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Lena Dunham Reveals She Underwent IVF: 'It's Not Something I Can Ever Repeat'

Lena Dunham On A Red Carpet
Source: MEGA

Nov. 16 2020, Published 9:21 p.m. ET

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Honesty hour. Lena Dunham revealed that she underwent IVF, but unfortunately, it didn’t work. 

“I learned that none of my eggs were viable on Memorial Day, in the midst of a global pandemic,” she said in an essay for Harper’s BAZAAR, which was published on November 15. "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.

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“‘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 ... ’ 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,” the 34-year-old added. “It was hard to understand that they were gone. That it wasn’t like trying to meet a friend for coffee on a weekend and missing your window, rescheduling for the next. It really wasn’t like that at all."

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The Golden Globe winner admitted she tried many different options along the way. “What started as wanting to carry the child of the man I loved became wanting to have a child with a man who was willing to help me have one,” she wrote, referring to her ex Jack Antonoff, whom she split from in January 2018. “Soon that became hiring a lawyer to draft a contract for a sperm-donor friend and calling a surrogate who came highly recommended by another celebrity. I was forced to admit just how much of it was about finishing what I started. I tried to have a child. Along the way, my body broke. My relationship did, too.”

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The Girls alum — who had a hysterectomy to help with her endometriosis — admitted that “this journey has forced me to rethink what motherhood will look like,” she told PEOPLE

"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 explained. 

The director “had an instinct” that IVF “probably wouldn’t work” all along. 

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"I had hopes it would, but to be honest, I'd already made my peace about becoming an adoptive mother,” she said. “But then when everyone got so excited about there being this possibility that my one ovary could produce eggs, and with IVF and surrogacy, I could maybe still have a biological child, it pulled me away from what I think I already instinctively knew."

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These days, the This Is 40 star is hopeful that everything will work out the way it is supposed to. "Now, my feeling is that when motherhood does happen for me, I hope to celebrate it in a way that is sensitive and honest about how long and hard my journey has been to get there," she said. 

"When I'm lucky enough to be able to have a child in my arms, I will not take for granted how many stops, twists and turns it has taken for that child to be in my arms, and to be in my life,” she added. “I hope that whatever I do is a testament to the fact that the modern journey to motherhood looks different for every single woman, and I hope that every woman who sees me on my journey recognizes that there are moments of joy even before a child enters your life.

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"I am in a moment of joy right now feeling freedom from certain expectations, from the IVF cycles, and feeling joy just in the act of preparing my life to welcome a child," she concluded. "Working really hard, doing things I know I couldn't do if I had a baby in my life and getting myself ready emotionally for when that day comes. But absolutely, there are moments of joy and grace even before that child."

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