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Books About Infertility
To learn, to escape, or to cope, these are the must-reads on infertility and IVF.
When the people around you don't understand your experience with infertility, you can always connect with people who have been there and written about that. Here is a selection of books on infertility and the process of IVF, infertility memoirs, mind-body infertility resources, and childfree, not by choice resources.
Books on Infertility & IVF
These books focus on explaining the procedural aspects of infertility or IVF. We've kept the list to current books to make sure they are still relevant.
The Fertility Doctor’s Guide to Overcoming Infertility
This is a current guide (2020) on everything-infertility written by a doctor specializing in the area. Dr. Mark Trolice offers a general overview on topics from ovulation to preserving fertility from cancer. It’s a cross between a self-help book and an encyclopedia that offers practical tips along with accessible explanations.
Who is it for: Readers looking for a general overview of many aspects of infertility are open to writing that offers advice.
Conceivable: The Insider's Guide to IVF
Science journalist Jheni Osman offers an overview (2020) of IVF that extends beyond the medical procedures' ins and outs. Chapters include how IVF works, choosing a clinic, egg, sperm, and embryo donation, cryopreservation, and when IVF doesn't work. Conceivable has expert commentary and personal experiences woven throughout and is an easy read.
Who it's for: Readers from the UK who are new to the world of IVF and are looking for an overview from a patient perspective. (The book has a UK angle: resources, prices, terminology, etc.)
Get A Life: His & Hers Survival Guide to IVF
Get a Life (2017) is a casually written field guide to IVF by Richard Mackeny & Rosie Bray that focuses on the roles that both men and women have in the process and the feelings that may come with each stage. The "his and hers" format leads to a few gender stereotypes—but likely also provides insight into what your partner might be experiencing and feeling. It's UK-focused (resources, terminology), but not in a way that makes it UK-exclusive.
Who is this book for? It's a good book for couples looking to understand their partner's role and feelings during IVF.
The Trying Game: Get Through Fertility Treatment and Get Pregnant without Losing Your Mind
Part memoir, part how-to guide, Amy Klein writes about the process and emotional ups and downs of getting pregnant through fertility treatments. Drawing on her own experience and framed with research-driven info and expert interviews, she discusses everything-infertility in terms of what you need to know and what your choices are.
Who is this book for? This book is suitable for a wide range of readers—anyone who is interested in better understanding the experience of infertility and the realities of fertility treatments. Pregnancy and the birth of a child are discussed.
IVF & Infertility-Focused Memoirs
These books focus on personal experiences with infertility, and that often include expert interviews and research.
The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood
Belle Boggs (2016) offers a series of essays on infertility, IVF, and birth, touching on topics like the two-week wait, seeing pregnancies everywhere, the infamous "just adopt" advice, financial barriers, and the fear of, after everything, bleeding during pregnancy.
Who is this book for? This book is suitable for a wide range of readers, particularly anyone looking to help put words to feelings. The book mentions pregnancy and successful IVF after a first transfer.
Through, Not Around: Stories of Infertility and Pregnancy Loss
Edited by Allison McDonald Ace, Caroline Starr, Ariel Ng Bourbonnais
This book is a collection of essays (2019) that reflects the emotional ups and downs and physical struggles resulting from infertility and pregnancy loss experiences.
Who is this book for? Readers looking to engage with raw and honest first-person experiences with infertility and loss. Some stories end with pregnancy or the birth of a child.
The Seed: Infertility is a Feminist Issue
Journalist Alexandrea Kimball explores the relationship between infertility and feminism, where the right to not have a child is arguably more prevalent than the right to have a child.
Who is this book for? This is a short yet dense read for people looking to really engage with how infertility fits into feminist theory, cultural norms, and popular culture. This isn't a how-to or a memoir as much as it is a deep analysis of an underexamined issue.
Conceivability: What I Learned Exploring the Frontiers of Fertility
Elizabeth Katkin writes about her extensive experience with fertility treatments while examining the often murky ethics involved in the process. Katkin speaks to the range of infertility treatments— from Clomid to egg donation — in a way that reads more like a story than a reference book.
Who is this book for? Anyone looking to better understand the big business of assisted reproduction or intense perseverance in trying to have a baby.
Mind and Body-Focused Infertility Books
These books address how infertility can spill over into every aspect of your life.
Conceiving with Love: A Whole-Body Approach to Creating Intimacy, Reigniting Passion, and Increasing Fertility
Denise Wiesner is a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine with an integrative East-Meets-West approach (think chakra balancing) towards building intimacy and ultimately a passionate sex life. We don't love everything about the book, but losing intimacy to infertility is a problem, and there might be something in it that helps you turn it around.
Who is this book for? Couples looking to re-engage physically who are open-minded enough to work through exercises including breathwork and gratitude practice.
Child-Free Not by Choice
Books that cover what happens when infertility doesn't end with pregnancy.
Silent Sorority: A Barren Woman Gets Busy, Angry, Lost and Found
When you are not a mom but not childfree by choice, where do you belong? Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos writes about her decade-long struggle to have children and finding your voice when fertility treatments don't work. She frames her experiences around the 5 stages of grief: bargaining, denial, anger, depression, and acceptance.
Who is this book for? Anyone looking to understand or make peace with the reality that fertility treatments don't always work.
Life Without Baby: Surviving and Thriving When Motherhood Doesn't Happen
Lisa Manterfield writes about recognizing that it was time for her to stop pursuing motherhood and offers a guide on moving through the process. She writes about letting go of the dream, dealing with grief, challenging social situations, and how to plan for your future.
Who is this book for? Anyone considering moving forward from a dream of motherhood or to support someone who has decided to.
Living the Life Unexpected
Jody Day writes about finding new ways to feel and think about life as a childless woman. The book has a workshop-feel structured into 12 lessons with accompanying exercises.
Who is this book for? Someone looking who has made the decision to move forward without children and is looking for guidance.
Motherhood Missed: Stories from Women Who Are Childless by Circumstance
Lois Tonkin offers a collection of stories from 32 women, the majority over 40-years-old and from New Zealand, and are childless by circumstance.
Who is this book for? Someone looking to read the experiences of women who have had the chance to reflect on childlessness not by choice and how it has impacted them.
Written by Kelly Park | Contributor
Kelly Park is the founder and editor-in-chief of FertilitySmarts. She is passionate about fertility education and shining light on the many ways people can become parents. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and a Master of Education degree in Educational Policy from the University of Alberta. She is a firm believer in the FertilitySmarts mission to help people get smart about their fertility.