For some people, getting pregnant doesn’t take a lot of planning or effort. But that isn’t the case for everyone. For some people, becoming a parent isn’t always easy. In fact, 12.3% of women between 15 and 44 will have difficulties getting pregnant or carrying a baby to term. And of those women, 11.3% will turn to clinical help and surrogacy to help overcome their struggles.
While these issues are common, it can sometimes feel like a secret that needs to be hidden from the rest of the world. Thankfully, the topic is no longer as taboo as it once was, partially because of wonderful A-list celebs who have opened up and shared the stories of their struggles.
Sure, people still shouldn’t pry into someone’s reproductive health, but as more and more celebrities speak out about their personal struggles, these problems become a topic that more people are comfortable talking about.
From Beyoncé and Jaime King to Kate Walsh and Gordon Ramsay, here are 15 celebrities who struggled to get pregnant—and 5 celebrities who are still trying to get pregnant.
20 Kate Walsh's Early End
For Kate Walsh, the dream of “having it all” was just that, a dream. The 50-year-old Grey’s Anatomy alum opened up about her struggles with starting a family in 2015 while speaking with Maria Menounos. A diagnosis of early menopause put an end to Walsh’s plans to become a mother.
"My older sister called and was like 'By the way, you should go and get yourself checked because I’m going through menopause early,'" Walsh recalled. "And I’m like, 'You’re just scaring me.' And then yeah, sure enough, I went and they were like 'You have one egg and there’s a hairline fracture. So enjoy it.'"
After her diagnosis, Walsh leaned into her new life trajectory and embraced the opportunities that come to her.
19 Three Years Later, Gabrielle Union Still Struggles
In her 2017 book, We’re Going to Need More Wine, actress Gabrielle Union revealed that she and husband Dwayne Wade have struggled deeply with fertility.
“I have had eight or nine miscarriages,” Union shared. “For three years, my body has been a prisoner of trying to get pregnant—I’ve either been about to go into an IVF cycle, in the middle of an IVF cycle, or coming out of an IVF cycle.”
It wasn’t until Union became to stepmom to Wade’s nephew Dahveon Morris, 16, and sons from a previous marriage Zaire, 15, and Zion, 10, that she realized how much she wanted to become a mother.
Despite the struggle, Union and Wade have not given up hope. They are still trying to conceive and are looking forward to the day they meet their child.
18 Chrissy Teigen Had To Wait And Wait
Maybe one of the most outspoken celebrities on fertility issues, Chrissy Teigen has been extremely open about her struggle to start a family with John Legend. “John and I were having trouble. We would have had kids five, six years ago if it had happened," Teigen said on the talk show FABLife. "But my gosh, it's been a process.”
Teigen shared that she and Legend were expecting their first child in 2015. Before her daughter Luna arrived in 2016, Teigen told the world that the couple chose to have a girl during the IVF process.
"I've made this decision," Teigen told People. "Not only am I having a girl, but I picked the girl from her little embryo. I picked her and was like, 'Let's put in the girl.'"
Now expecting a boy, Teigen is due June 2018!
17 Hugh Jackman Adopted Instead
Actor Hugh Jackman and wife Deborra-Lee Furness are the proud adoptive parents of Oscar, 17 and Ava, 12. While the couple always knew that adoption would be part of their plan, they didn’t know they would face biological struggles when trying to conceive.
"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,” Jackman told Today. “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."
The Wolverine star is one of few male celebrities that has shared their fertility struggles with the world, making it a little easier for more people to follow in his footsteps.
16 Loni Love's Love For Lost Baby
Comedian, actress and host of The Real talk show, Loni Love shared with her co-hosts that at in her 20s she found out she was pregnant. After taking 14 pregnancy tests and visiting a doctor, Love began to come to terms with her pregnancy. “Sure enough, as soon as I was OK with [the pregnancy], about 8 weeks, I miscarried.”
