Winning Look

Olympian Tara Lipinski's Fertility Journey Was "Winding, But Beautiful"

“It was one of the hardest things I've ever encountered.”

Tara Lipinski opens up to Bustle about her journey to starting a family, the clean beauty products s...
Winning Look

In 1998, Tara Lipinski won her first Olympic gold medal. She was only 15 years-old — the youngest female figure skater to earn such an achievement the high-stakes games — and still holds the record to this day.

Now, at 42, Lipinski is making her debut as an Olympic commentator (instead of a competitor) in the upcoming games — though in recent years, much of her life and energy has been centered on her unique journey to starting a family. Moreover, she’s been named the Head of Community at Dandi, a brand that provides support for those undergoing IVF treatments in more ways than one.

“I went on a five year fertility journey that was long and winding to say the least, and really changed who I am as a person,” Lipinski tells Bustle over Zoom. “It was one of the hardest things I've ever encountered.”

Throughout those years, the former Olympian underwent eight egg retrievals, six failed in-vitro fertilization transfers, and four miscarriages, ultimately leading her to choose surrogacy for her family. On the cusp of her daughter Georgie’s first birthday, Lipinski knows she’s “one of the lucky ones” — which is exactly why she’s so passionate about speaking her truth, and ultimately, helping others dealing with similar issues in the process.

Here, she opens up to Bustle.

What inspired you to be so open about your struggles with fertility?

It was after our fourth miscarriage we pursued surrogacy. I think I had to hit rock bottom, and I kind of knew at that point that my ending was going to be different than what I imagined in the beginning.

When I shared my story and my thoughts and my feelings so openly, it opened up this beautiful community of other women reaching out and sharing their stories. They're not my friends, they're not my family — I don't know them — but I feel this deep bond with them because of our shared experience. Having that connection is so powerful. You feel validated, seen, and less alone.

What was your experience with surrogacy like?

Probably my biggest regret during my journey was that I didn't do surrogacy sooner. In the beginning, I had this idea of how I wanted a baby to come into this world, and it was me being pregnant.

At the end of that fourth miscarriage, I was almost desperate for surrogacy, so my entire view on things changed. I wish I could have told the girl that started this, “you're going to feel one day that it's not so scary to choose surrogacy.”

At this point, there was almost relief and healing in my journey.

What makes Dandi so special?

Dandi wasn't around when I was going through this, and it would've been something I would've relied on heavily. They cover three major buckets.

Their product helps women who are starting IVF to feel less overwhelmed, and takes some of that fear and anxiety out of the shot-giving process, which can be very anxiety-inducing.

On top of that, having access to nurse consultations about your future fertility, managing medicine, or even the shot giving process is really cool.

Lastly, I think community and connection and just knowing someone else is going through the same things or having the same emotions is so crucial when fertility is so isolating.

During this time, did you ever lean on beauty rituals to feel more like yourself?

There were so many days where I didn't feel like myself, where I was too tired to care, to put on makeup, to feel good. I just was really struggling from day to day of getting through this journey. With IVF, you're just giving so much — you're giving your eggs away, you're the only one doing the shots. In those moments, I felt so much better after I spent a little time giving energy back to me.

What were some of your favorite products throughout that time and now?

Through the fertility process, I switched to a lot of cleaner products. I used, and I still use, Typology. I use their concealer, tinted serum, and illuminating drops. It’s makeup, but I’m also getting my skin care in. I love Summer Fridays and use their sunscreen. I also love Rare Beauty — their liquid blush is one of my forever faves.

Thinking back to your earlier days, what kind of beauty products did you wear on the ice?

As a skater, I was such a teenager that, goodness, I think I had the Lancôme loose powdered glitter that I would put on my eyes.

Houston Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images/Hearst Newspapers/Getty Images

I was 14, 15 years-old, so I feel like I was just discovering makeup and loving it. But I do remember the loose glitter. I would just put all over me.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee. I like an oat milk latte.

What’s currently on your playlist?

The music I listen to is so eclectic. There's always Dave Matthews, there's always J. Cole, and there's always a Fleetwood Mac or Stevie Nicks song.

What’s your favorite song you’ve ever skated to?

I skated to Tiny Dancer by Elton John, which I love. Another special one was when I was really itty-bitty-little — Walking on Sunshine — which I just remember was my first year as a top-level senior. And I was just so excited to be there. That song always is nostalgic for me.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.