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#WCW: Gabrielle Union’s Journey to Surrogacy

At our Houston-area fibroid clinic, we celebrate the journeys of strong women. And we’ve dedicated Woman Crush Wednesday as the perfect time to share their stories in the hopes of helping others. This week, we want to highlight Gabrielle Union, whose diagnosis of adenomyosis ultimately led her fertility plans to surrogacy.

Adenomyosis and Pregnancy 

Last year, Union revealed that she has adenomyosis, a unique condition of the uterus that causes a woman’s endometrial tissue to grow into the muscles of her uterus. Symptoms include severe cramping and chronic pelvic pain, and the condition often leads to an enlarged uterus, as well as especially painful menstrual cycles and/or pain during sex. While there is no known cause for adenomyosis, many medical professionals believe that the condition may be related to a variety of other health conditions, including advanced age and previous uterine surgeries. 

For Union, her adenomyosis meant years of failed IVF treatments, miscarriages and, ultimately, the decision to carry her baby via surrogate. Now that she’s welcomed daughter Kaavia with hubby Dwayne Wayde, she’s opening up about what she looked for in a surrogate. 

In a recent interview with Women’s Health magazine, Union said: “Some people care about the race, religion, or food habits of their surrogate. I was like, ‘I want a reader.’” In that same interview, she admitted the fear involved in her fertility journey, saying,“There’s nothing more that I wanted than to cook my own baby. The idea of [a surrogate] felt like surrendering to failure. People want to see the bump, hear that you got hemorrhoids — they want to know you’re like them. I was like ‘This is going to seem like the most Hollywood shit ever. Will I be embraced as a mom?’ It’s terrifying.”

Still, now that er daughter has arrived, Union is able to look on the bright side of her long path to motherhood. She says, “Any earlier and the FOMO would have greatly influenced how I parented,” she admitted. “I’ve seen it. I’ve done it. I’ve done it well. I’ve gotten all the T-shirts. Now I’m in the right mindset and mental space, and I’m open to being the best mom I can be.” Her strength and grace is an inspiration for all women, which is why she’s this weeks #WCW.

Treating Adenomyosis 

While the only cure for Adenomyosis is a hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus, patients who are not ready to embrace that extreme treatment can still find relief.

Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen can help with the pain and reduce the blood flow. Taking birth control pills and other hormones is another treatment frequently used. Endometrial Ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that destroys the uterine lining, but its success depends on how deeply the tissue has penetrated into the wall of the uterus. 

UAE for Adenomyosis

When treating adenomyosis with UAE, particles are injected into the uterine artery to block the blood flow to the specific problem area. The goal is to deprive the tissue of both blood and oxygen so it the condition will abate. The procedure involves an overnight stay in the hospital.

If like Gabrielle Union, you are struggling with adenomyosis, it’s time to start exploring your treatment options. To speak with one of our Houston area interventional radiologists, call us anytime at 713-575-3686.