Joe Zee & Tyra Banks on FABLife’s Emotional IVF Episode

·Editor in Chief

My new syndicated daytime talk show, FABLife, premiered last week and one of the first lessons I learned is that as well as you may think you know someone, you don’t always have the full story.

Let me explain what I mean: I love sitting next to these amazing, talented, beautifully accomplished women every single day at our opening table. Some of them I’ve known for ages through the world of fashion, some I’ve known since last year when we started developing the show, but when we started filming Monday’s episode, I realized very quickly that there are so many layers to people—and that, in essence, is sort of the show’s theme. Let me elaborate: On this episode of FABLife, Tyra Banks and Chrissy Teigen got very candid, honest, and raw about their own personal struggles with IVF. “While we freely comment and criticize one another’s lives, relationships and activities on social media, we never really know what personal challenges someone is going through,” Tyra told me. “So I say, #StopAsking.“

Both Chrissy and Tyra have struggled with getting pregnant. In the clip above, they go into detail about a real struggle I can’t even begin to understand. Once you see the emotional way they talk about how much they want kids, and how much they’ve struggled for it, it’s clear this was not a planned conversation. “I set out for FABLife to be a lifestyle show, so we don’t typically get into gut wrenching, emotional topics,” Tyra tells Yahoo Style exclusively. “But this conversation just kind of snuck up on me. One minute we were all laughing and the next, I was in tears. At first, I thought I should change the subject really fast and get back to a lifestyle topic. But something in my gut said that maybe I should slow down, take a breath and just let this conversation continue organically. Difficulties conceiving, IVF treatments and infertility are very personal issues for millions of women and families and it affects so many people from all walks of life.”

My other co-hosts, Lauren Makk and Leah Ashley, open up about their own struggles. Lauren is single and unsure if she wants kids, while Leah’s accidentally pregnant—she was using an IUD! So of course I had to share my own story.

I have always wanted kids, but like all of the women sitting on the panel, I can’t just say, “Well, this is the year to get pregnant!” or go in for IVF. I have to research alternative methods. There’s adoption, which isn’t easy since same sex couples have been barred from adopt internationally in a lot of places now or the process has completely slowed down to nonexistent, and domestic adoption can still be a very complicated process for same sex couples. I’ve researched surrogacy—even before I was with my boyfriend Rob—through an agency called Growing Generations. It’s like the ultimate dating app: I always explain it to those who don’t understand surrogacy agencies that it can be similar to Tinder on steroids. You watch videos of potential egg donors and surrogates who tell you everything: family, education, career, and medical history, even childhood pictures, all to see if they are the right candidate for you. It’s an interesting and detailed process, but one that costs roughly about a quarter of a million dollars at the outset, which is just not an accessible dollar amount for me or even most people. And those are really the only two options for a man in a same-sex relationship, which means having kids in this age of the modern family isn’t as easy as some people think.

I urge you all to watch this episode of FABLife and appreciate the brutal honesty of these women I have the pleasure of working with every day. Let’s applaud them for standing up and sharing their strongly-held beliefs through the same tears they surely shed behind closed doors. Imagine how hard it’s been for them to actually get to the point where they want to talk about this out loud, wondering if they will ever get the kids they want. Will I? 

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