Erin Andrews Just Shed Light on a Major Part of Infertility: The Uncertainty

Zara Hanawalt • Dec 26, 2023

If you asked a group of people affected by infertility to describe what it feels like, I imagine the word “isolating” would come up…a lot. 

Even in 2024, when we are so much more aware of fertility issues than we’ve ever been before, when so many people are candidly opening up their own experiences, when communities devoted to the “infertility club” are forming online and IRL, the experience can still feel so deeply lonely.

Part of that is because, while there are universal elements at work, everyone’s journey is so, so different. There is no roadmap. There’s no “normal”. There’s no way of knowing exactly what lies ahead or how any piece of the process will play out…and that’s truly one of the hardest parts of infertility. You essentially give up control of your body and your plans and ride out wave after wave of uncertainty.

forlorn woman staring out a window

That’s not something we talk about much. There’s this narrative that it always goes a certain way: You consult a doctor, undergo IVF, and have a baby — but of course, it doesn’t always look like that. In fact, it’s rarely such a straight line, yet we often fail to recognize all the wild zig zags people frequently face as they make their way through the family-building process. That’s why recent comments from Erin Andrews are so important to highlight: They acknowledge the very real uncertainties and roadblocks and redirections so many people face.

Of course, Andrews has firsthand experience to inform her comments.  The sportscaster spent a decade trying to become a parent. She underwent multiple unsuccessful rounds of IVF and ultimately turned to surrogacy, which gave her a son, Mack.

Andrews has been vocal about the years of “hell” she experienced. In a recent interview, she reflected on the uncertainties of the experience — and validated the current reality of the reporter who conducted the interview.

At 35, Andrews froze her eggs. Often when people discuss egg freezing, they refer to it as “an insurance policy”, a surefire way for someone to successfully have a child whenever they want. Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple or failsafe.

woman sitting alone near a lake

“I froze my eggs and I thought, Oh, I have enough. This is so great. I didn’t understand it wasn’t as easy as just harvesting a good amount of eggs,” Andrews tells Katie Couric Media. “You could get 11 eggs but create no embryos [because of factors like poor egg or sperm quality]. And that’s what happened to me a couple of times…I wasn’t having success, which is why I did it for so long. It was exhausting.”

Eventually, Andrews and her husband decided to pursue surrogacy, a departure from their initial plans. “It was something we hoped in the beginning to avoid — that instead I would miraculously become pregnant, and the whole situation would change, but it didn’t,” Andrews says. “It wasn’t until Covid in 2020, when we were in isolation, that we finally said, ‘We need to do this.’” 

Though she was told that “surrogacy gives you a better chance”, the transfer of two embryos — which Andrews hoped would give her at least one child — failed. “We had false hope — we thought it was going to work because we didn’t realize that about 30 percent of surrogacy transfers don’t work,” says Andrews. There’s a theme here: With infertility, the best-laid plans don’t always materialize.

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The journalist who interviews Andrews, Maggie Parker, opens up about her own experience as well — even sharing that she pushed back her initial interview to accommodate her own embryo transfer. This makes for a really special dynamic throughout the interview, which features the journalist and source bonding over the toll of infertility. It’s a sign that even though every infertility journey is unique, there’s so much value in connecting with others.

happy couple on the sofa

Only someone who has been through infertility truly understands how unpredictable it really is, and how terrifying it is to have absolutely no way of predicting what you’ll have to endure to welcome a child. The story Andrews shares gets to the heart of that — and the parting wisdom she leaves the reporter with does as well. 

“It’s going to work for you. It just sucks because you don’t know when. And that’s incredibly unfair,” she says. “But it’s going to work."

Zara Hanawalt is a freelance journalist and mom of twins. She's written for outlets like Parents, Marie-Claire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Motherly, and many others. In her (admittedly limited!) free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, trying new restaurants, and traveling with her family.