Something as natural as having a baby can often be more difficult than it seems. Fertility problems apply across the board, among us ‘normal’ citizens and among celebrities equally. But fertility treatments have become more and more advanced, and those with the means to invest in these expensive treatments often have the opportunity to conceive when traditional methods fail.
Figures show that in the western world, women are waiting longer to have children. And of course, the later in life you begin trying to conceive, the harder it can be. Doctors were brutally honest with E! star Giuliana Rancic when they told her that at 35, her eggs were “old”.
And for celebs, there’s the added spotlight factor. What so many men and women suffer in relative privacy becomes tabloid fodder if you are a celebrity. Tabloids are incessantly on the lookout for “baby bumps” and the pressure can be unrelenting. Recent tabloid headlines touting Angelina Jolie’s “miracle baby” at the advanced age of 38 says it all, while paps seem to be on 24/7 watch for Jennifer Aniston to sport her bump.
Infertility can be caused by something specific, like PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) which affects a woman’s ability to ovulate, for which there are specific treatments and options. But many, mostly older, women suffer from the vaguely labeled “unexplained fertility” (no cause can be pinpointed) or “secondary infertility” (meaning that they have had one or more children but cannot conceive again).
Doctors tag the conditions and try a range of treatments to see what works. Typically, doctors start with hormone therapy (things like Clomid, which causes superovulation) and move up the cycle until they reach IVF (Invitro Fertilization) in which the egg is fertilized in a test tube and then implanted in the womb. Several eggs can be implanted and so the rate of multiple births via IVF can be high.
And the cost of pursuing that elusive baby? Hormone therapy can run several thousand a month and IVF around $13,000 a try. Let’s say a couple goes through hormone therapy, then four courses of IVF and finally turn to a surrogate (who gets upward of $20,000 in addition to medical expenses), the price tag can rapidly approach $100,000.
Some celebrities, notably Hugh Jackman, Kirstie Alley and Jamie Lee Curtis, have abandoned expensive and frustrating treatment and turned to adoption. Some, like Julia Roberts, strenuously deny the rumours that they underwent fertility treatment. Older celebrities like Cheryl Tiegs and Sarah Jessica Parker have turned to surrogates.
Most celebrities are honest about the struggle and heartbreak of infertility, and the following are 10 celeb couples who stayed the course and had the family they longed for, one way or another.
10. Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness: Adoption
The Aussie star of X-Men: Days of Future Past and his wife Deb went through several unsuccessful IVF attempts before adopting Oscar and Ava. He opened up about the heartbreak and grief that miscarriages bring, saying “There’s grieving you have to go through”. But when Oscar came into their lives, “all the heartache melted away.” The Wolverine star is a famously doting father.