Lena Dunham has revealed that she underwent in vitro fertilization and discovered that none of her eggs were viable.
“I learned that none of my eggs were viable on Memorial Day, in the midst of a global pandemic,” the 34-year-old actress wrote in an essay for Harper’s Bazaar. “I was in Los Angeles when I got the call from Dr. Coperman, the slight Jewish man who was my entry into (and now exit from) the world of corporate reproduction.”
“‘We were unable to fertilize any of the eggs,’” Lena recalled her doctor telling her. “‘As you know, we had six. Five did not take. The one that did seems to have chromosomal issues and ultimately … ‘ He trailed off as I tried to picture it — the dark room, the glowing dish, the sperm meeting my dusty eggs so violently that they combusted. It was hard to understand that they were gone.”
“This journey has forced me to rethink what motherhood will look like,” Lena told People in a follow up interview. “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 added that she had explored adoption before learning she could go through IVF to possibly have a biological child.
“My entire career, the thing that has felt like a driving factor for me in many ways has been this thought of, ‘What can I do to normalize challenging topics that many women may feel like they are alone in experiencing but are actually universal and yet women have been made to feel shameful about?’ ” she said. “Never has been that truer than in grappling with my infertility and the loss of my fertility, and the pain and the shame that came with it.”
Lena has always been very open about her personal experiences and she recently spoke out about her symptoms while fighting COVID-19.