It's almost over

Today is Christmas Day.
In a few hours, the holidays
that you may have dreaded
will be over.

New Year's will be here
and with that, comes the promise
of "out with the old, in with the

The year will be gone and
perhaps will take your
infertility with it!

With the New year, comes the
hope of a new baby, and as
long as you have hope, you
can make it through anything.

Happy New Year to everyone
and may the year bring you the
peace and joy you are looking for.

"Oh the weather outside is frightful" (Not really, but the Holidays are)

It's coming.
That dreaded time of year
for people who are stressed
and angry and sad from the toll that
infertility is taking.

What is a person supposed
to do during this time of
great cheer and Santa Claus?
 Get in bed, cover your head
and come out for the adult
holiday called New Year's Eve?

Sounds like a good idea huh?

Here are a few other, more
realistic things you can do.

*Take a break from treatment. A couple
of weeks or even a month free of
doctors, injections, planned intercourse,
pee sticks, temperature taking, marking
off your cycle days on a calendar, yada, yada,
yada, will not compromise your journey towards
Give yourself permission to ditch all of
it...... just for a little while.

*Go ahead and go to the office
party, because no one will bring
their children to that!

*Skip the family get together and
go on a vacation to a warm sunny place
or a snowy ski lodge. (whichever is the
opposite of the weather you're having!)

*If you absolutely can't skip the family
stuff, be on your guard and have a few
rehearsed answers for the questions
you may be asked. Here is a really good
and simple one: if anyone mentions
anything about children, pregnancy, or
infertility, politely say:
"We aren't talking about that subject this month."
And don't allow them to make you answer their
questions. If they pry, just repeat it again:
"We aren't talking about that subject this

*Try a few little romantic dinners at
restaurants that don't cater to children.
Go to the restaurant that serves French
cuisine and skip "Chucky Cheese."

* Stay out of the mall on weekends.

*Rent some funny movies. You need a
few laughs.

*Get a "his and her" massage.

*Now is a good time to visit your older relatives, such as
grandparents and great aunts and uncles. You can
take them dinner and there's a good possibility
there won't be any children around.

*Do not feel obligated to attend any function, even
on Christmas Day, if it will be too painful for you.
You are an adult, and you need to take care of you.
Tell everyone you don't feel well. (You probably won't
be lying!) Then stay home, wear your pajamas - since
you don't feel well :) Eat some comfort food and read a good

*If you have a cat or dog, they are one of the
nicest things God has made. So love on them
and accept their unconditional love for you.

*Sometimes some of the best ways to help
yourself, is to help others. Go to a shelter and
serve Christmas dinner. Or invite an elderly person
with no family, to your house for Christmas Day.

*Most of all, remember that in the end, Christmas Day
is just another day in the year and you will get
through it and you will survive.

And after the holidays have passed, you can choose
to get back on that roller coaster and perhaps
you will have that little child you're yearning for
by the time next Christmas rolls around.

Single Mothers by Choice

When I initially created the
"Before You Were Born...Our
Wish For A Baby" storybooks
for specially conceived children,
I published ten different versions.
I thought that I had covered the most
common forms of assisted reproduction.
I was wrong.
I promptly received about 50 emails
from single mothers who
wanted a version for their
I had no idea there was such a
huge community of single mothers
by choice.
I began to research this and my eyes
were opened to a whole different
world of children conceived by
assisted reproduction.
(The IVF clinic, where I worked did not
treat single women at the time.)

Nevertheless, this community of
single women, who choose to become
mothers, had a need that I felt
obligated to help with.
Therefore, versions for single parents
were published. They were so
popular that they are now out of
print and I am working on a solution
for a reprint.  (I use my own personal
money to print the books and it costs
thousands of dollars.)

Since that time, I have received many
kind emails from parents,
authors, journalists and advocates
for single mothers.
One of those emails was from
Mikki Morrissette.
She is an advocate for SMC as well as
being a "Choice Mom" herself.
(I really like that phrase!)
The word "choice" is defined as the
"power, right or liberty to choose."
It is also defined as the "best or most
preferable; of very fine quality."
Both definitions apply to this group of women.
Not only do they choose to be a mother,
but they also choose to be a SINGLE PARENT,
which can be pretty tough sometimes.
So, if you are already a choice mom
or a single woman
contemplating whether being
a choice mom is for you, please
visit Mikki's website.
You can purchase her book:
"Choosing Single Motherhood...The
Thinking Woman's Guide."
This book covers many important topics
such as: typical everyday concerns,
children growing up in single parent
homes, methods of becoming a single
mom, day to day parenting, resources,
and how the children of single moms
are doing.
Her website also provides information,
resources, networking and support.
Thank you Mikki, for the important
work you are doing for choice moms.

Empty Stroller Rally

Today is the first day of
National Infertility Awareness Week.
Kind of ironic.
The people that know about this
are already aware of infertility.
The people that never experienced
infertilty, don't know and probably don't
really care about it.
It's not exactly a Hallmark Card
inspired day.
Although it should be.

We all met up at Cathy Boyes'
house for introductions and
She had everything ready for
the rally. It was very
successful. She made the
evening news.

People walked past the information
tables and a few stopped. But not many.
There we were, a group of people
in all phases of the journey.
Some starting treatment, some moving
on and some finished.
There was an emotional bond of
pain, grief, and anger.
We were kindred spirits.
All on the same page.
We understood perfectly the
twists and turns in the road.

