Discovering that medical science is required to even contemplate having a family can be a daunting and scary place. There is so much, differing information out there, clinics sometimes have a rigid approach to treatments, and life often feels overwhelming and lonely. Infertility is not kind and it’s a tough life to lead, however, please know that you are never alone. It’s a club no one ever wishes to be a part of but there are a great many of us walking in similar shoes, which has led to the birth of some beautifully honest, emotional, and educational infertility blogs.
I’ve always found comfort in reading the real-life stories of others, gaining strength and knowledge from their journeys combined with a sense of peace discovered in the shared reflections of someone else in my position.
If you haven’t yet delved into the world of infertility – IVF blogs then I’d strongly advise you take a look and, if you’re not sure where to even begin looking, the list below is a good place to start.
The Infertility Voice
In this incredibly personal blog, Keiko Zoll writes about her journey, from being diagnosed with premature ovarian failure, to conception, and life beyond. Keiko writes, openly, about all things fertility related, with emphasis on the emotional aspects and treatment options of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome).
She’s brutally honest and isn’t ashamed to talk about the bitterness, or the sadness, the fears and the hope, involved in infertility.
The words used might be there to tell her story yet, at times, I felt they also told mine, resonating deeply and echoing emotions and feelings I have previously experienced, and sometimes still do. In my writing it’s always been hugely important for me to help others feel less isolated in infertility, and Keiko writes beautifully about the moment she learned to draw strength from realising that she wasn’t walking this path alone: “All of our infertility stories matter”, which indeed they do.
After conceiving, via egg donation IVF, and giving birth to a baby boy, Keiko decided to catalogue her resources to form a library style site. This means that the information is not only helpful, but also easy to find and access. Her posts aren’t recent, and she no longer writes new pieces for her blog, however her thoughtfully worded messages and raw descriptions of emotions will remain timeless, supporting many through their own infertility journey.
Blog url: http://www.theinfertilityvoice.com/
Dreaming of Diapers
Dreaming of diapers follows the story of infertility to conception through surrogacy. This is an anonymous blog, but is no less personal by being so, and the years long timeline shared, by such an incredibly open blogger, shows the long, and painful, journey it took to create their child.
It’s always interesting, and eye opening, to read a tale of infertility to parenthood, with so many twists, turns and explorations of the many different ways a child can be conceived.
It’s obvious to see, in this story, that a huge amount of pain was experienced and the struggle it was to even just try to accept she would be leading a life so different from anything she ever imagined. The author is a Christian and her personal faith plays a greatly important role in her unique journey. In writing about her beliefs she is beautifully sincere and shares a truly raw account of life as an infertile, endeavouring to come to terms with her infertility and faith, combined with the thought process behind using a gestational carrier. The authors candid account, of how praying simply wasn’t enough for her, is especially touching and a wonderful reminder to those, who may tussle with their religion whilst undertaking fertility treatments, that to believe in God means understanding He can work in mysterious ways.
Blog url: http://dreamingofdiapers.com/
This intimate blog follows the story of MTV True Life series couple, Candace and Chris during their seven-year battle, with infertility to conceive via IUI, IVF and finally with a surrogate. In one particularly poignant post, Candace talks openly about, living in an ‘infertility confinement’, which is such a resonating phrase to anyone who has ever embarked upon the infertility roller-coaster and suffered multiple failed treatments.
Our Misconception is beautifully honest and humorous too; all of us who have been there know that, at times, humour is the only way through.
It’s a blog which delves into all aspects of fertility treatments, the emotional highs and lows experienced and the sad reality of failed attempts and miscarriage; the grief, the guilt and the heart-breaking sadness, which is unfortunately always, involved in assisted conception. Candace and Chris are very keen to help break the taboos which surround the infertility community and host some truly wonderful guest posts, which enable a whole range of infertility issues to be researched and discussed.
There is a highly useful “Blog Love” section which links to many other interesting blogs dealing with the whole spectrum of involuntary childlessness; infertility, surrogacy, adoption, miscarriage, and life after infertility, either with or without that miracle child. There’s also an excellent resource tab listing acronyms, helpful links and recommended reading of infertility books.
Blog url: https://www.ourmisconception.com/
This hugely practical blog is a must read for anyone embarking upon the long, and often, torturous road of infertility treatments. The Amateur Nester follows Lisa and Tom’s journey to their daughter, CJ, via IUI and IVF with ICSI; fresh and frozen cycles. Lisa does not post any photos or write about CJ here, choosing instead to focus on her fertility history, advice, encouragement and faith. It’s worth checking out the incredibly in-depth and intimate timeline in which Lisa shares all aspects involved in her infertility, from the demanding schedules involved, to the emotional strains of failed cycles, miscarriage and moving on, linking to her other more detailed and personal posts around each issue.
