Dunham opens up about learning the news “in the midst of a global pandemic.”
Lena Dunham has been going through a private battle with infertility, opening up about her experience in a new personal essay published by Harper’s Bazaar.
The 34-year-old actress decided to undergo IVF after learning her “one remaining ovary was still producing eggs” after having her other ovary, uterus and cervix removed due to her endometriosis.
“If we successfully harvested them, they might be fertilized with donor sperm and carried to term by a surrogate,” explained the “Girls” actress.
Initially, Dunham said her unnamed boyfriend at the time “agreed to offer up his sperm,” but backed out “at the last minute.” The two later broke up, after he, according to the actress, “came home in a cropped Forever 21 sweatshirt and another girl started texting me about getting it back.” She eventually turned to one of her gay friends to be her donor.
However, Dunham wrote she “learned that none of my eggs were viable on Memorial Day, in the midst of a global pandemic.”
Explaining the phone call she received on the holiday weekend from her doctor, she said he 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 …”
Saying his voice began trailing off, Dunham said it was hard for her to “understand that they were gone.” As she continued to grapple with the news, Dunham added she began unfollowing all the IVF social media accounts she began following at the beginning of her journey.
She wrote that the experience made her realize “you can’t force the universe to give you a baby that your body has told you all along was an impossibility.” She added that, “the irony is that knowing I cannot have a child — my ability to accept that and move on — may be the only reason I deserve to be anyone’s parent at all. I think I finally have something to teach somebody.”
Looking ahead, Dunham told PEOPLE she is open to adoption and foster-to-adopt options and loves “the idea of becoming a mother in the way that’s right for me.” She added that the work in therapy she’s doing now will prepare her so “Lena 3.0 is the best version I can be, the motherhood version.”
Read her full Harper’s Bazaar essay here.