Category Archives: celebrity secrets

Information Sharing: Privacy vs Secrecy

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“I’m just not going to tell him. How he got here is not important. What’s important is that he’s here.”
“I am just going to sweep it under the rug.”
“It’s my burden to bear not his, he didn’t ask for this.”
“It’s nobody’s business”
“It’s private, between me and my husband.”
“It will be my child’s story to tell if he should choose to tell it.”
“I don’t want anyone to judge him, tease him, or make life hard for him.”

Those are all the reasons that I used to tell myself daily before I underwent DE IVF to have my child.

From the moment I conceived my son via egg donation I was bound and determined not to tell him, or my family, or the world how he was conceived. I wanted to all of that behind me. I felt it was private and it was my secret and no one needed to know.

Not long after that I met an amazing fellow mom via egg donation, Carole LieberWilkins who just happened to be a therapist in this very specialized area. Carole was several years ahead of me in her journey and had the lay of the land, and had figured a whole lotta stuff out.

Carole was so patient as I rationalized my reasons for not wanting to tell my son or anyone for that matter the truth about his origins. And one of the best things she ever taught me was the difference between privacy and secrecy.

You see many people get the two confused. That’s because those two specific words are used interchangeably a lot of the time. The reality is they don’t mean the same thing.

A secret is always something that you are going to be afraid to share with anyone because you will worry what someone may think about you when they learn it. And the reason we worry about secret information is because with secret information there comes the stigma of shame because of the judgment that almost always follows.

So when we use the word privacy we really are meaning that private things are those things that are really nobody else’s business like:

• How much money you made last year.
• How much you paid in taxes.
• How often you have sex and with who.
• Special names or terms of endearment you have for each other.
• How many alcoholic beverages you drink in a week.
• If you do your housework in the buff.

Carole so wisely taught me that secrets are things that we feel shame, fear, or embarrassment about. And if you take a look at the items above and change those items from private to secret they can look like:

• Instead of how much money you made last year—you filed for bankruptcy.
• Instead of how much you paid in taxes—you didn’t file your taxes or you cheated on your taxes.
• Instead of how often you have sex with your partner you have sex with lots of other people with or without your partner, and you keep it on the down low.
• Instead of how much alcohol you consume in a week, you might not talk about how much alcohol you drink because you have a problem with your alcohol consumption. Or you abuse prescription drugs.
• And just maybe you do your housework in the buff with all your shades open because you know that the guy across the street watches.

All of the above are almost always, by most people kept secret because for many they are embarrassing or shameful. We as a society don’t often talk about the kinds of issues within families like alcoholism, spousal or child abuse, sexual abuse, infidelity, or any addiction really as those things are almost always secret.

So when we talk about how we build our families becoming a parent is our goal. We utilize resources, we ask for help – (or we should be asking for help), we work through and overcome challenges and obstacles as well as working hard to achieve that dream of becoming a mom or a dad.

So let me ask you is sharing information about how your child was created really the same as bankruptcy, child abuse, lying or cheating? Of course not.

Your family building story ( As Carole so beautifully says) is a love story and while it may be a private matter — discerning carefully who and how and when to share it — it most definitely ought not to be a secret.

The other piece to this is that your child story is not just their story. It’s your story too! Your entire family shares the story of how your family came to be. I can’t tell you how many parents I’ve heard tell me “This is my child’s story and I’m not the one that’s going to tell it until my child decides if they want to tell it.” So okay- yes, it is your child story but it’s the parents story as well. When I share our family story with others I am not taking anything away from my son. I am sharing my perspective and my experience. After all, it was my uterus that received the embryos, and it was my body that carried my son, and it was me that deliver him safely into the world.

I get that this whole sharing of information, disclosure stuff, can be and is often scary and overwhelming. That’s why we begin early and often, and we take baby steps. We reach out to others who have gone before us for help and support. And we learn the important distinction between the word privacy and the word secret.

She did what? Children are not commodities!

I have been thinking and thinking and thinking about the Sherri Shepherd situation and I have come to this conclusion. If an intended mother enters into an arrangement with an egg donor and a gestational surrogate to purposely conceive a child and then signs a legal contract agreeing to take custody of the baby when that baby is born she is this child’s mother whether she likes it or not. Whether she is at odds, hates, or despises the intended father – she’s still this child’s mother.

As I read in the media that Sherri Shepherd is trying to argue she is not is ridiculous due to the fact she doesn’t want to pay child support for the baby or be this baby’s mother – and frankly this makes me sick.

