On her journey to have a child, there was something Gabrielle Union's doctors were missing.
In a newly published interview on Katie Lowes' Katie's Crib podcast, the L.A.'s Finest actress took listeners down memory lane as she revisited her IVF journey and the struggles along the way to her daughter, Kaavia, being born in 2018.
Among those challenges was a medical condition she didn't know she had—and one multiple doctors failed to notice.
"I went undiagnosed through multiple rounds of IVF with different leading doctors in the field around the country," she told Lowes. "Not until the last doctor, Dr. Kelly Baek in California. That first ultrasound, she was like, 'Oh, so, you have Adenomyosis."
While it had never been brought to Union's attention before, Baek could see that it was "really pronounced," as the star recalled. "'I don't know why no one would've noticed this,'" Union remembered the doctor telling her.
"I would've never probably known had I not been on this fertility journey," Union said.
In hindsight, Union had presented symptoms with her menstruation that served as overlooked red flags.
"When Dr. Baek started asking me more questions going back to my periods and what my experience was like with my periods as a younger woman," she said, "I explained that I ended up getting on the pill not for birth control reasons, but because my periods were lasting like a third of the month and I was bleeding like I had been shot in the vagina."
To further complicate things, Union pointed out that adenomyosis "affects your ovarian reserve," and as a result, businesses like fertility clinics might benefit from a patient's lack of awareness.
"If you're going in and no one's diagnosing you correctly...A lot of places will offer older women or women who have these conditions that have been diagnosed rounds to basically bundle...so you might do... three rounds for this price because you're not going to get a ton of eggs," Union explained. "But, no one's super clear or honest because that affects your business."
In addition to finally getting a diagnosis, Union also got clarity from her doctor. "She just [was] honest for the first time that my road will be extremely challenging and the only way that I would be able to physically carry my baby myself is if I use this drug called Lupron," Union said.
However, the actress noted that the drug causes brittle bones. "I live an active lifestyle. The roles I'm playing are very active and it only gives you, I think it's like a 30 percent chance," she told Lowes. "Do I run the risk of causing greater harm to my body for a 30 percent chance?"
As she said of her doctor, "She was one of the first people to really be honest about surrogacy." However, the star initially treated surrogacy as if that meant she was a failure and considered taking the drug while she was also filming—until her partner Dwyane Wade spoke up.
"My husband was like, 'Babe, I want you,'" she recalled the athlete saying. "'I want you as much as you want this baby. I want you. Let's pump the brakes and think about this and make a family decision.'"
Ultimately, they welcomed their first child together via surrogate on Nov. 7, 2018. As she wrote on Instagram to announce Kaavia's birth, "We are sleepless and delirious but so excited to share that our miracle baby arrived last night via surrogate and 11/7 will forever be etched in our hearts as the most loveliest of all the lovely days. Welcome to the party sweet girl!"