Olivia Munn reveals she froze her eggs for a third time after breast cancer diagnosis

Actor Olivia Munn first revealed in March that she had breast cancer

Amber Raiken
New York
Monday 13 May 2024 21:02 BST
Related: Olivia Munn had a hysterectomy following her battle with breast cancer

Olivia Munn has revealed that she froze her eggs at three different points in her life.

During an interview with Vogue, published on 12 May, the actor, 43, opened up about eventually expanding her family with partner John Mulaney, who she shares a two-year-old son, Malcolm, with. Speaking to the publication, she said she froze her eggs on three separate occasions, once when she was 33, another time when she was 39, and a third time at the age of 42, after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Munn – who publicly revealed her diagnosis in March – then described the first two times she froze her eggs and how those experiences were different from each other.

“It’s interesting because my 33-year-old eggs were great. My 39-year-old eggs? None of them worked. As you get older, one month can have great eggs, the other not so much. Clearly, the month we did at 39 was not a good month,” she told Vogue.

Munn then opened up about wanting to freeze her eggs a third time – following her breast cancer diagnosis – and how she and her boyfriend came to that decision together.

“We decided to try one more round of egg retrievals and hoped it was a good month. John and I talked about it a lot and we don’t feel like we’re done growing our family, but didn’t know if I would have to do chemotherapy or radiation,” she explained.

The X Men: Apocalypse star said she was on a certain protocol for egg retrieval because of her cancer, noting the treatment involved lower doses of hormones. “We just wanted a few more eggs,” she said. “At my age, one in every 10 eggs are healthy, and we were hoping to make one embryo from this retrieval.”

Although Munn said that only three eggs were retrieved, she was still hopeful there’d be one healthy embryo from that. She shared some of her fears as she and Mulaney waited to hear back from her doctor, as her opportunity to expand her family was based on whether there’d be a viable embryo. She also specified that if there wasn’t an embryo, she wanted to go through the egg retrieval process again, even though that would be risky to do with her cancer.

However, according to Munn, they didn’t have to do the retrieval process again, since a “few hours later” they got a call from her doctor with the big news.

“He shared that we had two healthy embryos,” she explained. “John and I just started crying. It was just so exciting because not only did we get it in one retrieval, but it also meant that I didn’t have to keep putting myself at risk. It was just amazing.”

Munn also spoke candidly about expanding her family, noting that while she won’t be getting pregnant herself again, she is open to having a surrogate.

“When you’re pregnant with your own baby, it’s like teamwork – you and the baby working together to make their little life come true,” she said. “You’re doing all this work to eat well, try to not have anxiety, just do all the right things during the pregnancy. With a surrogate, you have to try to go find a version of yourself somewhere out in the world. Somebody that you trust as much as yourself to live their life as a pregnant woman the same way that you would.”

She acknowledged that having “a surrogate isn’t a scary prospect to” her, since she “doesn’t have the ability to carry a baby any more”, as she revealed to Vogue that she recently got a full hysterectomy. She also specified how grateful she is to have the opportunity to have more children, following her journey with breast cancer.

“This journey has made me realise how grateful I am to have options for not only fighting cancer but also having more children if we want because I know a lot of people don’t have those options,” she said.

During her interview with Vogue, she opened up about the fifth surgery she received after receiving her diagnosis. “I have now had an oophorectomy and hysterectomy,” she explained. “I took out my uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.”

The Newsroom star specified that the procedure was done in April, noting that she did it as an alternative to a treatment that made her feel unwell.

“The side effects of the medication hit me almost immediately,” she said. “It was next-level, debilitating exhaustion. I would wake up in the morning and almost immediately need to get back into bed.”

The medication she was taking was Lupron, which was meant to suppress oestrogen, the hormone that could cause the cancer to reoccur. Munn previously opened up about the side effects of the medication during an interview with People, published last month, noting that the treatment put her into medically induced menopause.

Speaking to Vogue, Munn added that while the hysterectomy meant she couldn’t have children, she decided to follow through with the procedure because she “needed to be present for [her] family”.

“I had friends try to cheer me up by saying, ‘Malcolm’s not going to remember this. Don’t worry,’” she explained. “But I just kept thinking to myself, ‘I’m going to remember this, that I missed all these things.’ It’s his childhood, but it’s my motherhood, and I don’t want to miss any of these parts if I don’t have to.”

In March, she took to Instagram to reveal that she was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2023. Following the diagnosis, she went on to have four different surgeries, including a double mastectomy, which is a surgical removal of both breasts.

She wrote on Instagram that she and her sister were undergoing genetic testing for 90 different cancer genes in 2023, including BRCA, the most well-known breast cancer gene. Although both Munn and her sister tested negative for the gene and had a clear mammogram, her doctor decided to calculate her Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Score just in case. “The fact that she did, saved my life,” Munn added, noting that her risk was 37 per cent.

Because of that percentage, she was then sent for an MRI, ultrasound, and biopsy, which revealed she had Luminal B cancer in both breasts. In her post, she explained that Luminal B is an “aggressive, fast-moving cancer”.

“I went from feeling completely fine one day to waking up in a hospital bed after a 10-hour surgery the next,” she wrote. “I’m lucky. We caught it with enough time that I had options.”

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