Celebrities, they’re just like us. Right?! Well, actually, it’s complicated. 

While on the surface it might seem like celebrities bringing attention to IVF would be a good thing, not all celebrity fertility stories are equally praised by those currently in the trenches of fertility treatments--and for good reason.

Some celebrities, like Chrissy Teigen and Meghan Markle, have successfully used their platforms to share real, raw, and honest accounts of their heartbreaking experiences with infertility or pregnancy loss. In doing so, they have shed necessary light on what so many couples go through on their journeys to parenthood; and, in turn, they have let countless women--and men--know that they are not alone in their suffering. 

Chrissy Teigen and Meghan Markle are perfect examples of why sharing our stories--the good, the bad, and the ugly--is so important, because you never know who might be reading it and saying, “I thought I was the only one.” Their stories have also done important work towards ending the stigma and normalizing the conversations surrounding infertility and pregnancy loss, which is both refreshing and much-needed. 

Then there are celebrities like Lena Dunham and Paris Hilton. Contrary to Teigen and Markle, their publicly-shared IVF experiences have not been as well received by those in the infertility community. In fact, it can be argued that Dunham and Hilton’s stories have done more harm than good when it comes to painting a picture for the general public--including many important employers and lawmakers--of what going through fertility treatments is actually like. 

Lena Dunham’s essay in Harper’s came from a place of grief, and despite not agreeing with her portrayal of the infertility community itself, many infertility warriors found they could empathize with her palpable anger and sadness following a failed IVF cycle. Paris Hilton’s account of doing IVF, on the other hand, was significantly less relatable. 

Earlier this week, People reported that Paris Hilton admitted starting the IVF process with her boyfriend Carter Reum on a recent episode of The Trend Reporter with Mara Podcast. The headline reads, “Paris Hilton Reveals She Started IVF Process with Boyfriend Carter Reum, Says It Was 'Tough' but 'Worth It.’” At first glance, you would think it was just another article about a celebrity starting IVF. But if you keep reading, some of the reasons the heiress gives for pursuing IVF would make anyone who has actually been through the process shake their head in disbelief. 

According to Hilton, she started looking into IVF because it was "the only way" she could ensure that she could have "twins that are a boy and a girl." But anyone who has been through IVF knows that infertility is a disease that affects 1 in 8 couples in the U.S., and IVF is not something they would choose to do if they didn’t have to for one reason or another. 

Monica Wunder, an infertility warrior who is currently pursuing parenthood via gestational surrogacy, wrote on Instagram, “Articles like this are the reason IVF isn’t viewed as medically necessary by insurance companies, and why there is so little understanding about the emotional and physical challenges we have to face just for a CHANCE at having a baby.” 

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For many couples, IVF is their only option for growing their families, and the decision to pursue IVF isn’t one that is made lightly. There are physical, emotional, and financial considerations to factor in as well. Hilton saying "We have been doing IVF, so I can pick twins if I like” completely trivializes the experiences of the couples who have to endure countless injections, blood draws, ultrasounds, and negative pregnancy tests for a shot at becoming parents. And even then, IVF is not always a guarantee.

The truth is, despite common misconceptions about IVF, there is no ‘sure thing’ when it comes to fertility treatments--or family-building in general. Just like “Relax and it will happen,” or “Why don’t you just adopt?” maybe when it comes to celebrities sharing their stories the general guideline should be, “Think before you speak.”

Kristyn Hodgdon is the Co-Founder oand Chief Community Officer of Rescripted.