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LaMothe Book Reviews

Sperm Tales-An Informative Guide Through the Challenges of Infertility by Lynn M. Collins

Sperm Tales-An Informative Guide Through the Challenges of Infertility by Lynn M. Collins truly touches on many of the issues of infertility and treatments throughout each and every page of the 26 chapters in this book. Although I don’t think you could guess from the title, Sperm Tales is dedicated to women who maybe struggling to become pregnant, have questions regarding fertility or couples who are going through treatments and want a further explanation of what tests and medications are being prescribed to them. It is easy to read with short stories of real patient scenarios that will make you either laugh out loud or cringe with sympathy.  Yes, there is quite a bit of information regarding the male factor but I found that Sperm Tales a well-balanced tutorial for anyone who is just trying to understand the concept of infertility. Discussed are tests, procedures, complications and causes that accompany the diagnoses of infertility. I believe it’s a great book to have in any well stocked Assisted Reproductive Professional’s library or for a newly diagnosed patient.   

Lynn M. Collins was trained in the Infertility field at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA. She later set up and worked for more than 10 years at an Infertility Lab and Sperm Bank in Danvers, MA. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband, Kevin, black lab Shamus and cat Trapper John.

Surrogacy Helps a Family Grow by Sharon LaMothe
Surrogacy Helps Make a Family Grow! is the heartfelt story of a family who decides to help a couple start of family of their own through gestational surrogacy. This book acts as an educational tool for children of gestational surrogates to better understand what their mothers are going through and the tremendous gift of family.

Being a Gestational Surrogate myself twice (giving birth to two sets of twins) I felt it really important to have a book that shares with the children of surrogates how the entire surrogacy process works. Within these 30 colorful pages is a message of love, acceptance, responsibility and of what working together really means! For Children ages 3-10 
Surrogacy Helps Make a Family Grow! even helps kids explain to their own friends why their mother is pregnant and why they are not 'keeping the baby'. Recommended reading for anyone thinking of being a Gestational Carrier but it can also work for Traditional Surrogacy if the Surro Mom whats to add her own personal journey message while reading to her own kids.  
Birthing As Nature Intended By Teresa Van-Zeller

Birthing As Nature Intended is a great read for anyone who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Even if you are expecting your third child you will find this book to be refreshing and informative. Needless to say I wish I had read B.A.N.I. 30 years ago while I was pregnant with my own first born. Teresa Van-Zeller has a wonderful and calming way to say ‘You can do this as millions of women have done before you! You CAN give birth pain free or close to it and have an enjoyable relaxing experience that you will remember for a life time’.

I read this book in less than 3 hours. Every page is packed with useful information and I just couldn’t put it down. I loved the tips Teresa offers throughout the book especially the parts about having a birth plan and making sure you choose a doctor who supports what YOU want. She talks about expectations and how your body and mind react to what others may tell you. (ohhh the horror stories one hears while pregnant!)

I love this book for Surrogates as well as for Intended Parents. Because I am a Surrogacy Consultant, I am always looking for information and guidance regarding pregnancy and labor for my clients. Birthing As Nature Intended allows a glimpse into the world of pregnancy and shares how birth can be an awesome, stress-free experience for everyone involved.

Riding the Infertility Roller Coaster by Iris Waichler, MSW, LCSW

Here is a resource that should be on every bookshelf of those who work within the infertility field as well as those Intended Parents who are just starting out their own struggle with infertility. Iris Waichler and her book Riding the Infertility Roller Coaster offers Intended Parents invaluable information and support covering topics that most books leave out. From Balancing Work and Infertility Treatment to Making the Choice to Live Childfree Ms. Waichler manages to share stories and helpful insights to help Intended Parents make decisions that will affect them for a lifetime.

There are so many great topics that Iris Waichler as managed to cover in her 263 page book that I don’t know where to begin! Riding the Infertility Roller Coaster covers concerns like Building a Support Network (chapter 12), Parenting After Infertility (chapter 14) to Becoming a Couple Again (Chapter 19). All very important while struggling to come to terms with infertility and all it entails.  I especially like the Glossary of Terms Relating to Infertility.

