Former 'Emmerdale' star Gemma Oaten opens up about miscarriage and fertility struggles

·5-min read
Former 'Emmerdale' star Gemma Oaten
Former 'Emmerdale' star Gemma Oaten

Former Emmerdale star Gemma Oaten has shared that she suffered a miscarriage three years ago, with her 13-year battle with anorexia causing complications with conceiving a child.

In an honest video posted on Instagram the actor, who played Rachel Breckle on the ITV soap from 2011 to 2015, revealed a recent trip to a fertility treatment centre had uncovered issues that may make it difficult for her to conceive.

Planning to get her eggs frozen, she was told she didn’t have many to retrieve and may require numerous trips in order to recover enough eggs for a successful freeze.

Read more: Gemma Oaten reveals she nearly died four times during anorexia battle

"Three weeks ago I went to a fertility clinic to look at the prospect of having children, freezing my eggs... facing up to my fears,” she said.

"Having had a miscarriage three years ago, something I've never spoken about until now, and also being a single 37-year-old, it's was time to be brave.

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"So here I am, heart exposed and arms wide open, saying 'here I am!' and if it helps one person, it’s worth it."

Across the 17-minute video, Oaten explained that she wanted to raise awareness for how eating disorders could have a long-term effect on the body, including when wanting to conceive.

Disorders such as anorexia could have a major effect on your organs and can even stop your menstrual cycle, which is all needed to procreate.

Gemma Oaten on the red carpet at James Ingham's 'Jog-On to Cancer' 7th annual party raising funds for Cancer Research UK, at Proud Embankment (Photo by Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Gemma Oaten at James Ingham's 'Jog-On to Cancer' party at Proud Embankment (Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

At the doctors, it was revealed she had a cyst and a mild form of endometriosis, as well as a lack of follicles needed in a woman her age to have a child.

In order to freeze her eggs, she would require numerous injections and trips to the clinic in order to get the 20 eggs needed for a successful freeze.

Read more: Rebel Wilson: I lost weight to boost fertility and freeze my eggs

While her body was expected to get 16-17 eggs in one visit, blood tests revealed she would only be able to produce three.

Oaten continued: "My options for that and the news of that was quite a lot to take in."

Gemma Oaten attending the premiere of The Crown at Odeon Leicester Square, London. Photo credit should read: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment
Gemma Oaten at the premiere of The Crown in London. (Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment)

She added: "I was like, 'S***, it's real,' and I know it's not a no, but I've basically been told that if I don't freeze my eggs now, my 30% chance of getting pregnant goes to 15% next year, goes to 10% the year after that.

"And unless I've got the money and the willpower and the mental strength and all of that to do this now, I might be looking at a future without children."

Read more: Jessie J reveals infertility heartbreak

She added she will continue her fight to be a mum, but is now considering alternate options such as fostering or adoption.

Alongside her video, Oaten wrote a statement that read: “I have been wanting to share this video for a while now. But never had the time or courage, but now I've realised this deserves my time and I've found my strength.

“Ever since I can remember I've always been told "you're so good with kids Gem, you're a mum before you're a mum." Then anorexia took hold and the conversation was about how if I carried on like this I may not be able to have children.

Gemma Oaten attends the press night performance of
Gemma Oaten at "Nativity! The Musical" in London. (Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

“I buried my head in the sand... That won't happen to me. The last ten years though, being well, away from the eating disorder, it's become more and more prominent on my mind.”

“Too much is not discussed about eating disorders and the impact they have on the lives of sufferers and loved ones because of stigmas. So many stigmas,” she continued. “We need to be open to create change in the conversation.

Read more: Next week on 'Emmerdale': Meena exposed at Leanna's funeral? Plus Aaron lashes out at Liv (spoilers)

“One of the long term [effects] of an eating disorder is that on Fertility. For men and for women. It's so important people know the risks, understand more. Not to scaremonger, but to be aware. And if, like me, this is going to be a challenge, I'm posting this so you know you're not alone.

“I'm posting this for anyone who is at the early stages of an eating disorder to implore them to reach out, to those who are ED free to never go down this path, to those who have lost the chance to give birth, to feel hope, to those like me, who never dreamed this would be a reality, to know, we've got this.

“I'm posting this for anyone who has struggled with conception to know, as I do now, you can be a parent NO MATTER WHAT. We are here for you.”

Watch: British ex-soap actress Gemma Oaten smiles in the face of microphone failure