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Jennifer Aniston has revealed she tried in-vitro fertilization (IVF) several years ago. The 53-year-old actor has been the subject of tabloid fodder for decades, with many often speculating about her relationships and desire to start a family.

In an interview with Allure magazine, Aniston spoke about a period in her late 30s and 40s that was difficult. She went on to explain that during that period of her life, she was trying to get pregnant, which the public did not know about until now. 

“It was a challenging road for me, the baby-making road,” she said. 

Aniston said she tried IVF, and drinking Chinese tease, seen as a holistic approach to aiding pregnancy, and “was throwing everything at it.” She said she did not freeze her eggs, so “the ship has sailed.” 

She added, however, that she has zero regrets. 

“I actually feel a little relief now because there is no more, ‘Can I? Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.’ I don’t have to think about that anymore,” she said.

IVF is a series of procedures to assist with the conception of a child. During the process, a woman may take fertility drugs to produce eggs. Those eggs are usually fertilized, turned into an embryo and then implanted. The eggs and embryos can also be frozen for future implantation.

One full IVF cycle can take three weeks but sometimes takes longer or the procedures are split up. The chances of the IVF working depends on many factors, including age. 

A woman’s egg production slows down with age and the quality of the eggs also decreases, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. For these reasons, some people collect eggs at a younger age and freeze them for later use, rather than wait and potentially miss the opportunity to collect healthy eggs. 

Aniston was married to actor Brad Pitt from 2000 to 2005, and during and after that relationship rumors swirled about her desire to be a mother. She said it was painful that tabloids deemed her lack of children as “selfish” and assumed it was the reason why she and Pitt, who went on to marry and have kids with Angelina Jolie, divorced. 

“It was absolute lies. I don’t have anything to hide at this point,” Aniston said.

In 2016, Aniston penned an op-ed for Huffington Post on the subject of tabloid speculation. “This past month in particular has illuminated for me how much we define a woman’s value based on her marital and maternal status,” she wrote. “The sheer amount of resources being spent right now by press trying to simply uncover whether or not I am pregnant…points to the perpetuation of this notion that women are somehow incomplete, unsuccessful, or unhappy if they’re not married with children.”

In the interview with Allure, Aniston said she wrote the op-ed “because it’s so maddening and I’m not superhuman to the point where I can’t let it penetrate and hurt.'”