20 Celebrities Who've Opened Up About Their Struggles With Infertility
Many people endure a difficult journey on the road to parenthood. In fact, infertility impacts about one in eight couples, according to Resolve, The National Infertility Association. The condition is characterized as the inability to conceive after trying for one year — and the diagnosis can be devastating for many.
While there are certain treatments that can help with infertility, including IVF, IUI, and more, they're not an option for everyone due to reasons physical, emotional, personal, and financial. And for those who decide to use these methods, there's often a lesser-talked-about physical and mental toll that accompanies the procedures. Overall, dealing with infertility can feel isolating, as trying to conceive is still a heavily stigmatized topic of discussion.
But these 20 celebrities have all opened up about their own experiences with infertility in hopes of letting others know they are not alone. From Khloé Kardashian to Sarah Jessica Parker, here's what celebrities have said about their journeys with infertility.
Elizabeth Banks welcomed both of her kids via surrogacy after years of unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant. She recently opened about the experience on the podcast "Call Her Daddy," telling host Alex Cooper that there's still "so much shame" attached to infertility:
"I've never been pregnant, and when I was young, I thought it was because I was really good at taking the pill, which I definitely was. But I have no idea. There's a small percentage of women who basically have unexplained infertility, and that is me, I'm in that category . . . I had always had plenty of eggs, I never had trouble making embryos; they did not implant. For whatever reason, my uterus is hostile; I don't know what's going on, but they just will not stay in there. So I had a broken belly, is what I told my kids, 'Mommy had a broken belly.'"
Former First Lady Michelle Obama opened up in a 2018 interview with "Good Morning America" about a previous pregnancy loss, telling Robin Roberts that she went through IVF treatment before giving birth to her two daughters, Malia and Sasha:
"I felt like I failed because I didn't know how common miscarriages were because we don't talk about them. We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we're broken . . . That's one of the reasons why I think it's important to talk to young mothers about the fact that miscarriages happen."
Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker and her husband, Matthew Broderick, were unable to get pregnant with a second child after the birth of their son and opted to use a surrogate, per "Today," in order to welcome twin girls:
"Well, you know, we've been trying to expand our family for a number of years and we actually have explored a variety of ways of doing so. This was one of the things we discussed with seriousness that had real possibilities for us."
Khloé Kardashian has been very open about her fertility journey. The reality-TV star is mother to a daughter, True, and a newborn son, whose name hasn't been revealed. Kardashian welcomed her baby boy via surrogate in August 2022. In a March 2021 episode of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," she talked more about why she made that choice:
"[My doctor] said that I would be, like, a high-risk carrier for a pregnancy . . . I'm not gonna get into specifics on camera, but they said it's an 80 percent chance I'll miscarry. I almost miscarried with True at the beginning. But I didn't know that was a lingering thing. . . . She said she would feel terrible putting [an embryo] in without warning me that most likely I wouldn't be able to carry."
Before welcoming her daughter Kaavia into the world, Gabrielle Union endured several pregnancy losses and unsuccessful rounds of IVF. In her book, "You Got Anything Stronger?," Union opens up about how she and husband Dwyane Wade came to the decision of surrogacy. In an excerpt published by Time, Union shares:
"I was fighting with my husband about what was best for my body? Did he really think that surrogacy and a baby was our chance to set it right? He looked me in the eye. 'As much as we want this baby, I want you,' he said slowly. 'We've lost too much in our relationship for me to be okay with encouraging you to do one more thing to your body and your soul.'"
Kim Kardashian has been candid about her infertility struggles and turned to a surrogacy for the birth of her two youngest children, Chicago and Psalm. In a video for Skims, Kardashian opened up about her difficult childbirth experiences, including her need to turn to surrogacy after giving birth to her son Saint:
"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.'"
Before having daughters Winnie and Frances via surrogate in 2013 and 2014, Jimmy Fallon and his wife, Nancy Juvonen, went through five years of infertility. He told "Today"'s Savannah Guthrie the following:
"We tried before, we told people and then it didn't happen. And it's just really depressing. It's really hard on everybody."
It took seven years of infertility treatments before Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance welcomed fraternal twins via a surrogate. She described the trying time in a 2007 interview with Oprah Winfrey, per People:
"I was devastated when it didn't happen [again and again]. I had to remain hopeful and resilient."
Brooke Shields thought it would be easy to become a mother until she was diagnosed with cervical dysplasia, a condition in which abnormal cells grow on the surface of your cervix and can lead to cervical cancer, per the Cleveland Clinic. After in vitro fertilization, Shields experienced a pregnancy loss before eventually giving birth to daughters Rowan and Grier. Shields opened up about the IVF experience in her book, "Down Came the Rain," writing:
"The whole process was quite an ordeal, and we became slaves to the time of day and to little vials of liquid."
Before Jane Seymour became the mother of twin boys, she went through two pregnancy losses and IVF. In an interview with the hosts of the British talk show "Loose Women," Seymour shared her struggles getting pregnant in her 40s:
"I tried it and it was very difficult, I lost several pregnancies. And then eventually I got really lucky. But I was warned that there were possible things that could go wrong. But you don't think of that."
