by Sylvia Dunn

This practical and no nonsense guide to IVF treatments is a valuable handbook for anyone entering into the highly emotional and complex world of IVF. It has a sensitive yet straight talking manner and covers all the stages of treatment from waiting to start, to managing outcomes, whatever they may be.

The first theme; looks at how to ready yourself physically and emotionally, then moves on to detailed breakdowns of helpful foods and behaviours. Following this there are insightful explanations of the actual treatments, and what you can expect. How to address relationship issues, and strategies to help deal with results – both good and bad – are clearly laid out. The last chapters look at moving forward and the different possibilities of how to do this, I found particularity poignant.

The overriding tone is straight forward self-help, of taking control whenever possible; and when not possible, ways to manage that. It proves a healthy advancement away from IVF being a powerless journey with little control, and the accompanying feelings of complete vulnerability, to one of informed decision making and firm coping strategies.

Once told that my husband and I would need to have IVF to conceive our much wanted child, I actually searched for a book just like this. Sadly I was unable to find something similar at the time. If overwhelmed with abbreviations, ‘baby dust’ type chat rooms or highly medicalised text, this book proves to be an understanding and extremely supportive guide, sitting squarely in the middle of the sympathetic to practical sliding scale.

Dunn’s premise that ‘Nobody can truly understand, empathise or advise you, unless they have experienced IVF first hand’, is one I wholeheartedly agree with. This book feels like a virtual hand hold, one I would have wanted to hold very tightly if I’d been able to read it at the time.