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Elisabeth Röhm’s Blog: Sharing My IVF Secret

03/10/2011 at 09:00 AM ET
Adam Hendershot

Elisabeth Röhm, best known for her role as Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order, has a busy 2011 ahead of her.

The actress, 37, can be seen on the big screen in the upcoming films Chlorine, Transit and Abduction, and can be found online on Facebook or @ElisabethRohm on Twitter.

In her latest blog, Röhm — who is mom to 2½-year-old daughter Easton August with fiancé Ron Anthony — opens up for the first time about undergoing fertility treatments to conceive her little girl.

 

There are certain experiences that almost every woman looks forward to as a right of passage. Pregnancy is one of them. To me, it’s as big as death, and it seems like an impossible situation when you discover that you will not give birth in your lifetime — or if you do, it will be after extensive medical assistance and cost a small fortune.

It is devastating when you simply can’t do it the natural way and your body can’t function as you believed that it would during your whole young adult life.

I never thought I’d come out and talk about my experience with in vitro fertilization (IVF). It’s not that I’m shy or hugely private — it mainly comes from the subject being socially taboo and very personal. As a woman who has had to receive assistance to be able to carry a child and deliver a healthy baby girl, I am grateful that I had the right to make a choice for my family and regarding my own body.

On the other hand, some of my quiet about my experience has also come from the burden of sadness and frustration. Of course, my closest inner circle knows about my choice to do IVF, and whenever I meet a woman who is struggling and lost in her pursuit of a natural pregnancy, I am very forthcoming. It’s mutually soothing to share this personal experience. We all need comfort and support when we are experiencing personal challenges.

Still, it never seemed like a subject I wanted to be public knowledge. Was I ashamed or embarrassed by my choices, and therefore, unwilling to be revealing? I don’t know. I just know that back then, I had decided that some parts of life are best left private and that was going to be one of them.

I was very lucky that I only had to attempt IVF twice. Many women have to go through the process plenty more times than that, especially if they want more than one child. It’s hard on your body and your mind. I am profoundly blessed that the result of all that manipulation in my body was my healthy and vibrant daughter, Easton.

Let me just say that the process of the discovery that I would be unable to get pregnant naturally was a huge heartbreak. I was at the doctor just doing the run of the mill check-up when we decided to do some more extensive testing. The results were disappointing, to say the least. My follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels were through the roof and it looked as if I might be going into early menopause. This is not what a 34-year-old woman wants to hear when she thinks time is still on her side.

As we began to explore my condition, it became clear that it was likely “now or never.”  I had always longed to be a mother, way before I should have been thinking about it at all. No, not in that Juno sense, but more that I had really looked forward to being a parent that I would be proud of later in life. I had spent a lot of time thinking about parenting as a whole based upon my tumultuous childhood. In a sense, I had studied what I thought was good, right and healthy in parenting. It had been a long dream to finally one day be a mother myself.

Things were not turning out as I’d planned! If you’d have asked me 10 years prior what I thought of IVF, surrogacy or anything other than the God-given natural way, I might have condemned it out of ignorance. How quickly I had to acknowledge every individual’s right to choose what’s best for them and their family. Ron and I decided to start the long trek of IVF.

The truth is that most people, especially me, take for granted how easily our bodies function when they are healthy. Now all of these years later, I have many friends who have had children in an unconventional way. The subject has become more mainstream and people are more open about it. From friends who simply couldn’t hold pregnancies, to gay couples that have wanted to extend their family, to people like me, who simply were hormonally unable to conceive — there are a lot of us.

Nothing about our journey was easy or predictable. Instead, it was a roller coaster of emotions and physical challenges. What I have come to know through the journey is that everyone has the right to receive medical assistance. We have the right to — although we can’t conceive in a natural way — have sweet children and extend our families into big, happy and healthy clans.

Over the last few months I have become aware of Nicole Kidman‘s willingness to share her story and I have found that to be healing. It came as a surprise to me that I needed healing. I thought I was just fine on the subject as a whole. But I found the honesty and tenderness about her experience to be a gift to me and to society.

I understand the need and desire to have a private life. Over these last three years I have felt very comfortable with not sharing my own unconventional happy ending. However, I also recognize the power in being willing to speak the truth for others. I was grateful to Nicole when I watched her in an interview from Australia. I was grateful to her for trying to set us free from the judgement that can be laid upon women who cannot conceive naturally. Also, for helping me to recognize the judgements I had put upon myself. It’s not easy to be that woman and to feel a bit broken in silence.

As a witness to my own journey, I hope I can share a little reprieve and compassion with any person who is struggling with the decision to have a family in an unconventional way and to receive the support to do so. If you have to decide to have your child through IVF or surrogacy, or are going through it now after making the choice, I hope you know that there is nothing to be ashamed of at all. I acknowledge your strength in deciding that you have the right to parent.

It was hard for me to not feel conflicted about my decision, but in the end, I have my beautiful daughter and I thank God every day for the medical advancements that allowed me the choice to be the mother I had dreamt of being. Every family that has a child is blessed and every woman or man who deeply and lovingly wants to parent should have the right to do so.

– Elisabeth Röhm

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Showing 112 comments

Kelly on

I think its great she is sharing…I wish more women would share their “fertility” experiences…and also pregnancy losses too…

KT on

Beautiful! Wonderful!

Valerie on

Thank you for sharing Elisabeth. As a fellow high FSH woman I am thrilled to know I’m not alone. I hope your blog is as healing for you as it has been for other people. Thank you for sharing your story. I wish others would.

annie on

And every couple/individual who chooses not to have children should also be supported.

I’m glad that Ms. Rohm came to a level of comfort with her decision but I find it very sad that anyone would carry so much guilt for the decision they make to have or not have a child.

Kelsey on

As someone who has been through my fair share of miscarriages and failed IVF cycles, I truly appreciate your story! Third time was a charm for us…Madeline is now 3 and we’re trying for #2. Thank you for speaking out about your struggles! Very encouraging!

