Few things are more personal than the decision to start a family, and few things can make a person feel more alone than when the baby making doesn’t quite go to plan.
But with around one in seven couples in the UK having trouble conceiving, it’s a reality faced by many wannabe parents, particularly if you’re a little older.
Nowadays, however, the subject of infertility and conception are being brought out from behind-the-curtain, thanks in part to older celebrity mums using their platform to share their own struggles.
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Just yesterday, Anne Hathaway used her second pregnancy announcement to hint that her path to parenthood hadn’t been an easy one.
"All kidding aside, for everyone going through infertility and conception hell, please know it was not a straight line to either of my pregnancies. Sending you extra love," she wrote alongside a sweet picture showcasing her bump.
And earlier this week Aussie singer Natalie Imbruglia shared the happy news that she is pregnant with her first child at 44, while also opening about her journey to conception.
The ‘Torn’ hitmaker took to her Instagram to say she’s been "blessed" with a pregnancy after help from a sperm donor and successful IVF treatment.
“I’m expecting my first child this Autumn. For those of you that know me, this has been something I have wanted for a very long time and I’m blessed that this is possible with the help of IVF and a sperm donor,” Natalie wrote in an Instagram post.
Both announcements kicked off an outpouring of congratulations but also prompted women going through their own fertility struggles to share their own stories.
Sarah Jessica Parker has also been honest about turning to surrogacy to extend her family with husband Matthew Broderick.
“Well, you know, we’ve been trying to expand our family for a number of years and we actually have explored a variety of ways of doing so,” she said.
“This was one of the things we discussed with seriousness that had real possibilities for us.”
And some celebrities are also being honest about the ways in which they plan to future-proof their fertility. Rita Ora revealing back in 2017 that she has frozen her eggs in a bid to have children later in life.
Though not everyone will feel comfortable opening up about their conception journeys, the refreshing honesty from certain female celebrities is encouraging.
Last year, by Public Health England (PHE) found that around a third of women had recently experienced severe reproductive health symptoms, but fewer than half (46%) of the women surveyed had sought professional medical help for their symptoms.
It’s an indication that women’s reproductive health is still stigmatised.
So, candid posts like Hathaway’s and Imbruglia’s are appreciated for helping to encourage women to talk openly about traditionally taboo fertility issues.
“For so long now we've been used to a parade of celebrity mums effortlessly getting pregnant in their 40s and even 50s and breezily - but disingenously - suggesting it was simply down to luck, yoga or an organic diet.
"Of course, everyone is entitled to personal privacy but when you're in the public eye, these seemingly-easy later-life pregnancies can give false hope - and heartbreak - to normal women struggling to conceive, when stars aren't entirely honest about how they achieved it.
"So it's great to see more and more celebs opening up about using egg freezing, IVF and even surrogates to have their families.
“One in six of us has fertility problems and fame won't shield you from it. But opening up, connecting with your fans and sharing the struggle to conceive is something positive stars can do to help their audience.
"Falling pregnant in your 40s isn't easy so if more celebs being honest help more real mums not to feel like failures as they haven't easily done the same, then that's a positive step."