I don't know why I think that
life is supposed to be fair.
It isn't.
I saw the unfairness of life
throughout my ER career.
And now I see it with infertility.

The couples who endure fertility
should be rewarded.
If medals were given
for enduring infertility
treatments, we would each
have a purple heart, and a
medal for valor
and one for bravery.

But it's not medals we're looking
for. It's that tiny little
baby to place in a stroller
and push around the mall.
So we can walk past displays
that don't affect us or apply to
our lives...and head straight
for the toy store.

Counseling helps

Infertility can drive you crazy....

Not all at once...but slow... and subtle...
and sneaks up.

You start off trying to get pregnant
just like everyone else.
And you and your partner are having
You have a special little smile on
your faces, because you two have a
"secret." And you're just waiting
to be able to burst out in song
to everyone that you're pregnant.

And gosh, a couple of months go by
and your period keeps coming on time.
It starts to get a little annoying.
So you try harder. And you know
exactly when the right moment is.
and sex becomes a "must" and
maybe you just don't feel like having
sex tonight or this minute. But you have
too, because if you don't, then you'll miss
a whole month.

And now, you're getting worried and feeling
a little stressed and sex becomes not so much
fun. And the smile on your face has been
wiped right off.

You're off to the doctor now and being
poked, prodded, questioned,
examined and they're testing your blood
and your private parts, and your cervical
mucus and your husband's sperm...

Congratulations...instead of bursting
out in song, you're bursting into tears.
You have now joined the 6 million other
poor people who have infertility.
Welcome to a club you had no wish
to join.

There is help out there. FIND IT!
Every good clinic should have a
counselor that is specially trained
to help you. If the clinic doesn't have
one, start asking around.

Do Not Be Ashamed.
Counselors are good.

Seeing a counselor doesn't mean you
are crazy (but infertility will make you
feel crazy!)

Counselors are your lifeline. They are
someone who is objective and non-judgmental,
someone you can freely talk to, someone to vent to,
someone who can answer your questions,
someone who can help you keep
your self esteem, when you feel like a

They will be there to help you when
your journey with infertility ends and you're
finally pregnant and they will also
be there to help you with your grief and loss
if your journey ends without a pregnancy.

Don't go it alone, it's too tough to do.
Visit this blog for information
on how to find a good counselor.

Fears about assisted reproduction

I might pick the wrong doctor.

I may have waited too long.

It is my fault that my husband and
I can't conceive.

It is my husband's fault we can't
have a child.

They won't let me try IVF at all.

I won't be able to stand all the shots
and blood draws.

The retrieval may hurt too much.

I might not have any eggs.
My eggs might not fertilize.

They might mix the sperm up.

They might mix the embryos up.

They might give our embryos to
someone else without our permission.

I might have twins, one black and one
white, just like that couple in Europe.

If I use donor sperm, my husband
won't be able to handle it and we
will divorce.

If I use donor eggs, will I feel like a
"real" mother?

I'm afraid if I have too many
embryos, I will not know what to do
with them later.

I don't want to discard or "kill" our
potential child.

I don't want to give them up to
research. What kind of parent does
that make me???

I don't want to donate my embryos
because I am afraid that the recipient
parents won't be good parents.

If I donate them, will those children
look for me later?

Will I look for them later?

Will I be walking down the street and
see "my child."

What do I tell the children that I have?

Do I tell them that they have siblings
somewhere and I don't know where?

When they fall in love and get married,
will I be sure that they aren't marrying their
sibling (however remote that possibility is.)

If my "donated" children look me up
later, how do I explain that I got pregnant and kept
some of my embryos, but not them? 

If I used donor eggs or sperm, will
my family or friends judge me?

Does that mean I'm inferior?

Will my family accept my children?

Will I tell my children they were donor-conceived?

When will I tell them?

How will I tell them?

If I don't tell them, will they
find out anyway?

What happens if they accidentally
find out?

Will they reject my husband or I?

Will they want to look for the donor?

Will they think I was selfish to use
assisted reproduction to conceive them?

Will they feel different?

If I can't carry a child, what happens
if the surrogate doesn't want to give
the baby up?

I'm afraid, afraid, afraid.
I've heard the horror stories.

There is one thing to help me.
Knowledge is power. I will
learn everything there is to learn
and I will make sure that what I
learn is true information. Then I can make
correct decisions and I will be less afraid.
And I am not alone.

Thousands of others have done
this before me. I will learn from
them and lean on them.

Attention: Single Mothers and Dads by Choice

X,Y, and Me proudly
announces that the
single parent versions
of the "Before You Were
Born...Our Wish For A Baby"
will be available soon!
The title will be "Before You
Were Born...A Wish For A
We are hoping these new books
will be available by the
end of October.
Keep checking our website
for availability.

DI Dad

Women readily talk about
their usually
do not.
It's commonly believed that
infertility is due to a medical
condition involving the
female. Actually, 50 % of the time it is
a female issue and 50 % of the time,
infertility is due to a male factor.

I found this blog on the Donor
Sibling Registry website.
It is very educational and
helpful to hear about this topic
from the Dad's point of view.
I know that infertility can cause
pain and emotional frustration
for a couple. Thank goodness that
science and technology are allowing parents
to conceive in alternative ways.

