How far would you go to have a baby? Making Babies the Hard Way is a frank account of one couple's discovery that they cannot have children of their own, and their ensuing struggle through four years of fertility treatment.
One in six couples worldwide seek assistance to conceive and 80 per cent of couples undergoing fertility treatment are currently unsuccessful.
Writing with humour and honesty, Caroline Gallup describes the social, emotional, spiritual and physical impact of infertility on her and her husband, Bruce, including feelings of bereavement for the absent child, the unavoidable sense of inadequacy and the day-to-day difficulties of financial pressure. As well as telling her own moving story, she also offers information and guidance for others who are infertile, or who are considering or undergoing treatment.
This courageous and poignant book will be of interest to couples who cannot conceive and those who are undergoing treatment, as well as their families and friends.
If you read this book you will discover what to expect if you learn that you cannot have babies the easy way. You will also be helped to face what is often the hardest decision for couples struggling to make babies with medical help: how and when to stop trying. Few books on infertility will have so much impact because few authors have Caroline and Bruce's courage to allow the emotional pain of infertility to transform them and their relationship. Much more than an infertility survival guide, Making Babies the Hard Way tracks a journey which starts and ends with love. It is at once a witness statement and an inspiration.
Dame Suzi Leather, Chair, The Charity Commission, UK, and former Chair, Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, UK
Caroline Gallup is a freelance writer who lives in London, UK, with her husband. She has written newspaper articles on fertility that have been printed in The Independent and the Daily Mail.
I would recomment this book to professionals and patients alike. It conveys concisely the intensely difficult feelings that couples experience, which can test their relationship and put it under pressure.
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
This is a lovely, warm and highly readable book. It is a personal account of one couple's emotional and practical journey from the discovery of male factor infertility, through fertility tests and treatments to the final painful decision to stop trying to conceive with the help of donor sperm. This book differs from any of the other books I have encountered about personal experiences of infertility and its treatment in several ways. First, because it features a man with fertility difficulties and Caroline's husband Bruce comments and contributes throughout in bold. Secondly, Caroline's candour, humour and insight offer a view of the practical procedures and emotional processes at work for a couple grappling with what this all means for their relationship and the future, that is rarely visible to outsiders. It also takes place in a UK context that will feel only too familiar to anyone who has experienced the pressures of tests, the endless waiting and the impact of vast amounts of money disappearing into what feels like a black hole. For these very reasons it should be required reading for all those who work in fertility clinics or indeed anyone who is likely to come into contact with couples with fertility problems. Highly recommended for couples going through fertility treatment and those who have their well-being in mind.
Healthcare Counselling and Psychotherapy Journal
This poignant book portrays the journey a couple make to create a family. Caroline's clear style, which is interspersed with Bruce's interpretation of events, makes the book an accessible articulation of the impact infertility has on a relationship. The section entitled "Things not to say to an infertile couple" is absolutely spot-on. Caroline and Bruce are brave to bare their souls in this richly evocative book.
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
It is a personal book, desciribing the efforts and the personal sacrifices inherent in the struggle to have a child without being able to conceive the easy way. This book can doubtlessly be read as self-help literature for anyone facing infertility and treatment. Making Babies the Hard Way gave me useful insights about the feelings, questions and states of mind that couples in the Gallups; situation may experience. I thank Caroline Gallop for that.
Metapsychology Online Reviews
From the start of this book, the first chapter was gripping because the story was so personalized and written in such a heartfelt and honest manner. As infertility is such a sensitive and often private subject, the approach taken by the author is refreshing. The book takes the reader on the complex journey of discovering infertility, attempts to solve this via treatment and the complexity of decisions that arise from the experience. Some pertinent ethical questions arise and provide much food for thought. Thus, this book provides a different dimension for readers when compared to the often technical descriptions of infertility found within other texts.
So the book is more readable than many others and, more fundamentally, the author adds the important component of emotion by discussing the personal psychological impact of infertility.
It is a must-read for all involved in managing infertility patients. It might also help prospective couples before they embark on artificial conception. It may put some off, but it would ensure informed consent for the process.
The Surgeon, Journal of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of Edinburgh and Ireland
This is the story of Caroline and Bruce who discover quite early on in their quest to have a child that Bruce does not appear to be producing sperm. With refreshing candour, humour and eye for detail Caroline, with interjections from Bruce, describes the clinic visits, tests and the endless waiting and worrying that will be familiar to anyone who has struggled to start a family. Sperm donation turns out to be the only way that they might achieve a pregnancy. One of the very special features of this story are the insights into how Caroline and Bruce, mirroring many other couples, approach and deal very differently with the emotions and practicalities of diagnosis and fertility treatment. Bruce does not understand why Caroline finds talking to a counsellor the most natural thing to do, Caroline cannot understand Bruce's practical attitude to sperm donation, but they both find having to choose a donor a very weird process. Their attempt to turn a clinic insemination into a romantic occasion is of course doomed to failure!
This book is compulsive reading. Over a weekend I could hardly put it down. I would recommend this book wholeheartedly to anyone going through fertility treatment just for the true to life detail, the humour and the raw reality of the feelings.
Donor Conception Network