Lena Dunham‘s experience with in vitro fertilization (IVF) didn’t work out the way she’d hoped.
In a personal essay penned for Harper’s Magazine, the 34-year-old actress opened about her journey and recounted how she learned she’d “never become a biological mother.”
Dunham began retracing her health journey since undergoing a hysterectomy in 2018. “The moment I lost my fertility I started searching for a baby,” the Girls star recalled “At age 31, after almost two decades of chronic pain caused by endometriosis and its little-studied ravages, I had my uterus, my cervix, and one of my ovaries removed. Before then, motherhood had seemed likely but not urgent, as inevitable as growing out of jean shorts, but in the days after my surgery I became keenly obsessed with it.”
Dunham considered adoption but faced a “few obstacles.” She also battled with her addiction to benzodiazepines and entered rehab, which she said put “the brakes on the baby plans.”
During this time, the eight-time Emmy nominee started looking for community online. She found it through the hashtag #IVFWarriors, not evening knowing that IVF could be an option for her. Then, a doctor told her she still might have a chance of harvesting eggs and she “flushed with an odd and unearned pride.”
“It turned out that after everything I’d been through—the chemical menopause, surgeries by the dozen, the carelessness of drug addiction—my one remaining ovary was still producing eggs,” she continued. “If we successfully harvested them, they might be fertilized with donor sperm and carried to term by a surrogate.”