Heather Rae El Moussa's Fertility Challenges
- Move over Heather Rae Young and make room for Heather Rae El Moussa! The 34-year-old Selling Sunset star is taking her “last step to officially be an El Moussa.”
- Heather has always been open about her ongoing battle to conceive a child with Tarek (who already has two children with his first wife, Christina Haack). While she’s open about her challenges, she admitted that she’s struggled with the decision to do so.
- Many people diagnosed with cancers that affect reproductive parts — such as Tarek’s testicular cancer — may choose to freeze their sperm or their eggs (for people battling ovarian, cervical and other cancers) as a way to preserve their fertility prior to cancer treatment.
The 34-year-old Selling Sunset star posted a done-up selfie to her Instagram story Tuesday before getting her new passport photo taken, her last step in changing her last name.Read More
Heather married HGTV star and two-time cancer survivor Tarek El Moussa, 40, last October in Montecito, Calif., and taking on her new husband’s last name has been a hot topic.
In 2020, Heather opened up about her decision to change her name from Heather Rae Young to Heather Rae El Moussa on the podcast Not Skinny But Not Fat.
“I’m going to be Heather Rae El Moussa,” she said on the podcast. “I’m going to drop my last name. It might just be Heather El Moussa. We don’t know yet.” But it looks like her name will be Heather Rae El Moussa.
The couple is building a new home together next to Heather’s parents, as well as trying to grow their family. Earlier this month, Heather opened up about how Tarek’s cancer battles have resulted in fertility struggles and what they’re doing to combat that, but more on that later.
Tarek El Moussa’s Cancer Battles
His thyroid cancer diagnosis came after a viewer of his HGTV show Flip or Flop, who also happened to be a nurse, noticed a lump on Tarek’s throat while watching him on television. She contacted the network, telling them what she had seen.
In the same year, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
During a 2017 interview with People magazine, Tarek said of the experience: “I was at one building doing my thyroid stuff, and mentioned I was going across the street to get an ultrasound done. I’ll never forget the doctor joking, ‘I hope you don’t have cancer!’”
The treatment path for both types of cancers depends upon the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed. Common treatments for testicular cancer include chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. Treatments for thyroid cancer can include surgery, hormone therapy, radioactive iodine, radiation and, in some cases, chemotherapy.
Heather Rae El Moussa’s Fertility Challenges
Heather Rae El Moussa has always been open about her ongoing battle to conceive a child with Tarek (who already has two children with his first wife, Christina Haack). While she’s open about her challenges, she admitted that she’s struggled with the decision to do so.
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“I started my egg freezing journey two years ago but this year it’s really different and my mindset has shifted along the way,” she wrote in an Instagram video caption.
“Sharing my journey was something I struggled with because every woman’s experience is so different and I know some women go through a lot harder things but I decided I wanted to be vulnerable and real with you guys,” she continued. “This is something I think can be really empowering. I want to be strong for other women out there and help guide them through this because it’s a subject that’s not talked about enough.”
In January, she shared some good news about their fertility journey: during their latest round of IVF, seven eggs were harvested (rather than the two they expected), six of which “ended up being good.” They also thawed four eggs from the egg retrieval she did two years prior, three of which ended up making it. So, they now have nine embryos in total, which is great news.
“I’ve had a few low moments throughout this journey but I’ve tried to stay as positive as possible and it shows that the body is incredible and can do wonders,” she said. “Going into this having sad moments that my body wasn’t creating enough healthy follicles and to come out of this with great news!”
Remember, There Are Options
Many people diagnosed with cancers that affect reproductive parts — such as Tarek’s testicular cancer — may choose to freeze their sperm or their eggs (for people battling ovarian, cervical and other cancers) as a way to preserve their fertility prior to cancer treatment.
As previously stated, some cancer treatments, like chemotherapy, can damage fertility, so it’s a preventative measure for people who may want to have children.
“The sooner we start, the sooner that patient can then go on and do their treatment,” she said. “… Success comes down to how old you are at the time you froze and the quality of the lab in which your eggs or embryos are frozen in.”
If you’re having a treatment that includes infertility as a possible side effect, your doctor won’t be able to tell you for sure whether you will have this side effect. That’s why you should discuss your options for fertility preservation before starting treatment.
However, when freezing eggs or embryos isn’t an option, doctors may try these less common approaches:
- Ovarian tissue freezing, an experimental approach for girls who have not yet reached puberty and do not have mature eggs, or for women who must begin treatment right away and do not have time to harvest eggs.
- Ovarian suppression to prevent the eggs from maturing so that they cannot be damaged during treatment.
- Ovarian transposition, for women getting radiation to the pelvis, to move the ovaries out of the line of treatment.
Contributing: Anne McCarthy