Lisa Riley health: Emmerdale star on refusing to be defined by her health ‘blow’

Lisa Riley, 42, is part of Emmerdale’s furniture – the star played Mandie Dingle between 1995 and 2001 before returning again this year. She has also made an impression on the public outside of her character, being a panelist on Loose Women. It was on this daytime show where she revealed her inspiring weight loss story. Her body transformation inspired her to try for a baby, but sadly, Riley suffered a major setback.

People think women need to have a child to complete themselves

Lisa Riley

Speaking to the Mirror, she revealed that her dream of having a baby was dashed after doctors told her that any IVF treatment would almost certainly end in failure.

The soap star refused to let the ordeal drag her down, however.

She said: “Finding out that I was unlikely to get pregnant was a blow. But I refuse to be defined by that.

“People think women need to have a child to complete themselves, but that just isn’t the case.

“I feel that I have taken ownership of the situation now. I have seen other people go through years and years of IVF treatment and the stress and pressure that creates.

“I don’t want to do that. We have decided now that we aren’t going to go down that route, and now that we have made that decision I could not be happier.”

Lisa always knew her age would make it a challenge to conceive, but the support of her fans helped to stay positive.

The soap star said at the time: “There are a lot of reasons why I want to have a baby.

“Some are to do with the fact I’ve saved myself by losing weight, but also that I’m in love for the first time in my life and he would like to have a baby if we can.”

However a year of secret fertility tests showed the quality of Lisa’s eggs was so poor, the odds were stacked against her.

Riley and her partner decided to spare themselves the heartache and endless treatment cycles.

She said: “My body was being pumped full of hormones to get my egg readings, and in the end they weren’t good. It messes with your head and I just couldn’t do that to myself any more.

“The past few months have been really hard, emotionally draining, and we just decided that enough was enough. I tried it, I gave it a go and it didn’t work.”

The experience has ultimately empowered her, however: “I want to concentrate on living my best life and not be a slave to what society thinks I should be.

“I don’t want people to look at me like an unfinished painting because I don’t have a child.

“Collectively as women we do need to stand strong on this.”

What is IVF?

As the NHS explained: “In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is one of several techniques available to help people with fertility problems have a baby.”

The success rate of IVF depends on the age of the woman undergoing treatment, as well as the cause of the infertility (if it’s known), it said.

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