I am today. The ship has sailed.”

 

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A post shared by Allure Magazine (@allure)

Egg freezing – does it guarantee our fertility? 

More women than ever are freezing their eggs. But preserving our fertility isn’t just about hitting that button, as we reach our late 30s.

Fertility specialist Dr. Alan Penzias, chair of the practice committee of ASRM, said recently that women who freeze their eggs have a one-third chance of having a baby with them, once thawed. He said, ‘Counseling should be clear that there is no guarantee’, and that it’s a case of weighing up all the benefits, and value, of delay. 

Women are certainly having babies later. And yes, a lot of it is to do with career, and wanting to attain  our goals before turning our focus to motherhood. But it’s not as simple as that. We live in a world where parenthood, and the choices, sacrifices and juggle that come with it, falls more messily on women. 

There are huge exceptions, of course, and it’s not just about career, age and women by default. But if we’re following the most prevalent line, it’s overwhelmingly women who make the choice on pausing, delaying and sacrificing something (maybe even everything), to have a career, and children.

The narrative that we’re ‘selfish’

Aniston makes such an important point in the conversation around fertility. She remembers the, 

“narrative that I was just selfish […] I just cared about my career. And God forbid a woman is successful and doesn’t have a child.” 

Because that’s what it is – a narrative. If there’s one thing we can be certain of, in the fertility community and conversation – it’s that we never (ever) know the full story of someone else’s choices, or pain. 

Egg freezing is just one thread in the fertility tapestry. It offers very few guarantees, and is a lever to pull – a chance to preserve. It’s an amazing science, and has led to  wonderful, happy endings, for so many. But it’s not on the agenda early enough, or a solution for sharing the load, across genders. 

We honor and applaud Jennifer Aniston for her bravery in daring to share, and to try.

Read her interview with Allure, and give your voice to this vital topic over on our Insta hub.

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