Lena Dunham Reveals She Underwent IVF: ‘None of My Eggs Were Viable’

Sharing her struggles. Lena Dunham shared her unsuccessful IVF journey for the first time in a candid Harper’s Magazine essay on Monday, November 16.

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“I learned that none of my eggs were viable on Memorial Day in the midst of a global pandemic,” the Girls alum, 34, wrote. “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.”

Lena Dunham Reveals She Underwent IVF
Lena Dunham David Fisher/Shutterstock

The doctor told the actress, “We were unable to fertilize any of your eggs,” she recalled. Despite having six eggs retrieved, “five did not take [and] the one that did seem[ed] to have chromosomal issues.”

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The director wrote, “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.”

The New York native then decided that she was done pursuing IVF to conceive and left the support accounts she was a part of on social media. “If there’s one person less welcome among the IVF Warriors than a new mother, it is a woman who has given up on becoming one,” Dunham explained.

Along the way, the Golden Globe winner tried multiple other methods of conception. “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, referencing her breakup with Jack Antonoff 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.”

The Emmy nominee went on to call herself a “functional junkie,” explaining, “I had lost my way, and a half-dozen eggs sitting in Midtown promised to lead me home. Instead, each step took the process further from my body, my family, my reality. Each move was more expensive, more desperate, more lonely. I stopped being able to picture the ending.”

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Dunham has previously opened up about her family plans, telling Vogue in February 2018: “Adoption is a thrilling truth I’ll pursue with all my might.”

The Not That Kind of Girl author had just had a hysterectomy in an attempt to end pain related to her endometriosis. The procedure came after “years of complex surgeries measuring in the double digits,” she told the magazine at the time.

“I may have felt choiceness before, but I know I have choices now,” she added. “Soon I’ll start exploring whether my ovaries, which remain someplace inside me in that vast cavern of organs and scar tissue, have eggs.”

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