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While visiting The Dr. Oz Show recently, actress Gabrielle Union opened up about the struggles she, and many other women, have had with fertility issues. In the past, she revealed that she’d had a number of miscarriages over the years.

Specifically, as she prepped the release of her bestseller, We’re Going to Need More Wine last fall, excerpts revealed her fertility issues for the first time.

“I have had eight or nine miscarriages,” she wrote. “For three years, my body has been a prisoner of trying to get pregnant — I’ve either been about to go into an IVF cycle, in the middle of an IVF cycle, or coming out of an IVF cycle.”

On the show, she said the losses came both through IVF and getting pregnant with husband Dwyane Wade on their own.

“Initially, I didn’t know what the issue was,” she said. “I got off birth control, I got married, and I was ready to start a family. I didn’t think there was going to be any problem, and there was. So I was always having these early miscarriages. Some from IVF, some just naturally happening on our own.”

Gabrielle got even more honest with Dr. Oz, admitting that while all of the miscarriages were painful, the very first one, of course, had the strongest effect on her.

“The first one was the most brutal because we told people,” she said. “We were so excited. You know, you dream of this moment. Those dreams were just crushed. And [miscarriages] just happened in rapid succession over the next few years.”

As she tried to rebuild and try more IVF treatments, and things didn’t work as planned, Union became frustrated and disappointed in herself. She realized after the fact that it was a feeling she didn’t want herself, and other women to feel about something not within our control.

“When it doesn’t work, it can be absolutely devastating. And there are so many women hiding in plain sight, suffering in silence,” she said. “No one wants the world to think you’re ‘defective’ or less than a perfect woman or less than capable. There’s so much shame and mystery and guilt that surrounds fertility issues. That’s why I wanted to include it in my book, because I’m tired of it.”

“There’s no reason to feel alone,” she added. “There’s no reason to suffer in silence.”

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