In the United States about 1 in 5 people will struggle with infertility.
And yet with so many affected by this issue, it is still a very difficult subject to talk about for most people.
In a recent podcast episode of Call Her Daddy, actress Elizabeth Banks opened up to host Alexandra Cooper about her struggle with infertility.
Even after welcoming her first of two children into the world, she still felt like there was "so much shame" in her journey to become a mother.
You can see an excerpt from the podcast here:
In the interview, Banks discussed her relationship with husband Max Handleman, how she knew he was the one even though they met at just 18 years old and the emotional hit of finding out she was unable to become pregnant.
And apparently the temperature.
The Hunger Games actor said:
"I’ve never been pregnant and when I was young I thought it was because I was really good at taking the pill, which I definitely was."
"But I have no idea. There’s a small percentage of women who basically have unexplained infertility and that is me, I’m in that category."
"I had always had plenty of eggs, I never had trouble making embryos, they did not implant. For whatever reason, my uterus is hostile, I don’t know what’s going on but they just will not stay in there."
"So I had a broken belly, is what I told my kids, mommy had a broken belly."
You can watch the full hour-long podcast here.
Call Her Daddy - Elizabeth Banks youtu.be
Banks went on to talk about the grief she struggled with before she made the choice to use a surrogate.
"Your fertility is such a part of your life, men and women."
"But for women especially in a society that’s like, this is why we value you, we don’t value you because you could be a CEO, we value you because you can procreate and keep the race going."
"So if you can’t do that, you are less of a woman. That’s the messaging. And my fertility was something I had to mourn."
"I had to grieve for it. It was a loss. And I had to really work through that before I could invite someone else to help me make my family."
"It was confusing too because it’s like my husband and I could make these beautiful baby cakes and I just didn’t have an oven to bake them in."
"And so it really was my fault, do you know what I mean? It was on me. And I felt that deeply, like I’m the problem."
In the interview, she also talked about the judgement she faced when deciding to use a surrogate in order to grow her family.
"This is a long time ago before surrogacy was like a Kardashian thing."
"Nobody was doing it back then."
When Banks met the woman who would later become her surrogate she had a turning point in her journey. After having what she described as "an incredible conversation" with the woman, she came to terms with using this method to become a mother.
She continued on by saying that once she had her son in her arms, all of the other worries went away.
Banks still has a relationship with her surrogate to this day and plans to send her a picture of her son on his 10th birthday.
"It takes like the whole village to do this."
She ended by saying the judgement doesn't end once the baby is born.
"Now they get to judge me for how I parent."
"It starts all over again, it’s a whole other side of the cycle."
Banks is also a vocal advocate for reproductive freedom.
She starred in the 2022 film Call Jane.
And spoke out abouth the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v Wade.
Pregnancy, contraceptives, adoption, invitro fertilization, surrogacy and abortion are all parts of the reproductive freedom Banks wants available for all people.
As with her own struggles with infertility, their bodies, their choices.