Thank you DI Dad for sharing
your story. I look forward
to reading your blog as it


Definitions of the word inconceivable:

impossible to comprehend
cannot grasp fully
no way
totally unlikely
unheard of
out of the question

yes that pretty well
sums up what it feels
like when you cannot
get pregnant like
everyone else.

Did the stork forget your address??

There is a new book out:
IVF: The Wayward Stork.

It's a book about "what to
expect, who to expect it from
and surviving it all"

The book is written by
Sarah Turci and Lea

These two women
understand what you
are going through.

They have walked down the
path of infertility and
now have provided you
with a roadmap.
(And unlike men,
women like roadmaps!)

They have a great
website where you
can order the book.
You can also visit their
message boards.

So, if the stork has
forgotten your
home address,
follow the path that
Sarah and Lea have
paved and leave him
a trail of crumbs so he
can find you!

Cindy Margolis: Thank You & Congratulations!

Cindy Margolis

A Superstar that
isn't afraid to admit
her difficulty with
Isn't ashamed of her
Isn't afraid to talk about
Isn't afraid to make the
public aware of
Isn't afraid to be a
spokeswoman for

Isn't afraid to announce to
the world, the birth of her
daughters using the help of
a gestational carrier

Bless you Cindy
and thank you for
speaking for all
of us.

Cindy Margolis is the
new spokeswoman for
Visit her website:
to read her story.

Best Friends

There's nothing better than
having a best friend.

If you are lucky, you will
have a best friend throughout
your entire life.

I have a best friend that I met
when I was 15.

We both worked at a fast food

We've been together
through thick and thin.
Even though we live a thousand
miles apart, we are still close
in our hearts.

My best friend has helped
me stand back up every time
life has kicked me to the floor.

We have marathon phone calls
where we talk for 2 or 3 hours.
I know she's there for me
night or day and I'm there
for her.

If you're ever lucky enough to
have a true best friend,
hang on to her.

A best friend is more valuable and
precious than anything else
in the world.

Thank you dear "Wag" for
always being there in my life.

"Embryos Alive" Gives Hope

Sometimes infertility
can make you feel hopeless.

You practice birth control
for years. Then you finally
decide to have a child.
And you try and you try and
you try.

Eventually, you start to ask questions
of your physician and then the
roller coaster ride begins.

There are so many ways to
conceive a child:
clomid with inseminations
injectable meds with inseminations
inseminations using donor sperm
traditional IVF
IVF with donor eggs
IVF with donor sperm
Traditional Surrogate
Gestational Carrier using your own gametes
Gestational Carrier using a donor egg & the husband's sperm
and finally Embryo Donation or adoption.

Embryo adoption involves the
thaw and transfer of an embryo
created by another couple and
donated to the intended

Embryos Alive is an adoption
agency that matches donor embryos
with intended parents.
It was started by Bonnie Bernard.
Bonnie and her husband suffered
through infertility treatments for
five years without success.
They are the proud parents of
an adopted son from Bulgaria.

Bonnie uses her own experience with
adoption to help intended parents
through the process.
Embryos Alive has an extensive web site
which explains how embryo adoption works, provides
information, and answers many questions.

They provide hope during the difficult
journey to parenthood.
Please visit them at

See? You are not suffering alone.

Key facts and figures about fertility.

19 Jun 2005 08:01:49 GMTSource: ReutersCOPENHAGEN, June 19 (Reuters) -

One in six couples worldwide has some type of infertility problem. Leading scientists and fertility doctors are meeting here this week to discuss the latest research and advances in treatment.

Following are key facts and figures about infertility.

- Forty percent of infertility cases are linked to men and an equal share are due to a female problem. In 20 percent of cases there is a joint problem.

- Fertility decreases as a woman ages and approaches the menopause. Women are generally thought to be at their most fertile between 20-25 years old.

- Hormonal disorders, damaged or blocked fallopian tubes and endometriosis, a condition in which tissue that normally lines the uterus is found elsewhere in the body, are common causes of female infertility.

- Low sperm count or poor sperm shape or swimming ability are the major problems in male infertility. A fertile male produces at least 20 million sperm per millilitre of semen. Fewer than that amount is considered infertile.

- Women are born with more than a million eggs that diminish as they age but men produce sperm daily.

- A normal couple in their mid-20s having regular sex have a one in four chance of conceiving each month.

- Infertility is defined as the inability of a couple to conceive after a year of trying.

- Louise Brown, the world's first test tube baby, was born 27 years ago in Britain. Since her birth, nearly 2 million children worldwide have been conceived with the aid of fertility treatments.

- Most fertility treatments take place in women between 30-39 years old.

- Europe leads the world in assisted reproductive technology (ART). In 2001, more than 289,690 ART treatments, resulting in an estimated 55,000 births, were reported in 23 European countries. This compares to 99,989 in the United States in 2000, according to the European Society of Human Reproduction & Embryology (ESHRE).
In Denmark, 3.9 percent of all children are born with the help of fertility techniques, compared to 3.2 percent in Slovenia, 2.8 percent in Iceland and Sweden and 1.3 percent in Britain.

- More than half of all ART treatments in Europe are done in France, Britain and Germany.

Is Anyone Listening?