I will certainly recommend to my clients Riding the Infertility Roller Coaster by Iris Waichler!

On Fertile Ground, Healing Infertility by Helen Adrienne LCSW
This book is truly a great addition to any fertility professionals' lending library and a wonderful asset for anyone going through infertility. I especially liked The Lifestyle Profile, and The Self-Esteem check list which includes a beliefs inventory. You don't have to be infertile to appreciate many of the chapters in this book. Helen addresses the impact infertility can have on a marriage and relationships with family and friends. With real life examples and an intimate look at the medical and emotional process I felt that On Fertile Ground had something that everyone could relate to. Easy to read for minds that are often overwhelmed, this book offers some very real help and solutions for coping with infertility.
Surrogacy or Conspiracy? The Lamitina Story  
With a title like Surrogacy or Conspiracy? I couldn't pass up the chance to review this true story of a Traditional Surrogacy gone wrong.  Its a huge what-not-to-do book by intended parents, Tom and Gwyn Lamitina, who wrote and published it even before they had the outcome that should have been theirs. (Watch for the sequel)

Lulled into a false sense of security by their first successful Traditional Surrogacy and while enjoying their life with their new son, Tom and Gwyn decide to add to their family using the same formula. They answer classified ads on Surrogate Mothers Online (SMO)to 'meet' a young woman with children of her own who would be willing to be their traditional surrogate mother.The perfect one came along and she even claimed to be an experienced gestational surrogate and egg donor! Tom and Gwyn state that they did the best background check that they could 'on their own', I read nothing of a psychological evaluation or a medical exam of this surrogate from an infertility clinic. (My own personal red flags) Because they never used an agency or an attorney with their first surrogacy they decided that downloading an 'Internet' contract and allowing their new surrogate fill in all the blanks would be good enough for them. (another red flag) Before the contract is signed by both parties, and in order to take advantage of their surrogates next cycle, they decide to participate in at home inseminations to boot! (This is the yet another red flag and I decided to stop counting here.)

Needless to say everything that could go wrong did. I started out by stating that the Lamitima's were lulled into a false sense of security with their first traditional surrogacy. These very same issues could have gone wrong at any point during their first experience but because they met a woman who had a moral compass and didn't want anything more then to give them a baby to love, the contract was never challenged unlike this second situation. Because the Lamitina's didn't want to spend the money on a reproductive attorney, clinic, or psychologist they ended up spending thousands more fighting for their baby daughter in the Florida court systems. There are checks and balances in place within the reproductive community and if you decide to skip the agency and go to the classifieds or even use a family member or friend there is a protocol to follow and Tom and Gwyn paid the price for not knowing or investigating the 'right' way to proceed after they chose the woman they wanted to work with.

The woman (traditional surrogate) portrayed here in this book would never have made it past an experienced agency. In fact, the reason SHE didn't sign on with an agency, it seems, was because she had a devious plan. She would become pregnant with some desperate and unknowing intended parents' baby, never planning to give it up at the end and then sue for child support. A cold hearted calculated scam that would only work on people who were uneducated in the ways of the surrogacy world. She, apparently, did her homework!

I feel that this short yet intense book is worth reading for any intended parent tempted to go the 'independent' route. The lessons learned from the Lamitina's experiences could save others a lot of money and heartache. Unfortunately this book  paints a bad picture of Traditional Surrogates and those that want to be matched independently, however, there are ways to protect yourselves without an agency to assist in the process. Research, hiring a surrogacy consultant, making sure that you use a contract drawn up by a lawyer who is well versed in reproductive law in your state, having everyone visit a psychologist and staying away from at home inseminations are just a few of the ways that can assure a successful out come. Surrogacy or Conspiracy? The Lamitina Story can be read in one sitting but will stay with you for a long time after the book is laid on the shelf.

