Saturday, January 6, 2018

Five More Books About Infertility

On April 29, 2017, I wrote about a selection of books about living with infertility and published it during National Infertility Awareness Week. I had wanted to include more books and chose not to at the time because I was feeling emotionally burned out from the topic. It's an emotionally draining subject in of itself, and even more so because I was so strongly surrounded by it for a week, even though it was because of my own doing. Now that quite a bit of time has passed and I've been able to process my emotions and come back to this topic feeling refreshed, I'd like to share another list of books covering infertility.

Collection of Poetry by Jennifer Jackson Berry
Paperback, 96 pages
Published Nov. 2016 by YesYes Books

Recommended to me by a friend with primary infertility who also writes book reviews. The Feeder is a book of poetry that one Goodreads reviewer describes as "refreshing," and another as "brave."

Timons Esais left this in his review on Goodreads: "There is also some joy in here, but the collection as a whole brings one word to mind: brave. All poets risk self-esteem when publishing, all poets risk exposure, and it is very common for confessional poets (in these days of confessional poetry) to armor themselves against the risk by being defiant in their voice, being in-your-face, being I-can-say-this-and-you-can't-you-turd. Berry seems not to do that, at all. Here, too, she refuses to resolve. She asks, "How did I fall today?" and leaves us with that."

Everything Conceivable: How Assisted Reproduction is Changing Men, Women and the World

by Liza Mundy
Genres: Nonfiction, Science, Feminism
Available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle
432 pages, published 2007-2008 by Knopf

Liza Mundy is an award-winning journalist who wrote Michelle Obama's biography, Code Girls, and The Richer Sex.

In Everything Conceivable, per Goodreads she, "captures the human narratives, as well as the science, behind the controversial, multibillion-dollar fertility industry, and examines how this huge social experiment is transforming our most basic relationships and even our destiny as a species.

Skyrocketing infertility rates and dizzying technological advances are revolutionizing American families and changing the way we think about parenthood, childbirth, and life itself. Using in-depth reporting and riveting anecdotal material from doctors, families, surrogates, sperm and egg donors, infertile men and women, single and gay and lesbian parents, and children conceived through technology, Mundy explores the impact of assisted reproduction on individuals as well as the ethical issues raised and the potentially vast social consequences. The unforgettable personal stories in Everything Conceivable run the gamut from joyous to tragic; all of them raise questions we dare not ignore."

Non-fiction book by Beth Kohl
Available in hardcover, 288 pages
Published 2007 by Farrar Straus Giroux

This book was also recommended to me by a friend who went through IVF and surrogacy. Since I have not read the book myself, I am sharing the description from Goodreads with you:

"Injections + Appointments + Egg Retrieval + Embryo Transfer = Resources (Energy x Time x Emotion)" That's the equation that was projected onto the screen when Beth Kohl and her husband first showed up at the in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic. "Good evening," the program's psychologist told the gathered infertile couples. "Before you begin your treatment, you should know that this program is emotionally and psychologically stressful."

And how. In this marvelously unconventional account of her struggles to bear children, Kohl leads the reader on an oh-so-up-close tour of fertilization in America, and the ways in which science and miracle, technology and faith, converge to create life in the twentyfirst century. Along the way, Kohl wrestles with a new world of medical ethics: Should she "selectively reduce" the number of embryos successfully implanted in the womb in order to prevent a potentially complicated pregnancy? How much genetic testing of fertilized eggs is too much? What is she supposed to do with the seven embryos left over from the IVF process? When Andrew Solomon wrote "The Noonday Demon," he opened the world of depression to readers as no writer had done before. And when Stephen L. Carter wrote "Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby," many readers were forced to completely rethink race and prejudice. Kohl's spirited and rich exploration of "embryo culture" will completely revise how we see modern motherhood.

by Geoffrey Sher, Jean Stoess, Virginia Marraige Davis
Available in paperback, hardcover, and ebook formats
222 pages, published 1998 by Facts on File

Another book recommended by several friends who went through IVF or are considering the process so I am recommending it to you.

As Goodreads states, "In Vitro Fertilization is a comprehensive guide to this increasingly common and successful practice for the 3.3 million couples in the United States seeking alternative means of conception. It discusses everything you need to know about IVF, including how to find and choose the best in vitro programs, what to expect as you go through the process, and what your chances are of achieving a successful pregnancy. The book is designed to prepare couples for the complex and emotional process of IVF, and it has been specially updated to cover the latest developments in the field. No one considering IVF should overlook this indispensable reference."

Fiction by Jodi Picoult
Available in paperback, hardcover, audio, and ebook formats
496 pages, published in 2011 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books

The only book of the list I've personally read, I highly recommend this one, especially for book club discussions. Written by one of my favorite authors (I literally have a whole shelf dedicated to her books!), Sing You Home follows the ups and downs of a marriage tormented by miscarriage after miscarriage.

Max plummets into alcoholism, yet somehow is able to heal again after his failed marriage with Zoe. A newfound unexpected romance brews for Zoe, with the opportunity for a baby. This scenario could include Max if he's willing, but he balks at the prospect, clouded by his religious beliefs and the financial costs.

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