5 Things Gabrielle Union Teaches Us About Fertility
44 year old actress, Gabrielle Union has recently opened up about her fertility struggles. As a woman that once thought she never wanted kids, she now finds herself longing to conceive, and enduring a painful journey to bring love into the world. Years of failed IVF treatments and 8 or 9 miscarriages is heartbreaking. But it doesn’t just have to be a sad story, it can be one that inspires each of us to act. If Gabrielle can be courageous enough to share with us her story, then it’s our duty to listen, and to take heed to understand our own fertility.
I’m the Egg Whisperer and have made it my life’s mission to empower more women with fertility knowledge.
Here’s what I want you to know from Gabrielle’s story:
1. Fertility isn’t skin deep:
Gabrielle is beautiful both on the inside and outside. I’ve seen interviews of her and I have always said she’s someone I admire. She’s super healthy and looks no older than 30. She clearly takes care of herself. But self-care doesn’t guarantee fertility.
That’s the most frustrating part of being a fertility patient. Your nutrition may be impeccable, your fitness level peak, and stress levels low, but it does not guarantee you will have an easy time getting pregnant.
What you can do is to get your egg levels checked. Understand the baseline of what you’re working from, and set a plan accordingly.
2. Money can’t buy fertility
I suspect Gabrielle and her NBA star husband, Dwayne Wade have the means to access top medical care on their path to conception. And yet, they have been unsuccessful.
When it comes to human biology and fertility: Power and money can’t buy it. It’s confusing for patients because we’re used to “hard work paying off.” All the money and IVF cycles in the world may not make you pregnant. It’s the hardest part of being a fertility patient.
The best hope we all have for conceiving is to freeze our eggs early. You can’t put Botox in your ovaries but you can definitely save your younger eggs for when you are older.
3. Wine may improve with age, but fertility does NOT
There may be a societal movement towards things getting better with age, or hardly aging at all. It seems 40 is the new 20 when it comes to pregnancy, but that is NOT the case for fertility.
Age is the enemy of fertility. It’s that black and white. There have been no scientific discoveries to help women generate eggs after we run out. The best thing you can do is save them, but know that in doing so, getting pregnant is just half the battle.
Most women over 40 can’t have a live birth with their own eggs especially over the age of 42. If you know me, I’m the eternal fertility cheerleader and so not quick to be a naysayer. I have successfully helped women conceive despite FSH levels over 80, and enabled women over the age of 49 to conceive with their own eggs! Even all of that said, the rates of live birth are less than 2 percent for women over 44. I share this not to be a downer, but to help inject a dose of reality so you can set expectations accordingly for your own family planning.
4. Miscarriages don’t have to be a mystery.
Miscarriage is common, but it doesn’t mean you have to experience several to wonder what’s happening with your body.
Seeing a reproductive endocrinologist will help you understand the potential cause of miscarriage. There are tests we can do to help you heal through knowledge, and take action.
For some, that action may include finding a hero like a gestational carrier to carry a pregnancy for you.
If you’ve experienced miscarriage, one of my favorite books to heal is “Not Broken: An Approachable Guide to Miscarriage and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss” by Dr. Lora Shahine.
5. Support matters.
(And no, I’m not just talking about a well-fitted bra).
Of course, I’m talking about people! Have your support system. Find trusted individuals in your life that you can share with. Nobody heals alone. We get through difficult times by vulnerably sharing with others.
Gabrielle knows this, and she’s been brave in publishing a book allowing her to go beyond her immediate circle for support. She’s in turn made many women feel they are not alone in their fertility struggles.
It’s so important to find your team, be it online or in-person. Here are some options for you, wherever you are on your path to conception, there is someone right alongside of you. I promise you that!
– Connect online via Fertility Friend
– In person support groups like Resolve
– Consider acupuncture. I recommend checking out this book: Planting the Seeds of Pregnancy: Your Guide to Improving Egg Quality and Fertility Potential Using Eastern Wisdom and Western Science.
Even if today you find yourself like Gabrielle once did, and not sure that you want kids. Feelings can change. If they do, then I want you to have the best chance of conceiving!
#GetAheadOfInfertility and schedule an egg awareness panel and egg whisperer consult.