Sam's Sister by Juliet Bond

Sam's Sister by Juliet Bond is a heartwarming and touching story through the eyes of a 5 year old girl regarding her baby brother's adoption. When her mother explains that she is pregnant but doesn't have the means to raise another child, Rosa has all kinds of questions. Her mother takes the time to explain her reasons for placing Rosa's sibling up for adoption and allows her to meet the adoptive parents. This children's book starts at the pregnancy and ends after the birth where this relationship is obviously an open adoption sceaniro. Rosa gets to be the big sister even though her little brother doesn't live with her and the parents enjoy raising a child through this adoption. I recommend Sam's Sister by Juliet Bond for all birth mothers with young children at home. I love the illustrations by Dawn Majewski and the entire way the book respects the integrity of the open adoption process.

The Insiders Guide to Egg Donation by Wendie Wilson-Miller and Erika Napoletano

Finally! A book that explains Egg Donation in away that doesn’t make people run from sheer information overload! The Insiders Guide to Egg Donation by Wendie Wilson-Miller and Erika Napoletano is clear and concise. I loved the fact that in each chapter there are helpful hints, checklists, and highlighted segments that allow the reader to revisit the most relevant parts to each section.  

With chapters entitled ‘Beyond the Nest- when Hearts and Science Collide, Circling the Nest-The Ovum Donation Cycle, and Readying the Nest-Transfer and Beyond Wendie and Erika are able to guide Intended Parents and Recipient Couples through the egg donation process in a way that covers every concern and issue.

The letters, real life stories and comments told throughout these pages are what really make this book one to read. I found myself feeling a connection with the donors who give the most precious part of themselves (and being a past Gestational Surrogate, I can relate!). The information is accurate and yet simple to understand so even if this is the first book on egg donation that you have ever read you will understand the process thoroughly.

Another wonderful addition to The Insiders Guide to Egg Donation is the Appendixes A-H and a wonderful Glossary make this book THE ONE to keep on hand while going through the egg donation process. I highly recommend The Insiders Guide To Egg Donation and happily congratulate both Wendie Wilson-Miller and Erika Napolitano for a book that will support and guide many parents-to-be for years to come!


Why I'm So Special, A Book About Surrogacy by Carla Lewis-Long

If you are looking for a simplistic way to explain to your toddler about his or her birth from surrogacy,then Why I'm So Special, A Book About Surrogacy by Carla Lewis-Long is a great place to start. Approximately 40 pages long, Why I'm So Special focuses on a Mom and Dad who wanted a baby and after much trying they head for a doctor who tells them about surrogacy. Once the Mom and Dad meet their surrogate, Bonnie, the baby 'is put into Bonnie's tummy' and it starts to grow. With simple language and great illustrations, any toddler will come away with the feeling that he or she was already planned and Mom and Dad were able to make their dream come true by finding someone to help them. (In this case a Gestational Carrier)

Twins X3 by Fran Pitre

Now here is a book I could not put down! Twins X3 by Fran Pitre is a story not to be missed. Fran is very candid when retelling the tale of her life thus far. Did she use Assisted Reproductive Technologies? Yes she did, as far as the Catholic Church would allow, using a slew of medications and finally GIFT (gamete intrafallopian transfer.) She talks about the difficulty of becoming pregnant, having premature babies, her relationships with her in-laws and other family members, her bouts of anxiety and depression.  While it's like reading a personal journal, Fran explains, in detail, just what each medical procedure is, why she and her husband decide to try it or why they didn't (think IVF), and how it is to live with three sets of twins. At the end of the book she even has parenting tips. Throughout each chapter are photos of her family and you can certainly relate better to these very real life characters. This book is obviously written from the heart not only to chronicle her own life story but, it seemed to me, a huge book (545 pages) of Thanks! Fran thanks everyone from the medical staff, hospital nurses, friends, relatives and teachers often throughout her story. Let's face it, when you are pregnant with one set of twins and have two sets at home, you need a lot of help! Anyone struggling with infertility, a parent with children or a Catholic that has questions regarding fertility treatments would surely find something to relate to in Twins X3 by Fran Pitre.  

Adopting: Sound Choices, Strong Families by Patricia Irwin Johnston 

Adopting: Sound Choices, Strong Families by Patricia Irwin Johnston was published in 2008 and yet will remain timeless. This is a book that I would personally recommend for anyone who is wondering if adoption is even possible for their own unique circumstances.  On a personal note, my own father was adopted in 1937 and knowing how he was found and accepted into his family and some of the struggles that my grandparents had back 'in the day' helps me relate to others considering adoption. Because Pat is living what she writes about, it makes this book easier to read and understand. 

