Céline Dion Pregnant with Embryo Frozen for Eight Years
Céline Dion, known for belting out pop songs with window-rattling power, will be fine-tuning her repertoire of lullabies with the news today that she’s pregnant with her second child.
It’s an arrival Dion mused about almost nine years ago when she was expecting her first baby, Rene-Charles.
When Rene-Charles was conceived through in vitro fertilization at a world-renowned New York clinic, Dion told interviewers at the time that a sibling was already in the works.
The pop megastar and her husband, Rene Angelil, got the good news of the latest infant on Monday after undergoing another round of fertility treatments.
“Celine is very, very happy,” Murielle Blondeau, a spokeswoman for Dion, said today when she confirmed the pregnancy.
“Celine and Rene are full of joy. It’s been a big dream for Celine to have a second child.”
Although Rene-Charles and the new baby are siblings, fertility experts say they are not twins. Identical twins are created from a single embryo that splits in the womb while fraternal twins come from different embryos that are carried at the same time.
Dr. Seang Lin Tan, a world-renowned fertility expert at the McGill University Reproductive Centre in Montreal, said there are documented cases where frozen embryos have been successfully used after two decades.
“There have been babies born who are healthy after the embryos have been frozen for 20 years,” he said.
Dion’s first pregnancy was well-documented, unlike that of fellow music megastar Shania Twain, who virtually disappeared while waiting to give birth around the same time.
The revelation that Dion was pregnant with Rene-Charles followed a jaw-dropping announcement that she would retire from performing to have a family.
She gave interviews about her pregnancy in which she chatted about how the frozen eggs might one day become a “brother or sister” to Rene-Charles, and she appeared in a series of photos showcasing her protruding belly.
Dion has said that she and her husband turned to medical science to help conceive because Angelil had been diagnosed with cancer in 1999.
After a neck tumour was removed, he was treated with radiation and chemotherapy which are known to affect fertility. Angelil’s cancer went into remission.
Dr. Zev Rosenwaks, who counselled the couple on their fertility options, told The Canadian Press in a 2000 interview that Dion had an intracytoplasmic sperm injection, in which a single sperm is injected into the egg.
Rosenwaks, who works with the Weill Cornell fertility clinic, said in the interview that Angelil had previously frozen his sperm.
The second fertilized egg was frozen five days after conception and stored at the New York clinic, Dion said in the television interview.
Tan said there is no real concern about Dion giving birth at age 41 and he noted the embryos were also frozen when she was much younger.
He said he hopes Dion’s pregnancy will draw attention to in vitro fertilization.
“Apparently when she got pregnant the first time, the popularity of in vitro in Canada went up quite a bit,” he said.