The miscarriage was a traumatic experience for Love. After that, Love made the choice to never have children.
"I just never wanted that feeling again, because I was already afraid,” she told People of her decision to never have children. "I had so much love for that baby. That’s why I don’t take it lightly. After that, I made sure I would never get pregnant again, because I didn’t want to go through that."
15 Two Strikes And Kim's Out
Mother of three, Kim Kardashian West was never shy about the difficulties of her first two pregnancies. She suffered from pre-eclampsia and had to deliver her daughter North 6 weeks early.
With their second pregnancy, the couple struggled to conceive due to the complications from their first pregnancy. They finally welcomed their second child, a son named Saint, in 2015.
The complications from both pregnancies proved to be too much when trying for baby #3. They turned to a surrogate. “Knowing that I was able to carry my first two babies and not, you know, my baby now, it's hard for me,” Kardashian West said on ET. “So, it's definitely a harder experience than I anticipated just in the control area."
They welcomed their second daughter, Chicago West, in January 2018.
14 Beyoncé's Loss Followed By Success
Queen Bey herself opened up to the world about her struggle with fertility. In her 2013 BBC One documentary, Life is But a Dream, Beyoncé shared that she miscarried her first pregnancy.
Beyoncé and Jay Z kept their pregnancy with daughter Blu Ivy a secret for so long because of their earlier struggles. And while the couple has never addressed the rumours, many people suspect that the couple conceived Blue Ivy through in vitro fertilization. Those rumours were reignited when the couple announced they were expecting twins. Twins are extremely common when using IVF—in fact, 40% of all IVF pregnancies in the US result in twins.
But the private couple plays it close to the chest and we probably will never know for sure if IVF played a role in building their family.
13 Emma Thompson Felt The Loss
After the birth of their daughter Gaia via IVF in 1999, Emma Thompson and Greg Wise knew they wanted a sibling for their daughter. They began the journey to try to have a second child and turned to IVF. Sadly, their attempts to conceive with IVF were unsuccessful.
This left Thompson with feelings of failure and guilt which lead her becoming depressed.
"After that, we tried to have another child, it didn’t work, and I went into a deep clinical depression," she says. "It’s only now that I no longer count other people’s children or judge myself harshly for not providing my daughter with a sibling."
In 2003, the couple unofficially adopted Tindyebwa Agaba, a 16-year-old Rwandan orphan. After inviting him to Christmas at their home, “he became a sort of permanent fixture, came on holiday to Scotland with us, became part of the family,” said Thompson.
12 Gwen Stefani Got Her Wish
While Gwen Stefani is now the mom of three sons, in 2010 Stefani spoke out about her struggles to conceive baby #3.
"I really, really, really wanted one about two years ago," she told Marie Claire. "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."
The couple has never confirmed if they attempted IVF or other fertility treatments. Instead, they were happy with their family of four. But in 2014, the couple found themselves with the third child they had been dreaming of. Apollo was born in February 2014.
Stefani and her now ex-husband, Gavin Rossdale are now the parents of Kingston, Zuma and Apollo.
11 Nicole Kidman's Miracle Baby
Oscar-winning actress, Nicole Kidman, shared that while being a mother has been her life’s greatest joy, the road to get there wasn’t always easy.
Kidman adopted two children, Connor, 23 and Isabella, 25, with ex Tom Cruise. When Kidman married Keith Urban in 2006, they decided to grow their family,
“I had tried and failed and failed and failed. Not to be too detailed, but 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,” Nicole told Who magazine in 2012.
When their first daughter, Sunday, was born in 2008, Kidman called it the “miracle of my life”. The couple turned to a surrogate to carry their second daughter, Faith, born in 2010.
10 Gordon Ramsay's Male Trouble
It isn’t often that a male celebrity opens up about fertility issues. Thank god for Gordon Ramsay.