SJ on

Thank you for sharing! I am 34 and also realizing I am limited in ways I didn’t think I’d ever have to think about. I’ve been diagnosed with endometrial polyps that, while they can be removed, it won’t be a guarantee that pregnancy will come easily once they’re gone. And it means another surgery in addition to one I’ve already had that found nothing wrong with me.

I like to be open with others about my fertility issues because the more I talk about it, the more others start to pipe up and say, “Me, too!” Maybe not the same exact situations, but the same feeling of wanting to be a parent and being frustrated, scared, hopeless and even sometimes feeling judged by others. It IS healing to talk about it so thank you for sharing your story!

Lindsay on

I commend her for telling her story. I too am pregnant now due to IUI. I am lucky to be pregnant and like sharing my story with others who are struggling. It has been a long hard road but we are getting our miracle.

EMM on

I think it’s wonderful that she is sharing her story regarding infertility and IVF. After having gone through it myself, I feel that it really is the most NOT talked about subject. There are so many women who struggle with it and it’s so helpful to feel like we aren’t alone during that time.

Cassie on

I’m going through the fertility process, too. Its been a long, difficult process that has been both physically and emotionally draining.

Our next step is IVF, too. I hope we are able to have our little miracle someday soon. Congrats to her!

Robie on

Its great she is talking about it but alol that matters in the end is the end result she has a baby not eveyone gets that joy unfortunately I never did.

Twin Mom on

Thank you for sharing your story. I also underwent IVF. My first child was conceived during my first attempt. He is now 6. I also have 2 year old twins a result of IVF. I’m forever grateful to the doctors and nurses that helped us realize our dream of becoming parents and for the fact that this option, although expensive, was available to us.

Lisa on

Thank-you for sharing such a personal story and the miracle result of Easton… I too am going through a similar journey – and am going to attempt our first try at IVF. It really does help to read that I’m not alone in dealing with something like this.

Marie on

Yes, thanks for sharing this heartfelt story, Elisabeth. You’re right: having a child is a right. But being able to afford IVF and other fertility treatments is not and that fact continues to be an unfair factor for many would-be parents. It costs thousands of doctors for fertility tests and medications. Sadly, the possibility of a baby will continue to remain out of reach for many low-moderate income couples until the industry offers affordable options.

Anonymous on

Thank you for sharing your story. As someone who is infertile it makes the experience easier to take when celebrities come forward and share their stories. It is a very taboo subject and makes the general public very uncomfortable which is unfortunate because it adds to the burden that infertile couples already feel. You will never understand the emotions that go with infertility unless you experience it.

Congratulations on your daughter – she is gorgeous!

Jennifer on

Thank you for sharing! I had a hard time conceiving my daughter, it took us 6 years to conceive and we did every test possible and numerous tears! After several prescriptions (50g, 100g & 150g) of Clomid (hormones) I became pregnant and now I have a beautiful 2 1/2 year old daughter, she is my little princess! So to all the women out there that want children, be strong! I know what it’s like!

Merry Armentrout on

As the Director of Communications for The American Fertility Association, I’m so happy Elisabeth shared her fertility story. In doing so, is helping to slowly remove the negative stigma surrounding infertility. One in eight couples struggles with infertility, and we’re working hard everyday to spread the joy of family. Thanks Elisabeth for sharing your story!

Julie on

How beautiful.

Belsey on

So glad this is becoming an “open” topic. To address “annie”‘s comment, it’s not guilt. It’s a desire to have a child and the heartbreak of not being able to conceive naturally and to go through medical intervention which is as Elisabeth states, an absolute roller coaster ride.

There are no words to express the emotional ride this can take- I speak from experience. Trying to express it verbally often results in someone taking something the wrong way which cycles back to not wanting to discuss it at all. Thank goodness more and more women are opening up about this. It happens, it’s no one’s fault and there are now ways to fulfill the desire to have a child.

Now if we could only get insurance companies to pay for it!!!!!!

Karen on

Thank you so much for sharing your story. As someone who has recently gone through IVF, stories such as yours give me hope and comfort. I am very glad your story had a happy ending!

Michelle on

Thank you for sharing such a personal experience with the world. My husband and I struggled for 7 years of fertility treatments before finally undergoing IVF. We were blessed with a beautiful boy on the first try. I, too, placed labels and judgments on myself and still need a little healing. Women like yourself and Nicole speaking out in such a public way and letting the rest of us know we’re more “normal” than we think goes a long way to help the healing process along!

Mary on

It is nice to read that this actress is willing to share part of her story with IVF. I got married later than most people and so we chose IVF with a donor egg. It didn’t work the 2 times, and now the 3rd time I am almost 6 months pregnant with twins. All this has happened in a little over a year’s time. This process does take a lot of mental strength and courage.

To those who may not be able to afford it, there are insurance type of programs that work with reproductive clinics, where you get up to 6 tries for a set fee, and if you are not successful then your money is refunded. We took out a home equity loan to pay for it and will probably be able to pay off the loan in a few years.

Lourdes on

Beautiful!!! No other words for it…

Shelby on

As a woman who has gone through extensive fertility treatments as well as testing, I can relate 100% to this article. My husband and I were about to start IVF when another procedure worked first. God Bless you Elisabeth and Easton!

jerseygirl on

I have high FSH levels too (I’m 28) and I’ve been TTC for a year and half with one IUI attempt to date. It’s an emotional roller coaster but whenever I hear a story like yours, it gives me that extra push to move forward and keep my head up. Congrats on your beautiful baby girl!

Karen on

Brava for her sharing her story. I know too many couples going through infertility, and it is conforting to know you are not alone.

The fact it boils down to being too expensive for many is heartbreaking. Like with adoption, so many good parents never will get the chance because of the money aspect.

deeva on

I’m so glad that she shared her story.