The introduction is the first place a reader learns what they are about to encounter between the covers of this thought provoking book (don't skip this!) and then you move onto the chapters....each and every one offering a tremendous amount of information but not in an overwhelming way. If you are a heterosexual couple, single or gay and are considering adoption to build your family then this is the FIRST book you should read. From Unraveling the Challenges for Family Building to a complete overview on adoption and finally how to make sound choices that fit your expectations (think financial, taxes, age of the child, open adoption, adoption services, home studies etc.) and the 'Real Thing'. These four parts bring all the important considerations to the reader in a way that is easy to understand with Pats personal thoughtful touch regarding infertility and adoption permeating each and every chapter. I also personally love the resource section at the end of each segment! So helpful! This is also a must read for professionals in the Infertility and Family Building Field.

Birthing a Mother The Surrogate Body and the Pregnant Self by Dr. Elly Teman

A book that explores the relationship between surrogates (gestational carriers) and their Intended Mothers. Well written and full of real life examples, Dr. Teman draws on anthropological fieldwork among Jewish Israeli women and shares with her readers what many of us in the Third Party Family Building industry want all surrogates/carriers and their Intended Mothers to know: that being a Gestational Carrier has complex and varied emotions attached, not to the fetus but more likely to the intended mother and that, for the most part, the carrier is disassociated from the baby growing in her womb. Tamar, a surrogate, says it best "And that's why I say, I didn't just give birth to a baby, I gave birth to a mother." Shlomit, an Intended Mother also states, "I always say, my mother gave birth to me the first time, she gave me life. But my surrogate gave me life a second time."   

Birthing a Mother is divided into four unique parts: Dividing, Connecting, Separating, and Redefining. The entire work here is brilliant and, as a past Gestational Carrier myself, I can relate to the many stories shared within each part quite easily. A reference of "a child through the mail" caught my attention and I thought about my first Intended Mother who, because of distance, was not a 'partner' in the pregnancy the way that she might have wanted. Perhaps she thought of her twins as mail order until I flew down to her so she could take part in the last few weeks of the pregnancy.   

I am sure that Intended Parents will see their thoughts and fears reflected in Birthing a Mother The Surrogate Body and the Pregnant Self and be able to use this information learned to understand their own intimate relationship with their Gestational Carrier.

Mom and Dad and The Journey They Had! Written by Molly Rose Siobhan Summer and presented by Guess Who? Multimedia and Pacific Fertility Center Los Angeles

I had the wonderful privilege to review Mom and Dad and The Journey They Had! Written by Molly Rose Siobhan Summer and presented by Guess Who? Multimedia and Pacific Fertility Center: I really didn't know what to expect as the story begins with a 'traditional' family preparing to add child number two. They sing and dance all the while getting ready for their very special delivery. Near the end of this story, which starts out focusing on the importance of preparing to bring a baby home, Mom and Dad sit down with the soon to be 'big brother' and tell him about the problems they had conceiving him. In a very matter of fact manner the parents share how they went to a doctor and found a young woman to donate her egg. The main focus of the conversation is how he was the one they had been waiting for all along. The message was so subtle that really all a child listening to this story hears is that "you were always wanted and always loved and we were waiting for YOU".

I highly recommend this very engaging and heartwarming musical to any family who used assisted reproduction (egg donation) to have a baby of their own.


Girlfriend to Girlfriend, A Fertility Companion by Kristen Magnacca

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read Girlfriend to Girlfriend after reviewing Love & Infertility: Survival Strategies for Balancing Infertility, Marriage and Life (2004) last year. Girlfriend to Girlfriend, A Fertility Companion by Kristen Magnacca was published in 2000 but the story and insights are still relevant today. Kristen shares her own infertility journey along with her frustrations and experiences and at the end of each chapter she shares tips that she learned along  the way. Some examples are learning to temper your optimism and remain hopeful, be your own advocate, having a fertility game plan, and nurturing yourself before during and after every procedure and surgery. Thoughout the entire book, Kristen tells you like it is and at the very end something magical happens, she is pregnant! And because she is pregnant, don't expect information on how to move past being childless and onto the land of acceptance. That just isn't part of this least not from a personal prospective.   

