US actress Emma Roberts has opened up about her fertility and why she decided to freeze her eggs in her 20s
The 29-year-old Nancy Drew actress is pregnant with her first child with partner, Garrett Hedlund but it wasn’t something she expected to happen so easily for her.
The niece of Julia Roberts said she knew something wasn’t quite right with her fertility as she had painful and heavy periods from a young age, but she said she was dismissed by doctors.
As the cover star of the December/January edition of Cosmopolitan, she said, “I always had debilitating cramps and periods, so bad I had to miss school, and later have to cancel meetings.
“I mentioned this to my doctor, who didn’t look into it and sent me on my way because maybe I was being too dramatic?”
It wasn’t until she changed her doctor to a female that she was offered tests. It was confirmed she’d had endometriosis since she was a teenager.
She was told her the endometriosis could have an impact on her fertility and urged to freeze her eggs.
“To be honest, I was terrified,” she says. “Just the thought of freezing my eggs and finding out, perhaps, I wouldn’t be able to have kids. I did freeze my eggs eventually but it was a difficult process.”
Emma said she felt she had done something wrong when she discovered her fertility issue
“I was stunned. It felt so permanent, and oddly as if I’d done something wrong. But I started opening up to other women, and all of a sudden, there was a world of conversation about endometriosis, miscarriage, fear of not having kids.”
Emma said as soon as she relaxed and realised she hadn’t done anything wrong, she fell pregnant, though remained cautious.
She kept her pregnancy quiet until she reached a safe date for fear of the pregnancy going wrong.
Asked what she has learned from 2020 and this strange time, she said. “This pregnancy has taught me that the only plan you can have is that there is no plan.”
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb (endometrium) is found elsewhere, usually in the pelvis around the womb, on the ovaries, tubes, ligaments holding the pelvic organs in place as well as occasionally the bowel or bladder.
It can affect up to one in ten women and can vary massively in severity. It is more common in women with a family history in their mother or sister. When this tissue is found within the muscle of the womb it’s called adenomyosis.
Why is it so painful?
During the menstrual cycle, in response to oestrogen being produced by the ovaries, the endometrium in the womb thickens and then after ovulation, the ovaries produce progesterone to prepare the thick lining for a potential embryo to implant. If pregnancy doesn’t occur, progesterone levels drop and this is what induces a period.
This process is a completely normal one for the uterus but the same process in response to these hormones occurs in the “endometrium” like tissue in women with endometriosis in the pelvis, ovaries, etc and causes pain, potential scarring, and formation of cysts in the ovary.
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