Infertility can be a lonely

It feels like you are the only
one in the world that can't
get pregnant.

You husband is going
through the same thing,
but men see things differently.

You either talk about it too
much to all your friends,
or you keep it a secret.
Either way, you still feel

It disrupts your whole life.

Your job and your relationships
revolve around clinic appointments,
injections, hormonal raging,
and bloating!

The process can go on and
on, year after year, cycle after
cycle, until you are absolutely

You wonder: Is anyone

Does anyone else know how
draining this process is?

Yes, someone is listening.
You are not the only one.

Reach out to others who
understand your pain.

I understand your pain.
You are not alone.

Infertility: shameful?

Why do people who suffer
from infertility feel ashamed?
If you can't conceive without help
or even with help, is that your fault?
Does anyone have control over
their eggs, sperm, periods, ovulation,
or hormones?

If you were a diabetic,
would you keep it a secret
and not get help, because that
somehow means you are less of
a person?

If you have heart disease, high
blood pressure, or cancer,
is that shameful?
Absolutely not.

And so be it with infertility.
You can't control it, it wasn't your fault,
you didn't ask for it, you don't want
to have it.

Infertility does not define who you are.

Although it can wreak havoc on your life,
and cause you much stress and emotional
pain, you are not inferior because of it.
And don't let anyone make you feel that
you are............


Although it is not
quite "officially" summer,
You know it really is.
School is out.

It's warmer now.

It stays lighter in
the evening.

Summer is a time
of healing and

Stand outside and
let the sun
shine on your face.

Listen to the wind

Watch for the
thunder clouds to
roll in.

Listen to the
bumblebee as it
hovers around the

Watch the bunny
rabbits as they move
from place to place.

Sit in a rocking chair
and just rock, don't

Rest from wishing
for a baby.

Rest is good.
Let the summer
be a healing time
for you.

Rest and then
you'll have the strength
to begin your journey

An IVF cycle is like a "crap shoot"

"It's a crap shoot" is said, usually with a sense of mild scorn
(if it's somebody else) or resignation (if it's yourself)
about the chances of success of a given activity or venture.
It says the end result is out of one's hands, that it's left
up to chance, and that the odds are probably slightly
against you.*

Yes, that says it exactly. The
whole reason a patient needs IVF to
begin with is because the odds of conceiving a
pregnancy are already against you.

And then the torture of a possible cancellation
   You can be cancelled at any step along the way.
   You can be cancelled before you even begin.
   You can come for your first appointment and
          be told you're not even a candidate for IVF.
   You can be cancelled at your cycle start if
          your body over-rides the medicines.
   You can be cancelled because you don't
   You can be cancelled because you stimulate
         too well and are at risk for hyperstimulation
You can be cancelled if they can't find
         any eggs to retrieve.
You can have your transfer cancelled if
        your eggs didn't fertilize.
You can have your transfer cancelled
        if all your embryos need to be frozen
        (because of hyperstimulation

You can pass all those hurdles and
still not get pregnant.

Yes, IVF is like a crap shoot.
A game of "chance"
that so many are willing
to play. And perhaps
if you're really lucky,
you'll beat the house,
and walk away with the
big prize.

*(posted by Bob 8/26/03 on The Phrase Finder

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

The Risk of OHSS

Dr. Z. Ben-Rafael (Israel)[4] reviewed the risks of OHSS. Severe OHSS complicates only a few percent of IVF cycles. It is characterized by ovarian enlargement, gastrointestinal symptoms, fluid shift to the third space and therefore intravascular volume depletion. Thrombosis and oliguria are serious complications. Once OHSS develops, only supportive therapy can be offered. Studies have shown that high estradiol level and the simultaneous growth of a large number of follicles are associated with OHSS, but they have only a poor predictive value. Oocyte donors with high estradiol level and many follicles seldom develop OHSS. It is now understood that pregnancy, especially multiple gestation, is associated with the more severe form: late-onset OHSS.

Certain measures can be offered before the embryo transfer to reduce the risk of OHSS. The pre-stimulation identification of those at risk is probably the most important step. Once the stimulation is started and signs of OHSS are present, the gonadotropins can be withheld (coasting), the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) to induce the final maturation of oocytes can be reduced, the embryos can be electively frozen, and the number of embryos transferred can be limited. Albumin infusion around the time of retrieval offers little benefit, but animal studies have shown that intravenous immunoglobulins reduce the risk, possibly via anticytokine mechanisms. Dr. Ben-Rafael emphasized that women with allergies are at higher risk (they probably have higher baseline cytokine levels and vascular permeability that predisposes them to fluid shifts). All those who prescribe gonadotropins should be aware of this potentially very serious side effect. The best approach is to identify those at risk and select an appropriate protocol for them. One should not be afraid of canceling high-responders or deciding to electively cryopreserve their embryos. Physicians seldom recommend this, however, as they also consider the financial burden the couple is taking on when entering an IVF cycle, given that the overall incidence of really severe OHSS is low.

From Medscape Ob/Gyn & Women's Health

How to survive your IVF Cycle - Tips from the "team"

Take one day at a time.

Simplify anything and everything in your life during this time period.

Have a good support system and USE them.

Listen to classical music or any kind of music that you love.

Take a few extra naps.

Watch a funny movie.

Buy yourself a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers. (and NO baby's breath!)