Doesn’t a child’s right to financial and emotional support of two parents supersede Sheri Shepherd’s right to back out of this surrogacy arrangement all because she doesn’t want to pay child support or have contact with her soon to be ex-husband?

And what about the gestational surrogate? Presumably this surrogate agreed to this arrangement because she thought she was carrying this child for two people who actually wanted this baby and were going to parent this baby – hopefully together. This was the agreement when the surrogate signed on for the cycle – yes? My guess is the surrogate didn’t agree to carry a baby for a couple who might or might not be together at the end of a pregnancy or who might or might not parent together because they didn’t like each other.

If the marriage had broken down before the cycle even began why did Sherri agree to go forward with an egg donor/gestational surrogate cycle? That makes no sense.

I’m sorry Sherri you intended to become this child’s mother when you arranged for his or her conception and you should be required to act as his or her mother when this baby is actually born. What would you have done if by chance you had conceived the old fashion way? Decided because you hate your ex-husband you weren’t going to parent? That’s now how life works. You made an active and purposeful decision to conceive life – you absolutely cannot just discard this child as if it were a used designer handbag.

Shame on you for even remotely thinking about doing anything different.

And most importantly — what about the baby? What about this child who is going to be born into a situation that he or she did not agree to or sign up for – what is this child going to learn about his or her conception? How are you going to explain to this child that his or her mother walked away and out of his or her life before birth?

Are you not stopping just for two seconds to think about the feelings of this baby – or are you just thinking about your own?

Trust me – there are thousands of men and women in my community who would jump at the chance of having the honor of becoming a mom or a dad – yes thousands who yearn every single day at the prospect of become parents.

So Sherri do the right thing – find a good therapist – do some hard work – stop and breathe for a second and really examine what you’re about to do and then step up regardless of how much you hate your soon to be ex-husband, embrace the fact you are going to be a mother again and give this child the life he or she so richly deserves – filled with love, care, financial and medical support, guidance, and acceptance.

It’s the least you can do.

Celebrity Infertility Secrets?

This blog post comes to us from the kind folks over at  Global IVF

Does She or Doesn’t She? (Only her fertility specialist know for sure)
secret

When we look at celebrities like Elton John, Ricky Martin, or Neill Patrick Harris who have had children over the years it’s a no- brainer that they used an egg donor to create their families. But when we hear about female celebrities around the globe who have had children in their 40’s, we wonder – “Did she or didn’t she?” Society perceives that if you look young, your eggs are young.  However, the reality is when you are in your mid-forties and early fifties, your eggs aren’t going to work even though your body may very well carry a pregnancy to term and you may look great doing so. So why all the secrecy surrounding celebrities who may or may not have used egg donation or IVF treatment in general.  Is it ego?  Is it shame?  Is it because infertility treatment equates to being older which equates to being less marketable as far as Hollywood, Bollywood or the rest of the entertainment world is concerned?

Is IVF and egg donation the global entertainment world’s dirty little secret?  Now, we’re not saying that any of the following women used IVF or egg donor to have their children… in fact, most have not admitted reproductive help of any kind (although some did admit to at least IVF help – particularly the ones who used gestational carriers).  But take a look at the following list and draw your own conclusions:

  •  Geena Davis, an American actress, had her twins at 48.
  •  Jane Seymour, an English actress, had her twins at age 44.
  • Nicole Kidman, an Australian actress, was 43 when she had her daughter with the help of a gestational surrogate.
  • Cherie Blair, wife of England’s former Prime Minister gave birth at age 45.
  • Susan Sarandon, an American actress, had a baby at age 46.
  • Somali-born model Iman, married to rocker David Bowie, gave birth at 44.
  • Helen Fielding, an English novelist/screenwriter best known for her character Bridget Jones, gave birth at 48.
  • Arlene Phillips, an English choreographer, gave birth at age 47.
  • Holly Hunter, an American actress, had her twins at 47.
  • Cheryl Tiegs, a global icon in the world of modeling, had twins at age 52.
  • Marcia Gay Harden, an American actress, was age 45 when she gave birth to her twins.
  • Helena Bonham Carter, an English actress, had her baby at age 42.
  • Joan Lunden, an American television personality, went on to have two sets of twins at age 52 and 54 with the help of a gestational surrogate.
  • Elizabeth Edwards, the former wife of American presidential hopeful John Edwards, gave birth to her daughter at age 48 and her son at age 50.
  • Kelly Preston, an American actress and wife of John Travolta,  gave birth to a son at age 47
  • Halle Berry, an American actress, is currently pregnant and 46.
  • Mira Sorvino, an American actress, gave birth to her last child when she was 44.
  • Mariah Carey, musical superstar, gave birth to twins at age 42.
  • Beverly D’Angelo, an American actress, was 49 when her twins were born.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker, an American actress, had twins with the help of a gestational surrogate at age 44.
  • Nancy Grace, an American television personality, was 47 when she brought her twins into the world.
  • Farah Khan, a well known-prestigious Indian film director, gave birth to triplets at age 43.

