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Dr. Richard Marrs' Fertility Book: America's Leading Fertility Expert Tells You Everything You Need to Know About Getting Pregnant


In clear, concise language, Dr. Marrs, a pioneer in assisted reproductive technologies who currently heads one of the world's most prominent clinical fertility institutes, provides everything you need to know about the medical, emotional, financial, and practical aspects of getting pregnant. Dr. Marrs also takes you beyond the medical. Having spent hundreds of thousands of hours treating infertile patients, he understands the important role psychological well-being plays in successful treatment. Coauthors Lisa ...
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In clear, concise language, Dr. Marrs, a pioneer in assisted reproductive technologies who currently heads one of the world's most prominent clinical fertility institutes, provides everything you need to know about the medical, emotional, financial, and practical aspects of getting pregnant. Dr. Marrs also takes you beyond the medical. Having spent hundreds of thousands of hours treating infertile patients, he understands the important role psychological well-being plays in successful treatment. Coauthors Lisa Friedman Bloch and Kathy Kirtland Silverman bring a firsthand knowledge of what it means for patients to cope with the sometimes devastating emotional issues that are commonly faced. This important book will also help you prepare for the financial aspects of treatment by comparing costs at various clinics throughout the country. And it gives you a look ahead at new technologies being tested for the future.

"...the only book you will ever need about infertility. Dr. Marrs and his colleagues have done a masterful job of weaving detailed technical passages with poignant personal accounts of the experiences of their parents."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
For those curious, confused or downright leery about alternative medicine, the open-minded, plainspoken Rosenfeld, (Doctor, What Should I Eat?) offers some sound information. After a brief explanation of placebos and some principles of quack detection, he considers over 30 alternative therapies, arranged alphabetically from acupuncture to reflexology. Rosenfeld treats each therapy seriously, yet with a touch of humor, providing a short history, an explanation of how the method is supposed to work, relevant scientific research on its effectiveness for various conditions and, in some cases, an address or phone number for further information. Each chapter ends with an evaluation of the therapy. Occasionally, these are less than helpful. On homeopathy, for instance, Rosenfeld simply advises: "decide for yourself." Nevertheless, when sufficient evidence for a definitive yes or no concerning a technique's efficacy does not exist, Rosenfeld generally offers a carefully considered opinion, and, mindful of the Hippocratic oath's dictum to "first do no harm," he consistently emphasizes safety. 13-city author tour. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Marrs, the head of the Institute for Fertility Research in California and editor of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (Blackwell Science, 1993), offers an up-to-date, no-nonsense look at infertility. Enhanced by detailed illustrations, his text reviews both causes and treatment. Marrs does not gloss over the pitfalls of treatment and the likelihood of a cure. In outlining the avenues to take, he discusses assisted reproductive technologies, including current embryology lab techniques. Thankfully, he does not limit his discussion of the emerging field of reproductive immunology to antiphospholipid antibodies, which is just one immune disorder, but broadly considers immunological problems, a topic not discussed in other infertility books. Emotional and financial issues are given equal weight (the unique contribution of coauthor and former patient Lisa Friedman Bloch). Handy glossaries are found at the end of each chapter, and vital resources (including infertility and adoption groups) are also listed. A necessary primer for any couple faced with infertility, this is essential for public libraries. (Index not seen).-Lisa A. Errico-Cox, Nassau Community Coll. Lib., Garden City, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385314367
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/1/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 506
  • Product dimensions: 6.47 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Marrs, M.D., was the second doctor in the United States to achieve the birth of a baby from in vitro fertilization; the birth of the first frozen-embryo baby in the country, as well as the world's first pregnancy using a combination of ZIFT and surrogate gestational carriers.  He founded and was the first president of the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology.  He was a member of the National Ethics Committee, which produced the first document in the United States on the morals and ethics of human reproduction.  And more recently he headed Advocates for Fertility Treatment, which lobbied both the White House and Congress to increase health insurance coverage so that all infertile couples would have the chance to have a child.  

Lisa Friedman Bloch and Kathy Kirtland Silverman are a television writing and producing team with numerous television movies to their credit.  Lisa Bloch, whose twins are now four years old, is also a former patient of Dr. Marrs'.