Kristen Magnacca, is an author, speaker and consultant who over the last decade has had a wide range of experiences with both individuals and organizations. Kristen has developed the reputation as a valued resource and an expert on helping companies, individuals and couples clarify what matters most to their success and then creating the plan of action for achievement.
Girlfriend to Girlfriend, A Fertility Companion by Kristen Magnacca is a great read especially if you feel the need for extra support  while you are going through your own treatments. Knowing someone who has actually walked the path of infertility and won while learning from that experience can be invaluable as well as inspiring and comforting.

If at First You Don't Conceive: A Complete Guide to Infertility from One of the Nation's Leading Clinics by Dr. William Schoolcraft, MD, HCLD

If at First You Don't Conceive: A Complete Guide to Infertility from One of the Nation's Leading Clinics by Dr. William Schoolcraft, MD, HCLD, released on March 16, 2010 and I had the pleasure of receiving an advanced copy and highly suggest that you order yours now!

There are two hundred and sixty five pages in If at First You Don't Conceive: A Complete Guide to Infertility from One of the Nation's Leading Clinics and each and everyone of them are worth reading. If you have just found out that you have a problem with fertility, this must be the first book you read. Not only does Dr. Schoolcraft talk about being your own best advocate he writes about the most common fertility challenges, the most common solutions for those challenges and covers the emotional challenges as well. I love the fact that he includes stories from his patient's which makes you feel connected to what this book is all about, validation, education, support and solutions.

If you are not familiar with Dr. WILLIAM SCHOOLCRAFT, MD, HCLD, he is a fertility specialist and researcher and is the director of the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, one of the most successful fertility clinics in the world. He lives in Colorado.

Making Babies: The Definitive Guide to Improving Your Fertility and Reproductive Health by Jason Jackson N.D.
Some books that come to me in the mail don't hold much of a surprise for me. They are just what they seem, at least if you judge the book by it's cover. Making Babies: The Definitive guide to improving Your Fertility and Reproductive Health by Jason Jackson N.D. certainly has a lot more to offer then I expected. To start, Jason Jackson runs a successful Natural Medicine practice from Brisbane, Australia. He has lectured and consulted extensively on numerous health topics throughout Australia and overseas. Mr Jackson specializes in reproductive health and infertility and is recognized as one of Australia's leading Naturopaths in this area and is an authority in the field of Clinical Nutrition and Herbal Medicine.
The introduction is what really captured my attention: "Over the thousands of years that humans have been able to reproduce, it has been only the last fifty years or so in the industrialized world, with its nutrient-depleted foods, genetically engineered agriculture, chemical processing, drugs, radiation and pollution, that we are now observing massive impacts on our ability to bear offspring, particularly in affluent Western societies." The last fifty years?
With chapters on Male and Female Reproductive Overviews, Preparing for Conception, Stress and Fertility, and yes, Medically Assisted Reproductive Technology (which is considered 'Plan C') I found that Jason Jackson was very adept at covering everything that one would need to know to do just that, Make Babies.
What I was really happy about were the detailed black and white photos depicting not only the human anatomy but also of fibroids, PCOS, IVF Procedure and quite a few more that add value to each chapter.
I recommend Making Babies The Definitive Guide to Improving Your Fertility and Reproductive Health by Jason Jackson N.D.  as a guide to your fertility wellness as well as a great infertility resource.
Standing in Two Places by Ashley Dyson
I just finished reading Standing in Two Places by Ashley Dyson and as always, wanted to share my honest thoughts with you. Although it's a 'thin' book, only 161 pages in length, it is thick with emotion as Ashley describes the circumstances that leads her to the Center for Surrogate Parenting and ultimately to her goal of having her 2nd child with the help of her surrogate mother, Norah.