In 2006, Ramsay and his wife Tana Ramsay opened up about their struggles to conceive their first child. The father-of-four suffers from low sperm count and Tana suffers from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
"I suffer from polycystic ovaries and Gordon has a low sperm count which is probably down to the kitchen—the hours, the stress, the heat," Tana told the Daily Mail.
They turned to in vitro fertilization, and in 1998 their first daughter, Megan, was born. They welcomed twins Holly and Jack 18 months later in 2000, also with the help of IVF.
In 2002, their fourth child, Matilda, was the couple’s miracle baby. She was their first child who was conceived naturally.
9 Jaime King Tried Forever
Actress and model Jaime King told the world about her struggle with fertility after the birth of her first son James Knight in 2013.
Over the course of seven years, King suffered from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis and five miscarriages before finally becoming pregnant.
“Nobody knew how long it took me to get pregnant: that for seven years I had so many losses, I'd been trying for so long and I was in so much pain. I felt like a part of me was broken,” King told Fit Pregnancy. “Somewhere in our subconscious when someone tells you, ‘Oh, you might not be able to do that’, you feel like it's the one thing that you have that's this gift, that makes you a woman, and there's something wrong with you.”
In 2015, King welcomed her second son Leo Thames and appointed BFF Taylor Swift as Leo’s godmother.
8 Tyra Banks's Late Realization
Supermodel, television host, writer and entrepreneur, Tyra Banks, realized at 40 that there was something missing from her life. She wanted to be a mother.
“I’ve had some not happy moments with that, very traumatic moments,” Banks told People. “It’s difficult as you get older. It’s not something that can just happen.”
In 2016, after trying to get pregnant, Banks and her then partner Erik Asla welcomed their son York to the world. It wasn’t until the arrival or their son that Banks shared that York was brought into the world via a surrogate.
“We are so excited for our new baby boy bundle of joy. The journey to now has not been an easy process, as I've shared before. But there was a beautiful bright light at the end of the tunnel for me and his father, Erik," Banks said.
7 Jimmy Fallon's Two Secret Surrogacies
Late-night host Jimmy Fallon and wife Nancy Juvonen were trying to start their family for five long years. The couple turned to fertility experts and treatments before turning to surrogacy, Their first daughter Winnie was born via surrogate in 2013.
"We've tried a bunch of things," he explained on TODAY in 2013. "Anyone who's tried will know, it's just awful."
The couple kept the pregnancy a secret until Winnie was born. “We tried before, we’ve told people, and then it didn’t happen, and it’s just really depressing. It’s just really hard.”
Fallon and Juvonen welcomed their second daughter, Frances, in 2014 via surrogate. True to their style, the couple kept the news to themselves until Frances made her official debut.
6 A Lot Of Work For Celine Dion
Canadian songstress and treasure, Celine Dion, turned to IVF to help her conceive all three of her children.
It only took one round of IVF for Dion to conceive her first child, Rene-Charles, who was born in 2001 when the singer was 33.
When Dion decide to try again, it wasn’t as easy. It took six rounds of IVF and one tragic miscarriage but Dion was not going to give up.
“I was going to try until the doctor would say to me, ‘You cannot try anymore,'” she said. Her persistence paid off when she became pregnant with triplets. Dion suffered a miscarriage of one of her triplets in her third month of pregnancy. In 2010 at 43, Dion gave birth to healthy twin boys, Eddy and Nelson.
5 Giuliana Rancic
After surviving breast cancer, TV-personality Giuliana Rancic and her husband Bill struggled to get pregnant. They turned to a surrogate and in 2012, they welcomed their son Duke.
The couple looked forward to growing their family and enlisted the help of their surrogate again. With three embryos left, their surrogate was implanted with two embryos. She miscarried a few weeks later. In 2015, the couple learned that their surrogate, who was pregnant with their last embryo, miscarried again.
“It was painful,” Rancic told People. “We were so optimistic with this last embryo. We thought, ‘This is definitely going to work. This is our last shot.’ It was the toughest blow. It was a really hard time.”
