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Infertility can be an extreme hardship for couples. You dream of the day you’ll be ready for a child, and then you’re unable to conceive when that time arrives. This struggle isn’t uncommon: 12 percent of married couples in the U.S. grapple with infertility, according to the National Infertility Association. But knowing that doesn’t make infertility any less difficult.
It’s common knowledge that infertility and infertility treatments can have many unpleasant physical side effects, but the psychological side effects are often overlooked. Money stress, medication side effects, and the general stress of not being able to conceive can cause relationship strain, anxiety, and depression, according to Harvard Medical School. Fortunately, other women and couples have gone through this experience before, and support is available.
We’ve rounded up eleven books that tell various stories of infertility, and can provide comfort during this trying time.
Taking Charge of Your Fertility
Taking Charge of Your Fertility is one of the most well known books on infertility. This twentieth anniversary edition is updated with up-to-date medical advice and treatments. Written by women’s health educator Toni Weschler, the book includes sections on understanding how fertility works and how to get in control of it to increase your chances of conception.
The physical aspects of infertility are merely one piece of the puzzle. For many couples, the stress and psychological trauma are the hardest part. In Unsung Lullabies, three physicians who specialize in reproductive health give patients the tools to navigate this difficult time. From learning to grieve after miscarriages, to learning to better communicate with one another, couples can take this journey together.
Justine Brooks Froelker didn’t triumph over infertility by getting pregnant and having a child. When it became apparent that it wasn’t going to happen for her, she triumphed by redefining what happiness looks like. Infertility can be a journey that dramatically impacts your entire life. For those who never conceive, this volume can provide great comfort and insights.
Empty Womb, Aching Heart
Some of the most comforting words can come from people who’ve lived through the very thing you’re battling. In Empty Womb, Aching Heart, men and women share their personal journeys with infertility. You’ll find comfort, wisdom, and solace from other people’s struggles and triumphs.
The Infertility Companion
When dealing with infertility, or any difficult time, many people turn to their faith. The Infertility Companion is a project of the Christian Medical Association. In these pages, the authors provide hopeful messages along with Biblical references. They also answer tough questions like: “Can people of faith ethically use high-tech infertility treatments?”
How to Make Love to a Plastic Cup
As you might guess from the title, this book is written for men dealing with infertility. The book makes light of some of the struggles associated with male infertility, but among the jokes you’ll find comfort and help. It answers the tough questions all men have when walking this path, such as why boxers are better than briefs, and whether you need to fill the entire plastic cup at the clinic.
It Starts with the Egg
If you’re a science geek, or merely like understanding the nitty-gritty details of what’s going on inside your body, you’ll likely enjoy this book. The subtitle says it all: How the Science of Egg Quality Can Help You Get Pregnant Naturally, Prevent Miscarriage, and Improve Your Odds in IVF. In it, you’ll learn all about the latest research on egg health and fertility treatments. For those who’ve had unsuccessful infertility treatments, this book could hold some answers.
Conquering Infertility from Dr. Alice D. Domar is a mind-body guide to living with infertility. Because psychological stress can affect fertility and vice versa, this manual helps women break that cycle. It gives them the tools they need to stay positive and avoid the depression and anxiety so often associated with the journey of infertility.
If you’re looking for a “how to get pregnant” book, this isn’t it. Writer Julia Indichova simply wants to share her experience—and if you’ve dealt with infertility for any length of time, it’s likely an experience you’ll identify with.
Wish is unlike any other infertility book. It’s an illustrated book written for parents and their miracle babies alike. The story follows an elephant couple that wants to add to their family, but the elephants run into difficulties. Illustrated by Matthew Cordell, it’s a heartwarming story that’s sure to be loved by everyone in the family.
The Infertility Journey
Featuring both personal stories and medical advice, The Infertility Journey combines the science behind infertility with the realities of people who live with it. You’ll learn about things like IVF, endometriosis, genetic screening, uterine disorders, and a whole host of treatments. Consider it a primer on everything you’d want to know about infertility, but not written for medical students. It’s approachable and informative.