Celine Dion was very open about the IVF treatments and pregnancy loss she endured before twin sons Nelson and Eddy were born. In a 2010 interview, she told Oprah Winfrey:
"They said that I was pregnant, and a couple of days after, we were not pregnant again. We didn't want to feel like we were playing yo-yo. 'I'm pregnant. I'm not pregnant. I'm pregnant. I'm not pregnant.' So we didn't want to do this thing. But we did have a miscarriage . . . I never gave up. But I can tell you that it was physically and emotionally exhausting."
After a pregnancy loss in 2008, Mariah Carey turned to acupuncture and fertility treatments in order to get pregnant with twins Monroe and Moroccan. She opened up about her pregnancy journey in a "20/20" interview with Barbara Walters, stating:
"The main thing I did that was tough, was to go on progesterone like every month . . . and then when I was pregnant, I had to stay with the progesterone for 10 weeks. It minimizes the chance of miscarriage by 50 percent."
Nicole Kidman struggled with infertility during her first marriage to Tom Cruise before they adopted their children, Bella and Conner. Two years after marrying Keith Urban, Kidman gave birth to Sunday Rose and later welcomed Faith via surrogate, opening up about the experience in an interview with the Australian magazine Who, per ABC:
"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. So the way it just happened with Sunday was like, 'What?' The percentages were so low. It is the miracle in my life."
While her character, Monica Geller, was struggling with her fertility on "Friends," Courteney Cox was experiencing the same hardships in real life. Before giving birth to daughter Coco, she and then-husband David Arquette experienced multiple pregnancy losses and rounds of IVF. She opened up about the experience during an episode of "Busy Tonight" with Busy Philipps, per USA Today.
"I had a lot of miscarriages and I don't think that's something people shouldn't talk about because it's . . . unfortunate, but it happens."
Although the singer was already a mother of two, Gwen Stefani had a difficult time getting pregnant for the third time — what's commonly referred to as secondary infertility. Before conceiving her third son, Apollo, Stefani shared her experience with Marie Claire:
"I really, really, really wanted one about two years ago. And it didn't really work out. So . . . I feel good with what we've got. Everything works out how it should. You can't plan anything, right? You can try."
Hugh Jackman and wife Deborra-Lee Furness went through a period of infertility before adopting their two children, Oscar and Ava. He shared his experience with Katie Couric in a 2012 interview, per E News:
"To be clear, Deb and I always wanted to adopt. So that was always in our plan. We didn't know where in the process that would happen but biologically obviously we tried and it was not happening for us and it is a difficult time. We did IVF and Deb had a couple of miscarriages. I'll never forget it the miscarriage thing — it happens to one in three pregnancies, but it's very, very rarely talked about."
Christie Brinkley experienced three pregnancy losses in the process of having her third child, daughter Sailor Lee, with her fourth husband, Peter Cook. In a 1998 interview with Good Housekeeping, she said the following:
"After the first miscarriage, I tried to take the attitude that it was my body's way of telling me that this pregnancy wasn't meant to be, and that it was better for everybody. But after the second one, it was really devastating. Four months is a lot of living with that little life in you — thinking about it, eating right for it, nurturing it and all of a sudden, it dies. After the second one, we decided to try in vitro, because both Peter and I felt we couldn't handle another failure."
Jaime King was very real with fans when she took to Instagram to share her struggles before and after the birth of her son James. In the post, which has since been taken down, King wrote:
"For all the struggling women & moms out there that think they are alone – This is the truth about conceiving my son and struggles after. 8 yrs of pain and undiagnosed PCOS & Endometriosis. 9 doctors until Dr. Randy Harris diagnosed me & saved my life from a severe ectopic, 5 miscarriages, 5 rounds of IVF, 26 IUI's, most with no outcome, 4½ years of trying to conceive, 26 hours of brutal labor, early delivery b/c of sudden preeclampsia, tearing and tearing after the stitches were in once I was home, milk supply issues, painful mastitis, uncontrollable crying while breast feeding, worked until the day before I [gave] birth and went back after 6 weeks after because I was afraid of letting others down."
Kim Fields was overjoyed to be pregnant for the second time after welcoming Sebastian with her husband, Christopher. When she announced that she was having another boy, Fields revealed to People:
"It was planned. We've actually been trying for a couple years. We had gotten pregnant twice and [miscarried]. Chris and I were very blessed to really have one another, to have our family and friends and our God to really get us through that."
Giuliana Rancic went through a four-year infertility struggle before she became the proud mother of Edward Duke via surrogacy. Nothing could have prepared her for being told that she was unable to have kids naturally, she told Health magazine in a 2012 interview, per CNN:
"I always say how I chased my career instead of chasing guys. And everybody was patting me on the back. No one ever told me, 'Oh, by the way, your eggs change when you reach a certain age.' I didn't think 35 was old! So when the doctor said, 'It's not as easy as you thought it would be,' it was a real blow. Because I felt so young. I mean, this is a girl who was running six miles a day, and eating healthy, so how can you tell me that I'm not healthy in that department?"