Farah is one who admitted using IVF, she was quoted as saying: “When the choice is to either go childless or IVF, there is no room for doubts. I was 43 when I had my kids and my biological clock had stopped ticking long time ago.” However, she left the egg donation part out.  So did she?  Or didn’t she? Do you see a trend here? IVF equals shame for many women and that in itself is incredibly unfortunate. Pregnancy for most women is a rite of passage.  It’s something that we typically don’t think about until the time comes when we want to be pregnant and then it’s a really big deal.  It becomes an even bigger deal when you discover that you might be one of the many individuals in the world who might not ever conceive or give birth in your own lifetime – or if you happen to be one of the lucky ones who does it’s going to be after seeking a lot of help and spending a lot of money.
Relates story: Expiration Date Concerning Childbearing

When our bodies aren’t cooperating and doing something that we believed our whole lives we could or would do, it’s simply devastating.
The whole topic of infertility, IVF, egg donation – it’s just so socially taboo. It’s no wonder that regardless of who you are – public figure, celebrity, or the woman next door, it’s not the most favorite topic to talk about at a cocktail or dinner party. We don’t view infertility like we do breast cancer.  Infertility is still in that shameful place that breast cancer was many years ago until public women like Betty Ford brought it out into the forefront and made those of us afflicted with breast cancer into survivors and heroes – as well we should be. Until we change the mindset about infertility and embrace it like we do breast cancer, it’s always going to be that thing that no one wants to talk about. Now, celebrities may be different than the rest of us.  They may have more money.  They might be prettier, more privileged but guess what – they aren’t more fertile.  That’s a myth that has been perpetuated over the years because no one is talking about it. This means that regardless of how famous you might be, the most common cause of infertility in a woman who is in her middle forties is her age. And for a myriad of reasons, many women – not just celebrities wait too long to begin their family building – and after a certain point there’s not a thing you can do to make more eggs because our eggs have an expiration date. The reality is regardless of where you are in the world, AMH and FSH levels don’t lie.  By the time a woman is in her mid-forties, her fertility rate and percentage of success to conceive naturally is just about zero. Okay, okay we hear you – not every pregnant women who’s in her forties has undergone any sort of fertility.  However, be mindful they are the exception to the rule – like one in a million – for the rest of us in the world our reality is very different. Dr. Ric Porter, Director of IVF Australia was quoted as saying: “A pregnant actress in her forties gets a page in a magazine, but if those same magazines printed all the stories of all the women who couldn’t get pregnant, the magazines would be the size of the yellow pages. These celebrity ‘miracle pregnancies’ give women ridiculous expectations. I’m yet to see a patient who had viable eggs in her mid-forties. Even with IVF, we’ve never had a pregnancy after age 45.” It is what reproductive endocrinologists all over the world face every day on the front lines – explaining to women who are in their mid-forties the realities about their fertility, and giving them the sad news that for them to become a mother is to give up her genetics and seek the help of an egg donor.

Should celebrities make public service announcements about infertility much like celebrities make public service announcements about every other cause they are personally affected by?
Granted no woman is obliged nor should she ever be forced to share with the world how she conceived, regardless of whether she’s famous or not.  Infertility is incredibly hard, private and personal.  However, all of this miracle pregnancy mumbo jumbo that we see in all of the magazines, the internet, and television by celebrities has got to stop.  We aren’t doing ourselves any favors by drinking the fertility Kool-Aid and believing everything we read.  This is about protecting your own fertility by being informed and aware of the facts.  It’s also about protecting your self-esteem. Back in 2000 Larry King asked Cheryl Tiegs if she used an egg donor to conceive her twins and her reply was: “No, it’s my eggs and my husband’s sperm so they’re our babies. I’ve been taking care of myself for so long, I know my reproductive organs are much younger than I am.” This left me saying aloud “Really Cheryl, you’re 52, really?!” What’s even more interesting about the whole Cheryl Tiegs thing is when she and her husband divorced, Cheryl lost custody of her newborn twins to her husband. I know it made me stop and say “Hmm.” I wonder what the rest of the world thought. The message that’s pumped into the media is that for women like you and me who are looking into the fishbowl of “celebrityville” it can be incredibly misleading – it equates to false hope and being complacent about your reproductive health.
So why aren’t more famous women speaking out and being honest about their fertility or infertility issues?
Lauri Berger de Brito of the Agency for Surrogacy Solutions in Los Angeles says, “The presumption is that if you look young, your eggs are young.”  For men it’s like the old adage:  “Men are like fine wine they get better with age”.  Men can continue to manufacture sperm until they die – take a look at Tony Randall he was in his mid-80’s when he became a father.  However, in Hollywood, Bollywood, or wherever you are in the world, getting older does not go hand in hand with fertility – women are not perceived as getting better with age especially when it comes to their eggs.
But wouldn’t it be lovely if just one celebrity would come forward, be vulnerable and say: “I am a mother via egg donation and I am proud.”

