Sometimes we read to escape. And sometimes we read to learn...and get closer to a topic that affects our lives or our loved ones. Whether you’re struggling to conceive or interested in learning more about the journey of someone close to you, these reads will help illuminate the infertility experience.
Amy Klein’s been through it all. After nine rounds of IVF, four miscarriages, three acupuncturists, and a reproductive immunologist, she became a mother. She wrote about all of this for her New York Times column. The book version brings even more detail, heartache, and eventual joy to the page. (Amazon, Bookshop)
Psychologist Kim Bergman is here with answers. This book includes stories from her own journey to motherhood, and explains pretty much everything there is to know about egg and sperm donation and surrogacy. This book will help get to the bottom of it if you’ve ever wondered things like “How are sperm, eggs, and embryos screened?” or “What are the legal issues surrounding surrogacy?” (Amazon, Bookshop)
"Infreakingfertility" reporting for duty. The title says it all, as this one is described as “the funnest book you’ll ever read about the worst thing that’s ever happened to you.” Each chapter covers an infertility challenge and practical tips about how to cope. The author’s husband also weighs in on supporting your partner through infertility, so this is a good read for a couple. (Amazon)
Fiction might do the trick. If you haven’t read it yet, “Little Fires Everywhere” has infertility themes woven throughout the book. Infertility, surrogacy, and adoption are integral to the plot. And though the book won’t teach you about the practical aspects of infertility like many of these other titles, it still tackles the pain associated with the experience. (Amazon, Bookshop)
“Hold Onto Hope” explores the infertility stories of Black women through the lens of faith. The author, a Black female ordained minister, relays these stories with a grounding compassion and wisdom that, as reviewers have noted, makes people feel less alone. (Amazon)
Put on your lab coat (or just a weighted blanket) and dive into this read. It gets into how the latest scientific research reveals that egg quality has a major impact on the risk of miscarriage and getting pregnant. The good news? There are solutions. “It Starts with the Egg'' gives you a program for improving egg quality in three months, and gets specific about struggles like PCOS, endometriosis, and recurrent miscarriages. (Amazon, Bookshop)
How about magical realism? This novel is about a time traveler and his wife who continue to miscarry through different time periods. While this isn’t rooted in reality, per se, the emotions are very much real. You’ll root for this couple’s fertility journey across space and time. (Amazon, Bookshop)
Belle Boggs will feel like a friend or therapist in your ear. This book is an exploration of all the sides of fertility: psychological, medical, natural, political. Prompted by a viral essay by the author in which she talks about the realization that she may never be able to have a baby, she expands from the personal to the universal. She recounts stories of couples who adopted, LGBTQ+ couples considering surrogacy, and people happily living childfree lives. (Amazon, Bookshop)
Pick up this powerful history. When this book came out in 1997 it became a game changer for understanding the experience of Black motherhood, and it has remained a classic ever since. It exposes harmful stereotypes of Black pregnancy and motherhood and goes all the way back to the slave owner’s economic stake in Black women’s fertility. Eye-opening and crushing, this one will teach you so much about systemic racism as it pertains to fertility. (Amazon, Bookshop)
Jodi Picoult will do the trick. The master of brilliantly plotted stories delves into this tough topic, with a main character who loses a baby during the third trimester of her pregnancy. Her marriage is ruined by the experience but something else is gained: a journey of self-discovery and new beginnings. Keep tissues on hand. (Amazon, Bookshop)
PS: If you buy anything from this, theSkimm may get something in return. Oh, and if something’s out of stock, oops, it was there when we published. Thanks.
Skimm’d by Becky Murray, Avery Carpenter Forrey, and Jane Ackermann
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