Jason LaVerisGetty Images
- Julianne Hough and her husband Brooks Laich are undergoing in vitro fertilization treatments with the hopes of expanding their family.
- Hough, 30, was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2008, a painful condition that can increase a woman's chances of infertility.
America's Got Talent judge Julianne Hough and her husband Brooks Laich are ready to start a family after two years of marriage—and the couple has turned to in vitro fertilization (IVF) to boost their odds of having their first child.
"My wife and I want to have children in our future, and going through IVF was a decision we made to increase the [odds] of that happening," Laich told Us Weekly. "I wish people would perceive it [that way instead of with] shame or guilt."
Hough, 30, was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2008, a common condition that occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside of the uterus in other places, like the ovaries or fallopian tubes. She experienced painful cramping, abdominal bloating, and a host of other uncomfortable symptoms associated with the disease.
Despite having corrective surgery in 2018, Hough continues to experience some pain from the condition today—especially during sex. "It can definitely cut things short," Hough recently told Women's Health in an interview. "Sometimes we're in the middle and I'm just like 'AH, stop!'"
It's actually quite common for women with endometriosis to experience pain during sex, but getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to full term can also be difficult due to an increased risk of infertility. In fact, nearly 40 percent of women with infertility have endometriosis, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Endometriosis and infertility
There are a few reasons why endometriosis can significantly lower a woman's chance of getting pregnant, including inflammatory processes that paralyze or damage the sperm and egg, as well as distortion of a woman's pelvic anatomy, according to the Endometriosis Foundation of America.
Women with stage I or II endometriosis (a mild form of the disease) may become pregnant on their own, but research shows that having surgery (a laparoscopy) to remove endometrium tissue can boost the chances of conceiving.
For more advanced stages of endometriosis, IVF is recommended, as the likelihood of pregnancy increases to 50 percent for women in their 20s, and hovers around 10 percent for women in their 40s.
During IVF, a woman will receive fertility medications to help eggs grow in the ovaries. The mature eggs are then collected during a minor surgery and placed into dishes with sperm cells in a lab until they grow into embryos. Then, the embryos are transferred back into the uterus.
Laich, who raves about his wife, is hopeful the treatments will help expand their family. "Julianne has the best heart in the world—that's her," he said. "I view her as such a better person than I am because of the amount of love she has for every living thing in the world."
Stay updated on the latest science-backed health, fitness, and nutrition news by signing up for the Prevention.com newsletter here. For added fun, follow us on Instagram.