What the Yuck: Are celebs more fertile than the rest of us? by: Roshini Raj M.D.

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Are celebs more fertile than the rest of us? How come so many are able to have babies in their mid- and late 40s?

You've stumbled onto one of Hollywood's "Dirty Little Secrets": donor eggs and in vitro fertilization (IVF). While being famous can get you far in life, it doesn't extend the warranty on your ovaries. It just gives that A-lister greater access to cutting-edge fertility treatments and doctors that the rest of us may not know about or be able to afford.

Starting in our late 20s and early 30s, the chances of conceiving naturally begin to go down (we have fewer and fewer eggs and their quality starts to decline). Then after age 35, the number of viable eggs falls off even more. So it's very difficult for any woman, celebrity or not, to conceive on her own after about age 40—at least with her own eggs.

And that's where IVF comes in. With IVF, an egg (often a donor egg if the mom is 40-plus) is fertilized outside the body and then transferred to the would-be mom's uterus. IVF can be very expensive and time-consuming, and it often requires multiple treatments.

In a perfect world, older Hollywood moms would talk openly about the time, money, and—oh yeah—younger woman's eggs it took to get pregnant. But big stars naturally want to keep these private reproductive choices under wraps. It's just too bad the rest of us end up getting the false idea that 40 is the new 20 when it comes to your reproductive system.

Copyright Health Magazine 2010

Post by: Roshini Raj M.D. - Health magazine
Filed under: Fertility • Health.com

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