Have lunch with a friend, even if she doesn't know about your cycle.

Try and stay OFF the internet. You will become obsessed with every
little thing and it will stress you more. Remember, every clinic has their own
protocols, so just because one of your cycle buddies are doing something different,
it doesn't mean that you should be doing the same thing or that your clinic or
your physician doesn't know what they're doing. Tell your cycle buddies you'll
post after retrieval.

Go shopping, but stay out of baby stores! :)

Pamper yourself: get a facial or a massage.

Use your usual coping mechanisms: journaling, calling your best friend, going for a walk,
meditating or praying.

Read a good book that is not about: fertility, infertility, pregnancy, children, or families

Do anything that will distract you from focusing on: the cycle day, the next injection,
when you'll go to retrieval, how you'll decorate the nursery, when your due date is,
whether your ovaries are getting bigger, how big your follicles are, how many follicles
you have, what you will do if you are pregnant, what you will do if you are not
pregnant, blah, blah, blah!!! (You get the picture)

If you have a question, worry, or concern, call the nursing staff at your clinic. That's
what they are there for and should be helping you every step of the way, especially if
you are "stumbling" on the path.

Try and remember that everything right now is totally out of your control. You
cannot control your period, your ovaries, your follicles, your blood test levels, your
retrieval or transfer dates, fertilization of your embryos, implantation and whether or
not your cycle will be successful and you'll become pregnant. Try and let the control
go. Trust your doctor and the team. They are doing everything they can do to
make your cycle successful. They want you to get pregnant too!

Regret Nothing

Regret Nothing
Not even your sins or
When a man views
earth's wonders from
some mountain height, he
does not spend his
time in dwelling on
the stones and stumbles, the
faints and failures that
marked his upward path.

So with you.....
Breathe in the rich
blessings of each new

Forget all that lies
behind you.

Man is so made that he
can carry the weight
of 24 more.

As soon as he weighs
himself down with the
years behind and the
days ahead, his
back breaks.

I have promised to help
you with the burden of
only today. The past
I have taken from you.
And if you, foolish heart,
choose to gather again
that burden and bear it,
then indeed, you mock me
to expect me to share it.

For weal or woe, each day
is ended. What remains
to be lived, the coming
24 hours, you must face
as you awake.
A man on a march carries
only what he needs for
that march. Would you
pity him if you saw him
bearing too the overwhelming
weights of the worn out
shoes and uniforms of past
marches and years?
And yet, in the mental
and spiritual life,
man does these things.
Small wonder my poor
world is heartsick and
Not So Must You Act....

Do Lucky Charms really work???

I once thought
that Lucky Charms
would help me get pregnant.
(Not the cereal)

My massage therapist
used to dabble in
She knew that I was
trying to get pregnant
by IUI.
She had these 2 crystal stones
that were for fertility.

So, when it was time
for my IUI, I wore my
"lucky" Iowa sweatshirt.
(Because I believed that
Iowa was Heaven.)
(And I was right about that!)

Anyway, I wore my Iowa
put the 2 crystal stones
in my jeans pocket
and went for my IUI.

As I was getting undressed,
one of the stones fell out
of my pants pocket, onto
the floor and slid under
a chair in the exam room.
When I went to retrieve
it, it had broken in half.
I should have known then
that it was a bad sign.

I picked up the broken halves
and went home and had
to call my massage therapist
and tell her what happened.
She was very kind and said
not to worry.

Later that night, I threw my
jeans down the laundry shoot
and heard this funny noise.
I went down to the basement and
there was the OTHER crystal stone
on the floor. You guessed it:
broken in two pieces. I had
forgotten to take it out of my jeans.

Once again, I had to get on the phone
and tell my massage therapist that
I just broke the second stone.
Again, she was very sweet about

Needless to say, they were not
lucky for me. I didn't get pregnant.

I never took the broken stones
with me again. But I always
wore my lucky Iowa shirt.

Although, my dream of having
a baby girl never came to pass,
my dream of moving to
Iowa did.
My Iowa shirt was lucky after

And the moral of the story is:
you never know where life is
going to lead you and you
never know what is around the
corner, but some force takes
you to the place that you belong.
And here I am.

Who is Dr. Craig?

If you have seen any
of the "Before You Were
Born...Our Wish For A
Baby" books, you will
see a rabbit named Dr. Craig.

Dr. Craig is a "real" physician.
He has a great sense of humor,
a memory like an elephant and most
importantly, the sensitivity to
be a kind and caring doctor.

The patients love Dr. Craig
because he's smart, encouraging
and takes his time with them.

The nurses love Dr. Craig too,
except for when his "I'll be
there in 2 minutes" turns
into 2 hours!

Dr. Craig is the ultrasound "guru."
If you want to know about
your antral follicle counts and ovarian
volume (which help determine how
well you will stimulate), or your uterine
polyps, or c-section scarring,
he's your man.

Dr. "D" refers to him appropriately
as "Yoda."
"Yoda" is a Sanskrit word for "warrior."
In the Star Wars Universe,
Yoda is the wisest, most revered
and the most powerful of the
Jedi Masters.
When young Padawans begin their
Jedi training, they do so
under Yoda's guidance and many
go on to become the
Republic's greatest Jedi.