Infertility is an individualized journey as is surrogacy. Each Intended Parent has their own coping mechanism and apparently Ashley has found hers in reading the likes of Erik H. Erikson (Identity: Youth and Crisis) and Betty Lifton (Journey of the Adopted Self) among several other books and she quotes them quite often amongst the 161 pages of her that to avoid going to deeply into the relationship she has with Norah? Because there isn't much regarding the actual surrogacy relationship. (Ashley does recount her feelings on the paper work she receives from the surrogacy agency on how to treat her surrogate and frankly seems a little "put off" on page 108)

I believe that Intended Mothers/Parents who are going through the surrogacy process will relate to many of the emotions that are shared within the pages of this memoir. However, for me, it seemed a bit superficial only because there were so many other manuscripts, articles, books, and quotes between the pages and no real exploration (that I was expecting to find) regarding the relationship between the surrogate mother, Norah, and Ashley.

This is about one woman's is far and away from any sort of "guide book". To complete and publish a book like this, about personal relationships, disappointments and hard decisions, has to be applauded. I recommend Standing in Two Places to those who want to take a peek into one woman's surrogacy journey, not to compare but to relate.
Budgeting for Infertility by Evelina Weidman Sterling and Angie Best-Boss
Especially important in our current financial crisis, Budgeting for Infertility is a timely and accurate depiction of what it takes to pay for Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) to complete a family. I found this book not only assists with budgeting but also educating Intended Parents on all aspects of ART including treatment terms, how to choose a clinic, finding affordable fertility medications, understanding the financial options and even exploring adoption. I especially liked reading the comments from Intended Parents who know first hand what it's like to travel down the road of infertility treatments. I highly recommend this book for anyone starting out, or even in the middle of their own personal infertility journey. Well worth buying and passing along. 

Having a baby can be one of the most wonderful times of your life -- but if you need help to conceive, it can swiftly become a staggeringly expensive undertaking. With the average cost of infertility treatments ranging from $35,000 to $85,000 in the United States (most of which is not covered by insurance companies), many women and couples find themselves having to make difficult choices about building their families.

Getting a grip on your finances is one of the few things you can do to regain control of this process. Infertility experts Evelina Weidman Sterling and Angie Best-Boss have created the ultimate guide to ensuring the most cost-effective care with the highest chances for success. With anecdotes, interviews, and advice from both doctors and patients, you can easily apply these specific money-saving strategies to your own unique situation.

Learn how to:
- Select a fertility clinic with a high rate of success
- Convince your insurance company to cover more of the costs
- Track down the most affordable fertility drugs
- Travel abroad for cheaper care or international surrogacy
- Avoid the scams and unnecessary expenses every step of the way

Personal and professional, Budgeting for Infertility is an invaluable resource that shows you how to pay for infertility treatment...and still have money in the bank for diapers and day care.

Love & Infertility: Survival Strategies for Balancing Infertility, Marriage and Life by Kristen Magnacca

Love & Infertility: Survival Strategies for Balancing Infertility, Marriage and Life by Kristen Magnacca  is a must read for those experiencing infertility and are also noticing the toll it has taken on marriage and relationships. Kristen offers tips on dealing with stresses caused by infertility and offers suggestions and practical techniques to help couples to become better communicators. She reminds each of us that we are not alone and that we need to celebrate each victory and take time for ourselves. Not to mention the most important fact of all, that a couple is already a family no matter if they have a child or not.   

Kristen Magnacca, is an author, speaker and consultant who over the last decade has had a wide range of experiences with both individuals and organizations. Kristen has developed the reputation as a valued resource and an expert on helping companies, individuals and couples clarify what matters most to their success and then creating the plan of action for achievement.

As a presenter, Kristen brings a unique message focused on distilling an extensive range of information into easy-to-use strategies. She speaks with candid insight and a well-developed sense of humor from her own personal life experiences.

In 2000, Kristen wrote "Girlfriend to Girlfriend: A Fertility Companion" followed in 2003 by "Love and Infertility: Survival Strategies for Balancing Infertility, Marriage and Life". Kristen has a passion for understanding the mind, body connection and has spent the last ten years investigating and learning about different mind/body enhancing modalities.

