Aisha Tyler is known for being "the funny one." The 42-year-old is always the first to crack a joke—even if it's at her own expense. So that made it doubly touching when the always-cheerful comedian broke down in tears on the set of her show, The Talk, while letting her co-hosts and America know that she has had a private struggle with infertility while trying to get pregnant.
After being off birth control for some time with no success, she saw a specialist and was diagnosed with a tortuous fallopian tube, which makes it very difficult for the sperm to reach the egg. So two years ago she and her husband of 21 years decided to try IVF—a costly and painful procedure that can run around $15k per cycle.
"There are all these shots, they make your body crazy, they make you emotional, they hurt," describes Aisha. "I was getting shots every day...My husband hated giving me the shots. He probably cried more than I did."
The sad reality is that 7.3 million American women and their partners have infertility issues. About 5 percent of the couples turn to IVF, but most IVF treatments do not end in a birth. About 27 percent of those seeking IVF give birth. And as a woman's age increases, the chances of success are lowered.
"After 40 your chances of getting pregnant are between 2 and 8 percent, and in my particular case they were less than 5 percent," Aisha explained, trying to hold back the tears. After no success, Aisha's doctor finally told her, "Based on what we're seeing here, I just don't think this is going to happen for you." How devastating must that conversation have been?
While some couples choose to keep going regardless, Aisha and her husband made the emotional decision to stop. "It was better to not go through that torture," she said. Most IVF stories you hear are really about the people who went through the hard times but had a happy ending, a beautiful baby to make it all worth it. You rarely hear from the people who it didn't work for—and there are lots of them. It's probably because it's just too sad to say out loud, and they'd rather bury those feelings of disappointment.
I think it's so brave of Aisha to share her story with us, and to show us the other side of IVF—the reality that it's not a miracle cure that can bring a baby to every couple that wants one. And Aisha and her husband really, really wanted one. The upside of it all is that they still may have children. "I love the idea of adoption," says Aisha. "But I feel like this is such a fresh wound that I want to let it heal for a while before I think about what we could do next."
I hope when the time is right, Aisha will have the experience of being a mom—whether it's through adoption or some other way—because it is the best feeling in the world. The first time you hold your baby in your arms, it is love at first sight, and that feeling never, ever goes away.
TELL US: If a doctor told you it looked like you weren't ever going to be able to conceive, would you keep trying IVF?
Image of Aisha Tyler courtesy of Shutterstock.