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Adrienne Bailon-Houghton reveals the frustrating reality of surrogacy with a message to moms

"Your journey to motherhood is your journey."

Adrienne Bailon-Houghton; infertility; miscarriage; IVF journey; surrogate pregnancy

Adrienne Bailon-Houghton talks about the reality of surrogacy.

No matter how you become a mother, the journey is worth it. But oftentimes people omit the negative parts for many reasons, whether it's a desire to not make people feel bad for them or to not appear ungrateful. Thankfully, the taboo around the hard topics of infertility and pregnancy have been lifting, and people are feeling more free to express themselves.

Recently, Adrienne Bailon-Houghton, former co-star of "The Cheetah Girls" and co-host of "The Real," revealed her own struggles with infertility and the mixed feelings that came along with it. While we know Bailon-Houghton eventually welcomed a son, Ever James, via surrogate, this is the first time we've heard the unexpected revelation of the new mom feeling frustrated by the surrogacy process.

During the time leading up to finding a surrogate, Bailon-Houghton and her husband, Isreal Houghton, tried to conceive for six years.


When people dream about having a baby, the thought of an extended infertility journey likely isn't something that's top of mind. It seems like a lot of people get pregnant just from sitting near someone on a city bus, so the idea that it may take years to finally welcome your own child feels unbelievable. But for some, that's a reality, and Bailon-Houghton is sharing what that has been like for her.

The actor has been open more recently about experiencing eight miscarriages and attempting IVF, which turned out to also be unsuccessful. Bailon-Houghton told Today.com that she didn't know that infertility was going to be part of her journey.

"I mean, I should have known initially when I did my (first) egg retrieval. My girlfriend was doing it at the same time as me and she got 18 eggs. When I did my retrieval, I got four," Bailon-Houghton shared with the outlet.

The former talk show co-host went on to explain that up until that point in her life she had never heard of a failed cycle, but sadly, all four of Bailon-Houghton's fertilized eggs were not viable to be transferred. After multiple failed IVF attempts, the couple was told that they had one fertilized egg left, and their doctor suggested surrogacy, according to People.

The surrogate got pregnant on the first attempt at implantation and the countdown to her son's birthday began. But for Bailon-Houghton, she was having some unexpected emotions around surrogacy. The actor told Today.com that she felt robbed of the experience of carrying a child.

"It sounds so stupid—so superficial," she said to Today.com. "But I felt robbed of maternity photos. I wanted to feel the movement of a baby inside me. I wanted my husband to experience my pregnant body. I imagined my son being born, and now had other people in this room that were not a part of what I imagined."

Feeling frustrated or even angry about the journey of surrogacy is likely more common than people realize, so it's refreshing to hear someone talk about those complicated emotions. And it turns out, Bailon-Houghton wasn't down to just one egg as her doctor believed. After more testing, it was discovered that she had five more eggs left, according to People, and she plans on trying to carry them herself.

The star had some words of encouragement for moms who may be experiencing infertility.

"Your journey to motherhood is your journey," Bailon-Houghton told Today.com. "No one can rob you of that—infertility can't even rob you of that. Ask yourself: 'Why do you have the desire to be a mom so deeply?' Ultimately, it comes down to love. So if your ultimate goal is motherhood, keep your eye on that and don't worry about what happens during the process."

But her encouragement didn't stop there. The new mom and her husband started the Faith and Familia Foundation, which helps other couples struggling with infertility with money for IVF so they can start their families.

Watch her interview with Hoda and Jenna below:

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From political science to joining the fight against cancer: How one woman found her passion

An unexpected pivot to project management expanded Krystal Brady's idea of what it means to make a positive impact.

Krystal Brady/PMI

Krystal Brady utilizes her project management skills to help advance cancer research and advocacy.

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Cancer impacts nearly everyone’s life in one way or another, and thankfully, we’re learning more about treatment and prevention every day. Individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and promising research from scientists are often front and center, but we don’t always see the people working behind the scenes to make the fight possible.

People like Krystal Brady.

While studying political science in college, Brady envisioned her future self in public office. She never dreamed she’d build a successful career in the world of oncology, helping cancer researchers, doctors and advocates continue battling cancer, but more efficiently.

Brady’s journey to oncology began with a seasonal job at a small publishing company, which helped pay for college and awakened her love for managing projects. Now, 15 years later, she’s serving as director of digital experience and strategy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which she describes as “the perfect place to pair my love of project management and desire to make positive change in the world.”

As a project manager, Brady helps make big ideas for the improvement of diagnosing and treating cancer a reality. She is responsible for driving the critical projects that impact the lives of cancer researchers, doctors, and patients.

“I tell people that my job is part toolbox, part glue,” says Brady. “Being a project manager means being responsible for understanding the details of a project, knowing what tools or resources you need to execute the project, and facilitating the flow of that work to the best outcome possible. That means promoting communication, partnership, and ownership among the team for the project.”

At its heart, Brady’s project management work is about helping people. One of the big projects Brady is currently working on is ASCO’s digital transformation, which includes upgrading systems and applications to help streamline and personalize oncologists’ online experience so they can access the right resources more quickly. Whether you are managing humans or machines, there’s an extraordinary need for workers with the skillset to harness new technology and solve problems.

The digital transformation project also includes preparing for the use of emerging technologies such as generative AI to help them in their research and practices.

“Most importantly, it lays the groundwork for us to make a meaningful impact at the point of care, giving the oncologist and patient the absolute latest recommendations or guidelines for care for that specific patient or case, allowing the doctor to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork,” Brady says.

In today’s fast-changing, quickly advancing world, project management is perhaps more valuable than ever. After discovering her love for it, Brady earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification through Project Management Institute (PMI)—the premier professional organization for project managers with chapters all over the world—which she says gave her an edge over other candidates when she applied for her job at ASCO.

“The knowledge I gained in preparing for the PMP exam serves me every day in my role,” Brady says. “What I did not expect and have truly come to value is the PMI network as well – finding like-minded individuals, opportunities for continuous learning, and the ability to volunteer and give back.”

PMI’s growing community – including more than 300 chapters globally – serves as a place for project managers and individuals who use project management skills to learn and grow through events, online resources, and certification programs.

While people often think of project management in the context of corporate careers, all industries and organizations need project managers, making it a great career for those who want to elevate our world through non-profits or other service-oriented fields.

“Project management makes a difference by focusing on efficiency and outcomes, making us all a little better at what we do,” says Brady. “In almost every industry, understanding how to do our work more effectively and efficiently means more value to our customers, and the world at large, at an increased pace.”

Project management is also a stable career path in high demand as shown by PMI research, which found that the global economy will need 25 million more project managers by 2030 and that the median salary for project managers in the US has grown to $120K.

If you’d like to learn more about careers in project management, PMI has resources to help you get started or prove your proficiency, including its entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification program. For those interested in pursuing a project management career to make a difference, it could be your first step.
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