Even though I understand the desire of celebrities and public figures to keep such information to themselves, the fact is that this information does become relevant when they make the decision to share their pregnancy and baby joys with the world. So many women, myself included, look around at all of the 35+ celebrities and assume that we have plenty of time left because “So-and-so got pregnant at 42!” Hearing more about the relaity of female fertility, as opposed to just being sold the fanatasy of older motherhood, would be so helpful to so many.

Good for you Elisabeth, and congrats on your beautiful daughter!

Lotte on

Wonderful blog, thanks to Elisabeth for sharing her story! I can really relate to her feelings of shock when finding out something that seems so natural, having children, appears not to be so easy and natural at all. Growing up always wanting to have kids, and finding myself surrounded by friends and family who only had so much as to blink to have children, the thought that it might not actually work for us never really crossed my mind! Until we find ourselves a good 2 years down the line of first cautious attempts, and nothing seems to be happening…and first test results don’t seem to be looking too good either.

I have no idea what will happen in the next few months, but one thing my husband and I keep telling each other is to take it all one step at a time, and only take it as far as BOTH of us feel comfortable with. We like to compare our family situation to building a house: our mutual love, the reason we got married, is the foundation. And it’s rock solid. If we are blessed enough to be able to built on those foundations, we’ll be extatic. But the bricks should never become so heavy that it makes the foundations break up. What good would a child be if the process of receiving him/her wrecks us? What good would we, a divorced set of parents, be to our child?

The constant reflection and heartfelt conversations we have with each other give us a lot of strength and positive energy when we need it most. And that’s something I sincerely wish to all of you out there going through the same emotional rollercoaster as us. Hang in there!

michelle on

WOW! I was 33 years old on my second marriage and so despartely wanted a baby. I got pregnant 9 months after getting married, only to find out that the pregnancy was in my fallopian tube. They removed the pregnancy and the tube and told me I could try again, since I had another f tube.

Four months later I became pregnant again, except this time the pregnancy was in my left f tube (only 1 left). Devistated, the doctors told me that obviously, I can get pregnant, it’s just that my tubes are (no longer there) messed up, so the pregnancy develpes elsewhere.

I had to choose IVF and it was costly, but my place of employment at the time did take out the extra coverage for insurance to cover it. What a major emotional and physical roller coaster to go on to have a child. I now have 2 beautiful, rotton egg boys, both threw two sepearte IFV cycles.

cynthia on

I went through IVF at the age of 29 due to struggling for two years to concieve. I am now the proud mother of twins.

I too was not very forth coming with my IVF experience until after my children were born. Perhaps becuase I had twins, I was constantly getting questions about if twins ran in the family, etc. Usually a quick response wasn’t sufficient and I’d get more questions to which I would try to dodge the question.

I finally came to a point where I decided it was just easier to say “I had IVF” and after saying it a couple of times I no longer felt the need to be so private about it anymore. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and it’s been great to meet other moms in the same position and to give them advice.

Jill on

I just found out I was pregnant after IUI attempt #2, I am humbled at my good fortune after meeting all the wonderful people from all walks of life who having been trying for years to get to this stage. Every adult has the right to be a parent if that is what they want; gay, straight, single, married, disabled, or medically challenged.

More people need to speak out about their fertility challenges to break the taboo so everyone can get the support they need.

lisa on

Thank you, Elisabeth, for discussing your IVF experiences. I too struggled with infertility (at 33/34) and dealt with the pain of fertility drugs/IUIs and miscarriages. And, sadly, I do think many women feel a very personal and base sense of shame and real true disappointment in themselves (because their bodies are “letting them down” in some way).

It can be a dark and lonely journey and it is so great that women like you and Nicole Kidman, Courtney Cox, and others (Giuliana Rancic) have put this issue out there for discussion because the more people know about it and the more it becomes an acceptable topic of conversation, the more (I think) that people suffering will feel like they are not alone.

Laurie on

God bless her for sharing her story. God bless all of us dealing with fertility struggles. It is always encouraging to read a success story. Especially one written so compassionately.

Amy on

Thanks for sharing! We started our family with IVF and got a perfect baby boy. We are trying to have our second child and have a failed round of IVF to show for it. Our insurance company discontinued coverage for any infertility treatment starting March 1. We may try again anyway, but I don’t understand why insurance companies see treating this health condition as optional.

Hillary on

Thank you for sharing your story. I hate that IVF is such a social taboo, and the only media coverage and publicity out there seems to be sensationalized condemnations (um, Octomom?), where couples are told to “just adopt”–as if adoption is so cheap and easy! Infertility is isolating enough, but to add the fear of being judged for the way you choose to treat your infertility–it’s almost too much to bear. I hope more people like you will speak out and be positive examples of that IVF can do for infertile couples. Thank you.

cathy on

I also had a high FSH level unfortunately, IVF was no longer an option for me. It is comforting to know, even 11 years after diagnosis, that I am not alone in this. Thank you for sharing your story. I am sure it will be helpful to many women who are experiencing the same heartbreak.

Stacy on

Thank goodness another celebrity is willing to admit getting medical help for an issue that women all over the world struggle with. Kudos to Rohm and Kidman for that matter for being more relatable!! Sure wish other folks would be as forthcoming…but it seems like the subject of infertility is as taboo as admitting to plastic surgery!!

Sarah on

Thank you to People for starting the Baby Blogs. Women and Men need a forum to discuss pregnancy, labor and parenting as it is in reality, and not how it is represented on TV. I would like to see more information about natural births and the upsides of using midwives and birthing centers.

Thanks!

SS on

I love when women gather around to share this personal infertility stories. It’s so healing & healthy to your soul! I, too, have done IVF! Working on #3 at the present time! Our first attempt didn’t work, we were blessed with a little boy on our second attempt, who is now 19 months old and we’re trying for baby #2!!! Don’t be ashamed, it’s MORE common than people think!!! Good luck to ALL you women out there who need a little help! You’re NOT alone!!!! Best wishes!!!!

