Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Book Review: Conquering Infertility

Conquering Infertility: Dr. Alice Domar's Mind/Body Guide to Enhancing Fertility and Coping with InfertilityConquering Infertility: Dr. Alice Domar's Mind/Body Guide to Enhancing Fertility and Coping with Infertility by Alice D. Domar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Conquering Infertility" is not a perfect book. It was written in 2002, and a lot of the medical landscape of assisted reproductive technology -- particularly in-vitro fertilization success rates -- has changed dramatically for the better. In spite of that and a few other issues, I still found the book a very worthwhile read.

The first part of the book instructs on some basic relaxation techniques to help calm the overactive stress system that gets engaged when you are undergoing infertility (IF) treatment. Domar details how to engage in progressive relaxation, visualization, and other techniques to kick in the relaxation response. She does this not because she claims it will help you get pregnant, but because it will help calm your system while you're dealing with this crisis. I did have a major criticism of this section: Domar is very quick to dismiss meditation as a helpful technique for overactive minds. She encourages you to try another relaxation technique instead. I don't know anyone who doesn't have an overactive mind -- it is the very nature of minds -- and the beauty of meditation is that you learn how to calm it. So, please don't give up on meditation!

The second part of the book deals with very specific IF issues. The chapters I found most useful were how to deal with handling IF at work, and the chapter on spirituality and IF. Both were full of compassion and practical advice for working through the problems IF poses.

The last chapter of the book is about how to deal with it when treatment fails. Domar discusses adoption, egg or sperm donation or living child-free. Again, she does so with compassion and practical advice.

Overall, if you are dealing with IF, I highly recommend this. A final note: the book, like most on this topic, is primarily directed at women, though I do think that men who read it would find it helpful.

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