Being the avid reader that I am, whenever I have a problem I turn to books to try and fix it. It was therefore inevitable than when we were diagnosed with our fertility problems, one of my first tasks was to go onto Amazon and find out which books I thought would be worthwhile reading.
Below is just a sample of the ones I have read; some I bought myself and some were loaned from a friend, however all have helped me in one way or another and have been very useful in assisting me to navigate my way through this difficult journey.
The Infertility Cure by Randine Lewis ph.D.
The first one isn’t particularly an IVF book, but more centres on infertility and the holistic ways you can try to fall pregnant naturally. The first thing I really liked about this book was the personal touch from the author, Randine Lewis. Having had her fair share of fertility problems throughout her life, it really felt like she could completely understand the difficulties involved in being unable to fall pregnant, and it wasn’t just another fertility doctor speaking to you in a technical way.
She recommends ancient Chinese Wellness programmes to enhance your fertility; through diet, lifestyle changes as well as techniques such as acupuncture and the use of herbal remedies.
She also has chapters on PCOS, endometriosis and infertility in older women.
Overall I found this book hugely helpful and a really good read. The fact that she has helped so many women worldwide is a great indicator that these remedies do have their place and can definitely work. Unfortunately however, this book will not help people who have definitive fertility issues who have no option but to go down the IVF route. In my opinion you can get all the acupuncture you like, but if your tubes are blocked, they’re blocked! A great book however and one I would definitely recommend to anyone going through fertility struggles.
Fertility & Infertility for Dummies
We’ve all seen these books before; usually in offices with titles like ‘Microsoft Word for Dummies’, however who knew that they also made them for infertility?!
As expected this book is a thoroughly extensive and plain talking manual to help you steer your way through all things fertility and infertility. It is a huge book, which might be off-putting to you, however I’ve used it more as a reference point when I had specific things I wanted to look up. I haven’t read it cover to cover but found it really useful as it pretty much covers everything you could think of. It starts off with all things conception and pregnancy and then delves into the world of infertility issues and everything from IVF, IUI and ICSI to egg and sperm donors.
The thing I love most about this book is just how comprehensive it is! Two of the co-authors are fertility patients (or were at the time of writing) so a huge part of it is written from the patient’s point of view and how frustrating the whole process can be.
The other thing I love is how it delves into areas that other IVF books just don’t cover; such as researching fertility clinics, dealing with a disappearing doctor, feeling blue, people with religious objections to embryo freezing, IVF and cancer, adoption, the list goes on and on. It really is a super book and well worthwhile keeping on your bookshelf as a go-to instruction manual for use throughout your journey.
Get a Life – His and Hers Survival Guide to IVF by Rochard Mackney & Rose Bray
This is definitely up there with one of my favourite IVF books. Written by a couple trying to conceive it is a fantastic narrative of their journey from both a female and male perspective. Comical at times and written in such a down-to-earth way, each chapter as a ‘His’ and ‘Hers’ section, specifically written in that way to assist men and women equally. At the end of each chapter they have a section called “How to survive this stage” which lists some tips for getting through each part of IVF.
Again I used this book as a reference guide however I made the mistake of reading the chapter on egg collection a few days before my own egg collection, which was the part of IVF I was most scared about. And to be honest reading this chapter really didn’t help as it’s described as horrendous. Of course it’s not a great part of IVF however in reality I really didn’t find it as bad as I had anticipated. Probably because I was away with the fairies from all the temazepam, but my advice would be to only read certain sections if you’re sure you can handle it! It’s very honest and real, which of course we all want, but it did nothing to calm my nerves!
IVF A Detailed Guide: Everything I Wish I Had Known Before Starting My Fertility Treatments by Bianca Smith (Kindle edition)
Another lovely book which rather than dealing with the usual IVF process, actually delves into deeper issues such a additional barriers to pregnancy that you could test for, fertility friendly recipes, valuable tips from IVF veterans as well as ‘Extra tools in the IVF Toolbox’ which talks about things such as assisted hatching, Endometrial scratch, Ovarian Drilling etc. This book really goes much further than your usual book on IVF and adds valuable information to your arsenal of resources.
It also has a great section with tips on nutrition, emotional and relationship support, practical and lifestyle support as well as inspirational messages.
Without a doubt another fantastic book for those who like to do as much research as possible.
It Starts With The Egg by Rebecca Fett
I’m not going to go into a summary of this book as I wrote about it in detail in my blog posts titled ‘Cracking Up Part 1 & 2’, which you can find in my blog archive.
I will say however that I would highly recommend this book for anyone just starting out on their fertility journey and wants to ensure their eggs are of the best quality.
I hope you have enjoyed this mini book review. As I said before, I love reading and feel I can find the solution to any problem within the pages of a book. Knowledge is power as they say. With something as sensitive and emotional as IVF, however, I can understand why too much information could potentially be a bad thing. Sometimes you just have to stop trying to research every little detail and live it in the moment. For me, during our 2 week wait I was on Google constantly, analysing every little movement I could feel and trying to find out whether it was ‘normal’ or whether people on fertility forum’s and network’s had experienced anything similar. I was so consumed with trying to reassure myself that I became a bit obsessed. I have vowed for our second cycle I will stay off google and just try to take advice from my clinic and only my clinic!
Books can be a bit like that too. For example, if you read a book about the IVF process before you have been through a cycle, you might end up feeling terrified of what is to come (i.e. as I did with the egg collection as mentioned above).
Overall however I do think it is good to be prepared and to go into something like this completely blind with having done no research at all is probably not the best idea. After all, it is our bodies and whilst we have to put our trust in our fertility clinic to manipulate things and work their magic, ultimately we have to remain in control and often that can only be achieved by being armed with the right information.