Denise on

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Mollyb on

Brava for sharing this. Women need to lay off the judgment when it comes to other women’s choices and experiences. I was unable to breastfeed due to medication I require. I have had to listen to more ignorant comments from other women that I ever expected. So, yay for just cherishing the blessing that is a child and laying off the guilt trips.

MOMO on

This story is so wonderful and heartfelt and inspiring.. Thank you! and I always liked her in L&O.. I know so many friends who’ve needed medical assistance to get pregnant, and there’s NOTHING to be ashamed of!!!

I’d made a comment on here about IVF and donor eggs for a reporter that’s pregnant with twins and was attacked by other bloggers about that assumption.

Many women (and their partners) have to utilize science… and so what?

All children are a gift from God, no matter how they were conceived. xo

(PS – to all the posts here that are trying, Good Luck!)

Nicole on

Thanks for sharing your story. It’s so good to see someone who is famous being open about infertility treatment. It helps remove the stigma from something that should not be stigmatized. As a fellow high FSHer, I really appreciate seeing women share their stories.

Wendy on

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I too did IVF and I find it a comfort both to share my story with people struggling and to hear about other people who have been through it. Your daughter is beautiful.

AM on

I have secondary infertility. My husband and I have a 5 1/2 yr old daughter and have been trying on a sibling for her for the last 3 years. I got pregnant via (my 1st) IVF in January and had a missed miscarriage 7 1/2 weeks into my pregnancy. I just had a d&c last Friday. It was devastating. Infertility is truly an issue many couples face and I’m glad she is sharing her story. When celebs come out with these stories you remember we’re all just people with some of the same feeling, fears and problems.

WishingForBaby on

Thank you so much for this post. With 1 in 6 couples experiencing some kind of infertility, it is a serious issue for so many couples and we often feel completely isolated because no one will openly talk about it. This is a great step in the right direction. After IVF#1 ended in a devastating miscarriage at 9 weeks, we are preparing for our first Frozen Embryo Transfer next month. Strength and baby dust to all who are on similar journeys.

Marky on

It would help many women to feel more comfortable in sharing their experiences with infertility if other women didn’t respond so judgmentally when they do.

Look at the flack Nicole Kidman took for using a gestational carrier when she had suffered multiple miscarriages. It was shameful how many women accused her of not wanting to “mess up her body”, and “always being obsessed with herself”, and “why didn’t she adopt again?”. It seemed shocking to me that more women weren’t supportive to her when she had been through so much.

A woman only has to go through miscarriage once to know how heartbreaking it is. Infertility is very heartbreaking; it’s wonderful there are some real options now for couples who are dealing with it.

Emilie on

This is great that celebrities are beginning to speak out in behalf of me and fellow IVFers. It’s hard to imagine that this is such a taboo situation but most people that have no problems with infertility seem hesitant to discuss it. I think it’s great that Elisabeth is speaking out but saddened that she feels such guilt over it. Most women like myself are happy to have our children, regardless of what treatment it took to get them here. The stigma that used to come with treatment just doesn’t exist as strongly as it used to…at least in the infertility world.

Nancy on

I conceived my first daughter with no problems, and then was faced with years of fertility treatments that unfortunately didn’t work. Just when we were about to go the adoption route…I found out I was pregnant.

Those years of really wanting a baby and the treatments not working were really tough. Glad more people are open to talk about it. I had a great inner group of friends that were there to listen, but unfortunately didn’t know how emotionally upsetting this process can be.

Thank you for talking about it and being open. Many women need to hear that it’s not just them going through issues !

Jamie on

It’s interesting that people still find IVF a taboo topic. As a woman in my early 40s, most of my friends have gone through IVF to conceive their babies! Fortunately, I didn’t have trouble conceiving in my 40s as I do not believe IVF would have been for me (I don’t think my body could take the hormones as I had horrible reactions to the pill). I understand people’s yearning and need to have a biological child of one’s own, but personally, I have always considered adopting regardless of whether or not I had fertility problems. As a result, and given the negative side effects of IVF, I think this would have been the route I would have taken.

Michele on

It is so important that those who have gone through to share their stories.

We went through 3 failed IVF cycles, had 2 losses (chemical pregnancies) and insurance only covers 3 attempts. We decided to start the adoption process and had a failure (birth Mom changed her mind after the baby was in our home for a few days) and then our success. We are so happy we adopted and expanded our family.

It is wonderful to hear what other people have gone through as it is very encouraging for those going through similar situations. I can not tell you the countless insensitive and selfish remarks you might hear while going through these fertility issues.

Only couples or individuals who have gone through it can truly understand the struggle. It is so rewarding to be a parent, but not everyone has an easy time conceiving.

Thank you Elisabeth for sharing your story!

Kate on

This had me in tears.

Thank you so, so much for sharing your story, and for helping me feel a little less alone. I’ve just realized that I, too, need healing.

Thank you.

Kris on

I talk about my IVF whenever it’s appropriate conversation. I am proud of what I went through to have both of our daughters. I was fortunate that I got pregnant 3 out of the 4 times and I have 2 healthy daughters (23 months apart). The first time nothing happened and the second time was a miscarriage. I was determined and got lucky on the 3rd and 4th tries!

Chloe on

Great to hear celebrities sharing their experiences and being so open and honest about them. Well done Elisabeth!

Kristin on

I cannot tell you how much this article meant to me. I, too, am a early menopause diagnosis at the age of 33. Infertility can take a toll on all aspects of your life and you often time feel all alone. I went through IVF, was successful with a pregnancy but then lost the baby shortly before Christmas. I’m at a point where we just can’t get enough follicles to even go through another cycle.

