HEAR FROM JFF INFERTILITY EXPERTS

JFF facilitates live discussions and Q&As with infertility therapists, physicians, legal experts, and related organizations.
Here are some recorded webinars.

My Life as a Donor Conceived Person

1:04:01

A Discussion Panel with Lizzy Forman, Adam Haas, Hilit Jacobson, Evan Neff

Getting Personal & Political about Infertility

33:44

With HADASSAH

Matchmaking & Egg Freezing

1:02:13

With Fertility Doctor Valerie Libby and Matchmaker Shana Tibi

Pregnant after Infertility Doula Program

52:52

Sex & Infertility Webinar

46:59

With Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus

Live Discussion with Dr. Scheiber of IRH Fertility

44:47

More Recorded Webinars

SUGGESTED READING

  • Adoption and the Jewish Family: Contemporary Perspectives by Shelley Kalnek Rosenberg​
  • Casting Lots by Susan Silverman (available to borrow from JFF office)
  • Thriving as an Adoptive Family by David and Renée Sanford (available to borrow from JFF office)
  • Wait No More by Mary Beth Chapman (available to borrow from JFF office)
  • The Fertility Diet: Groundbreaking Research Reveals Natural Ways to Boost Ovulation & Improve Your Chances of Getting Pregnant by Jorges E. Chavarro, MD, ScD; Walter C. Willett, MD, DrPH and Patrick J. Skerrett
  • The Infertility Cure: The Ancient Chinese Wellness Program for Getting Pregnant and Having Healthy Babies by Randine Lewis, Ph.D.
  • The Way of Qigong – The Art & Science of Chinese Energy Healing by Kenneth S. Cohen
  • IVF:In Vitro Fertilization The ART of Making Babies by Geoffrey Sher, MD, Virginia Marriage Davis, RN, MN and Jean Stoess, M.A.
  • The Couple’s Guide to In Vitro Fertilization by Liza Charlesworth
  • A Few Good Eggs by Julie Vargo and Maureen Regan
  • Be Fruitful: The Essential Guide to Maximizing Fertility and Giving Birth to a Healthy Child by Victoria Maizes, MD
  • Getting Pregnant- What Couples need to know right now by Niels Lauersen, MD, PhD and Colette Bouchez
  • Inconceivable: A Woman’s Triumph Over Despair and Statistics by Julia Indichova
  • My Not A Parent Thoughts: A Woman’s Perspective on Facing Infertility in the Jewish Community (available to borrow from JFF office)
  • Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health by Toni Weschler, MPH
  • The Fertile Female: How the Power of Longing for a Child Can Save Your Life and Change the World by Julia Indichova
  • The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant by Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D.
  • Trying to Get Pregnant (and Succeeding) by Marisa Peer
  • Waiting for Daisy by Peggy Orenstein
  • Who The @#$%! Am I? by Jael Toledo in collaboration with Sofia Silberman (available to borrow from JFF office)

Egg, Sperm or Embryo Donation

  • A Tiny Itsy Bitsy Gift of Life, an Egg Donor Story (2009) By Carmen Martinez Jover
  • Phoebe’s Family:  A Story About Egg Donation (2003, 2010) By Linda Stamm
  • Scarlett’s Story: A Tale About Embryo Donation (2017) By Linda Stamm
  • You Were Made For Me (2018) By Sheri Sturniolo
  • You Began As A Wish (2019) Kim Bergman
  • Sometimes It Takes Three to Make a Baby By Kate Bourne
  • Mommy, Was Your Tummy Big? (2018) By Carolina Nadel
  • My Beginnings:  A Very Special Story (2005) By Tim Appleton
  • Butterflies and Magical Wings (2006) By Amy Margolis
  • A Part Was Given and an Angel Was Born By Roxanne Nathalie.
  • Daddy, Was Mommy’s Tummy Big?  By Carolina Nadel
  • The Pea That Was Me:  An Egg Donation Story (Volume 1, 2013)
  • A Sperm Donation Story (Volume 2, 2014)
  • An Embryo Donation Story (Volume 2, 2013) By Kim Kluger-Bell
  • Super Special Sisters:  A Story About the Miracle of In Vitro Fertilization By Juliet Napier

Surrogacy

  • Harry The Helper (2016) By Linda Stamm
  • Mommy Did I Grow in Your Tummy?: Where Some Babies Come from By Elaine R. Gordon
  • Hope & Will Have a Baby: The Gift of Surrogacy By Irene Celcer
  • The Kangaroo Pouch: A Story About Gestational Surrogacy For Young Children (2006) By Sarah Phillips Pellet
  • Building My Family:  A Story of Egg Donation and Surrogacy (2017) By Carrie Eichberg
  • The Very Kind Koala: A Surrogacy Story for Children (2013) By Kim Kluger-Bell
  • A Baby for Mabel and Frederick By Karen Poston

