Amy Schumer has opened up about the mental and physical toll of going through IVF in the hope of conceiving a sibling for her son.
"I'm a week into IVF and feeling really run down and emotional," the comedian wrote in a post to Instagram on Friday alongside a powerful photo of her belly covered in bruises.
The 38-year-old who welcomed her son Gene in May, also shared that she is freezing her eggs, "and figuring out what to do to give Gene a sibling."
"If anyone went through it and if you have any advice or wouldn't mind sharing your experience with me please do," she wrote, adding, "my number is in my bio."
Schumer's famous buddies were quick to pass on their well-wishes and praise her raw honesty.
"I appreciate you as a mother, a woman, a public figure, your vulnerability is so powerful," wrote Tess Holliday.
"You got this mama," wrote Katie Couric. "Sending you lots of love."
"I'm praying for you and Chris," wrote Selena Gomez. "I'm sorry!"
Many of Schumer's 9.5 million fans shared their own experiences of infertility and going through IVF.
"It's emotional and your hormones are a mess," one mum wrote. "Rest and accepting pampering and hugs."
"Amy, you're not alone, even if it feels like it," one mama wrote. "Sending you love."
"My heart goes out to you," said another, who offered a number of practical suggestions from her own experience. " I just went through IVF and the egg retrieval is the worse part of the entire process and the most emotional and exhausting. Take it one day at a time, try not to look too far ahead in the process because it is overwhelming.
"You also have to be your own advocate with your Dr. and Nurse, I felt in order to get help or answers I really had to speak up. Be selfish for a while and do anything that relaxes you, staying relaxed is so important also acupuncture is very helpful. Know you are not alone in this, you have support."
Dr Nicole Highet of the Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE) says it's wonderful to see high-profile celebrities speaking out about the emotional and physical toll of IVF.
"One of the major physical challenges for women undergoing IVF is the fertility hormones," Dr Highet explains. "These synthetic hormones are required to help the eggs mature, stimulate ovulation, and prepare the lining of the uterus to receive fertilised embryos." Many women report side-effects including mood swings, bloating, hot flushes, and irritability."
According to Dr Highet, Schumer's experience of feeling "run down" is also common. "The emotional highs and lows of infertility and IVF treatment for both women and men can be physically and emotionally fatiguing with many people describing feeling worn out by their struggles with infertility before even embarking on their first IVF cycle," she says.
Of the process itself, IVF Australia notes that to obtain eggs for freezing, a woman will usually have hormonal stimulation for 10 – 12 days, enabling a number of eggs to mature. The stimulation medications are self-administered by a daily injection. Eggs are then collected from the ovaries using an ultrasound guided probe inserted into the vagina, usually under a light general anaesthetic or with sedation.