Its heartbreaking to say the least and people just don’t understand. Its a “club” that we don’t necessarily want to belong to!! It is comforting to read articles like this, know I’m not alone and most of all know its okay to TALK ABOUT IT!! I am so tired of people making me feel as though I should be keeping it to myself or being private is the “right thing to do”.

mila on

There still is a taboo when it comes to discussing infertility and how much age affects our ability to have children naturally. I know a few women who couldn’t get pregnant even at 18, but most of my friends and myself have fertility problems because we waited until our thirties to have children or to have more children. I know that most women want to live life childless until thirty then worry about settling down and that’s their right, BUT because we hear of women in their forties seemingly conceiving naturally, too many young women think it’s a given.

We need to understand that we make choices and for some women the choice to wait until your thirties will lead to no negative consequences, but for others, it might mean treatments or adoption or remaining childless. Having a child isn’t a right, it’s a gift that not all women have the luxury of and I think until younger women understand they have choices and those choices might lead to being childless then we’ll continue with stories like so many on here.

Case in point, my best friend’s life plan was to focus on her career until her thirties (she’s very successful), find a husband by 35, spend a few years together without kids THEN start having kids around 38 or 39. Oh, and she wanted THREE kids! Yes, her sister had the same life plan and got the three kids. My friend hasn’t been successful with IVF. Would she do things differently if she had known she would end up infertile? Maybe not because she does love her career, but she was foolish to think having a baby was a given. That’s the taboo that keeps on giving.

gingerbreadmama on

So many of us have had fertility issues and needed help to conceive, carry and deliver our beautiful children. And for some reason, so many people are hesitant to talk about it. Why? It isn’t and shouldn’t be taboo or shameful. Children are a blessing and it should not matter if having them is easy for you, if you need help with fertility or if you adopt.

G on

Thank you so much for sharing your story, this is something people need to be talking about, to take away the taboo. I am so happy you got to have your daughter.

Jen on

As a woman who also had to result to medical help to have her first child, and who also felt the subject to be taboo, I really appreciate all the celebrities that have come out to talk about it. Somehow the general public is more accepting of it if famous people also have trouble conceiving. I know every woman who cannot or has needed help conceiving feels the devastating effects of it for the rest of their lives….even with a happy ending. I was lucky to have 2 children naturally after my IVF baby but I still feel like an infertile person when people talk about having children. I am now much more willing to share my story with anyone who is curious. My first son is my miracle and I thank God every day for my beautiful children. Thank you for sharing for your story.

anon on

Thank goodness women are talking about this very important issue. After 6 months on Clomid, an exploratory surgery and 3 IUIs, we are taking a break before we head down the road to adoption. Although IVF is not for us, I applaud those couples who will do anything to have a biological child of their own. Maybe I’ll get my miracle, maybe I’ll adopt and it will just be a different kind of miracle, but at least I know that there are thousands of other women like me who know what it feels like. It makes dealing with it all that much better.
Thanks, Elizabeth.

Karen on

I’m thankful for people like Elisabeth Rohm who isn’t afraid to discuss her infertility. I’ve been in the ifertility world for 2 year, and it is not an easy road. I’m glad IVF worked for her, but it does not work for everyone. What most women don’t talk about is how hard IVF is on our bodies. Before jumping into IVF, I think woman should read “Inconceivable” and “The Fertile Female” by Julia Indichova. Check her out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXJiwrmkcYQ She has helped many women with high FSH get preganant without IVF. She is an inspiration.

Vanessa on

What a wonderful story!

We are struggling with infertility and it is a very lonely process. Reading Elisabeth’s story and some of the comments has really made me realize that I am as alone as I feel. Thank you for sharing and adding a bright spot to my day!

Holiday on

Thats why its a good idea to start young if thats possible. I got married right at 22 and pregnant that month and had my son when I was 22 almost 23. Best decision I ever made! I got pregnant on the first try probably because I was so young. Our daughter was a total surprise baby but again I was only 26 when I had her.

Erin on

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I wish we as a society talked more about infertility. As someone going through IVF right now it very comforting to know I am not alone. Our first attempt didn’t work and we are doing a frozen cycle right now. It’s very encouraging to hear other women’s stories of multiple attempts and successful births.

Crystal on

Holiday- “IF” that’s possible. Some people don’t find their ideal mate to have children with until much later in life. Others want to settle into their careers before they start to have children. There are MANY reasons people hold off having children. While I’m glad it worked out for you others aren’t so lucky. My mom had graduated college, got married, started her career and had two children all by the time she was 23. That isn’t the norm. In America now the average age a woman gets married is 26. I’m glad Elisabeth shared her story. So many women go through it, it’s wonderful that they can talk about it freely and share their story with others.

Sarah on

I think it is great that she’s sharing her story. Many people (including myself) used IVF to create their family. The more people (especially celebrities) talk about it the more the public realizes it’s common and not something to be ashamed of.

Rebecca Flick on

Thank you for sharing your story! At RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association we know how many women feel alone during this time, but don’t have to! Please find the support you need and deserve if you’re faced with infertility.

Anonymous on

Holiday – Age isn’t everything. I started trying to conceive at the age of 22 and after 4 years of trying, 2 miscarriages and many medical tests I am now pregnant with twins through my 3rd IVF cycle. Don’t judge or give advise about a subject you obviously know nothing about.

Thank you, Elisabeth, for sharing your story.

Donna Millings on

I did IVF twice, and I have a beautiful little girl as a result. I am so happy that I have the opportunity to be a mom finally. I was 39 when I got pregnant.

MiB on

Holiday. As someone who is yearning for a child, I have to say that your comment was a stab right in the heart. The fact that I do not have one has nothing to do with choice, I just haven’t been able to find someone to father it. Or let me rephrase it, I have chosen not to have a child with someone I deemed would be an unsuitable or absent father (and I am not even talking about someone who would come home to me every night anymore, but just someone who would be a good co-parent). I guess I could have tried to become pregnant by any casual guy I met, but I somehow did not feel that that would be a responsible thing to do.