Non-Traditional Families

  • Little Treasure (2011) By Anat Georgy
  • Ruby and Mommy: A Tale About a Single Mother and Sperm Donation (2019) by Linda Stamm
  • Just the Baby for Me by Barbara Levin
  • The Pea That Was Me (Versions for Single Moms and For Lesbian Moms) By Kim Kulger-Bell
  • Why Don’t I Have A Daddy?: A Story of Donor Conception by George Ann Clay
  • The Family Book (2003) By Todd Parr
  • Mommy, Mama, and Me (2009) By Leslea Newman
  • Our Story: A Book for Young Children About Their Conception through Donor Sperm to Lesbian Parents By Nicola Baxter
  • Family Stew (2016) By Linda Stamm, Psy.D.
  • Family Stew for Dads:  Building a Family with an Egg Donor & Surrogate (2019) By Linda Stamm Graphite Press
  • A Tale of Two Mommies By Vanita Oelschlager
  • A Tale of Two Daddies By Vanita Oelschlager
  • Stella Brings the Family By Mirriam B. Schiffer
  • Two Daddies and Me  (2009) By Robbi Anne Packard
  • Mommy and Me How I Came to Be By Elizabeth R. Weiss
  • Wish By Matthew Cordell
  • To The Moon and Back for You by Emilia Serhant

Books

  • Let’s Talk About Egg Donation:  Real Stories from Real People (2019) By Marna Gatlin and Carole Lieber-Wilkins
  • Three Makes A Baby: How To Parent Your Donor-Conceived Child  (2018) By Jane Rupnow
  • Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (What You Need to Know About Surrogacy, Egg Donation, and Sperm Donation) (2019)
  • Inheritance (2019) By Dani Shapiro- A memoir from an adult woman who discovers, through direct-to-consumer DNA testing, that she is sperm-donor conceived.
  • Experiences of Donor Conception:  Parents, Offspring and Donors through the year (2003) By Caroline Lorbach
  • Having Your Baby Through Egg Donation (2005, 2013) By Ellen Sarasohn Glazer and Evelina Weidman Sterling
  • Building Your Family Through Egg Donation: What You Will Want to Know About the Emotional Aspects and What to Tell Your Children (2007)   By Joyce Sutkamp Friedeman
  • Helping the Stork:  The Choices and Challenges of Donor Insemination By Carol Frost Vercollone, Heidi Moss, and Robert Moss
  • Mommies, Daddies, Donors, Surrogates:  Answering Tough Questions and Building Strong Families (2005) By Diane Ehrensaft
  • Surrogacy Was the Way: Twenty Intended Mothers Tell Their Stories  (2006) By Zara Griswold
  • Choosing Single Motherhood:  The Thinking Women’s Guide (2005) By Mikki Morrissette
  • The Complete Single Mother:  Reassuring Answers too Your Most Challenging Concerns By Andrea Engber and Leah Klingness
  • For Lesbian Parents: Your Guide to Helping Your Family Grow Up Happy, Healthy and Proud (2001) By Suzanne Johnson and Elizabeth O’Connor
  • Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood: Firsthand Advice, Tips and Stories from Lesbian and Gay Couples (2016) By Eric Rosswood, Charlie Condou, et al.

Websites & Organizations

  • Resolve – Organization that provides information and support groups on infertility and adoption.
  • Donor Sibling Registry – Organization for voluntary matching of donor siblings.
  • Parents Via Egg Donation–  Website to provide support and information to intended parents who are having children through egg donation.
  • Donor Conception Network– Website for intended parents who are having children through sperm or egg donation.
  • All About Surrogacy – Support and Information for Intended Parents.
  • Choice Moms– Resources, connections and support for single women who are choosing to become mothers
  • Single Mothers by Choice– Websites to provide support and information for single mothers by choice
  • Family Equality– Advancing equality for LGBTQ families
  • It’s Conceivable Now – Support and Information for LGBT Family-Building.
  • Inciid – The International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination- A non-profit which provides information and some scholarships for infertility patients.
  • VARTA– VARTA provides independent information and support for individuals, couples, and health professionals on issues related to infertility, treatment and assisted reproductive technology. VARTA Video 1Video 2Video 3
  • Generation Cryo– A 5-part, American reality television series that aired on MTV in November 2013.  The show chronicles a 17-year-old girl who was conceived through the use of a sperm donor as she meets with 15 genetic half-siblings.
  • Overcoming Male Infertility: Understanding its Causes and Treatments by Leslie R. Schover, Ph.D. and Anthony J. Thomas Jr., MD
  • Birkat Emanuah – A Mikvah Resource (available to borrow from JFF Office)
  • ​​Pregnancy After Loss – A guide to pregnancy after a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death by Carol Cirulli Lanham
  • Tears of Sorrow, Seeds of Hope: A Jewish Spiritual Companion for Infertility and Pregnancy Loss by Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin

SUPPORTING SOMEONE WITH INFERTILITY

What can I do to support my loved one?

  • Listen instead of giving advice
  • Ask how she would like to be supported
  • Offer to be involved in whichever ways feel best to her
  • Respect her wishes for privacy and need for space
  • Honor her choices regarding who she’d like to share with and who she’d prefer to keep at some distance
  • Trust her instincts and decisions
  • Continue one-way contact and reassure her that you don’t need a response
  • Support her timeline
  • Admit that you feel helpless
  • Offer to help her find support
  • Seek out your own education and support
  • Sit with your own feelings
  • Be gentle with yourself as you process your own feelings about her struggle

-AFSA

What are helpful things I can say?

