Lena Dunham opens up about her fertility struggles

Actress Lena Dunham is known for being open about her health struggles. Not only did she share she was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March, but the Girls star also talks about battling chronic conditions like Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and endometriosis (via USA Today). According to the Mayo Clinic, the former is an inherited disorder that affects the skin, joints, and blood vessels. Joint pain and trouble healing from skin wounds are common symptoms. Meanwhile, endometriosis is a painful condition in which uterine lining grows outside the uterus.

Due to Dunham’s chronic endometriosis, People reports she had her cervix, uterus, and one ovary removed at the very young age of 31. The actress and writer had considered adoption her best way to start a family, but a doctor told her she may be able to undergo IVF to harvest her own eggs. Now, in a very frank essay Dunham wrote for Harper’s Magazine, she shares her heartbreaking, and ultimately failed, journey.

“The moment I lost my fertility I started searching for a baby,” Dunham confesses, referring to her surgery at age 31, also admitting before the drastic procedure, she hadn’t been in a rush to become a mother. You will so feel for Dunham as she details what happened next.

Lena Dunham gets super real about undergoing IVF

After enduring IVF — a process that is painful, emotional and unbelievably expensive, as any woman who has gone through it will tell you — and finding a sperm donor, Dunham made a very sad revelation in her essay: “I learned that none of my eggs were viable on Memorial Day, in the midst of a global pandemic.” Her doctor told her, “We were unable to fertilize any of the eggs. As you know, we had six. Five did not take. The one that did seems to have chromosomal issues and ultimately . . . ” The doctor added, “We all would have loved to give you a different result.”

Dunham shares that undergoing fertility treatment was brutal. “IVF destroyed my body — as a woman who tends towards rampant endometriosis, filling my body with estrogen … and because of what my body has been through, subjecting it to such excruciating pain, only to come to the end and learn those eggs were not viable after working so hard through illness and discomfort and going through anxiety and depression, it is just clearly not something I can ever repeat,” she bravely shares, and adds that how she will become a mother is something she is now rethinking.

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