Google “pregnant celebrities over 40,” and you get over 20 million page results. Yes, there are a lot of them in Hollywood, but it isn’t because of age-defying seaweed wraps or chemical peels. Those have no effect on ovaries.
It’s because of IVF procedures and donor eggs.
As I’ve mentioned before:
- By 35, women have a 10% chance of getting pregnant each month. The miscarriage rate is 25%
- After 40, 90% of a woman’s eggs are genetically abnormal
- After 44, women have a less than 1% chance of getting pregnant with their own eggs even if they use IVF
This means that Hollywood moms are using IVF and egg donors behind closed doctor’s curtains, and they’re trying to keep it on the down-low in an effort to preserve their youthful image.
Conversely, the purpose of this post is to out them.
Donor Egg Moms Who Used Surrogates
This group is pretty easy to identify since almost all women who use surrogates also use egg donors. Many women try to suggest that their surrogates are carrying babies fertilized with their own eggs, and this could be true for younger women (as in the case of Dennis Quaid’s wife who was 36), but among women over 40, it doesn’t really work that way.
* Giuliana Rancic is having a baby via surrogate at 37. (Fingers crossed for a healthy baby due summer 2012.)
Joan Lunden had two sets of twins via surrogate when she was 42 and 44.
Sarah Jessica Parker used a surrogate to conceive her twins at 44.
Angela Bassett had twins via surrogate when she was 47.
Annie Leibowitz had twins via surrogate at 56.
Cheryl Tiegs used a surrogate to deliver twins when she was 53. I love her story best because she told Larry King that they were conceived using her own eggs, which pretty much means she’s crazy.
Donor Egg Moms Who Carried Pregnancies Themselves
This group is tougher to guess at, but when it comes to moms over 44, it’s fairly safe to assume they’ve used donors. For women closer to 40, it’s less obvious, although twins are a pretty big clue, especially if their babies follow years of infertility. Anyhow, here’s my list:
Nicole Kidman had a baby at 40 and another at 42. A third baby was born a year after that via surrogate. With all her history of infertility and miscarriage during her 30s, I suspect that she used donor eggs for all three.
Patrick Dempsey’s wife had twins at 41. Considering the 5 year gap between this pregnancy and their first daughter, I’m going with egg donor.
Mariah Carey delivered twins at 42 after years of struggling with infertility. She credits the miracle pregnancy to acupuncture. I credit it to an egg donor.
Celine Dion had six IVF cycles and a miscarriage and then finally gave birth at 42. It’s possible that the 7th try was the charm, but an egg donor is more likely.
Iman had a baby at 44. A successful IVF is possible, but statistically unlikely. I’m going with egg donor.
Jane Seymour delivered twins at 44. Donor.
Marcia Gay Harden had twins at 44. Donor.
Mary Stuart Masterson was pregnant with twins at 44. Egg donor. [She was supposedly due summer 2011, although I haven’t seen any reports about a successful delivery, so hopefully things didn’t take a bad turn for her.]
Marcia Cross gave birth to twins at 44. She’s admitted to going through IVF treatments but not to using donor eggs. She has, however, acknowledged that egg donation exists. Baby steps.
Mimi Rogers had a baby at 45. Egg donor.
Susan Sarandon had babies at 42 and 46. Egg donor. (Although the kid she had at 39 obviously has her genetics.)
Jane Kaczmarek had babies at 42, 44, and 47. Donor, donor, and donor.
Kelly Preston had a baby at 47. Donor.
Holly Hunter and Nancy Grace each had twins at 47. Donors.
Bridget Jones scribe Helen Fielding gave birth at 43 and 48. Donor, obviously.
Geena Davis gave birth to twins at 48. Egg donor fer shur.
Beverly D’Angelo had a baby at 49. That’s forty-NINE.
* Elizabeth Edwards had kids when she was 48 and 50.
Annie Leibowitz gave birth when she was 51. Obvee. [As noted above, she subsequently used a surrogate for twins.]
Jennifer Aniston isn’t pregnant, but she’s 43 and a long-time heavy smoker, so I’m calling it early: egg donor.
Then there are the celebrity moms who have done IVF. Again, I’m totally fabricating this list based on assumptions, but twins are a giveaway, and singletons born to moms close to 40 are suspect, too. My guess is that many of these women have also used donors, but I’m less sure of these than I am of the group above.
Rebecca Romijn had twins at 36. It’s possible that this was natural, but I was infertile at 35, and we used the same wedding photographer, so I’m going with IVF.
Julia Roberts had twins at 37 and a singleton at 40. Definitely IVF. [More specifically, my guess is that the second pregnancy was a frozen embryo transfer leftover from her first cycle’s retrieval.]
Jennifer Lopez had twins at 39. IVF for sure. Egg donor possible.
Lisa Marie Presley gave birth to twins at 40. IVF for sure. Egg donor possible.
Courtney Cox Arquette had a baby at 41 after years of struggling with infertility. Definitely IVF. Probably egg donor.
Julianna Margulies had a baby at 41. IVF is likely, particularly since it was her first child. Possible egg donor.
Diana Krall had twins at 41. IVF for sure. Egg donor possible.
Molly Ringwald had twins at 41. IVF for sure. Egg donor possible.
Angelina Jolie is pregnant with her second set of twins. I realize that she’s only 36, but – as my friend A pointed out – the odds of having two sets of twins is pretty low. That combined with the fact that she’s crazy makes it clear that she’s using IVF. Own egg, though. And Pitt sperm, obviously. I mean, wouldn’t you?
I suppose there should be some moral to this blog post: something about how bad it is that these upper-class, professional female role models are perpetuating the myth that you don’t have to start worrying about your biological clock until you’re 45 even though the true start-worrying age is 27, and how bad it is that celebrities are setting real-life women up for failure when instead what they could be doing is educating folks that ovaries expire, and that women would be wise to make more informed decisions when it comes to their plans for family-building, and that the only way to do that is to reject the illusion of Hollywood youth, glamor, and invincibility once and for all.
Right now I just feel like outing them.
* Update, April 24, 2012: With the announcement of Bill and Giuliana Rancic’s surrogate pregnancy, I decided to keep this log updated as pregnancy news emerges. Names preceded by asterisks denote additions made after the initial post.
Update, March 2, 2013
Chances are you’re here because you Googled some celebrity’s name and the word “donor” or “IVF.” To those of you who read this page as a tongue-in-cheek look at Hollywood and the ways that many post-fertile celebrities perpetuate the delusion of feminine youth: you’re awesome. I’ve greatly appreciated your suggested corrections to the details of this post, and I value your camaraderie on this lonely path of reproductive challenges.
Moreover, I appreciate that when you hear me say, “I’m totally fabricating this list based on assumptions,” you understand that what I mean is, “I’m totally fabricating this list based on assumptions.” Way to exercise reading comprehension skills. Bravo.
If, on the other hand, you think this random blog post you found on the Internet is going to give you medically accurate records of famous women’s vaginas, then you’re an idiot. But fret not, because you’re one of many idiots. And because so many idiots before you have felt the need to expose my journalistic failures by calling me names or making generally unkind remarks, I decided to close the comments on this page.
That said, you may still want to get in touch with me so that I can ignore you on yet another channel of communication, in which case my email address is on my About Me page. Feel free to write. I’m more than happy to delete any messages you send my way.