And so it is with Dr. Craig.
He is a warrior against infertility,
and he is wise and revered by
his peers. Many of the residents
that train with him, go on to
be excellent physicians.

And just as the "dark side"
feared the Jedi, so should
infertility fear Dr. Craig.

Because he is trying his
best to change infertility
into fertility. And he
is doing it with skill,
knowledge and empathy
for the patient.

Bless you Dr. Craig and
may the Force be with you.......

Lean on Your Friends

Don't go through the stress of
infertility alone.

I know that you have a
partner who is suffering with
you. But they don't always
feel it the same as you do.

It is especially difficult for
men to understand. If they
can't fix it, then either
it's not that big of a deal
or they ignore it.

I know that you need
your privacy. Some care
about that more than
others. But there is
always someone you can
turn to, even if it's a stranger.
You are not alone in this
process. There
are many friends to be found,
whether it is your best friend
from childhood, someone you met
in the clinic, a friend who has done
IVF and totally understands your
pain and stress,
even "strangers" on message
boards have good shoulders to
lean on (strangers are just
people you haven't yet met)

I'll be your friend and a
sounding board if you need
I have walked in your shoes.
Email me. I'm here!


help me up
my friend.

dust me off.

feed me warmth.

you are comfort.

let me lean on you
until I can stand

I will then stand a little

and you will be
to have a friend
such as me.

(by Peter McWilliams)

Japanese Proverb

Infertility will make you live the
Japanese proverb that says:

Fall seven times, stand up eight

It brings out the hate

Hate is a pretty strong word.
But infertility is a pretty
grueling "adventure."

During treatments, a
woman can become so
tormented by all the
physical and emotional
things that are
happening, that it can
bring out the hate.

You will hate every
pregnant woman that
you ever see. And if there
are a million people walking in
the mall and only one of the
million is pregnant, she
will walk right in front
of your face.

You will hate it when
people say you will get
    "when the time is right"
    "if you just Reeelaaaxxxx"
    "when you stop trying"
    "if you go out and get
    "if you raise your hips
     on pillows after intercourse"
    "if you fill out adoption
    "if you take a vacation"

Yada Yada Yada

You will hate it
when you are invited
to a relative's baby shower
and she is having her
third baby.

You will hate the woman
who even has the
NERVE to say "All my
husband has to do is
look at me and I get

You will hate yourself for
all those years you used
birth control and you
probably didn't even need

You will hate your physician
when he tells you that you
have "advanced maternal age" and
you're only 37.

You will hate your physician
when he cancels your
cycle or tells you your
only hope is donor eggs.

You will hate him if he
can't tell you why you can't get

You will hate your
insurance company.
(No further explanation needed
on that one!)

You will hate your
period, every month.

You will hate the
nurse who does your
pregnancy test and
tells you it is negative.
You will want to RUN out of the
clinic. It will be intolerable
to stay there another minute.

If you do cycle after
cycle, you will gradually
come to hate the clinic
you are going to for treatment.

It may surprise you to
find that you are feeling
that way. You are not alone and
you are not a bad person for
hating. The hating is just
a manifestation of your
frustration. You have
every right to those

Nothing lasts forever.
Even your days of infertility
will come to an end. In one
way or another. If you
get pregnant, the hate will
go away quickly.

If you never get pregnant, the
hate will pass, but it may take
some time.

But know that it will leave.
And you will be OK.
I promise!

A Little Bit Pregnant

Is it possible to be a "little bit pregnant?"
Everyone has always said that
there's no such thing.
They are wrong.
Being a "little bit pregnant" can catch
a woman totally off guard.
In the infertility world,
a woman usually knows she's pregnant
2 weeks after conception.
And the date of conception is almost
always known.
Women using assisted reproduction
are taking their pregnancy test before the
average person would even be saying,
"I think my period's late."

The term for being a little bit pregnant
is "blighted ovum" or chemical
Basically it means an
"anembryonic pregnancy."
A pregnancy with no
The body makes a sac inside
the uterus but
the embryo never develops.

It can show one of two ways.

1) The pregnancy test is positive but
the pregnancy hormone level is too
low or doesn't rise appropriately.
The patient and the staff are cautiously
optimistic and have a warning that the
pregnancy may not go on.

2) The second way is harder.
The pregnancy hormone can be
fine, rise appropriately and the
woman feels pregnant. However,
at the first ultrasound, there is an
empty sac. There may not be any
bleeding or symptoms.

Usually a blighted ovum or
chemical pregnancy occurs
from a chromosomal abnormality
or from a poor quality embryo.
It occurs in 50 percent of first
trimester pregnancies.
There is no treatment and
fortunately, it can be just a
one time thing.

It doesn't matter what name
you want to give it. To the woman
experiencing it, she is pregnant
and she is having a miscarriage.
She needs to know that there
is nothing she did to cause it
and there is nothing she can do to
prevent it.

In the end, the medical community
will say that she wasn't "really"
Call it what you want, a "little bit
pregnant," blighted ovum or
chemical pregnancy.
To the woman experiencing it,
she WAS pregnant and is
entitled to the grief that comes
with losing a pregnancy.

Way More Than You Ever Wanted To Know

As you journey down the
path of infertility and the
medical treatments used, you
will find out way more
then you ever wanted to know.

