Before Kourtney Kardashian Barker naturally conceived her fourth child with her husband Travis Barker, she felt pushed into trying assisted reproductive technology.
“I felt really pressured and pushed into doing IVF,” Barker, who is due with a baby boy in the next couple of months, told Vogue in an Oct. 17 interview. “It went against my intuition, and I didn’t feel fully prepared for the mental or physical toll [it] takes.”
The soon-to-be mom of four didn’t say who specifically nudged her toward paying to participate in assisted reproductive technology (ART). Given her sisters’ long history with in vitro fertilization and surrogacy, Barker probably felt some pull from her family to embrace assisted reproductive technology as a means to an end.
The couple, 44 and 47, was also told by doctors that, despite their attempts to cleanse their way into having a baby, their chances of conceiving without ART years after Barker’s fertility first began to decline were low.
For thousands of dollars, emotionally vulnerable couples like the Barkers who have failed to get pregnant after months of trying are told that ART is their only chance at having children.
Artificial conception interventions, no matter how they are billed in the media and by fertility facilities, are not a perfect path to pregnancy. Procedures like IVF require patients to pay exuberant amounts of cash, are plagued with moral and ethical issues, and become physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing.
Less than a year after she stopped the fertility drug regimen, Barker announced she was with child.
“We just got pregnant naturally. It was an indescribable feeling. Shock, then super-happy, fear sets in, worry, but I remembered then to have gratitude,” Barker said.
It’s not uncommon for couples who struggled to get pregnant or have even been deemed infertile to unexpectedly conceive. Medical professionals and data suggest that men and women are often prematurely offered ART even though they still have high chances of becoming naturally pregnant.
Barker’s natural conception was a welcome surprise even though it required extra monitoring as a geriatric pregnancy.
“My doctors are so cautious and I’ve had so many more restrictions than my other pregnancies,” Barker said. “The first trimester was no working out, no flying on airplanes, no sex. Then the second trimester, I could do anything. Now, I am back to all the restrictions.”
Enduring limitations that she was not subject to during her first three pregnancies with her ex-boyfriend Scott Disick was inconvenient for Barker but the heightened medical surveillance ultimately saved her unborn baby’s life.
Barker said discoveries made during an ultrasound that she commissioned outside of what was covered by her insurance plan led to her emergency fetal surgery in September.
“That experience opened my eyes to a whole new world of pregnancy that I didn’t know about in the past,” she told Vogue. “It was terrifying. After, I learned that insurance typically only covers two ultrasounds when you’re pregnant, I had no idea. I’ve always been lucky enough to do more than what insurance covers, and it’s one of those ultrasounds that saved my baby’s life.”
With the ART and in-utero complications behind her, Barker said she’s “finally been able to let go of the fear and worry that everybody else put in us because of this pregnancy.”
“I’m ready to go in, have the baby, and have the experience we’re meant to have,” Barker concluded.