• Thu, Apr 12 2007

Actress Marcia Cross Breastfeeds Her Twins Conceived through IVF

“Desperate Housewives” actress Marcia Cross conceived her twin girls through in vitro fertilization (IVF). The twins are nearly two months old now and Marcia told People magazine how happy she is with new motherhood and what her days are like:

I’ll tell you my routine – it’s really exciting! I feed, I burp, I change diapers, I pump. And then I have a tiny window of time to myself. I can breastfeed them both at the same time, which for me is a huge accomplishment!

Marcia should feel doubly proud (pun intended) for breastfeeding her twins. A University of Melbourne study released last month found that women who use assisted reproductive technology such as IVF to conceive are less confident about their mothering skills, more anxious about caring for a newborn and less likely to be breastfeeding at three months.  Based on the study of 150 women, the researcher concluded that women who used IVF to conceive should receive additional parenting information, reassurance and intensive support for breastfeeding.

I recently spoke to a new grandmother who described the difficulty her daughter had breastfeeding after IVF. Explaining why her daughter stopped breastfeeding, the woman essentially said, ”Her doctor told her she might have a hard time breastfeeding after all the fertility drugs and she did.” I’m not aware of any research that supports the notion that fertility drugs cause difficulty with breastfeeding, but it’s very clear to me that the doctor’s words served as a damaging and self-fulfilling prophecy! How dare that doctor sabotage that woman’s ability to breastfeed! Even if the doctor had concerns, the expectant mother should have been encouraged to seek support to ensure the breastfeeding relationship–not told not to be surprised if it didn’t work out!  

The sad thing is that breastfeeding can actually restore a woman’s confidence in her body and help her feel empowered after infertility. That’s what Michigan mother Sue Stuever Battel described as her experience and that was my experience too! Based on the above quote from Marcia Cross about what a “huge accomplishment” it is to nurse her twins it sounds like she feels empowered as well! Congratulations to Marcia Cross on her new babies and her breastfeeding success!

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  • http://www.adventuresofabreastfeedingmother.blogspot.com/ Shelly

    It always upsets me how ignorant doctors can be when it comes to breastfeeding.

  • http://breastfeeding.blog.motherwear.com tanya@motherwearblog

    Add this one to the list of reasons women are told they can’t breastfeed with no basis…

  • andy sue

    Marcia Cross used donor eggs so she would not have been on any fertility drugs that would have affected her breastfeeding abilities. She would have only been on estrogen patches or pills to increase her lining for the tranfer of the embryos or something similar to that, and probably progesterone of some sort (injections like PIO or pills like prometrium). Both are estrogen and progesterone are hormones made by the body. If she was using her own eggs for the ivf then yes she would have been on fertility drugs to grow the eggs but since she used donor eggs she does not need the “heavy duty grow my eggs drugs” that some of us have to use. She is very lucky to have her ivf donor egg work the first try at age 44 (and have twins). She’s one of the lucky ones. Way to go Marcia. Now if only i could do that too

  • http://www.breastfeeding123.com Angela

    Andy Sue, I didn’t realize that about Marcia Cross and donor eggs. I used Clomid and Gonal-F over the course of 4 IUI’s (and the hCG triggers and progesterone) and did not have any trouble breastfeeding. Of course I’m only one person and the protocol for IUI is not as rigorous as that for IVF. Are you aware of any studies that identify any particular fertility drugs that cause difficulty with breastfeeding?

    Good luck with your treatment and thanks for your comment!

  • kathryn

    My daughter was ivf and I breastfeed her until she was over 2 years old. I stopped so I could do Ivf for another child. Even though I stopped breastfeeding one year ago my milk still has not dried up completely. I am forty yearts old.I have done 2 drugs cycles since.I do not believe that the ivf drugs affect breastfeeding at all.

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  • lilkunta

    @Andy Sue , @ Angela
    Marcia didnt use donor eggs. She used her own eggs & Tom Mahoney’s spem.

  • http://www.breastfeeding123.com Angela White, J.D., breastfeeding counselor

    Sounds like she never outright confirmed that she used donor eggs, however she discussed donor eggs here:

    http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2006-09-06-cross-pregnant_x.htm

  • lilkunta

    @Angela White
    Celebrity baby blog has an article where MC said they were her eggs.

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