Celebrity Infertility Secrets?

This blog post comes to us from the kind folks over at  Global IVF

Does She or Doesn’t She? (Only her fertility specialist know for sure)
secret

When we look at celebrities like Elton John, Ricky Martin, or Neill Patrick Harris who have had children over the years it’s a no- brainer that they used an egg donor to create their families. But when we hear about female celebrities around the globe who have had children in their 40’s, we wonder – “Did she or didn’t she?” Society perceives that if you look young, your eggs are young.  However, the reality is when you are in your mid-forties and early fifties, your eggs aren’t going to work even though your body may very well carry a pregnancy to term and you may look great doing so. So why all the secrecy surrounding celebrities who may or may not have used egg donation or IVF treatment in general.  Is it ego?  Is it shame?  Is it because infertility treatment equates to being older which equates to being less marketable as far as Hollywood, Bollywood or the rest of the entertainment world is concerned?

Is IVF and egg donation the global entertainment world’s dirty little secret?  Now, we’re not saying that any of the following women used IVF or egg donor to have their children… in fact, most have not admitted reproductive help of any kind (although some did admit to at least IVF help – particularly the ones who used gestational carriers).  But take a look at the following list and draw your own conclusions:

  •  Geena Davis, an American actress, had her twins at 48.
  •  Jane Seymour, an English actress, had her twins at age 44.
  • Nicole Kidman, an Australian actress, was 43 when she had her daughter with the help of a gestational surrogate.
  • Cherie Blair, wife of England’s former Prime Minister gave birth at age 45.
  • Susan Sarandon, an American actress, had a baby at age 46.
  • Somali-born model Iman, married to rocker David Bowie, gave birth at 44.
  • Helen Fielding, an English novelist/screenwriter best known for her character Bridget Jones, gave birth at 48.
  • Arlene Phillips, an English choreographer, gave birth at age 47.
  • Holly Hunter, an American actress, had her twins at 47.
  • Cheryl Tiegs, a global icon in the world of modeling, had twins at age 52.
  • Marcia Gay Harden, an American actress, was age 45 when she gave birth to her twins.
  • Helena Bonham Carter, an English actress, had her baby at age 42.
  • Joan Lunden, an American television personality, went on to have two sets of twins at age 52 and 54 with the help of a gestational surrogate.
  • Elizabeth Edwards, the former wife of American presidential hopeful John Edwards, gave birth to her daughter at age 48 and her son at age 50.
  • Kelly Preston, an American actress and wife of John Travolta,  gave birth to a son at age 47
  • Halle Berry, an American actress, is currently pregnant and 46.
  • Mira Sorvino, an American actress, gave birth to her last child when she was 44.
  • Mariah Carey, musical superstar, gave birth to twins at age 42.
  • Beverly D’Angelo, an American actress, was 49 when her twins were born.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker, an American actress, had twins with the help of a gestational surrogate at age 44.
  • Nancy Grace, an American television personality, was 47 when she brought her twins into the world.
  • Farah Khan, a well known-prestigious Indian film director, gave birth to triplets at age 43.