You will become an
expert on:

every period you have: how many
days in between, the type and
amount of flow,
how long it lasted, whether it came
"on time", did you spot before
you started?

what your cervical mucus
looks like, feels like, and why you
care anyway

the exact hour you ovulate,
or did you ovulate at all? Was it on the
correct day? Which side was it on?

You'll know your progesterone level
and whether you always need to take

You'll know the size of your ovaries,
how many follicles you have,
whether your "tubes" are open, and
if your lining is "good"

the names, price and the best
LH surge kits

how to take a urine
pregnancy test 500 times
and never be pregnant

you will calculate your due date
every time,
just in case you get pregnant "this cycle"

you will learn what cycle buddies are;
the status of everyone else on "your"
message board, what baby dust is, what a DS,
DD, and DH mean

you'll learn whether your
husband really needs you
when he goes to the lab for a
"sample" or is
he better at it by himself.

you'll learn what a "good"
sperm count is and how
your husband is measuring up

You'll learn what these
acronyms mean:
RTL, and PCO

You will learn your body in
great detail and be looking for
every twinge, pain, cramp,
feeling of nausea, sore breasts,
implantation spotting, or feeling

You'll know exactly when you
last had intercourse and you
will allow the clinic to tell you
when or when not to "do it."

You'll learn how to give
yourself an injection, how to have
your husband or friend give
you an injection, how to mix medications,
what size needle to use, the difference
in syringes, how to change the needle,
how to make sure you aren't injecting
into a blood vessel, and how to make the
injection hurt the least. You'll learn
all these things and you won't even
get a nursing degree out of it.

Yes, infertility will teach you
way more than you ever wanted
to know. It is unfair.
You should be able to have
sex in the back
seat of the car and get pregnant.
Instead, you will become an expert
in the field of infertility.
And even though you won't get
even one college credit for it,
you may walk away with the
baby you've worked so hard to

It's A Man's World

We all know that men
are such babies.
They are such babies that
they could never have babies.
If an HSG was a medical test for
men, the doctors would administer
it with general anesthesia! Well,
not quite. But with some kind
of narcotic sedation!
It's just a "little pinch" and
some cramping, right?
When a woman goes through
infertility treatment, she
endures all kinds of cool things:

injections (a couple per day)
blood drawing
pelvic exams
vaginal ultrasounds
mock transfers
enlarged ovaries
IV's for retrieval
Bedrest after transfer
2 LONG weeks of
waiting for the
pregnancy test
and knowing that
every little twinge, pain,
cramp, hot flash or sore breasts
means "I'm pregnant!"
I'm so happy!
No, it probably means
"I'm not pregnant."
I'm so depressed.
For a woman, an IVF
cycle takes
physical suffering
and mental torture.
It truly is a man's world -
In an IVF cycle
he endures the
humiliation of an

"Let Me Explain" going out of print

See a letter below explaining that the "only" book about DI is going out of print. That book is geared for 6-10 year olds. There is another book available (in spite of what the letter says.)
Go to for other storybooks for children conceived in alternative ways.

Subject: A Story about Donor Insemination

Dear Colleagues:

It is with considerable sadness (and frustration) that I announce that Perspectives Press, Inc.: The Infertility and Adoption Publisher will be allowing Let Me Explain: A Story about Donor Insemination by Jane Schnitter to go permanently out of print when our current inventory is depleted this summer. I have spent considerable time over the last year looking for an economical manufacturing option that would allow this book to be reprinted in conservative quantities as a paperback at a unit cost that would allow it to be properly cover-priced for continued distribution through normal book trade channels (, Barnes & Noble, etc.) and have come up empty.

Let Me Explain, published in 1995, was the first--and has been the only--US-published book specifically written for children aged six to ten conceived by donor insemination and being parented by a heterosexual couple. Despite very good reviews (click on Let Me Explain 's web page for links to these) , and despite the fact that statisticians claim that 30,000-50,000 children are conceived by DI each year in North America alone, fewer than one tenth of one percent of these families have purchased LME, with a total sold of just over 3300 copies in ten years, despite the lack of any readily available competition.

As educators, those of us in the field of reproductive medicine claim to have at heart the best interests of the children and families we help to create. For well over a decade mental health professionals have been direct and vocal in their opposition to long-standing advice from physicians for secrecy in DI-conceived families, advocating that parents using collaborative reproductive options need to be prepared to disclose the facts of their alternative conceptions to their children as early as possible. Most medical practitioners and organizations have come around to this belief as well. In Europe, some governments have come to support this view by legislating the availability of information to children conceived with donor gametes. Still, recent research demonstrates that parents seem NOT to be talking to their children about their donor origins (see Human Reproduction Today article), with as many as 90% of Swedish families surveyed not having told their children despite their country's recommendation to do so.

As the professionals in the communities I serve increasingly request that Perspectives Press, Inc. publish books for adults and children in narrower and narrower parts of our niche, it is time for us to recognize an important fact. Many of these families are, at least initially, resistant to our advice about parenting issues. They just want a baby NOW and don't want to think about later!

