Hoda Kotb Recalls Breaking Down After Finding Out Cancer Treatment Had Affected Her Fertility

A cancer diagnosis is bad enough, but Hoda Kotb got candid about how her 2007 treatment also derailed her plans to have children. Hear the obstacles she faced before adopting two daughters.

By Brett Malec Mar 21, 2022 8:53 PMTags

Hoda Kotb is opening up about the struggles she faced starting a family.

In a new interview with Good Housekeeping, the Today anchor got candid about how her 2007 breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment derailed her plans to have children.

"I remember that my oncologist called and we were talking about freezing my eggs. She basically said that given my age and [my breast cancer treatment], it was pretty close to a dead end," Kotb recalled. "I was in my room and I just sobbed. I thought, 'Well, that's that, isn't it?' Like, you almost blame yourself. 'Why didn't I do this? Why didn't I do that?' So I just pushed it away, because the reality seemed impossible to bear. How do you survive knowing you can't have what you desire and what you feel like you actually physically need?"

After a mastectomy and her recovery, Kotb and ex-fiancé Joel Schiffman adopted daughters Haley, now 5, in 2017 and, Hope, now 3, in 2019.

Hoda Kotb's Sweetest Moments With Her Kids

"I don't think I would've adopted if it hadn't been for Joel," Kotb shared. "Having a stable relationship in that moment was really important. Once that fell into place, it didn't seem as scary to me. I also read about Sandra Bullock and the children she adopted. I'd always felt a weird connection to her, though I only knew her from the [Today] show. But she was my age, and I just thought, 'Wow, she's really cool.' I called her, and we talked. She said adopting was the most important thing she'd ever done."

Nathan Congleton/NBC

Kotb continued, "When I had made the decision to adopt and was on the plane to pick up my [first] daughter, I called [Sandra] again. She said, 'It's about to begin!' Sometimes all you need is a model before [you realize], 'I can handle it.'"

Kotb, now 57, is also grateful she became a parent later in life.

The NBC personality explained, "All of a sudden all the things about having little kids that seem like a problem, you see in a whole different way. And I find myself being so much more patient and calm than I ever would have been at a younger age. You realize we sometimes blow things out of proportion."

(E! and Today are both part of the NBCUniversal family)

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