Farah is one who admitted using IVF, she was quoted as saying: “When the choice is to either go childless or IVF, there is no room for doubts. I was 43 when I had my kids and my biological clock had stopped ticking long time ago.” However, she left the egg donation part out.  So did she?  Or didn’t she? Do you see a trend here? IVF equals shame for many women and that in itself is incredibly unfortunate. Pregnancy for most women is a rite of passage.  It’s something that we typically don’t think about until the time comes when we want to be pregnant and then it’s a really big deal.  It becomes an even bigger deal when you discover that you might be one of the many individuals in the world who might not ever conceive or give birth in your own lifetime – or if you happen to be one of the lucky ones who does it’s going to be after seeking a lot of help and spending a lot of money.
Relates story: Expiration Date Concerning Childbearing

When our bodies aren’t cooperating and doing something that we believed our whole lives we could or would do, it’s simply devastating.
The whole topic of infertility, IVF, egg donation – it’s just so socially taboo. It’s no wonder that regardless of who you are – public figure, celebrity, or the woman next door, it’s not the most favorite topic to talk about at a cocktail or dinner party. We don’t view infertility like we do breast cancer.  Infertility is still in that shameful place that breast cancer was many years ago until public women like Betty Ford brought it out into the forefront and made those of us afflicted with breast cancer into survivors and heroes – as well we should be. Until we change the mindset about infertility and embrace it like we do breast cancer, it’s always going to be that thing that no one wants to talk about. Now, celebrities may be different than the rest of us.  They may have more money.  They might be prettier, more privileged but guess what – they aren’t more fertile.  That’s a myth that has been perpetuated over the years because no one is talking about it. This means that regardless of how famous you might be, the most common cause of infertility in a woman who is in her middle forties is her age. And for a myriad of reasons, many women – not just celebrities wait too long to begin their family building – and after a certain point there’s not a thing you can do to make more eggs because our eggs have an expiration date. The reality is regardless of where you are in the world, AMH and FSH levels don’t lie.  By the time a woman is in her mid-forties, her fertility rate and percentage of success to conceive naturally is just about zero. Okay, okay we hear you – not every pregnant women who’s in her forties has undergone any sort of fertility.  However, be mindful they are the exception to the rule – like one in a million – for the rest of us in the world our reality is very different. Dr. Ric Porter, Director of IVF Australia was quoted as saying: “A pregnant actress in her forties gets a page in a magazine, but if those same magazines printed all the stories of all the women who couldn’t get pregnant, the magazines would be the size of the yellow pages. These celebrity ‘miracle pregnancies’ give women ridiculous expectations. I’m yet to see a patient who had viable eggs in her mid-forties. Even with IVF, we’ve never had a pregnancy after age 45.” It is what reproductive endocrinologists all over the world face every day on the front lines – explaining to women who are in their mid-forties the realities about their fertility, and giving them the sad news that for them to become a mother is to give up her genetics and seek the help of an egg donor.

Should celebrities make public service announcements about infertility much like celebrities make public service announcements about every other cause they are personally affected by?
Granted no woman is obliged nor should she ever be forced to share with the world how she conceived, regardless of whether she’s famous or not.  Infertility is incredibly hard, private and personal.  However, all of this miracle pregnancy mumbo jumbo that we see in all of the magazines, the internet, and television by celebrities has got to stop.  We aren’t doing ourselves any favors by drinking the fertility Kool-Aid and believing everything we read.  This is about protecting your own fertility by being informed and aware of the facts.  It’s also about protecting your self-esteem. Back in 2000 Larry King asked Cheryl Tiegs if she used an egg donor to conceive her twins and her reply was: “No, it’s my eggs and my husband’s sperm so they’re our babies. I’ve been taking care of myself for so long, I know my reproductive organs are much younger than I am.” This left me saying aloud “Really Cheryl, you’re 52, really?!” What’s even more interesting about the whole Cheryl Tiegs thing is when she and her husband divorced, Cheryl lost custody of her newborn twins to her husband. I know it made me stop and say “Hmm.” I wonder what the rest of the world thought. The message that’s pumped into the media is that for women like you and me who are looking into the fishbowl of “celebrityville” it can be incredibly misleading – it equates to false hope and being complacent about your reproductive health.
So why aren’t more famous women speaking out and being honest about their fertility or infertility issues?
Lauri Berger de Brito of the Agency for Surrogacy Solutions in Los Angeles says, “The presumption is that if you look young, your eggs are young.”  For men it’s like the old adage:  “Men are like fine wine they get better with age”.  Men can continue to manufacture sperm until they die – take a look at Tony Randall he was in his mid-80’s when he became a father.  However, in Hollywood, Bollywood, or wherever you are in the world, getting older does not go hand in hand with fertility – women are not perceived as getting better with age especially when it comes to their eggs.
But wouldn’t it be lovely if just one celebrity would come forward, be vulnerable and say: “I am a mother via egg donation and I am proud.”