Gabrielle Union has never been one to shy away from the spotlight. The author, activist and Love and Basketball star has enjoyed a successful career in Hollywood since the early 1990s and continues to make headlines as an advocate, including on behalf of those who have survived assault, as well as many others.
Union, 45, recently spoke out about another matter - this time, one that is close to her heart. Last year, she released a collection of essays titled We're Going To Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated And True in which she opened up about her struggles with infertility. In her book, she revealed that she has had "8 or 9 miscarriages", and that for the last several years, her body has been "a prisoner of trying to get pregnant — [and she has] either been about to go into an IVF cycle, in the middle of an IVF cycle, or coming out of an IVF cycle."
Union is married to NBA all-star Dwyane Wade, 36, who has three children from previous relationships. It wasn't until she became a stepmom, she admitted, that she realized she wanted children of her own.
"I never wanted kids," she said. "Then I became a stepmom, and there was no place I’d rather be than with them."
Recently, Union revealed that there is a specific medical reason behind her struggles to conceive. She suffers from a condition called adenomyosis, a rare form of endometriosis where the tissue that normally lines the uterus (endometrial tissue) grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. Symptoms include heavy bleeding, severe cramping and pelvic pain, and is associated with low fertility rates and higher rates of miscarriage. Typically, adenomyosis affects women in their 40s and 50s, but new research suggests that like in Union's case - who was diagnosed in her 20s - it might also be common in younger women.
Union, and several other stars like Girls creator Lena Dunham, are opening up the topic of fertility and women's issues as of late and creating awareness by speaking publicly about their often private pain. Dunham made headlines earlier this year when she spoke about her difficult battle with endometriosis and the hysterectomy she ended up having as a result of complications from the disorder.
As for Union, she hopes that by sharing some of the more intimate details of her own personal struggles, she can help other women with similar conditions who may be suffering in silence.
"There’s definitely a lot of people suffering in silence and isolation," she said. "Hearing my truth has been helpful."