Lisa charts clinic, doctor and acupuncture appointments, the number of injections administered each month, as well as listing the costings of treatment, in the US. Lisa is keen to help others prepare for their own fertility treatments and has even written a book about preparing, emotionally and mentally, for IVF, offering encouragement and advice to approach cycles with confidence and courage.
Alongside presenting a practical approach to infertility, Lisa’s words also offer comfort and support. She writes openly about the jealousies and guilt, we’ve all most probably experienced, in hearing the pregnancy announcements of others, sharing what she wishes she could have said to her family and friends. The Amateur Nester features a number of guest posts and interviews, as well as inviting her readers to share thoughts, stories and advice in the comments section, creating a wonderfully supportive and informative environment.
Blog url: https://www.amateurnester.com/
Authored by Mel, who is now mother to twins via an IUI, with injectables, The Stirrup Queens hosts a plethora of information on all things infertility. It’s worth taking a quick peek at the ‘Using this site’ tab before properly delving in to the huge amounts it covers. As we all are probably very aware, isolation can be exceptionally common during infertility and IVF, and Mel’s hope, for her blog, is to create a community to combine information from medical sites, alongside the support which forums and bulletin boards can provide.
As she explains: “If you have an internet connection, you have a community”, which is exactly what she has, fantastically, been able to provide.
Mel features the Blog Roll which is a central page linking to a vast number of other blogs, covering a whole range of articles on adoption, donor gametes, loss and diagnostics, just to mention a few of the 53 categories featured. Mel also hosts the Blog Round Up, which presents her weekly choices of posts, from various bloggers, keeping readers up to date and well supported in the infertility community.
The Stirrup Queens is truly a wonderful place to find a whole range of encouragement, comfort and information surrounding fertility treatments and alternative ways to create a family, whilst touchingly speaking out about the sad reality which can mean living a childless life.
Mel is author of Navigating the Land of IF, a book written for anyone struggling to cope with infertility.
Blog url: http://www.stirrup-queens.com/
Trials Bring Joy
Trials Bring Joy is a beautiful name for a blog which covers the pain of infertility, the extreme sadness of three miscarriages and the final, wonderful happiness at finally experiencing life as a mother, after IVF. On her very intimate and in-depth timeline, Chelsea lists all of her experiences during the ten year wait to her twins.
After being diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) Chelsea, and husband Josh, tried various treatments from medication for ovulation, to IUIs and finally IVF.
Chelsea is brutally candid in her writing and, despite the struggles and grief she experienced, always remains incredibly determined, positive and very much trusting in her Christian faith; the road to parenthood was tough and yet what comes through, in Chelsea’s posts, is the strength of her relationship with both her husband and her God.
Trials Bring Joy also hosts a superb guest post section ‘What’s it like?’ which invites others to share their fertility stories and talk openly about personal experiences of their trials to conceive. Chelsea’s addition of What’s it like to beat infertility is incredibly honest, encouraging and eye opening, especially her section on compassion.
If you’re just starting out on your journey then it’s definitely worth taking a look at Chelsea’s TTC (Trying To Conceive) dictionary which is extremely useful. I remember times when I even felt isolated from the TTC community, because I didn’t understand all of the many acronyms used by my fellow infertility warriors, a list would most certainly have helped me understand the online support available. Again, for those just starting treatment or coming to terms with a diagnosis, I’d advise you to have a read of Chelsea’s What to expect’ section too, which is based on real infertility questions she has received from readers of her blog.
Blog url: https://trialsbringjoy.com/
The 2 Week Wait
Jay Palumbo’s The 2 Week Wait remains one of my all-time favourite fertility blogs, and one I always point readers of my blog in the direction of. After battling with infertility and, after several cycles of IVF, Jay now has two boys and has become one of the most outspoken infertility advocates on the scene; she is tireless in her efforts to raise issues and break taboos.
Jay’s blog details the history of her infertility and is funny, inspiring, truthful and sensitive; she very much understands that it might be painful for visitors to read posts about her children, and therefore has a link directly to her trying to conceive pieces. Jay’s honesty about starting her blog is raw yet humourous and mirrors exactly how I felt about starting a family – that it would simply happen, and do so easily.
In her first post, she explains how she initially planned to write all about the fun of trying for a baby, including hilarious anecdotes which would create a cute little keepsake, a deed which sadly turned, from the first furores of excitement, into something we all know can cause pain, embarrassment and make us feel like a failure.
