In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is a technique available to help people with fertility problems have a baby.
Being a parent isn’t easy – and sometimes becoming one isn’t either. Between fertility issues (like endometriosis, PCOS or a low sperm count), being an older parent-to-be and same sex relationships to name a few, conceiving a child isn’t always straight forward. Thankfully, there are now plenty of ways you can welcome a child with the help of the advancements in medicine. One such avenue is in vitro fertilisation, which more and more prospective parents are turning to in the hopes of expanding their family.
In vitro fertilisation, more commonly known as IVF, is “one of several techniques available to help people with fertility problems have a baby,” explains the NHS website. “During IVF, an egg is removed from the woman’s ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory. The fertilised egg, called an embryo, is then returned to the woman’s womb to grow and develop. It can be carried out using your eggs and your partner’s sperm, or eggs and sperm from donors.”
In the UK, IVF is available for women under the age of 43 who have been trying to get pregnant through regular, unprotected sex for two years. “The success rate of IVF depends on the age of the woman having treatment, as well as the cause of the infertility (if it’s known),” the NHS website notes, adding that: “IVF doesn’t always result in pregnancy.”
Whilst IVF isn’t always successful – and with the NHS also pointing out that this can be “both physically and emotionally demanding” – more and more people are opening up about their experience with the fertility treatment which, we’re sure you’ll agree, can help prospective parents feel a lot less alone in the process.
So, with that in mind, we decided to round up all of the celebrities and famous faces who have undergone, or have spoken out about having, IVF (and their fertility struggles along the way).
Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker
Kravis have made no secret of their desire to have a baby together and on a recent episode of The Kardashians, Kourtney gave fans an update on their IVF journey.
“We are super excited because it’s the first time we have made it to an egg retrieval in six months of doing fertility treatments,” she said. Describing the moment as a “blessing” she went on to add that “the last two times we tried, we weren’t able to get to this phase.”
Courteney Cox and David Arquette
Courteney Cox was infamously pregnant during the final season of Friends, undergoing IVF to conceive a daughter with her now ex-husband David, named Coco Arquette.
“I actually have done in vitro,” she told ABC News. “It’s a wonderful thing that people can do in this day and age. And I’m lucky enough to be able to afford to do it. But I think it’s great. And I will do it again.”
In an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Khloé opened up about going through IVF with then partner Tristan Thompson after struggling with her first pregnancy.
“I almost miscarried with True in the beginning,” she told sister, Kim Kardashian. “All I’m trying to do is bring more love into my life and into my family and I seem to be running into more and more roadblocks and it’s all really hard for me to digest.”
Michelle and Barack Obama
Former First Lady Michelle revealed in her 2018 memoir, Becoming, that she and husband Barack had conceived their two daughters, Sasha and Malia, via IVF.
Noting that at about 34 years old she became aware that the “biological clock is real” and that “egg production is limited”, she made the decision to undergo IVF.
Love Actually icon Emma and her partner Greg Wise opened up about their experience with IVF, describing it as “brutal”.
“We tried IVF a few times after having [Gaia, their first child] and it didn’t work,” Greg reportedly told the Daily Mail. “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.”
Former supermodel Tyra welcomed her first child via IVF with then-partner Erik Asla in 2016. Speaking about her IVF journey, Tyra told People: “When I turned 40, the one thing I was not happy about is that I did not have kids. I’m like, ‘Damn, the clock is ticking’.”
She went on, “I’ve had some not happy moments with that [IVF], very traumatic moments. It’s difficult as you get older. It’s not something that can just happen.”
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend
Initially keeping details of their fertility issues private, Chrissy and John spoke out on their experience after facing difficult questions about when they’d have a child. “It’s a sweet question. It comes from a good place, but sometimes you never know what the person [is going through],” she told E! News. “What you really want to say [is], ‘I’m trying and I can’t’.”
She went on: “I wanted to talk about it for so long. It didn’t feel right to ever tweet, ‘Ugh, doing my IVF shots again’.”
Before having her uterus removed due to endometriosis complications, comedian slash actor Amy and her husband underwent IVF in the hopes of giving their son a sibling.
“I’m a week into IVF and feeling really run down and emotional. If anyone went through it and if you have any advice or wouldn’t mind sharing your experience with me please do,” she wrote in an Instagram post in 2020. “We are freezing my eggs and figuring out what to do to give Gene a sibling.”
Girls star Lena revealed to Harper’s that after undergoing IVF, sadly no viable eggs were retrieved. “I learned that none of my eggs were viable on Memorial Day, in the midst of a global pandemic,” she wrote in a personal essay.
Later speaking to People, she said: “IVF destroyed my body — as a woman who tends towards rampant endometriosis, filling my body with oestrogen… and because of what my body has been through, subjecting it to such excruciating pain, only to come to the end and learn those eggs were not viable after working so hard through illness and discomfort and going through anxiety and depression, it is just clearly not something I can ever repeat.”
Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness
Before adopting their two children, Hugh and Deborra-Lee opted for IVF in the hopes of welcoming a biological child, although sadly both attempts ended in miscarriage.
“While you’re going through IVF and get pregnant, every day [the feeling is], ‘We’re still holding! We’re still holding…!'” the Wolverine actor told Good Housekeeping. “You know how precarious it is and how much she’s been through to get there. And [miscarriage] is a massive letdown. It’s really difficult.”
After undergoing six rounds of IVF, singing sensation Celine finally welcomed twin boys in 2010. Before that, she opened up about her experience with Oprah, telling her: “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’.”
She went on, “So, we didn’t want to do this thing. But we did [have] a miscarriage. We tried four times to have a child. We’re still trying. We’re on the fifth try. And I tell you, if five is my lucky number, this fifth try has got to come in.”