Chiquis Rivera talks to Chica about her choice to freeze her eggs until she is ready for motherhood. Her fertility doctor, Shahin Ghadir, explains the process the singer is undergoing.
Chiquis Rivera admits that when she was younger, she considered not having kids. After all, she helped raise her brother Johnny, born when she was 15. Their mom, the late queen of banda, Jenni Rivera, continued to pursue her demanding music career. “She said: ‘I have to go to work to support this home, and you have to take care of the baby,’ and I did,” Chiquis says. “I see him as my kid, I was always his second mom.”
Today, she would love to have a child of her own — just not quite yet. That’s why the 33-year-old Mexican-American singer and reality star has chosen to freeze her eggs until she is ready for motherhood. People CHICA spoke to the eldest Rivera daughter and to her doctor, Beverly Hills fertility specialist Shahin Ghadir, about this life-changing process. First off, Chiquis recognizes how she can be perceived as veering off the traditional family-focused path. “In our Latin culture, like my grandparents say, we have to have our kids while we’re young,” says Chiquis. “That was always on my mind, but I would look at J. Lo, Mariah Carey — women that I admire so much that had their kids when they were older — and I didn’t want to feel that pressure to say, ‘I need to have babies now.’ That’s why I considered the option to freeze my eggs.”
What began as just a possibility became her reality after Chiquis was diagnosed with endometriosis — a condition that can affect a woman’s egg count and quality — and had to undergo an emergency surgery in October to remove an ovarian cyst. “I realized this is serious and I have to do it,” she says of freezing her eggs. “Your body doesn’t wait for you, so I made the decision to do this now.”
Her doctor, Ghadir, sees Chiquis as breaking down barriers for other women on a topic that tends to be stigmatized in the Latin-American community: fertility issues. “I’ve noticed, in the Latin world, this is an area that is much more quiet than in American culture.” Ghadir sees many older Latina women who have problems getting pregnant. “I’m proud of her being the first voice about this, being so open and honest about every single step.”
According to Ghadir, single women 30 years of age with no plans of being a mom immediately should consider freezing their eggs. After the age 27, the egg quality and count for the majority of women start to go down every year. Following a month of prep and checkups, the process takes about 12 days and 5 visits to the doctor’s office, where a series of injections go into the woman’s belly and the doctor monitors how the eggs are growing in the ovaries. After two weeks of medication, the patient undergoes the retrieval process, which includes light anesthesia after which the eggs are frozen and safely stored. When the woman is ready to become pregnant, in vitro fertilization — fertilizing the egg outside the human body — is used. Costs vary, but $8,000 per cycle, with roughly 10 eggs estimated per cycle, is an average. The older the woman, the more eggs that are recommended to be frozen. Some insurance companies cover it and some clinics offer financing. The procedure has no guarantee of success and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine says those women considering freezing their eggs should be counseled about fertilization success rates.
The bride-to-be says her fiancé, singer Lorenzo Mendez, has been the most supportive in the egg-freezing process, leaving the medicine she needs to take daily with little notes as reminders. “If it was up to Lorenzo, I would already be pregnant [naturally],” she jokes. “But he is waiting for me, he respects me as a woman and respects my decisions.” Traveling and enjoying life as newlyweds with the future father of her children is another incentive to wait to get pregnant. Mendez, 32, who is already a dad to Victoria, 8, from a previous relationship, whom they visit in El Paso, Texas.
And if Chiquis does get pregnant the easy way, there’s still a chance those frozen eggs would be used — perhaps by her brother Johnny, now 18, who came out as bisexual in 2017 and is currently in a same-sex relationship. “I’ve thought many times: ‘If one day I’m not on this earth, and I don’t use my eggs, maybe he would one day want to use them to have his own kids,” she says. “Maybe some people will think it’s weird or not agree with it, but he always tells me: ‘You have to have a child because I need you to leave a part of you in this world.’ I’ve thought about it that way. He is like a son to me and I know he wants to be a dad.”
Her ideal time to have a child? Around 35, two years down the line. This would give her time now to focus on the release of her third album and a music tour, pursue acting projects and finish writing another book, which is in the works. Plus planning her wedding: “We are taking steps, we are deciding between two locations for the wedding. I would love to have a ranchera wedding, to wear a typical Mexican dress and have him wear a mariachi suit,” she says of the groom. Another contrasting idea is having a December wedding with snow and all-white decorations à la Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.