Caroline Lunny, a former contestant on the Bachelor and former Miss Massachusetts USA, decided to test her fertility hormones when she was 29 years old. She discovered she had low AMH and chose to freeze her eggs, a path that led her to becoming an advocate for proactive fertility knowledge. Here, Caroline explains what happened in her own words. If you're interested in testing your fertility hormones, here's Caroline's referral link.
I've always wanted to be a mom and have a big family — I have two younger siblings and like 20 cousins who are younger than me. In the past, I'd worry about people thinking I was "baby crazy," but I think it's fair to want to have a family, and I don't think we should be afraid to talk about what we want.
I've also always been fascinated by reproductive health — but unless you're in medicine, it seemed weirdly taboo to talk about or even learn more about it. It's funny that we feel like we have to keep it to ourselves when we want to know more about our reproductive health. But there's so much to learn. It's not just tampons, birth control, and babies. When I started learning more about my body, what I found out was bigger than I ever imagined.
I thought I was going to have eggs for days. But after taking the Modern Fertility Hormone Test, I found out that wasn't the case.
About a year ago, I saw Krystal Nielson, a Bachelor contestant, talking about the Modern Fertility Hormone Test on Instagram and decided to purchase it. My curiosity about reproductive health just made me want to learn more about my body. I'd already done an at-home food sensitivity test, so I was familiar with testing at home. I thought it was the new, hip thing to do. But it actually completely changed my life.
I thought I was going to be fertile as hell, have top-of-the-line numbers, have eggs for days. I think I was looking for some sort of self-validation, honestly. When I got the notification that my test results were ready, I was sitting in my car waiting to go into the grocery store. I thought, oh, cool.
My results told me that even though I had just turned 29, I had the AMH levels of someone who's about to go through menopause. I’d been thinking I had all the time in the world: I was doing fun TV shows, traveling all over the world, going to Miss USA. My results were kind of a rude awakening — everything screeched to a halt for a second. I cried in bed for three days because I wanted a family so much and I felt like I'd put it off for too long.
Instead of just sitting around being sad, I took action and brought my results to my doctor. The Modern Fertility Hormone Test results helped me advocate for myself and gave me some kind of ground to stand on. But even though I had my results, my doctor didn't really believe there was an issue. She said, "You're young. You're 29. Everything's fine." I told her my mom went through menopause relatively young, and I tried to convince her to take me seriously and do more tests. She seemed to think it was all in my head — like I was just WebMD-crazy. She re-ran the same test Modern Fertility offers and confirmed the results on her end. She told me it was too late to try to have kids biologically. Twenty minutes before, I was "fine" — but suddenly I was out of time.
For six months, I went to different doctors to find the right one who would support me and help me freeze my eggs. I just wished I had taken the Modern Fertility Hormone Test sooner and had more time with my options. Taking the test and talking to Modern Fertility’s fertility nurse pointed me in the right direction of where to start. Now, I literally tell people at the grocery store to take the test while I'm standing in line at checkout.
I've learned that when it comes to fertility, you can't really have expectations.
I've quickly learned that when it comes to fertility, you can't really have any expectations — you just have to hope for the best outcomes and see what happens. I'm single. If I was with someone right now, I'd have something substantive to add to my timeline for kids. But I haven't met anyone, and I don't know when that time will come. In a perfect world, I'll meet someone and use ovulation-inducing medications or maybe intrauterine insemination (IUI) to hopefully try and conceive before using my frozen eggs. Plan B would be to do in-vitro fertilization (IVF). I want to experience pregnancy — that's important to me — but I would love to adopt as well. So many kids need homes, so why not?
After four egg retrieval surgeries, I got seven eggs on ice — but I hope to get up to 15. If not, my sister actually froze her eggs for me, too. My doctor does a freeze-and-share program, where women who have plenty of eggs and would like to freeze them (but maybe can't afford it) can share their eggs with somebody like me who needs an egg donor. They're able to freeze half of their eggs for themselves and then half of their eggs to donate to somebody else. So, I have 10 of my sister's eggs frozen and can use them if I can't get enough of my own.
The one thing that's been really nice about not actively trying to conceive while going through all this fertility stuff is I think it softens the blow a bit. I feel like I have a gift of "borrowed time." It's definitely made my journey a lot easier to just focus on collecting eggs and not on making embryos, trying to implant them, and then making it to the second trimester. For me, freezing my eggs is a nice little baby step.
Learning about your fertility can be scary. It can be overwhelming. But you'll get through this.
The biggest message that I want to spread out there is to encourage anyone who wants to have biological kids to look into their fertility, to ask these questions. It can be scary, and it can seem really overwhelming — but you can get through this. Women are so insanely strong. If you think about the power of a mom, you know not to mess with a mama bear. All of these women in the fertility community have that energy and they're fighting for what they want. They have superhuman strength. The only way to get through this is to tell yourself you're going to get through it — and to have others going through it tell that to you, too. It's wild to see the strength you can access.
Finding a fertility community and women to talk to on Instagram has also been really helpful — you get to come together with other people, share information, and get tips and tricks for navigating this journey. And now that I've talked so openly about my own experience, people come to talk to me all the time. So many of my good friends have been dealing with fertility issues for years and never told anyone. It's just not something women are talking about a lot — you see these perfectly curated photos on Instagram where everything is fine. I think it's cool that we're having this conversation, and I never get tired of it.
In the end, for me, going through this pre-pregnancy journey has felt like the hype before Christmas. I'm sure a baby will be even better than Christmas, but it's always magical to wait for that day to arrive.
Fertility could be top of mind or on the back burner for now — but it has the power to impact everything. We're sharing your stories to both celebrate and create space for the many ways we navigate our careers, relationships, and finances in relation to our reproductive health. If you have a story to share, get in touch.