Halle Berry had her first baby at 41. John Travolta’s wife Kelly Preston conceived at 48. So did Rachel Weisz. Janet Jackson had a baby two years later, at 50. These stars have given motherhood a new face. A face that says you can have it all, and become a mother later in life. But fertility specialist Dr Raewyn Teirney says many stars are indirectly feeding a myth that pregnancy is an easy feat later in life when, for women, it is not. “What [celebrities] don’t tell you was that it was a donor egg. They never tell you it’s a donor egg,” Dr Teirney told Future Women’s Sydney Social Club last week. “And in the fertility world you do get to know what stars use a donor egg… Because of that myth, women and men think that you can get pregnant in your forties and it’s easy. In fact, it’s not. In fact, the biggest factor of conceiving is female age. And it sucks. It does.”
Dr Teirney has worked in the industry for 25 years, training in obstetrics and gynaecology in Sydney before becoming a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist which took her to Cambridge and the Bourn Hall Fertility Clinic which was the world’s first IVF clinic. She spoke to Future Women members about the frank realities of fertility and conception as well as the myths that plague Australia and the western world.