While the actress, 45, has previously written in her book We’re Going to Need More Wine about having had “eight or nine miscarriages,” in August 2018 she revealed that a recent diagnosis of adenomyosis might explain why she’s had so much trouble getting pregnant.
“I have had eight or nine miscarriages,” Union, 45, said in her book. “For three years, my body has been a prisoner of trying to get pregnant — I’ve either been about to go into an IVF cycle, in the middle of an IVF cycle, or coming out of an IVF cycle.”
But with her overdue diagnosis, she “finally got some answers,” she said. “The gag is I had it in my early 20s,” Union remarked, adding that doctors haven’t always taken her symptoms seriously. Adenomyosis is a type of endometriosis that only occurs in the uterus, according to the Seckin Endometriosis Center. The only cure is to undergo a hysterectomy, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Union said she didn’t want kids until she married Wade and became a stepmom to his nephew Dahveon Morris, 16, and sons from a previous marriage Zaire, 15, and Zion, 10.
“I never wanted kids,” she told PEOPLE. “Then I became a stepmom, and there was no place I’d rather be than with them.”
The toughest part of infertility, Union said, is the questions.
“For so many women, and not just women in the spotlight, people feel very entitled to know, ‘Do you want kids?’” she says. “A lot of people, especially people that have fertility issues, just say ‘no’ because that’s a lot easier than being honest about whatever is actually going on. People mean so well, but they have no idea the harm or frustration it can cause.”
Dunham, 31, has long questioned whether she could have a child because of her struggle with endometriosis. Then, in an essay for the March 2018 issue of Vogue, she revealed that she had her uterus removed in a total hysterectomy, and can no longer carry a child — something she dreamed of since she was little.
“I may have felt choiceless before, but I know I have choices now,” Dunham wrote. “Soon I’ll start exploring whether my ovaries, which remain someplace inside me in that vast cavern of organs and scar tissue, have eggs. (Your brain, unaware that the rest of the apparatus has gone, in theory keeps firing up your eggs every month, to be released and reabsorbed into the cavern.) Adoption is a thrilling truth I’ll pursue with all my might.”
“But I wanted that stomach. I wanted to know what nine months of complete togetherness could feel like. I was meant for the job, but I didn’t pass the interview. And that’s OK. It really is. I might not believe it now, but I will soon enough. And all that will be left is my story and my scars, which are already faded enough that they’re hard to find.”
Teigen, 32, now has a 22-month-old daughter, Luna, and a baby boy on the way, but it took years of upsetting infertility and IVF treatments to get here.
“John and I were having trouble. We would have had kids five, six years ago if it had happened,” she told Tyra Banks in 2015. “But my gosh, it’s been a process.”
Teigen ended up freezing her eggs and became pregnant with Luna and her baby-to-be through IVF treatments. But she said that getting the questions about starting a family were tough.
“It’s a sweet question. It comes from a good place, but sometimes you never know what the person [is going through],” she said. “What you really want to say [is], ‘I’m trying and I can’t.’ ”
The actress, 50, said in 2011 that she “had a roller coaster ride with fertility” over the course of her life. During her marriage to actor Tom Cruise, she struggled to conceive, and they decided to adopt kids Isabella, 25, and Connor, 22. In 2006, Kidman wed singer Keith Urban, and after she gave birth to daughter Sunday Rose in 2008, she struggled to conceive again.
“Anyone that’s been in the place of wanting another child or wanting a child knows the disappointment, the pain and the loss that you go through trying and struggling with fertility,” she said. “Fertility is such a big thing, and it’s not something I’ve ever run away from talking about.”
The couple decided to use a gestational surrogate to carry their second daughter, Faith, now 7.
“We were in a place of desperately wanting another child,” she said. “This opportunity arose for us, and I couldn’t get pregnant … Children are children — you’ll die for your children. And when you feel that as a parent — that’s the unconditional love.”
Kim Kardashian West
After giving birth to daughter North, 4, Kardashian West, 37, struggled to conceive again.