  • “I’m so sorry this is happening.”
  • “I love you and I’m here for you.”
  • “This feels so unfair.”
  • “You deserve a family.”
  • “Would you like some distraction?”
  • “I’m here to listen, whenever you need me.”
  • “How is this impacting you emotionally/spiritually/physically?”
  • “Would you like to talk about it?  Or would you prefer time alone?”
  • “Can I ________?” (Instead of asking, “what can I do?,” be specific. Ask, “Can I come over sit with you while you cry? Give you a hug? Treat you to a pedicure or massage?”)
  • “It sounds like you’re doing everything right/being so thoughtful in your decision-making/consulting with the best people.”
  • “I trust the decisions you’re making.”
  • “If you’re feeling hopeless, I’ll hold hope for you.”

-AFSA

What are things I should NOT do?

  • Try to change her emotional state, cheer her up, or convince her to feel anything different
  • Make promises or predictions
  • Don’t assume she has the same spiritual perspective or beliefs as you.
  • Talk to her about your parenting problems or complain about your pregnancy
  • Let her be blindsided by news of a pregnancy or baby shower. Have these conversations one on one
  • Suggest lifestyle changes
  • Share stories about other people’s infertility journeys
  • Ask for constant updates
  • Imply life is easier without kids
  • Suggest alternative options to her treatment decisions

-AFSA

What are things I should avoid saying?

  • “Just relax/go on vacation/have a glass of wine/meditate/stop trying/chart your temperature/have more sex, and it will happen.”
  • “You’re stressing about it too much!”
  • “Everything happens for a reason.”
  • “God has a plan.”
  • “It will happen, I know it!”
  • “You focused on your career too long.”
  • “Have you tried _________?”
  • “You’re so lucky that you can travel/have fun/sleep as long as you want.”
  • “At least you know you can get pregnant/you already have one child, you have a partner who loves you, you have a family that cares about you/you have a career.”
  • “Have you considered adoption?”
  • “Isn’t it time to move on?”
  • “Now that you’re finally pregnant, just enjoy it!”

-AFSA

JFF TIPS FOR JEWISH COMMUNITY LEADERS

Establish
A sense of urgency. Infertility can lead to a spiritual crisis and your congregants need you to be supportive and informed. Their loss and struggles may be overwhelming.

Understand
That infertility causes stress for the entire family.

Speak Out
About the hardships of infertility or say a prayer during the High Holidays when mentioning the new babies born that year.

Support
Refer congregants to the Jewish Fertility Foundation’s Fertility Buddies and Support Programs.

Create
Inclusive programming and recognize the importance of programming for those that are choosing to live child free or who haven’t begun to start their families.

Empower
Others to act by placing supportive messages in your congregation bulletin. For example, “Are you or someone you love experiencing infertility, visit jewishfertilityfoundation.org for financial and emotional support.”

Counsel
Couples who come to you for pre-marital counseling and discuss with them the importance of genetic (JScreen) and infertility screening.

Recognize the Struggle
For example, at a baby naming or bris know that there are those attending that are struggling just to be there, due to their infertility. Say a prayer or comment to recognize those that are trying to conceive.

  • Greet each arrival warmly and kindly. A smile and eye contact go a long way!
  • Let them know you are there for them if they need anything.
  • Make no assumptions or comments regarding the frequency or infrequency of seeing the woman.
  • Allow Mikvah-goer to remain in the Mikvah after the mitzvah for her own silent prayer either alone or accompanied if she chooses.
  • Offer an unassuming Bracha as the woman returns to her preparation room. For example, “May you have a month filled with blessings”.
  • Don’t make the patrons feel rushed or stressed.
  • Refer the client to the Jewish Fertility Foundation, if necessary.
  • Make sure to wish them “Good night” as they are departing.

 

The experience may be painful because going to the Mikvah may be an unwelcome reminder that she is not pregnant. She may have thought she was pregnant before her cycle began and so going to the Mikvah becomes even more devastating. Or, perhaps is she coming to the Mikvah for the first time after losing a pregnancy, in which case, her emotions are very raw and she is grieving.  Finally, going to the Mikvah may feel like a chore to a woman who is at a point in her struggle where she is feeling hopeless and just going through motions that have little meaning to her after years of unanswered prayers.

A woman’s struggle with infertility, whether or not she is undergoing treatment, is closely associated with her menstrual cycle and going to the Mikvah. As such, she may view the Mikvah as a hopeful experience, a painful experience, or as a chore. The Mikvah Attendant is part of that experience. It may be hopeful because she is starting a new treatment. Going to the Mikvah is an opportunity for her to pray and to make a medical process more spiritual and meaningful. It could be hopeful because she has been tracking her ovulation and knows that the timing of her Mikvah appointment has fallen on a favorable night.