Daddy and Pop: By Guess Who? Multimedia and Pacific Fertility Center Los Angeles
"You have to have a Mom! How can you be born if you didn't have a Mom?" This a question that every child will need to answer at some point in their life if they have a Daddy and a Pop that make up their own loving family. With the Love Makes a Family Book Series, Daddy and Pop help their little girl, Jessie, answer those questions in a very matter of fact way.  She learns that her Daddy and Pop wanted her so much that they chose an Egg Donor and a Gestational Surrogate to bring her into the world and into their arms.
Because of my own experience carrying twins for a gay couple (using donor eggs), I can relate to the telling of this story. Books like Daddy and Pop are perfect for younger children and will help them understand how they arrived in the world and prepare them for the inevitable questions that they will face from their peers. I personally hope that books with positive massages like these would be read when they are as young as 2 or 3 so that they will not be taken by surprise like little Jessie was, a first grader, in this story.
Daddy and Pop is part of Guess Who? Multimedia's musical book series, celebrating families made possible by egg and sperm donation, surrogacy, and adoption.

One More Giraffe by Kim Noble

One More Giraffe by Kim Noble is such a sweet little book...and I do mean little...perfect for small hands and short for the easily distracted toddler. Nine pages, illustrated by Stephanie Gibson, bring home the struggles of two Giraffes who want to have their own family but no matter how hard they tried they just couldn't do it alone. Then a "lady giraffe" comes along and offers them a very special gift and from there, with the help of a kind doctor and a long wait, they have their family. 

This book introduces the simple concept of egg donation to the very young and opens the door to the telling their own story. I highly recommend any new parent via egg donation to have One More Giraffe by Kim Noble on their little ones book shelf.

Growing Up Black in White by Kevin D. Hofmann

I found Growing Up Black in White to be a fascinating portrayal of biracial adoption starting in the 1960's and beyond. This is one son's life story from the time he was born to a white mother and black father to a few months later becoming a part of a white family already populated with two boys and a girl. Kevin D. Hofmann is open about his past experiences and, with great candour, allows his readers to peek into his life as he navigates between the world of white and black. Being dark skinned, he may have 'fit' in better with some situations but he acknowledges that his white family also had to struggle with being 'the minority' for several years while they moved from Detroit neighbourhoods to new schools in search of work and opportunities that would benefit the entire family.

Although sometimes humorous, I found Growing Up Black in White more thought provoking and eye opening then anything else. Although Kevin's life story is squeezed into 168 pages, those who are considering biracial adoption or already have adopted would find his experiences worth pondering over and may even give invaluable insight regarding the raising of a child from another race.

I would like to point out that Kevin is now in his 40's and I would hope that some of the things that he and his family encountered in the 60's would now be less evident in our current society. Still, the story touches the reader and brings understanding to the nature of biracial adoption.

Delivering Hope: The Exraordinary Journey of a Surrogate Mom by Pamela MacPhee 

Delivering Hope: The Exraordinary Journey of a Surrogate Mom by Pamela MacPhee is truly inspiring. Although her story starts in 2000, little has changed within the surrogacy world especially for those carrying for their relatives. As Pam is telling her own story she is also sharing the very important steps needed to start and complete such a venture. She very candidly tells of her medical and psychological screenings, legal proceedings, the medications and embryo transfer as well as her relationship with her cousin and his wife plus other family and friends. Although not every woman who has ever experienced surrogacy has the same tale to tell, any reader will get an exceptional overview of all that surrogacy entails. Being a past Gestational Carrier myself (twice), I can honestly say that each surrogacy experience has it's own challenges and rewards!

Expecting 411, Baby 411 and Toddler 411 Books by Michele Hakakha, MD

Expecting 411, Baby 411 and Toddler 411 by Michele Hakakha, MD and Ari Brown, MD are wonderful books for the first time parent and for those with lots of experience! Not only are these books written by doctors they had an advisory board to help them and trust me, no detail is left out! These books are very well organized with sections and chapters and a clear question and answer format along with icons to indicate Helpful Hints, Red Flags, Old Wives Tales and Disturbing Material Ahead to name a few. The Baby 411 and Toddler 411 books have Insider Secrets and Feedback from the Real World. I highly recommend this entire set! 

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