“I had so many complications. I had this condition called placenta accreta. There were a couple little operations to fix all that, so that created a little hole in my uterus, which I think made it really tough to get pregnant again,” she said in 2015. “It was a long road. I would go to the doctor in Beverly Hills every day at five in the morning to get tested to see if I was ovulating.”
And when she was, Kardashian would immediately call husband Kayne West.
“I’m like, ‘I’m ovulating, get home now!’ He’d be like, ‘Wait, I’m in the studio,’ ” she recalled, adding that their strict schedule took “the fun out of” having sex.
After a year of trying, she announced that son Saint, now 2, was on the way. The couple also welcomed their third child, daughter Chicago, on Jan. 15, via a gestational surrogate because of Kardashian West’s past fertility complications.
“Given her health scares in the past, Kim felt the need to hire a surrogacy agency that helped serve as the liaison in finding a healthy woman who would be a great surrogate option for her and Kanye,” a source told PEOPLE. “Both of them have been super involved in the process.”
The model and TV host, 44, continuously put off having kids, and then discovered conceiving was tougher than expected.
“It’s so funny when I was 23 years old, I used to tell myself, ‘In three years, I’m going to have kids.’ Then I turned 24. ‘In three years, I’m going to have kids,’” Banks told Chrissy Teigen in 2015. “Every single year I kept saying that. And then after a while it’s like, ‘Okay, now I want to.’ And it’s not so easy.”
Banks tried IVF, which led to some “traumatic” attempts, she told PEOPLE.
“I’ve had some not happy moments with that, very traumatic moments,” she said. “It’s difficult as you get older. It’s not something that can just happen.”
She’s since become a mom to son York, 2, with ex-boyfriend Erik Asla, via a gestational surrogate.
“As I gaze into the beautiful eyes of my son, I think about all the people who struggle with fertility or carrying a child and continue to pray for them every day,” she told PEOPLE after York’s birth in 2016. “My hopes and dreams are filled with well wishes that they get to feel what my little treasure, York Banks Asla, feels like in my arms.”
The Friends star, 53, suffered from “quite a few” miscarriages before conceiving her daughter Coco, now 13, through IVF.
“I get pregnant pretty easily, but I have a hard time keeping them,” Cox told PEOPLE in 2003, adding that she and ex-husband David Arquette would “bounce back pretty quickly,” after each miscarriage. “I don’t say it’s a walk in the park. But what are you going to do? We just try again.”
The former couple said at the time that trying IVF was “nerve-racking,” and Arquette said that he feels “terrible that she has to go through so much.”
After a miscarriage in 1997, the actress, 58, gave birth to her first child, daughter Gaia, with her husband, actor Greg Wise, two years later at age 40 through IVF. But Thompson’s feelings of guilt and failure over being unable to conceive again, despite trying IVF again, sent her into a deep depression.
“After that, we tried to have another child, it didn’t work, and I went into a deep clinical depression,” she said in 2006. “It’s only now that I no longer count other people’s children or judge myself harshly for not providing my daughter with a sibling.”
And in 2003, she and Wise informally adopted Tindy, now 30, a former child solider from Rwanda, who instantly became part of the family.
“I couldn’t have more children, and that was hard; but perhaps if I had [had more], I’d have missed out on this extra act of mothering that I’ve had with Tindy,” Thompson said in 2010. “Because there was space in my life for him, and I don’t think there would have been space if I’d had another young child around.”
The actress and lifestyle blogger, 39, had her first child, son Cree Taylor, in 2011, but wasn’t sure if she could conceive again with her husband, Cory Hardrict, because of her endometriosis.
But six years later, she’s finally pregnant again with a daughter, due in November.
“We did try for a long time. It was hard. But I didn’t give up,” she said.
For King, 38, the process of conceiving her son, James, 4, was harrowing. It took ten different doctors before she was finally diagnosed with endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome, and before that happened, the actress had five miscarriages, went through five rounds of IVF and 26 artificial inseminations. She decided to speak out about her fertility struggles in 2014 to help other women.
“I was hiding what I was going through for so long, and I hear about so many women going through what I went through. If I’m open about it, hopefully it won’t be so taboo to talk about it,” she told PEOPLE in 2015.