I’ve spent the past decade covering reproductive health, and here’s what I’ve noticed during that time: Celebrities have been a real force in the normalization and de-stigmatization of fertility issues. 

Every time a star opens up about a miscarriage or tells their fertility story, it moves the mission of removing the shame from these issues forward. And that’s powerful.

It’s also complicated. Because while speaking out about reproductive issues and sharing personal stories does so much for the greater good — especially when a person with a big platform does it — no one needs to share the details of their experience. Everyone, celebrities included, has the right to tell as much or as little of their story as they choose. 

Celebrities who have used donor eggs

With that being said, there’s one path to parenthood we’re still not talking about much, and that’s egg donation. According to the American Pregnancy Association, women with certain conditions such as premature ovarian failure, poor egg quality, and history of genetic disease are typical candidates for using donor eggs. Women over 40 also are typical candidates — yet many celebrities who have welcomed babies in their 40s haven’t openly spoken about using donor eggs. 

It’s never our place to speculate on these things, but, as several fertility experts have pointed out, the value of opening up about egg donation is huge. For better or worse, celebrities shape public perception — so when celebrities have children later in life, that shapes the general public’s expectations. And when they share what it really takes to build their families, we’re able to scale those expectations realistically.

There are many stars who have never commented one way or another about whether they’ve used donor eggs — but there are also some stars who have spoken openly about their experiences doing so.

Here are some stars who have spoken out about using donor eggs, and what they’ve said about the experience.

Barbara Corcoran

"I always assumed I could have as many children as I wanted. There was no deadline," the Shark Tank fixture told Yahoo Life. "Most women, when they approach around 40, they start to panic. Not me. Because my mother and all of my sisters had children like they were rabbits — they pop them out." 

She was shocked and devastated to learn it “wouldn’t happen” that way for her at age 41. So Corcoran asked her five sisters if any of them would be willing to donate eggs…and they all volunteered. Corcoran used eggs from her younger sister. “From those eggs, I had one son, Tommy,” she said.

Marcia Cross

The Desperate Housewives star did not explicitly state whether she used donor eggs to conceive her twins, but she did comment on the practice, and make it clear that many women who give birth in their 40s — like she did — are not doing so without medical intervention.

"I don't like the average woman being misled into thinking that fertility is something that goes on forever,” Cross said, according to PEOPLE.  “When a woman gets older, they get donor eggs, which doesn't make the baby any less beautiful or perfect. One's own eggs only last so long."

Brittany Daniel

Brittany Daniel and her twin sister, Cynthia, famously starred together on Sweet Valley High. Brittany’s fertility was affected after she underwent treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and she used Cynthia’s eggs to conceive her daughter via surrogacy.

“I went to see an IVF doctor and we went through two cycles of trying to retrieve eggs,” Brittany said on an episode of PEOPLE’s Every Day podcast. “Somewhere in the meetings that I had with the doctor, I told him I had an identical twin sister and he was like ‘wait, what are we doing here? You can’t get any closer, you guys have the exact same DNA. Why don’t we ask your sister to see if she’d be open to sharing her eggs with you’?”

"I saw it as such a simple gift I could give to her," Cynthia added. "I know Brittany would do it in a split second for me. And we've always shared everything, so why not this?"

Camille Gauty

After multiple failed IVF rounds, the Prison Break actress turned to egg donation to build her family…but it wasn’t an easy decision.  “I honestly had a difficult time wrapping my mind around this choice,” she told PEOPLE. “Just a couple of years ago, the idea of another woman’s egg in my body was unfathomable.”

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“When we both let go of our expectations of what parenthood was supposed to be, our pregnancy happened with that one golden egg,” she added. “I had such faith that I was going to be a mother. I didn’t know how it was going to turn out but, I realized being a mother means nurturing a child in an environment that will help them grow and flourish. That’s a family.”

Lance Bass 

Like many gay men, Lance Bass and his husband Michael Turchin turned to surrogacy to build their family. But while we know that gay men often require surrogacy on their path to parenthood, we don’t often discuss what that process really entails. Unlike people with uteruses who turn to surrogacy, gay men also use donor eggs, and Bass and Turchin reflected on this part of their experience in an interview with PEOPLE.

“We went through nine different egg donors, which is rare. We got all the way down the path of about to retrieve their eggs,” said Turchin. “Some just wouldn't produce enough eggs; some weren't good genetic matches. If you're going to be a match, you don't want to even risk it.”

Tan France

Similarly, Tan France and his husband, Rob, turned to surrogacy to welcome their son. They reflected on the complexities of their path to parenthood on an episode of the PEOPLE Every Day podcast.

Tan said it was "quite a laborious process,” which involved matching with both a gestational carrier and an egg donor. 

"The person that we have carrying our baby is somebody that is wonderful, and we know that she will take care of our baby beautifully," France said. "As far as the donor was concerned, that was a more complicated process, but we really wanted to make sure that the person that we were working with was kind and was going to have the kind of traits that we were looking for in the world [and] that we look for in each other."

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