Rancic hasn’t given up hope of expanding her family. “I think adoption is a beautiful gift you’re giving each other.”
4 Elizabeth Banks's Broken Belly
Actress Elizabeth Banks spent years trying to get pregnant. It wasn’t until she gave birth that she opened up. When her son Felix was born in 2011 via surrogate, Banks shared her fertility journey with the world.
"The one true hurdle I've faced in life is that I have a broken belly,” Banks wrote on her blog. “After years of trying to get pregnant, exploring the range of fertility treatments, all unsuccessful, our journey led us to gestational surrogacy: we make a 'baby cake' and bake it in another woman's 'oven.’”
She later told Lucky that embryos were unable to implant in her womb, making surrogacy the ideal solution for her and husband Max Handelman.
In 2012, the couple welcomed their second son, Magnus Mitchell Handelman.
“Like Felix, Magnus was born via gestational surrogate,” explained Banks. “This experience has exceeded all expectations, taught us a great deal about generosity and gratitude, and established a relationship that will last a lifetime.”
3 Devastation Over And Over For Angela Bassett
Actors Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance married in 1997 and embarked on a long road to start their family.
“I was devastated when it didn’t happen [again and again]. I had to remain hopeful and resilient and, ‘Okay, let’s do it again,’” Bassett told Oprah.
It wasn’t until a friend told them about their pregnancy via surrogate that Bassett and Vance realized there were options they had yet to explore. “She began to tell me about the idea of surrogacy. The more we learned about it, the more we began to think that perhaps this was an answer for us.”
The couple welcomed fraternal twins Bronwyn Golden and Slater Josiah in 2006, via surrogate.
“Just standing there together, holding each other with the realization that this is the moment that we’ve been working toward, praying for…[it’s a dream come true].”
2 Iman's Version Of A Miracle
Supermodel Iman and the late rockstar, David Bowie, opened up about their fertility struggles after the birth of their daughter Alexandria ‘Lexi’ Zahra Jones, in 2000.
Iman had turned to IVF before Lexi was conceived naturally.
"People talk about the miracle of birth. No. There’s the miracle of conception,” Iman told Parade. “I did IVF, but nothing happened. So I began to think of adoption and then I got pregnant. It was definitely a miracle."
There might have been one other person to thank for Iman’s pregnancy, fellow model Christie Brinkley.
“We were at this shoot for American Vogue,” says Iman. “Christie walked in. She had her baby. So, I said, ‘There is an African proverb that says that if you carry another woman’s child for a day, you’ll get pregnant.’ And she said, ‘Here!’ So, I say it took two blondes to get me pregnant: Christie and David. It is a miracle.”
1 Brooke Shields Saw Pregnancy Everywhere
Before even beginning her journey to become pregnant, Brooke Shields underwent surgery to remove precancerous cells on her cervix. This was the start of her fertility struggle as the surgery left scarring that affected her ability to become pregnant.
For two years before conceiving, Brooke Shields and husband Chris Henchy underwent rounds of IVF, hormone shots, artificial insemination and miscarriages.
"Everyone around me was getting pregnant. I was starting to feel bitter. Maybe I really wasn't meant to have kids," Shields wrote in her memoir. "Everywhere you look, women are pregnant, and every song on the radio seems like it's all about being pregnant! It becomes a very frustrating, frightening place."
Shields and Henchy’s first daughter, Rowan, was born in 2003 and their second daughter, Grier, completed their family in 2006.
Sources: ABC News, People, Essence, Redbook, Parents, Babycenter, TODAY, Fit Pregnancy, Elite Daily, ET, Daily Mail, E! Online, Variety, Daily Telegraph, Madame Noire, The Northern Echo, InStyle, AOL, Instagram, Pinterest, Hollywood Life, Today’s Parent, Facebook, The Zoe Report.