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Tyra Banks' Journey to Motherhood

Detailing Tyra Banks' long journey with IVF, surrogacy, and ultimately motherhood.

September 9, 2020
Brooke Barash

It’s no secret that fertility doesn’t always come easy to aspiring parents. But still, it’s an issue that hasn’t quite made its way to common spaces. For women, the subject has long been kept in the shadows. Because of this, women often feel more like the odd one out when they’re actually not alone at all. That’s why Tyra Banks decided to go public with her journey. 

A Put-Off Pregnancy

Tyra Banks (standing) on the set of Americaś Next Top Model. Image courtesy of Bravo TV.
Tyra Banks (Left) and Chrissy Teigen on the set of FabLife. Image courtesy of
Huffington Post.

There are many reasons a person might choose to wait to have kids--finances, establishing a career, etc. In fact, it is becoming increasingly normal to start thinking about kids beginning in one’s late 20’s to mid 30’s. 

Tyra Banks is no exception.

In an unexpected moment of raw emotion, Banks first came out with her fertility issues on her talk show, Fablife. In solidarity with co-host Chrissy Teigen, she became tearful when the subject came up.

“And for a long time, it’s so funny, when I was twenty-three years old I used to tell myself ‘In three years I’m going to have kids.’ Then I turned twenty four. ‘In three years I’m going to have kids.’ And then after a while it’s like, okay now I want to and it’s not so easy.”

It’s easy to imagine why Banks would put off having children. At 23, she was at the height of a demanding modeling career which only continued to grow. Being pulled in so many different directions at once didn’t leave much room for parenting. 

Tyra Banks (Left) and Chrissy Teigen on the set of FabLife. Image courtesy of Huffington Post.

Trial and Error

After having difficulty conceiving naturally due to age concerns, Banks sought out other options. With then partner, Erik Asla, she began In Vitro Fertilization.While IVF is one of the most successful modes of assisted conception, it isn’t foolproof. There are so many factors which may affect the success of the procedure. Some include reproductive ailments, having a uterine fibroid, and of course, as in Banks’ case, age concerns. 

At times, there is no identifiable reason why IVF doesn’t take. When this happens, it's labeled ‘unexplained infertility’.

The process is demanding--both physically and emotionally. And given its unpredictability, it sometimes needs to be done more than once. 

During her final season of America’s Next Top Model, she recalls running to a back closet during filming in order to give herself hormonal injections. That instance was the last of seven attempts to use IVF to carry her own baby. While she was able to get pregnant from that episode, she eventually had a miscarriage.

In addition to the hormone shots, Banks was constantly holding her breath. When reflecting on going through multiple rounds with People Magazine, she shared the emotional toll it took. 

“There are so many stages of pregnancy. It’s like, ‘Okay, it’s month one.’ I was constantly living on edge until I held him for the first time.”

Tyra Banks sends a sweet Valentine’s Day message to newborn son, York Banks Asla (2016). The first public image of the two together via Instagram.

The Best Kind of Reward

After multiple failed attempts to conceive, Banks and Asla ultimately chose to use a surrogate. It is this decision that gave Banks what she had been longing for--a healthy baby. 

York Banks Asla was born in January 2016.

To commemorate the occasion, Banks wrote an Instagram post that reads--

“The best present we worked and prayed so hard for is finally here. He’s got my fingers and big eyes and his daddy Erik’s mouth and chin. As we thank the angel of a woman that carried our miracle baby boy for us, we pray for everyone who struggles to reach this joyous milestone. York Banks Asla, welcome to the world.”

Since then, the adorable young Banks has not been in the public eye and that’s how Banks would like to keep it. While Banks and Asla are not together anymore they do share parenting responsibilities. 

As for Tyra, she’s in love. 

In the updates she does provide, the proud mama loves to share tidbits on her son’s boisterous personality and apparent precocious leanings.

“He’s a smart one--but he’s still crazy and damn near rolling on the floor and not listening to me most of the time!”

At eighteen months old York was able to count to twenty. And when beginning preschool, displayed a knack for learning colors his classmates hadn’t quite grasped yet. Now, at four-years-old, York speaks three languages (English, Norwegian, and Spanish). 

When times were busier, Banks would take York with her on set. But these days, she’s enjoying some quality time with her son at home while homeschooling. 

While Banks’ path to parenthood was not a straight line, it’s clear that watching her son grow was worth the hardship. By sharing her experience, she sent the message that there are options out there for those who are struggling. And more importantly, no one is alone.


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