You should thank your lucky star that you found someone to love and cherish you at such a young age, and that you succeded in getting pregnant on the first try (I know plenty of women who had problems getting pregnant even in their early twenties, sure it gives you longer time to try to find a solution, but it is no guarantee), but your attitude towards women who struggle with infertility (or even just the lack of children) is not really helpful.

Catca on

Why attach more weight when a celebrity struggles? These message boards are living proof that this is an issue that many couples struggle with! There are many comments about starting young, but frankly, the cost of living relative to salaries makes it much harder to financially be able to afford starting a family in your 20’s than it was even fifteen years ago. There is a reason you see many adults in their 20s living at home because it’s the only way they can save enough money to able to move out and start a family, especially if you live in an area like New York or California. There are others that could have started a family in their 20s but wanted to wait for other very good reasons as well that are not financial. Rather than saying you need to start having a family younger, etc., why not offer empathy and compassion and respect others for making the best decisions for them and their potential future families the best they can for their life circumstances?

Casey on

Holiday,

Guess what – I was 22 when I married my husband. By 23 I had my Master’s Degree and we own a house. We were sure we did everything “right” prior to starting our family. I’m 24 now and my husband is 26 and we’re currently going through our second round of IVF. I miscarried my first. Just goes to show you that no matter how “young” you start, you’re not exempt from infertility. Get educated on the subject, because what you said is incredibly ignorant and hurtful.

Elisabeth, thank you for coming out about this subject. I have been very open about my journey & I wish others were too. It’s nothing to be ashamed of in the least.

Holiday on

I said IF its possible! So many women put off having kids until close to 40 because they want to be career women and then they find it shocking that at 38 and older they have a tough time becoming pregnant. Yes I had to give up being young and carefree by having a baby at 23 but the rewards of being a mom are worth it, plus I didnt have to do fertility treatments because I was so young. Oh I do live in California, yes the cost of living is high but my husband and I both went to college… I finished up when I was 8 months pregnant and he has a great job while I am a stay at home mom to a 5 year old boy and 10 month old girl. You can have it all if you really try, being a young mom and being successful.

Holiday on

Catca I was not trying to be rude but I have read on these boards MANY times all the negatives about starting a family really early, so this is a great example of a positive of starting a family early.

Sarah on

I thank you and every other celeb out there who has the courage to share their fertility stories. As a 25 year old, happily married woman in a world where “everyone” seems to get pregnant the first time around, it makes me feel like I’m not alone in my struggles to conceive. We have been trying for 2 years now, and although we haven’t resorted to IVF yet, it is always nice to hear about a success story that shows us there is still reason to hope. Thank you!

Liz on

Holiday – I don’t think you are in the same position as women who struggle with infertility so you don’t seem to understand. Your comments reflect how truly uninformed you are about infertility.

Most women don’t decide at 40 that they are going to be a mother, they have been struggling and trying for years. My husband and I have been trying since I was 24 and I’ll be 40 in a few years. The negligence of ob/gyns, no insurance that covers ivf, and getting into thousands of dollars of debt because of all the medical costs associated with infertility has stopped us in having a child. Please visit Resolve’s website at resolve.org so that you can be better informed about what is affecting every 1 in 8 couples.

You are lucky that you were not affected with infertility and I hope you are never judged the same way you are judging these women. The couples who struggle with infertility are the strong one’s, I’m sorry, but you’re not even close.

Tara on

Why don’t more celebrities admit to using IVF instead of pretending that it’s natural to have a child at 47?

MiB on

Holiday, I don’t think you realize how you offend and hurt people. I know that there are negative comments about starting a family young as well (and I take an issue with that too), but right here and now you need to take a step back and count your blessings, because you are blessed. You have a great success story that deservs to be told as much as any one elses, but this is not the place for it.

You need to understand that age is not all when it comes to infertility, it is not even a major factor until you are in your late 30’s. Some women have great difficulties concieving when they are 20, some women like you are lucky and get pregnant without even trying. My grandmother was one of the lucky ones, she gave birth in her 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, but at least she was curteous enough not to rub it in when my aunt struggled to concieve for nearly 20 years before surprisingly getting pregnant in her early 40’s. And her age was probably a contributing factor there as the body releases more eggs each ovulation when a woman nears menopause.

Vincent on

Thanks to IVF procedures, We’re able have a beautiful and healthy baby.
Not everyone that received the IVF procedures will be successful. I’d say less than 20% will conceive. It all started with the mother being in perfect health and deseases free, inaddition to having perfect health, the mother once impregnated will have to observe and follow strict medical procedures and advices. So, I’d say the mother to be has a big and ardous job ahead of her. Its all her credits. The father will just be the financial and psychological supporter and,oh yes,the food preparer. I know this, because I am now the father of a beautiful
baby.

AnneB on

I applaud Elisabeth Rohm for coming forward! We truly need more people to speak out about infertility, celebrity or not.

@Holiday, my husband and I started trying when I was 28 – because I really wanted to have my first before I was thirty, and I didn’t want to discover we’d waited too long.

We discovered a year later that my husband had a childhood surgery that has caused us to be unable to conceive naturally.

I could have started trying at 22 – which is how old I was when we got married – and it wouldn’t have made a bit of difference, except I would have been struggling with infertility for the past ten years instead of the past four.

Lana on

As a woman close to 30 struggling to get pregnant it is encouraging to read about others who struggle so I know I’m not alone.I suffer from PCOS, but another woman in my infertility group has the same thing Elisabeth does.

I think it is great to hear about the success of IVF, but I want to hear how other infertile couples were able to conceive w/o IVF. Not all of us can afford adoption/IVF.

I wish people would also be more forthcoming and not just say infertile. There are many things that cause infertility.

Jillian on

Catca, MiB, and Liz,
Thanks for saying what I wanted to say but saying it in a much kinder way. I too have had infertility struggles and am finally the mother of a little girl. Comments like the one Holiday left, specifically, her follow up comment, irk me to no end. But, I sometimes remind myself that she may be doing it to try and irk me and others because who in their right mind would make a comment like that on this thread? Not someone that has any knowledge of infertility….that is for sure!