This reality drives what I suspect will be the future of consumer publishing for narrow markets (especially in children's books), which is that publishers will only be able to afford to publish a narrow market book for a consumer audience when professionals feel strongly enough about the need for it that they are willing to commit to buying it themselves and to distributing it personally to their clients (by sale or by gift.) If professionals truly believed it to be important for families to have the tools necessary for talking to children about their donor insemination origins, for example, they would have been willing to buy (at a significant 40% "bulk" discount on as few as 12 copies) and distribute to each client just such a tool. If North American statistics are true, that would have resulted in annual distribution of 20,000 or more copies of a book like Let Me Explain each year--and guaranteed sales of 20,000 copies per year (or even half that!) would most certainly keep such a book in print at a comfortably conservative cover price.

That did not, however, happen, and the only children's book to cover ONLY donor insemination (rather than introducing an impersonal variety of ARTs to young kids cognitively able to think primarily only about themselves and their own situation) is going out of print. If you wish to have a copy of Let Me Explain: A Story about Donor Insemination in your personal library, you need to act quickly, as quantities are now extremely limited.

Sincerely yours,
Patricia Irwin Johnston, MS
30 Year Infertility and Adoption Educator and Advocate

Storybooks for Children
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Storybooks for Children of assisted reproduction

I couldn't have another child.
I refused donor eggs.
Should I have done that?
Could I have handled that?
Would I have told my child?
How? When?
Is it a child's right to know?
Suppose he/she rejected me?
Suppose my child told others?
Would I have been just as good
of a mother?

I would have told.
No matter how hard.
I couldn't keep a secret like that
for a lifetime.
It wouldn't be right.

Not everyone feels that way.
And that is OK.
Parents need to make that
decision together.
But for the parents who want to
tell, I wrote a book to help

"Before You Were Born...Our Wish For A Baby"

The books are written in age-appropriate,
loving language and tell the story of how
a child came to be.

There are currently 10 versions:
IVF, Frozen Embryo, Egg Domation,
Embryo Donation, Donor Insemination,
IVF using Donor Sperm, Traditional Surrogate,
Gestational Carrier, Female Partners and
Male Partners.

There will be future books to address other
combinations including Single Women,
donor egg / husband's sperm / gestational carrier,


Some doctors are so stupid

Some doctors are so stupid.
Want to know why I, as a Registered
Nurse, feel that way?

I was 36, had severe endometriosis and
wanted another child.
My OB-GYN had me do inseminations.
Six of them.
They are less invasive than IVF.

I thought I would never do IVF.
There's that "Never say Never."
If I knew then, what I know now...
I would have gone straight to IVF.
In fact, doctors should never
encourage patients 36 years old
and above to bother with inseminations.

All you do is waste precious time.
A woman's fertility takes a
nosedive after 35 or 36.
I didn't know it then.

My nursing specialty was ER, not
The doctor should have known it.
He should have told me to RUN to
He didn't.

By the time I started IVF,
I was forty. Meaning "old"
Meaning a less than 10% chance of

I ignored that statistic.
Statistics don't mean anything
if you're on the right side of them.

I just knew that I was going
to get my little baby girl.
I knew her name.
I had dreams about her.
I knew exactly what she looked like.
I knitted her a pink blanket and
I bought her toys.
A baby that never came.

I did IVF.
I went to retrieval.
There were no eggs to retrieve.

I woke up in the Recovery Room
and my first question was
"How many eggs did they get?"
The nurse said, "Let me go
get your husband and he'll
talk to you."
Big Chicken, she was.

I knew it was bad. In spite
of my drugged state, I knew it
was bad.
I cried so much, even though
my husband kept saying it was OK.
How could he say that?
He had no children.
And he wasn't going to get any
from me.

The doctor offered donor eggs.
We said no.
We said "At least we know we did
everything we could."
It didn't help.
I went home and curled
up in a fetal position in bed.
I didn't want to talk to anyone.

Of course EVERYONE knew I was going
to retrieval.
They all wanted to know how it went.
I couldn't speak.
My husband handled all the calls.
Some days, I'm still not over it.
I still grieve.

But that experience helps me to
help others.
I left the Emergency Department.
I now work in an IVF clinic.
I know how it feels to be in
the patient's shoes.
I help them go through their
cycle and conceive.
I also help them when their bodies
fail them too. When they must
live with the knowledge that
their hopes and dreams of having
a baby are gone.

Will their experience, their
failure, help them later in life?
Mine did.
But what a price.

Endometriosis: The monster inside

I was diagnosed at age 18 with Endometriosis.
It was so bad at that time, that the doctors said
that I would have a hysterectomy within 10 years.

In 1977, there weren't many treatments for it, other
than the birth control pill and surgery.
I was schduled for surgery.
I went in for my pre-op appointment.
Somehow I was pregnant!
A miracle baby.

The Endo became silent for several years.
It then returned with a vengeance.
I had surgery.
They said that the best chance I had for a
pregnancy was within the first
6 months after the surgery.
It took 1 1/2 years.
Another miracle baby.

I went on the birth control pill to keep it quiet.
It returned again with a vengeance.
Endometriosis caused me to have a bowel resection.
Then it finally robbed me of my reproductive organs.

The doctors had been wrong.
I pushed the 10 years to 27 years.
Then I had a complete hysterectomy.
It wasn't fair.

It forced me to give up any hope of more children.
I would never have a little baby girl.
I would have named her Ally.

The monster won in the end and
punished me along the way.
It's gone now for good.
But the scars remain as a reminder
of the monster called Endometriosis.

Janice Grimes, RN, BSN
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