"When I turned 40, the one thing I was not happy about is that I did not have kids," Banks tells PEOPLE exclusively. "I'm like, 'Damn, the clock is ticking!' "
Banks, who has a new syndicated talk show, Tyra Presents FABLife and a direct-selling cosmetics line, Tyra Beauty, says she always wanted to have children, but kept putting it off.
"Since I was 24, I used to say every year, 'I will have kids in three years,' " she says. "I kept saying it over and over again. Because my business is very entrepreneurial. I'm not for hire, so I have to do everything. I kept trying to find that time for that to happen."
Continues Banks, 41, "When you're like, 'OK, I'm just going to do it,' then it's not so easy as you get older." Tearing up, Banks, who has been dating her boyfriend, photographer Erik Asla for two years, reveals that she has undergone IVF procedures in hopes of conceiving.
"I've had some not happy moments with that, very traumatic moments," she says. "It's difficult as you get older. It's not something that can just happen."
Still, the eternally energetic host of America's Next Top Model is staying positive. "I hope [for kids], she says. "I don't just want one child. I want a litter! And I want to be the kind of mom where my child can come to me for anything."
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For much more from Tyra, including exclusive photos, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday