Millions of couples, celebrities or not, are faced with infertility issues when trying to expand their families. Aside from the financial burden that comes with trying to seek treatment (some of which are still not covered by medical insurance), there’s also the emotional toll that comes with not being able to conceive a baby naturally.
For Black women, the pressure is intensified. The CDC reports that we are more likely than white women to encounter trouble getting pregnant, but only half as likely as white women to receive fertility treatment. This data, combined with the cultural standards placed on Black women to be “strong,” often lead us to suffer in silence.
Know this: you are not alone. In honor of Infertility Awareness Week, we’ve listed all the celebrity women who have openly shared about their struggles to conceive, ways they coped, and treatments they sought to fulfill their dreams of becoming a mom.
In her memoir Becoming, the former First Lady revealed that she turned to IVF treatment after a miscarriage. “[Barack and I] were trying to get pregnant and it wasn’t going well,” Mrs. Obama writes. “We had one pregnancy test come back positive, which caused us both to forget every worry and swoon with joy, but a couple of weeks later I had a miscarriage, which left me physically uncomfortable and cratered any optimism we felt.” Today, they have two beautiful daughters, Sasha and Malia.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 06: A conversation with Michelle Obama takes place during the 2019 ESSENCE Festival at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images)
Prior to the birth of her daughter Kaavia James via surrogate, Union has gotten candid about her struggles to conceive naturally with husband Dwyane Wade. After years of suffering miscarriages, she discovered her infertility was caused by a condition called adenomyosis. At the 2018 BlogHer conference, Union explained
that so many Black women feel ashamed to speak about their fertility issues because, “judgment renders so many of us immobile.”
Remy Ma and her husband, rapper Papoose, opened up about a heartbreaking ectopic pregnancy they experienced on the reality show Love & Hip Hop
. Luckily, they were able to conceive their daughter through IVF. However, she realized this service isn't affordable for many other women. “It wasn’t until I came out with it that I realized a lot of other women go through what I went through," she said
, "because I definitely felt like I was the only person on the planet who went through it. About 80 percent of women that can’t have children would actually be able to have children if they could afford in vitro.”
During a segment on her previous talk show FABLife, Banks opened up about her decision to have children later in life, and how it impacted her fertility. “When you’re like, ‘OK, I’m just going to do it,’ then it’s not so easy as you get older," she said, according to People
. "It’s difficult as you get older. It’s not something that can just happen." With the help of IVF treatment, she eventually gave birth to a son named York.
TODAY -- Pictured: Tyra Banks on Monday Jan. 8, 2018 -- (Photo by: Zach Pagano/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)
The singer, mogul and reality star spoke exclusively with ESSENCE
about her choice to use a surrogate to conceive her daughter Blaze. "I’m very okay with my decision to use a surrogate," she said. "Seeing our surrogate Shadina [carrying our daughter] is not making me feel bad or taking anything away from me. My baby is my baby and she was a blessing to us to help us get our baby."
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN -- Pictured: Kandi Burruss -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)
The songstress, who is a mom to eight-year-old twins Monroe and Moroccan, told former ABC anchor Barbara Walters
that she sought IVF treatment after suffering a miscarriage. "The main thing I did that was tough, was to go on progesterone like every month," she said. "When I was pregnant, I had to stay with the progesterone for 10 weeks.” Even while pregnant, Carey suffered a number of complications including gestational diabetes. Luckily, she and the babies had a safe delivery.
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 11: Mariah Carey attends Variety's 2019 Power of Women: Los Angeles presented by Lifetime at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on October 11, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/FilmMagic)
The actress and mom of two opened up about her battle with endometriosis and fertility-related struggles in a Women's Health interview
, saying, "when you don’t know or see anyone else who looks like you talking about what you’re going through, you feel alone and suffer in silence.”
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 22: Tia Mowry-Hardrict attends The Broad Hosts West Coast Debut Of "Soul Of A Nation: Art In the Age Of Black Power 1963-1983" at The Broad on March 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
The talk show host gave birth to her first child, a son named Moses, at age 48. “I was high-risk, not just because of my age, but there were other medical factors too,” she said in an interview with People
, adding that she purposely waited until right before her son's birth to share the news publicly.
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 05: Tamron Hall speaks at 2019 ESSENCE Festival Presented By Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 05, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for ESSENCE)