Holiday on

Im sorry if I said hurtful things. I do feel bad now because I shouldnt have been saying what I said to people who are going through infertility. My point was try to have kids young because people on here bash young moms ALL the time, but it wasnt the right place to prove my point.

Jillian on

Holiday,
Even when you try to apologize, you still throw a jab! You don’t get it. You keep saying, try to have kids young. Many of us have been there and done that over and over and it isn’t that simple. If it was, there wouldn’t be issues and struggles. People can’t snap their fingers and have children. People can’t snap their fingers and find a partner.

I have not seen people on this page bash young mothers to any degree that later in life mothers are bashed. Which to me makes no sense…..because “young” mothers make that choice, while a majority of later in life mothers do not chose to wait to be parents.

Beth on

I am also struggling with IF. I appreciate those who are breaking the silence because there is nothing to be ashamed about when choosing to have a family, but needing to use medical intervention. Educating those around us is the only way to help break the silence and the stigma.

Thank you for sharing your story!

ChereeB on

Holiday, simply put, alot of the time age has nothing to do with it. Stay away from these threads if you dont understand, you just end up hurting people that have been through enough already.

Marie on

Just had an FET today & have a beautiful son from IVF. Thankful for these chances.

Stephanie on

Time and distance make this painful journey a little easier. Thank you so much for sharing with others. I have always been disappointed by the number of famous personalities who have “fraternal” twins in their family. There is no shame in using science to give us what comes so easily to most others. I have 2 beautiful boys(12&15) from IVF. I have always been forthcoming with information about how we conceived. It is a part of who I am. I have had people who have critized me but spend 5 minutes with my boys and you will know why I choose this path(without any hesitation!) Good luck to all who are on this journey! The pay-off is priceless!!!

luluc on

@Holiday,
I wanted to complete my education – high school, college, graduate degree – and establish a career that would let me work towards making the world a better place by relieving the suffering of others. I became a doctor. The education and training took years and was arduous. I suppose in your opinion I should have stopped in my early twenties to have a child? Please, realize that some of us desperately want to be mothers AND to contribute to society as a whole.

InTheSameBoat on

Wow, this is exactally how I feel. I’m 33 and my husband and I have been trying for 6 1/2 years. IVF is not in our budget, but we’ve tried just about everything else. I do feel broken sometimes and shameful. But then 10 months ago, we met someone who was going to put their baby up for adotion. 3 months later Benjamin was born and my husband and I were able to be there for his birth. He is 7 months old today. He is our world. I still long be experience pregnancy and birth. but I’ve learned that sometimes when God closes a door, he really does open a window. Thank you for sharing your stories, they are healing to know I’m not alone.

Arin on

My husband and I are going through this now. Thank you so much for sharing! You are so right that talking about it an taking away the stigma helps with the pain. Wish us luck!

Foxy on

This is so well written, and describes so well the struggle and the journey that so many of us are facing. Thank you for using your voice to break the silence.

chelsea on

I understand that this blog was an opportunity for women experiencing the same fertility struggles as Elisabeth to talk about the subject and support one another.However, I think you people need to give holiday a break.

Age isn’t always the reason that women struggle with inferility, but in many cases it is. Women are putting off starting a family more in this day and age and as a result many struggle with infertility. Fifty years ago the norm was to have 4 or 5 children, but women were starting a family a lot younger and didn’t usually have a career to worry about.

Holiday did not say that ALL women who start younger will be successful, just as not ALL women who start older will have fertility issues.

Personally, as a 26 year old married woman, age has been a huge factor in my decision to start a family soon. Whether I am successful or not I won’t know until I try, but I know my chances will be better now than if I wait 10 years.

Ashley on

I have an almost one year old daughter thanks to IVF and have always been open and honest about how our little miracle came into our life. I applaud the celebrities that have come forth to share their stories. It gives the rest of us hope. Now if only insurance companies would help cover at least part of it, we had to use my husband’s military reenlistment bonus to cover the cost of ours.

Denise on

Bravo Elisabeth. You have a beautiful little girl in Easton.

I’m grateful you’re sharing your story. I just WISH another celeb would come forward who would share their choice of NOT having children. I think many find that subject too taboo to approach. It shouldn’t be! Society places a stigma on those who do not want children.

I have children but my sister does not wish to have them. And she gets questioned all the time about what society deems is “normal”.

Tainah on

Hello Elisabeth.
This was beautiful!!
Here in Brazil there are no judgement at all about women who cannot conceive naturally. In fact everyone is very supportive.
It’s wonderfull that you had the opportunity to afford such cost, and as you said, everyone have the right to be a parent. I hope that this treatment can be more and more affordable for everyone who need it.
Congratulations on your beautifull daughter!
My best regards, Tainah.

Amber77 on

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I totally agree that women who struggle with infertility should be free from feelings of shame about their need for medical help in conceiving a child. I’m a proud mama of twins through IVF and I celebrate their lives as a miracle of faith, magic, and modern science!

M on

Beautiful article!

dsfg on

Holiday, how many people who have children when they are very young are still with their children’s other parent?

Lika on

some secrets are better kept. i don’t understand why any woman thinks that stories of their pregnancies or non pregnancies are interesting or important to anyone but the mother and father.

sometimes, you don’t get pregnant because nature or god doesn’t want you to. maybe that’s a lesson to learn.

Sue on

It is wonderful that Elisabeth shared her story. I’m happy that she was able to conceive via IVF. But it is even more important to point out that many, many women cannot. I was one of them. The pain and agony of not being able to do something that is supposed to happen naturally (whether it is by IVF, IUI, Clomid, etc) is devestating. It is something you carry with you every day and a reminder when you see your friends constantly getting pregnant. In my case, our only option was adoption and it was a WONDERFUL choice. Our son is wonderful and we love him as if he was biologically born. The truth is, if you want to be a parent…there are avenues to you other than IVF…but nothing is easy. My heart goes out to all of the women like me who cannot ever birth a baby. Just know that you are not alone.

