Lena Dunham Talks Adoption, Says She Doesn't Want to Turn '38 Without a Child'

The 35-year-old actress previously discussed becoming a mother via adoption following a failed IVF cycle

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Lena Dunham. Photo: Presley Ann/Getty Images

Lena Dunham is hoping to become a mom soon.

The Girls writer and creator, 35, recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter for their latest cover story, opening up about her desire to adopt a child — an idea that she's thought about more since she married musician Luis Felber in September.

"I'll be 36 this year," she told the outlet. "I don't feel like turning 38 without a child."

Dunham has been open about wanting to be a mother and her experience with infertility after having her cervix, uterus and one ovary removed at the age of 31 due to chronic endometriosis.

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Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham. ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty

In an emotional essay for Harper's Magazine's December 2020 cover issue, she spoke about her journey with in vitro fertilization — and the difficult emotions surrounding the fact that it didn't pan out.

At the time, Dunham said she was surprised to learn from a doctor that she "might have a chance of harvesting eggs" with her remaining ovary, which could ideally be fertilized via donor sperm and transferred into a surrogate in the hopes of resulting in a healthy baby.

Unfortunately, the process didn't go the way the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood actress had hoped, learning that none of her eggs were viable.

"This journey has forced me to rethink what motherhood will look like," Dunham later told PEOPLE of the experience. "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."

"I think women often have a keen instinct about what is happening with their own bodies — and I had an instinct that it probably wouldn't work," she continued. "I had hopes it would, but to be honest, I'd already made my peace about becoming an adoptive mother. 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."

​​Following the failed IVF cycle, Dunham said, "I decided I am not going to let myself mourn a set of children that weren't ever mine to begin with. Whether it's adoption or foster-to-adopt, I love the idea of becoming a mother in the way that's right for me, and I'm committed to it."

"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 said. "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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