Gemma Collins has revealed she hopes to be pregnant next year when she turns 40.
The reality TV star has been trying to prepare her body in order to conceive and has lost nearly three stone on the advice of doctors.
Gemma believes if she could become pregnant, she could send a positive message to women who start a family later in their lives.
“I would love to have a child,” she told The Sun.
“It would be great for me and such a positive message for all the girls out there who don’t want to rush their life or their life has taken different a direction, like me who’s put their career first.
“But in my forties I’d love everybody to see The GC walking around with a pram.”
The TOWIE star isn’t worried about hitting the birthday milestone pointing out other stars who are enjoying successful careers into their forties and beyond, some of whom are yet to become parents.
“I’m going to be up there with them all — Mariah Carey, Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Jennifer Aniston.
“Kylie’s not married yet or got children. Jennifer hasn’t got kids either.
“Don’t write us off yet. We’re just beginning.”
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When it comes to conceiving a child, Gemma, who refers to herself as The GC, has had regular consultations with her doctor about her prospects, having suffered a number of miscarriages in her thirties.
And though she’s been told it is possible for her to become pregnant doctors have advised losing weight could help her achieve her parenting dream.
“I can definitely have a child, he just told me it would be easier when I’m not carrying as much weight,” she told The Sun.
“He gave me the confidence not to panic about it. He told me to lose a few stone and it will help me.”
And the lockdown period has provided Gemma with an opportunity to take stock of where she was in life and make some positive changes for the future.
“Things are a lot calmer now,” she said. “I’m cooking my own meals at home, riding my bike in the countryside and enjoying long walks. I am established. My career has gone above and beyond.”
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An additional factor in Gemma’s journey to motherhood is that she has Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that affects how a woman's ovaries work and can impact fertility.
Gemma was 28 when she was diagnosed with the condition after becoming alarmed by sudden weight gain.
She says: “I was always very slim. But I really started piling on the weight and I’ll never forget it.
“I said to my mum, ‘Have you shrunk my clothes?’. She said, ‘I hate to break this to you, but you’re putting on weight’.”
Figures from pcos-uk.org.uk suggest that one in 10 women have PCOS, which roughly translates into 3.5 million women in the UK, and makes it the most common female hormone condition.
Symptoms can include irregular periods, weight gain and excess hair growth.
Some women with the condition can experience difficulty getting pregnant as a result of irregular ovulation or failure to ovulate.
“Women who are overweight and trying to get pregnant will be advised to lose weight before trying fertility drugs or treatments,” explains Mr Parijat Bhattacharjee, consultant gynaecologist at BMI The Clementine Churchill Hospital and BMI Syon Clinic in West London.
“Losing weight might be enough to restart ovulation, and fertility drugs are also most effective on women with a healthy body mass index.”
According to the NHS medications are also available to treat symptoms such as excessive hair growth, irregular periods and fertility problems.
If fertility medications are not effective, a simple surgical procedure called laparoscopic ovarian drilling (LOD) may be recommended.
This involves using heat or a laser to destroy the tissue in the ovaries that's producing androgens, such as testosterone.
“For women who do get pregnant, being a healthy weight helps to reduce the risk of complications throughout the pregnancy, including gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia,” Mr Bhattacharjee adds.