By: Frank Golden
Last week Ellen Pompeo announced the birth of her third child with husband Chris Ivery. Pompeo gave birth to her first child, while her second was born via surrogate. It is unknown how her third, Eli Christopher, joined the family but it could likely be via surrogate.
Pompeo spoke on Jimmy Kimmel Live! about her surrogacy journey saying, “This is an incredible thing to do with your life, to give the gift of carrying someone’s child. I am forever grateful and feel very blessed and grateful to her.”
Ellen’s news and her speaking out about her journey made me think about the amount of celebrities who have also spoken about their own surrogacy or IVF journeys. Some celebrities who have had a child via surrogate include Neil Patrick Harris, Elton John, Tyra Banks, Jimmy Fallon, Giuliana and Bill Rancic, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Nicole Kidman. Recently, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, Maria Menounos, Celine Dion, and Real Housewives Meghan King Edmonds have been vocal about the success and disappointment of their IVF treatments. Olivia Munn has also been open about freezing her eggs, while Kim Kardashian was in the process of having her eggs frozen when she became pregnant with North West.
I’m sure there are many more celebrities who have struggled with pregnancy and infertility. It can be embarrassing and difficult to admit that you cannot conceive a child or carry one on your own. I applaud these celebrities who are being open about their struggles and proving that they are just like everyone else. I think it is great that these public figures are using their voice for something bigger than themselves. People look up to them and by sharing their stories they are helping society understand that IVF and surrogacy are acceptable ways to start a family.
Watching celebrities share their journey reminds me of when celebrities started coming out as homosexual. They helped shape the face of gay marriage. They were a part of the change and the creation of more acceptance for the LGBT community. The same can be said with infertility. They are shaping the social acceptance of IVF and surrogacy.
Celebrities are proving that IVF and surrogacy is a real option and is not as taboo as some would think. The number of couples and individuals, celebrity or not, struggling with infertility are ever increasing. We are constantly seeing people turn to assisted reproductive technology (ART) to help create their families. The growing number proves that there is nothing wrong with choosing this option. Everyone deserves a family, it shouldn’t matter how you create yours.
I am proud to be on the Board of Directors for Path2Parenthood, a non-profit dedicated to educational outreach for family building, which regularly honors celebrities that are a champion for using ART as means to create a family. In the past, they have honored Elton John and most recently, celebrity couple Ioan Gruffudd and Alice Evans at their annual gala.
I believe celebrities that are shedding some light on their own infertility situation are giving hope to the younger generation. Now, a little girl who was told she can never have children, or even a young man afraid to come out, can know that there are more options. They will know that they too have the potential to become a mother or father someday. It’s a beautiful thing.