Lotte on

@Lika: The amount of amazing comments here is enough proof of how “interesting and important” her story is to so many others. If you’re not one of them then just go read something else instead of tossing down your ignorant comment, which serves no other purpose but to hurt and offend.

You wanna talk about lessons to be learned? How about “If you can’t say anything nice…”

Liz on

Lika – If this isn’t of importance to you, then why are you even reading this article, let alone commenting on it. If someone was diagnosed with cancer, would you tell them that it’s gods way. I know you are just trying to get a rise out of people here, but thankfully your ignorance is in the minority.

To everyone who is COMPLETELY missing the point here. Infertility is a disease. Yes, it has been finally acknowledged as a disease! Whether you want children/or don’t want children, whether you want children when you’re younger or older is not the issue here. IVF is for the millions of couples who WANT children, but MEDICALLY cannot have children and have exhausted all other treatments.

Thank you to everyone here who has posted their success with IVF (a medical procedure for someone who SUFFERS with infertility). Your success is encouraging for everyone going through the same struggles.

annachestnut on

Elisabeth wrote a great article. Infertility is painful and difficult to explain to those who have not experienced it. I have two great children after seven sad years of infertility. During the ordeal, I resented how easily every one else seemed to become pregnant.

DEBBIE on

As a woman who struggled through 13 years of infertility issues, 2 miscarriages, 1 cervical pregnancy (which had to be terminated as mother and baby will not survive) 5 surgeries, 3 d & c’s, 7 failed AI (artifical inseminations) and 7 fresh, 3 frozen IFV cycles … there is not a story here that is ‘lost’ on me. Each new comment/story reminds me not only of how widely spread infertility issues/problems are, but how many woman (and our men) are effected by this problem.

Ladies, bless you all for sharing your respective stories, it does help those entering this arena, those in the middle of it, and those at the end of their journey. Glad to know that noone is truly ‘fooled’ by the Jennifer Lopez’s, Mariah Carey’s, etc who … OH MY just happened to have twins in thier 40’s .. sorry ladies … I’m not buying it.

As for my own story’s ending … I have an incredible son who came to my family via adoption, which was always what GOD’s plan for us was … getting ready to begin process for adoption number 2!!!
Good Day.

Carol on

Beautifully written story, Elisabeth is a woman of many talents. As a woman who has chosen to not have children, and who has no regrets about that decision, I can’t relate to the depth of desire to have a child that begins the difficult journey some infertile couples take to attain a pregnancy. What I can relate to is the judgmental response society has towards such couple, which I find to be shallow at the very least. I admire couples (or women alone) who want a child so badly that they will go through the indignity, uncertainty and expense of fertility treatments in order to have that child. It seems to me such people should be celebrated for their willingness to go through so much in order to have a family, and if they succeed you know that child will be loved thoroughly and completely. How can that be a problem for anyone?

Mommyx2 on

I am beyond happy to hear a celebrity be honest! I didn’t want to speak of my IVF either. Only my immediate family and my best friend knew. I was embarrassed knowing I would not conceive naturally. All I could think was “why am I defective?” That is not necessarily the case. My first round of IVF was painful, emotional, physically and mentally exhausting. When I got the phone call from the Dr. and heard the test was positive, I was totally floored. When my first ultrasound revealed 2, I was scared to death. And after I met the beautiful babies, I realized it isn’t important how they came to be, only that they are loved and cared for with everything I have. I tell everyone that asks exactly how they were conceived. Regular people need to hear these stories. I did, and nobody was talking about it.

Becky on

Beautiful. I´ve had an IVF 2……my daughter is the best part of my life..

Christine C. on

Just posted this blog on my FB page. The message is important. My health ins didn’t cover IVF and it was too expensive for us out of pocket, so we went with IUI, which was covered for a limited amount of times. We ran out of tries and had to cover the last couple in cash. How I wished IVF was a covered service.

EG on

I love to hear of celebrities sharing their struggles with infertility as yes I believe it is still not widely spoken about and its hard to speak to others about it when they have not experienced infertility for themselves. Like Nicole Kidman said no one really understands unless you have felt the experience and this is where we all come from
I have stage IV endometriosis and had a hydrosplinx tube which had to be removed, IVF is now my only way of conceiving with two ovaries, one tube and little eggs left even though I am 32. I did have a miscarriage from natural pregnancy 2 years ago but no luck in conceiving again. I am on my journey to my first IVF treatment and feel that I do not want to share with everyone at this point as everytime you have to tell someone about your journey the raw emotions come up again so I would prefer to keep it to peopl very close to me and yes like others when I get my babies then I may be willing to share for women like us.
I think its rude for others like holiday to judge as no one should judge as each of our journeys makes us who we are and I love the quote
‘All children are a gift from God, no matter how they were conceived.’ and I totally support that. I am so amazed that IVF can now help us women who have trouble conceiving as many years ago we would have this choice and I am excited that we can be helped

Brit16 on

I think it is wonderful that she is sharing! More stars should talk about it, it would open up the topic to a lot of people who would otherwise not pay attention. We finally had our miracle baby after gong through 6 IVF attempts and three miscarriages. If you would like to hear about our story please visit http://www.ivfsuccessstories.info

Brit16 on

This is great to hear stars being honest about their infertility struggles! I think more people should be willing to talk about it. We have been open honest about our struggles and I feel it has really helped us get through the process. If you would like to hear about our journey, please visit http://ivfsuccessstories.info/2011/09/ivf-insurance-companies-with-coverage/

Brit16 on

It took us 6 total IVF cycles to have our little miracle boy, and he was worth every bit of it! Glad to see someone speaking out about the issue. If you would like to read our story please visit http://ivfsuccessstories.info/2011/11/ivf-acupuncture-does-it-help/

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