There are few stories that spread quicker in the news than the announcement of a baby being born to a popular celebrity – and with female superstars in the spotlight more than ever in 2016, it’s become a regular pop-culture tradition that many of us happily subscribe to.
However, many famous women seem to be having children later into their 40s. Their seemingly ‘simple’ success in conceiving a healthy baby is a secret both their reps and the media don’t really like talking about: fertility treatment with donor eggs.
Before we continue it’s important to state that this blog isn’t about right and wrong, but about spreading awareness so that both impressionable young women and celebrities don’t get the wrong idea about the benefits of egg donation for both donor and recipient.
The fact that Hollywood is reluctant to talk about the mechanism behind pregnancy in later life can have negative knock on effects to society as a whole. For the impressionable young women in society this can give off a false impression that conceiving in your 40s is simple and easy – which isn’t the case at all.
In fact, the likelihood of infertility rises from about 15% to 32% from the age of 35 to 40, and not only do the chances of infertility rise as time goes on, but egg quality decreases as well increasing the chance for critical difficulties to occur during the pregnancy.
Unfortunately, the scary stats aren’t so easy to ignore here, so whilst our idols might live luxuriously and look better than average, their fertility is no different from the rest of ours.
In fact, the chance of having a healthy baby with your own eggs aged 43 is 6%, which is dismally low. Yet still, celebrities emerge to the public with their ‘miracle’ babies and there’s not a single mention of egg donors or egg donation in sight.
At the London Egg Bank, we do our best to spread awareness about the courage of egg donors – who give with no intention of personal praise, but just for the ability to help all those experiencing the woes of infertility a chance at having the gift of family.
The absence of awareness for the process and impacts of egg donation in the public eye is no great surprise to us at the London Egg Bank, or to the fertility industry in general – especially given that one’s fertility is a personal thing. But being open about using an egg donor is important for acknowledging the altruistic effort behind your conception and using your status as a way to inspire your fans whilst spreading awareness for women’s fertility and the process that makes families possible for many women faced with infertility or the prospect of not being able to have children.
Tracey Sainsbury is a senior fertility counsellor at the London Women’s Clinic – one of the UK’s leading fertility clinics and a partner of the London Egg Bank. Having counselled couples and single women undergoing fertility treatment, Tracey says, “Seeking treatment can often invalidate a woman’s fantasy of ‘the perfect conception’” says Tracey, “Many women who can’t have children naturally due to varying degrees of infertility can feel as though they’ve failed in their success as a woman”.
Considering the emotions tied to this issue – and with infertility already being an isolating private matter – it’s understandable that people who have a large presence in the public eye (and are subjected to greater criticism than the average person) would shy from talking about difficulties surrounding their pregnancy and the assisted success behind their conception.
But the thing we want to really shout about are our egg donors and egg donation in general. Though it might not seem like this procedure is well represented in the public eye, the difference it can make to someone else’s life is enormous – and you could be responsible for that positive impact.
Whilst Hollywood continues to have miracle successes, there are many infertile couples out there who are trying their hardest and don’t have much hope. They might not be famous, but their desire for children is just as great. In the cruel isolation that is infertility, it is the altruism of a donor that can give hope to the causes of struggling women and a voice to a movement that’s greater than both the donor and the recipient.
If you’re that kind of person, then talk to us – because we want to get to know you.