Having A Baby...When the Old-Fashioned Way Isn't Working:
Hope and Help for Everyone Facing Infertility
Margolis, Cindy with Kathy Kanable and Snunit Ben-Ozer, MD.
Cindy Margolis is one of us.
I don't mean that in the Oh, Another Infertile kind of way, no, I mean, she is one of *us*. Terrified, depressed, anxious, angry, bitter. Her bitterness has been tempered by being succesful in having 3 children, one by birth, the other two by surrogate, but still, it's visible for those of us who've been in the trenches for awhile.
I have to admit that I've only heard of Cindy recently. I think I caught a TV interview with her on E! or something, talking about a show she was hosting and, of course, her troubles with babies. Y'know, the whole conceiving of them and that. Anyway, I chalk it up to being overseas at the height of her popularity (she's a model, online personality, tv spokesperson, Playboy, uh, model, and now spokesperson for RESOLVE) and the fact that I don't have a penis. I'm just putting that out there, not making a judgement call or anything.
I have to say that I was very impressed with the medical advisor (and Margolis' doctor), Dr. Snunit Ben-Ozer, who in her introduction writes:
"Not all fertility specialists are created equal. Please seek out the very best clinic available to you. Work with someone who listens to your questions and gives you information you can understand, someone who will educate you sufficiently so that you can make the decisions that are right for you. You should never feel pressured to undertake a procedure unless and until you are ready."
Yeah. I haven't even started the bio proper and already the book is worth it's weight in gold for that advice alone. How many of us have had poor treatment because we simply didn't know any better? How many of us accepted what our doctors told us because they were the 'experts'? How many of us could have avoided unnecessary procedures and surgeries if we'd had just that little bit more information?
Medically speaking, Cindy and her husband, Guy, were diagnosed with Unexplained Infertility after some years of trying on their own. From there, they had 3 IUI's and 4 IVF's, conceiving and having their first child on their last IVF w/ GIFT. Unfortunately the medical information is based on her own case. Unfortunate because anyone reading this book will not learn (if they're just starting out) that there are different protocols for IUI and IVF, or that there are alternatives to intra-muscular injections such as sub-cutaneous injections and nasal sprays. I wasn't happey to see generalities taking place of specificities. Again, I realize that this is not the How To of IVF or IUI, yet it makes me nervous to read a book about the processes without cooking the whole hog. There is also no mention of IVF being cheaper overseas, or, for that matter, of online pharmacies. From a liability standpoint I can see why the latter two were not mentioned, but I still think a brief note about them with a nod towards speaking to one's clinic would have been worthwhile. As the Margolis' didn't look into adoption, the chapter on it as a venue towards parenting is brief, a couple of pages at best, which she freely admits to, saying there are other books out there which cover the topic better.
And honestly, if I see one more person referring to how blastocysts are implanted in the uterus? I'm going to freak out.
What I liked best about the book is that Cindy and her husband, Guy, are very honest about what it feels like to be infertile, the anger, the fear, the crazy thoughts, the loneliness. I particularly liked the chapter on surrogacy, as I really know very little about the process. There were also stories from various people who've gone through infertility, the choices they've made, and the letter from the surrogate explaining her decision.
Overall, I'm just not sure of who this book is aimed at. It feels like it's trying to be all things to all infertiles, and while it doesn't fail, it doesn't quite succeed, either. It's sort of Infertility Lite. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is due to time constraints, a desire to get the book written quickly, and the wish to get her story out to the non-infertile world portraying once couple's journey. I can't blame Cindy for this, um, in fact I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it's her ghostwriter who's at fault. Kathy Kanable runs Cindy's website and I'm sorry to say, was just not quite up to what was needed for a book like this. This isn't a criticism of the writing style, which is very personable, just that the book suffers from a lack of information that a professional might have spotted and questioned*.
What I would have really loved this book to be is a personal story about infertility coupled with multiple personal stories about infertility, especially considering Cindy's the spokesperson for RESOLVE. I would have liked more medical information about the different protocols for IUI and IVF as well as more on the downsides, the debt, the miscarriages and stillbirths, the fact that for some women, conception never happens no matter what they do.
So...I can't say I would recommend the book to a newbie. Or an oldbie. However, it might be a good book to have on your bathroom bookshelf (what, surely everyone has bookshelves in their bathrooms...) for those who are maybe a couple of months into 'trying', yet having no success. This might be the book that tips them into seeing an RE or thinking about ART, it might make them realize that actually, they're not alone in the journey if they're too shy/scared/paranoid about telling friends and family what they're attempting to achieve. Best of all, there are plenty of resources listed in the back for people to investigate.
Okay, off to an appointment, back later.
* speaking purely as someone who's worked in a bookstore, read a hell of a lot of books on writing and editing, and written a couple of novels (unpublished). The exposure to the profession of writing does, I feel, allow me to say such things without necessarily putting on my asshat.