The blog then became a way she could survive, and now, help others. Jay’s TTC proverbs make for a brilliant read and won’t fail to leave you with a wry, understanding smile. As an infertile who, at times, only ended up with one embryo, per cycle, “Don’t count your embryos before they hatch” really did raise a satirical grin.
Blog url: http://the2weekwait.blogspot.com
Shady Grove Fertility
Shady Grove Fertility is clinic affiliated and therefore isn’t a personal blog, however, it has a remarkably encouraging section, in which patients, candidly, share their own, personal accounts of differing struggles to conceive. The stories are grouped together by infertility diagnosis and then treatment options, it is incredibly user friendly, informative and creates a real feeling of community, support and hope.
Real-life stories are always heart-breaking, heart-warming and incredibly honest and, despite being clinic run, the storytelling section does still delve into the frustrations and sadness of failed cycles, and the anguish of miscarriage and baby loss; it doesn’t try to gloss over the reality of infertility.
Alongside the intimate histories, the site also features some exceptionally poignant patient quotes: “Everyone says that you become a grown up when you have a child. For me it was when I was told I couldn’t” hugely resonated with me, and my own relationship with infertility; I remember, all too well, maturing, seemingly overnight, in order to cope with our disheartening diagnosis and what that could ultimately mean for our future.
The couples featured for Shady Grove Fertility are amazingly inspirational and, as they all come from completely varying infertility backgrounds, this enables one site to cover a whole plethora of fertility issues and treatment options, including travelling abroad for medical care, dealing with cancer and infertility, and advice from patients to those still struggling towards their miracle.
Your IVF Journey
Your IVF Journey is an organisation created by successful fertility patients, Becky and Ben, to provide a service which organises every aspect of overseas IVF journeys. Their articles combine the first hand, personal experiences of infertility, with the medical knowledge, and know-how, of the Czech Republic clinic they, themselves, used.
The blog is written by Becky and through her writing, she creates compassionate yet medically informative posts. Your IVF Journey covers some truly great topics such as; whether to transfer one or more embryos or, if clinic add-ons actually make a difference, and is able to help answer many of the questions, and myths, which surround IVF and often cause added worry and confusion, at an already incredibly overwhelming time.
The blog is full of easy to understand, and digest, information and is very fact based. As it’s connected to a clinic, it’s apparent Becky has access to a great deal of scientific research, which enables her to write from a trusted, up to date, medical viewpoint.
At times, I felt as though my fertility clinic had a one size fits all approach to IVF, and spent hours delving into the possible variations and tweaks I believed would improve my chances of success; Your IVF Journey is a site which can definitely be used to research many differing subjects. Alongside being a very factual blog, it’s obvious Becky did live with the pain infertility brings, and her post 5 Things NOT to say to IVF Patients is full of understanding and care.
Blog url: http://www.yourivfjourney.com/our-blog/
The Fertility Podcast
For those who aren’t particularly avid readers then I’d advise listening to the Fertility Podcast. The initiative was originally started by Natalie, a former radio presenter for UK station Heart, who left her DJ job in order to have fertility treatment for her first child.
The podcast now has over 150 episodes covering all aspects of infertility, which she describes can be used as “an aid, a companion and guide whether you are male, female, gay or straight, in a couple or single.” Through her whole range of podcasts, Natalie has invited others to share their stories and is keen to build, and continue growing, a community where anyone affected, in any way, by infertility, can find a safe place for discussions, information and support.
The podcasts are easy to navigate and there are links and a search function to help in finding advice pertaining to specific fertility areas. Natalie’s content is widely varying, covering everything from how to work and go through IVF, to learning to grieve and is highly informative and educational.
A great deal of honesty and openness comes through each episode, and you’ll find podcasts from celebrity advocates, support groups and fertility experts, of both sexes.
I personally think it’s a wonderful step forward to hear men speaking out too, as I often feel support for men can be overlooked, during infertility. In setting up the Fertility Podcast, Natalie really has created a compassionate, knowledgeable and encouraging place for everyone from all walks of life to gather and create an amazing, supportive community.
About the author:
Caro Townsend is a writer, survivor and advocate of all things infertility. After discovering medical science was required to have a family, Caro became fully ensconced in the world of fertility treatments. Multiple IVF cycles, a miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy later, she finally became a parent, thanks to a successful frozen embryo transfer. Caro is creator of one of 2018’s top ten fertility blogs and her award nominated, The Cuckoo Mama, is an honest, open and raw account of her journey to parenthood and beyond. In between freelance blogging for The Huff Post UK and The Baby Spot, she spends her time working with charities to break the taboos which surround infertility and miscarriage. You can read Caro’s blog at www.thecuckoomama.co.uk