Non-Traditional Conception: Celebrities Do it & You Can Too

By: The Mommy Docs: Yvonne Bohn, MD, Allison Hill, MD, and Alane Park, MD for GalTime.com

Women's Health is a completely different ballgame than it was even fifty years ago--especially when it comes to pregnancy and fertility.

Women are waiting longer to have babies and have countless options for fertility support, which is evidenced regularly on the covers of tabloid magazines.

Everyday women and high-profile celebrities alike are taking advantage of non-traditional conception methods to overcome infertility or prolong the likelihood of becoming a mother later in life.

Bill and Giuliana RancicBill and Giuliana RancicSome of the non-traditional conception methods you may have heard about include surrogacy, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and egg freezing. If a woman is unable to carry a pregnancy herself, either because of a hysterectomy or a medical condition that would be compromised by a pregnancy, she may use the uterus of another woman.

This is called surrogacy. There are two types of surrogacy: gestational and traditional. Gestational surrogacy, which has been used by celebrities like Giuliana Rancic and Nicole Kidman, is when the surrogate has no genetic relation to the baby she is carrying.

Related: Yoga for Fertility

In this case, the surrogate is implanted with an embryo that has been previously created. A traditional surrogate not only carries the baby, but also acts as the egg donor. The baby is genetically hers and the surrogate is inseminated with the father's sperm.

This was the case with celebrities like Neil Patrick Harris and Elton John. The cost of surrogacy can range from $20,000 to $50,000. In addition, the couple (or single parent) is responsible for all medical costs.

Elton John Elton John

But for the families involved, it may be their only chance to have a baby, so the costs are well worth it. Just because a woman or couple can't physically carry a baby, doesn't mean they can't be involved in the pregnancy and birth process.

Surrogate parents are often involved by attending prenatal visits and being present at the birth.

Another nontraditional conception method that has been popularized by celebrities like Celine Dion, Brooke Shields and Christie Brinkley, is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

Celine Dion Celine Dion

IVF is the process of harvesting eggs from a woman, fertilizing them in a laboratory, and inserting the embryos into her uterus.

By doing this procedure, multiple eggs can be made and fertilized and the best looking embryos can be implanted. The cost of IVF is about $12,000 per cycle. Its success rate depends on the age of the mother, ranging from 5 to 65 percent per attempt.

Related: Opening Up About Infertility

This means that a woman may have to undergo several cycles of IVF before achieving a successful pregnancy, which can be a draining, both financially and emotionally. And what about the women who aren't quite ready for a baby right now, but want to sustain the plausibility of becoming mothers later in life?

Just ask Maria Menounos, who has been open about her decision to have her eggs frozen. Egg freezing is available as a means for women to maintain their fertility options as they get older. Since fertility rates decline significantly as women approach 40, some women are afraid they will not be able to have a child when they are ready.

The procedure costs about $8,000 and still is considered experimental. The success rates depend on the age at which the eggs were frozen and may approach 70 percent for women under age 35. No matter where you are in your journey to motherhood, it is important to be in-tune with your body and your cycle.

Be open with your doctor and don't be afraid to talk about your fertility and conception options. You deserve to reap all the benefits of the many advancements in women's health!


More from GalTime: