The IVF Journal Blog

The IVF Journal is Your Story, Here is a bit about mine.

My last post…everything you need to survive IVF in one place.

If you are wondering why this blog hasn’t been updated in some time it is because it was a launch blog for my book, The IVF Journal. The book was released on March 25th, 2014 and the goal of this blog was to share information about the book and about my personal story (which isn’t covered in the book). The IVF Journal is available on, Barnes & and thanks to Penguin Random House, just about everywhere books are sold.

The IVF Journal Front Cover

I encourage you to look around the blog by checking out the links below which provide a listing of posts that cover everything from prepping for IVF treatment to coping with insensitive strangers to dealing with the Two Week Wait and much, MUCH more.

Because this was a launch blog (and the book is well and launched) I won’t be making any more entries, but this blog will remain here in cyberspace so it can continue to help, comfort and inspire those considering or going through IVF treatment. (and of course so all my Pins won’t lead to a super annoying error page). I hope, in its pages, you will find information, hope, courage and solace – whatever it is that you need, in this moment.

Here are some quick links to help you find what you are looking for.
On Prepping for and Surviving IVF Treatment

Prepping for IVF: Prep Tips and A Sneak Peak at The IVF Journal 

Don’t Go It Alone (On Building a Support Network)

On sharing personal information and the Social Impact of IVF

Imagine (On How to Handle People Who Just Don’t Get It)

The Great Debate: To Share or Not Share the details of your IVF Cycle

Courage Doesn’t Always Roar (A must read for all infertility patients)

The Bulls-Eye Method (on how to sharing cycle details with your personal network)

Go Shout Go Whisper (on sharing your story / National Infertility Awareness Week)

On the Two Week Wait and Dealing with Results

Symptom Spotting

Negative Talk

A Little Love for the Two Week Wait

A Negative Result, Words of Comfort

On Why I wrote The IVF Journal (bits of my personal story & reasons I wrote the book)

Fast Forward

Blood, Sweat and Tears

Take What You Need

About the Book Launch, reviews, etc…

I’m Spilling the Beans (Table of Contents Preview)

It’s Today! (Official Book Launch)

Three Month Review!

Advice for IVF Patients

Hey Honey, Did I give You All Your Shots Today

So that is what you will find here in a nut shell. Before I go I want to say thank you. Thank you for an amazing book launch. Thank you for annoying my publisher by having the original print run sell out in just one week! Thank you for keeping The IVF Journal in the top 50 infertility books on Amazon for almost the entire last 6 months.
And many, many thanks for all your kind words and notes. It means more than you could ever know. Please continue to connect with me via email, Pinterest and Twitter. Hearing from readers is always the best part of my day.

With hope during your family building journey,

Stephanie Fry

Advice for IVF Patients

Since The IVF Journal was released in March I’ve done my fair share of interviews. My latest, by Keiko Zoll at The Infertility Voice is definitely one of my favorites.

The excerpt below includes some advice, from the interview and the book. Visit the following link to read the entire interview. While you are there make sure to look around Keiko’s site – it is truly an amazing resource for infertility patients.

advice for ivf patiets

From my interview with the Infertility Voice

» KZ: Now that you’ve successfully gone through IVF, what advice do you have for infertility patients still on their family building journeys? What advice do you have for folks considering IVF as an option for them?

SF: Get educated, get involved and get support. This may seem like basic stuff but the reality is that for the majority of patients, IVF is uncharted territory. We don’t learn about it in health class or from our mothers. It is usually unexpected and unplanned. It is really important to recognize and honor that.

» KZ: Can you give us a sneak peak at some of what we can expect from The IVF Journal?

SF: Below are a few the pieces of advice from the book that I think are important for patients going through any kind of infertility treatment. The book also includes more IVF-specific advice on everything from prepping for a cycle, to scheduling issues, preparing for results, dealing with the Two Week Wait and coping with multiple cycles or long term IVF treatment.

Here’s some advice to whet your whistle:

  • Understand Your Treatment. The unknown is scary. The feeling that you are in the dark about your treatment can add greatly to the stress of an IVF cycle. Instead of fixating on “what-ifs” and “maybes” in a worrisome, stressful way, you can choose to focus on your cycle in a positive, productive manner, by making an effort to understand your diagnosis, treatment, and all possible outcomes before you begin your cycle. Understanding the phases of your treatment demystifies the cycle process and boosts your confidence as you move through your cycle. Being prepared for all possible outcomes means that you will be ready to handle anything that comes your way—good or bad.
  • Do What Feels Right. As you go through IVF treatment you are likely to come across loads of different types of tips, advice, and complementary therapy options. As you encounter and consider these things, always remember that while there are plenty of experts out there, there is only one expert on you. Make sure you listen to your heart and your body throughout the entire process. Whether it is a new diet, a new mind- body technique, advice on how much you should exercise, or what vitamins to take, if something you are doing doesn’t feel right, honor that feeling. Know that while it may have worked great for someone else, that doesn’t mean it is right for you.
  • Don’t Plan – Prepare. Because there are so many variables in IVF, you simply will not be able to plan the exact timing, outcome, or experience of an IVF cycle—but you should always be prepared for one. The old adage of “hope for the best, plan for the worst, and expect the unexpected” will come in handy here. Your journey will be easier if you get comfortable with the fact that you can’t control what is going to happen during the cycle, as it is impossible to have everything figured out ahead of time. What you can control is how you prepare for a cycle. Arming yourself with facts, information, systems, options, and ideas before you get started allows you to better cope with any and all eventualities.
  • Anticipate Tough Moments. Before you start your cycle, have a discussion with your doctor, partner, or other important people in your life about the possible reactions to the process, medications, procedures, and stress. Not everyone will be adversely affected by these things, but it never hurts to recognize and anticipate your physical and emotional responses. The fact is that you may be a little (or a lot) exhausted, short-tempered, cranky, or on edge. If you discuss this possibility, as well as potential causes and solutions beforehand, a tense moment can be more easily diffused with a gentle reminder that you knew tough moments might occur and are just a reaction to stress, medications, and exhaustion—or a combination of all three!


The Bulls-Eye Method

During my first IVF cycle I lied a lot.

I lied to my friends, my family, my co-workers, my boss. I even lied to complete strangers.

What did I lie about?

Oh, you know, the usual…where I was going, what I was doing, why I was so tired. Why I was upset. I lied about my treatment, its length and details. I lied about small things and big things too.

(Side note/rant: Yes, I am ok with the fact that I lied. While I obviously don’t advocate lying in general, fertility treatment lies operate under a different set of rules. Treatment isn’t easy to go through and very hard to explain to those who don’t understand. The realities of going through a cycle, the possible loss, pain, confusion and the roller coaster emotions that go with it merit a free pass. It’s about survival, privacy and personal choice. And often, it is just way easier.)

Why did I lie?

For two reasons. First because I had no idea there would be so many ‘explainable’ moments and therefore didn’t have a plan. Having to explain absences at work, random crying jags, blood draw bandages, bruises on my thighs ( a lovely side effect during a summer cycle) and the like took me by surprise.

The second reason was because I was crazy emotional. On a good day, one of those days when I just knew that the cycle would work it was easy, even fun to share information. But on a bad day, a day when I got poor monitoring results or some other off-putting info, look out. Never mind sharing information, I could barely speak.

So, one day I would share some details of my cycle and another I would hedge. I would tell a friend or a co-worker I was headed to monitoring on Monday and on Wednesday I wasn’t willing (or able) to share the same info with the same person.

By the end of the cycle there was no way I could remember who I had divulged information to and on what level. So when someone asked about treatment or referred to my childless state (yes, they did!) I hemmed and hawed and skirted issues.  Too often I inadvertently divulged information I didn’t mean to or the opposite happened and I under-shared (or got caught in one of my lies) and then had to back pedal.

A tangled web, certainly.

Because of this I was on edge, trying to remember who I told what, what details I gave or what questions to expect. I avoided people, racked my hormonally cloudy brain and gave it all way to much thought. The tangled web took up too much of my precious energy.

By the time my second cycle started I figured out how to fix the problem.

I came up with what I call, The Bulls-Eye Method. Basically, a simple way to define, categorize my personal network that allowed me (and my husband) to figure out what  we were comfortable sharing with each group. For the outer rings I created ‘stock answers’  so I would be ready when I needed to ‘explain’ something or when unexpected (and expected) questions arose. This finally allowed me to stop the constant wondering, backtracking and (ineffective) lying.

If you aren’t familiar, a bull’s-eye is a circle. One circle which is surrounded by layers of concentric circles. It can be defined as an established point from which the position of an object can be referenced.

Here is what my Bulls-Eye and surrounding circles looked like. We (my husband and I) were the center circle and the outer circles became a simple way to categorize our personal network while keeping ourselves comfortably protected and at the center of things.



  • The Center Circle: My husband and myself, the only two people privy to everything. Every detail, emotion, plan, thought, tear, joyous moment, question and more. This was our sacred space, no one else in or out. Us, fighting together.
  • The Inner Circle: My immediate family and a few close friends. Privy to almost everything. They got dates, times, tests, results, you name it. These people knew me well enough to know that I wanted to control the conversations about my treatment. And while they were ‘in-the-know’ they did not call and ask questions, demand information or offer unsolicited advice. They were always there for me but never intrusive. For example, if I was headed to a monitoring appointment they knew it and would eventually hear how it went. Sometimes via cell to and from.
  • The Third Ring: Friends and Relatives. This group knew we were in treatment and knew some details but my hard and fast rule was no dates and no numbers.  “Yes we’re in a cycle, yes its going well and we’re hopeful (or sometimes not)”. Being vague about the whole thing allowed me to let people know our results when I was ready, not a moment sooner. To continue with the monitoring example, On the way to a monitoring appointment I was ‘Off to check in with my fertility clinic.” If they pressed, I went with ‘Just checking to make sure nothing has changed”.
  • The Outer Circle: Co-workers, neighbors, distant relatives, strangers just about anyone who knew we’d been married for over five years and would likely want kids. This is the requisite ‘we’re working on it’ group, or ‘oh yes definitely someday’. Followed by a swift change of subject! As for the monitoring example – it doesn’t apply, that would be way too much info for this group.

So go ahead and try it out. Make a list of your ‘circles’ and what you feel comfortable sharing with them. Come up with a few stock answers or lines to deliver to the outer rings and commit them to memory.

You can structure your bull’s-eye and circles any way you like with as many or as few circles as you are comfortable with and hopefully it will give you a quick way to field questions about your treatment without feeling like a deer in the head lights.


3 Month Review!

It has been three months since The IVF Journal was published and I am thrilled to let the reviews (patients and professionals) do the talking for me today. There are more reviews to come but here is a first look at what the readers and reviewers are saying. I’m so grateful and humbled by these and the emails I receive on a regular basis from readers who prefer to stay anonymous.

Two words: Thank you!

“I loved The IVF Journal. It is beautifully and sensitively written by someone who has been there; it is packed with ideas and suggestions on how to reduce stress prior to, during, and after an IVF cycle; and it is a much needed resource to all IVF patients.”
Alice D. Domar, Ph.D, Executive Director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health at Boston IVF, Associate Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Harvard Medical School, and author of Conquering Infertility

“It’s obvious that Stephanie has not only been through the process, but knows all too well what is required to navigate it successfully.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to keep their sanity.  It’s like having your very own intelligent, organized, and compassionate personal assistant through the entire IVF journey!”
Marc Sedaka, Author of What to Expect When Shes Not Expecting

“The IVF Journal was just what I (we) needed. It was a great guide for our IVF cycle- it was helpful detailing what to expect and suggesting diversions that I found helpful. The author did a nice job considering many issues. Thank you.” – Amazon reviewer

“The IVF Journal is a must have for anyone involved in the IVF process! It’s extremely well written, well organized, loving and thoughtful.” – Amazon reviewer

“If you are starting IVF treatment you need this book and if you have a failed cycle or two (like me) under your belt you really need it! It covers everything and the best part is that you can fill in every detail of your cycle as you go. Some of it you do fill out before but even if you already started your cycle you will be happy that you have it. My absolute favorite thing is the multiple cycle section, first time I have seen anything like this anywhere!” – Amazon reviewer

“My IVF Journal just arrived and I can’t wait to start using it for my cycle!! I have already been able to fill in so many details about my schedule, medications and clinic and feel totally ready to get started. I can’t believe how much I didn’t know about my clinic and my treatment. My insurance doesn’t cover IVF so the section on budgeting and tracking expenses is really helpful. Can’t wait to use the Mind and Body section too. It all looks great so far!” – Amazon reviewer

“My husband got me this book as a surprise before our IVF cycle and he even filled out all of the information that he could before he gave such a sweet gesture and I’m so glad that the book gave him a way to be more involved. He can’t go on appointments with me but, now I feel like he really gets its.” – Amazon reviewer

“My daughter has been a surrogate mother (all done IVF) and I told her about this book and we both agreed that it would have been so helpful for her five surrogate pregnancies for eight beautiful children for couples that could not have had children any other way. One of the hardest parts of all her experience was keeping track of everything she had to do to become a surrogate and all the daily little things like medication to keep track of and make sure nothing was forgotten. This book is a great idea for women using IVF to get pregnant.” – Good Reads Review


ivf journal results pic

If you would like to add a review you can do so at, Barnes & and If you prefer to keep your review private please feel free to email and thank you again!

Getting Organized for IVF

It is okay to admit that going through IVF is a big deal!

IVF is exciting, scary, complicated, challenging, expensive, and important. And just like any other major life event, this time of your life deserves to be, and will be, well served by a little extra attention, organization, and preparation.

If you have The IVF Journal you are well on your way to organizing your IVF treatment. You can use the book to organize and document every aspect of treatment: Clinic contacts, cycle schedules, finance and insurance,  medication instructions, IVF monitoring results, complementary therapies, support resources and more.

If not, you should still make an effort to get organized. The simple act of organization and preparation helps you to really understand the process which allows you to cycle with confidence and surety. A must for a smooth cycle.

To get organized start by creating a cycle management center. It can be a shoebox, a drawer, a binder or notebook, any place where you can keep all your infertility information and IVF documentation in one place. This way, when you need something you will know where to find it  or at the very least you will know where to start looking for it!

Gather up everything you have pertaining to your IVF treatment and infertility. Find out as much as you can about cycle logistics, appointments, locations, contact info, procedures, provider policies and the like. Include all of the information provided by your clinic, pharmacy and other practitioners like acupuncturists. Research your options for monitoring facilities, testing locations, pharmacies and complementary therapies.

Here is more on why to do this from The IVF Journal, Chapter 4 Your Medical Team: A New Kind of Village

“Having basic information at your fingertips (hours of operation, phone numbers, locations, and directions) means you don’t have to spend your precious mental energy searching for basics when you are in the middle of your cycle. It takes only a little bit of legwork to determine the closest, least expensive, least stressful options available to you, but this information is worth its weight in gold and can save you time, money, and headaches in the long run. It is equally as important to understand provider policies and procedures. Understanding the way your clinic, pharmacy, and other providers operate, communicate, and interact can help to eliminate surprises and minimize stress. When questions arise, you will know where to look for the answers, and if you can’t find them, you will know who to ask and how to reach them.”

Next work on financial information and documentation including any insurance policies, receipts, payment and fee schedules and bills. Finally add in any in any support related information such as pamphlets, non-profit organiza­tion info, websites or other infertility or IVF related information you have on hand.

And there you have it, a go-to spot. This will absolutely be a lifesaver when you need or want to find information quickly. Also, creating it is a great way to better understand your treatment.

If collecting the information feels overwhelming or uncomfortable write down your questions and concerns as you go so you can address them with your providers the next time you connect with them or get your partner involved by putting them in charge of organization. It is a great way to get them involved in the process!

Of course, it is impossible to have everything figured out in advance, but a little knowledge and go-to spot like a cycle management center or The IVF Journal goes a long way to helping you have a more positive treatment experience – no matter what the outcome.

how to get organized for IVF

A Negative Result, Words of Comfort

Below is a line from my book. I think of it often when I hear the impossible, heartbreaking news that unfortunately so many women have to share. It is too long to tweet so I am posting it here so I can share it with one of my twitter ladies today. I wish there was more to say but I hope the fact that I know how you feel – that I too have been there, in the depths of despair will provide some comfort. Finally, I want you to know that no matter what happens, eventually you will be ok.

“If you are facing a negative result, know that my heart is breaking for you. There are no words, no consolation, and nothing fair about a failed cycle, but please know that for most people, the pain of a negative result does ease with time, and you will not always feel like this.”

Sending love and strength, sharing tears from here to there.

sending strength

“Hey honey, did I give you all your shots today?”

I’ve been following Candace and Chris for some time. They have been through the infertility wringer and back again and through it all they have written a story that is uniquely their own. That is perhaps my favorite thing about them. Their blog, Our Misconception, is a his and hers take on what they have been through (including IVF and Surrogacy) and it is real, funny and inspiring. A tough combo to pull off well.

This week I am letting them do the posting for me. So definitely check out their latest post (intro and link below) which is a review of The IVF journal but also make sure to read a bit about their story – I promise you will be entertained and enlightened. And you may even win a copy of The IVF Journal!

From Candace and Chris’s Blog…”Let me know if you have asked this question before: “Hey honey, did I give you all your shots today?” If you have, chances are, you have gone through the rigors of IVF.  From stimulation to retrieval to implantation to the dreaded 2 week wait, you can easily get overwhelmed with all of the different medications, different time lines, and different things to worry about.  “If only there was a place to keep all of this stuff straight” the nervous couple says after leaving the IVF clinic with a box full of syringes and equally daunting list of instructions.  Well hypothetical couple, your wish is our command …read the whole post at



Imagine a world where only about 40% of weddings actually happened.

No really, imagine it…

Two people meet. They fall in love and make the life changing decision to marry. They are excited, enamored and ready. There is work to be done!

(Side note / rant: Sadly due to archaic and unfair laws that remain in much of the world many same sex couples don’t have to imagine this scenario. They live it. And, for the record, it is wholly and utterly unfair.)

So our imagined couple begins to plan for the big day. The pick a date, a location, they spend months, even years and thousands upon thousands of dollars on details both large and small. They shop and consider, daydream and prepare. They are fully invested and ready.

As the big day approaches family and friends begin celebrating. Why wouldn’t they? This is the way things work. Parties are thrown, gifts are given.

Finally their wedding day arrives. The bride and groom are excited and a bit nervous. They have completed all the necessary preparations, paid the venue, signed all documentation and they are packed for their honeymoon.

Family, friends and acquaintances gather and prepare to celebrate. The bride and groom stand together. Recite their vows, profess their love and exchange rings.

At that moment, just when they can’t wait one more second the officiant looks at them and says,

“Sorry, but this one didn’t take.”

“But you can keep trying. You just have to wait a few months, pay for, plan and go through everything again.”

bride screaming

I couldn’t find a bride and groom being whip lashed video so this will have to do.


Seriously, imagine this happening at the last wedding you attended.

Would there be outrage? You bet! Would society tolerate this? Heck no! What if this happened to your daughter, best friend or sister? What would you do if it happened to you? How would you feel?

This is the story I told and the questions I asked recently when I was trying (at first unsuccessfully) to explain what it feels like to battle infertility and go through a failed IVF cycle to a particularly ‘tough customer’. It worked, a jaw dropping aha moment was had.

So the next time someone isn’t really getting it – a failed cycle, a miscarriage, infertility in general. Try asking them to use their imagination and maybe it will help them understand. While everyone certainly can’t (and quite honestly, shouldn’t be able to) relate to infertility, most can relate to marriage.

Don’t forget to remind them that this isn’t even a fair comparison because weddings are actually fun! The planning is fun. Instead of drugs, syringes and side-effects there are parties and presents and vacations. Everyone knows about and is excited about your upcoming wedding. You are not isolated and no one feels uncomfortable talking about it. In fact, you spend many happy hours discussing it with your partner, your family, friends and often anyone else who will listen! You are congratulated and showered with gifts. Multiple times.

Having them imagine what it would feel like to be told sorry – this normal, expected everyday occurance can’t happen for you. Even when you have worked so hard, when it is the most important thing in the world to you and your partner, when you have done everything you are supposed to.

I think it hit home in the case of my ‘tough customer’ Maybe it will for yours too.

Don’t Go it Alone!

This week’s post is a guest post that I created for the wonderful folks at Circle and Bloom and is all about how and why I created a support network when I was going through IVF.

If you have read the book or have followed this blog you know that I am very careful to avoid generalizations for IVF patients. In fact, the entire premise of The IVF Journal is that every person and every situation is unique. However, there is one universal piece of advice I have for people going through IVF and Infertility treatment. Just one.

Don’t Go It Alone.

Finding support is something everyone going through infertility and IVF should do. So even if you think you don’t need any extra support please read and consider the following advice on how and why to build a support network.


Go shout! Go whisper…

I love National Infertility Awareness Week. For me it has become a time of renewal. A time when I can refill and refuel simply by being a part of something bigger than myself. Something bigger than my infertility.

I love how the infertility community comes together and works tirelessly, advocating, legislating, blogging, posting, planning and hosting events both on line and IRL. All in the name of helping others. All to create momentum and awareness which is vital to supporting and educating those who are struggling with infertility.

I love it because it is a time when women and men who are battling infertility can come out and share their stories, some for the first time. I love supporting them no matter how or why they do it – some shouting from the roof tops and some whispering quietly in a trusted friend’s ear.

I love that NIAW shows the world a community and individuals and organizations who are thoughtful, engaged and passionate about helping others. A community that is made up of patients, doctors, advocates, entrepreneurs, mothers, fathers, volunteers, writers, musicians, scientists, embryologists and much, much more.

All this diversity, all this momentum, all these creative people and engaging ideas have something in common. They are out there, sharing information, supporting each other and talking about infertility, in so many different ways.

And you can too.

If you are on the fence about whether or not to share your infertility journey this post, The Great Debate: To Share or not to Share IVF Details, may help you decide. If you are not ready to share your story please know that is OK too and I encourage you to read last weeks post, Courage Doesn’t Always Roar

If you are ready to publically share your struggle with infertility, National Infertility Awareness Week is a great time do it. Here’s why,

  1. NIAW gets national media attention. If you feel like your struggle is or might fall on deaf ears then this week is your best shot at having those you are sharing with hear about the struggle and disease of infertility from someone or place other than and in addition to you.
  2. does a great job of providing information and tools that you can share with family and friends that help to educate them about infertility – this is a great way to go if you want to share but can’t find the words.
  3. If you are a member of the infertility community (or not) the amazing energy that is produced on line and across the country this week is positively uplifting and catchy. If you can’t find an event in your area, go ahead and start one or simply follow along on social media and you are sure to be inspired by the sheer numbers and positivity of the community.

So go shout. Go whisper. Share your story with one person or the world.

courage step by step