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Read an Excerpt


Most of my adult life has been devoted to researching and treating infertility. It has given me moments of great joy and wonder. In 1982 I experienced the incredible excitement of initiating one of the world's first "test-tube babies." This IVF procedure gave doctors a true physiologic window through which we could observe the basics of human reproduction. Only four years later I helped to create the United States' first pregnancy produced from a frozen embryo. These early miracles still leave me in awe, even after thousands of successful births. Yet as I look back over the past fifteen years, I also remember the many, many other infertile patients I've treated. I think of how I held their hands through their suffering and listened to their hopes and their frustrations. My wish is to re-create these miracles of life for everyone who longs to have a child. If you are infertile, I understand what you're going through, and I want to help.

While it's hard to see anything positive when you're in pain, the comforting news is that you're not alone. You're fortunate to be living in an era when infertility has come out of the closet. Every day patients walk into my office with their own versions of the same thought: "Suddenly it's everywhere--on television, in newspapers and magazines...Everyone knows someone who's having trouble conceiving." These patients are sharing in the new frankness about a problem that was hidden away during our parents' and grandparents' generations. Perhaps that's because there's exciting new technology to help us conquer it.

However open we may now be, infertility is still a heartrending problem: those of you whodesperately long for a baby are still hurting. As you live each day, there's no way to ignore your problem and your sense of deprivation. This book will be a source not only of information but of comfort. Here you will learn about the incredible advances being made every day in the field of infertility and come to understand the new hope they hold out for you. You'll be able to inform and reassure people who are close to you and care about you that there is hope. And most of all you will learn how to query experts in the field--by doing that, you will learn too. Having worked with infertility patients for nearly fifteen years, I know how knowledge can empower you when you feel hopeless and alone. You need to understand enough to become a partner in your own treatment instead of an "object of care." Every patient should be almost as knowledgeable as the physician who cares for them--the more knowledge, the less fear, and the more realistic hope they will have.

This is particularly important today because the cutting-edge technology that helps so many can also create confusion. It's becoming more and more difficult for patients to find accurate information and guidance. Over the years I've had the happiness of producing births for those who had all but given up hope. I've also had the pain and frustration of telling couples who came to me too late that their biological clocks had run out. They wasted precious months and years with ineffective treatment. Nothing is sadder for me. Patients are understandably angry when given such bad news. I would be too. That's why I have written this book. I want to make sure that you have all the information that's required to secure your best chance at success right now.

Ineffective treatment is not the only problem. The field of infertility is rife with old wives' tales and myths. Not long ago a patient named Mike grabbed me in the hall after I had finished scanning his wife. He showed me airline tickets and said, "I'm taking my wife to the Caribbean. Do you think it will solve our problem?" I told him to have a great time, but not to expect better results than if he stayed home. While it's true a vacation may relieve the stress that sometimes interferes with ovulation, it doesn't affect other aspects of fertility. Still, I encouraged Mike to skip a cycle of treatment and go on vacation. It could only help to bring enjoyment to his relationship. More often than not, infertile couples become so obsessed with getting pregnant that they lose any sense of the happiness they once had. This obsession can also affect their sex lives. Another patient confided to me that "since we're trying to get pregnant we're not having much sex. I save up my sperm for the big moment." I hear different variations of this thought in many of my initial consults. It's a widely held belief, but it's wrong. Your best chance of getting pregnant is with sperm that is ejaculated every 48 to 72 hours. After that, the quality may decline. As I said earlier, knowledge is key to your success.

Infertile people deserve a book they can trust in their time of need; as do the people who care about them, who have nowhere to turn for information. Even though I spend hours every day educating my patients, they invariably ask for something authoritative to read and consult later. They may have questions they don't think of when we are together, and sometimes there are things they aren't comfortable discussing out least not at first. I was always at a loss when asked to recommend a definitive reference book that would have all the answers. That's another reason my co-authors and I have written this book.

This work is complete in scope. It has always been my philosophy to treat the whole person, not just their clinical symptoms, to recognize the psychological and emotional problems created by infertility, not just the physical ones. In order to fully explore these issues, I have collaborated with a former patient and one of her close friends, each of them an informed and sensitive writer. They bring firsthand knowledge of the sometimes devastating emotional problems commonly faced in infertility. Together we examine every known cause of infertility in humans. We explore diagnosis, as well as conventional and unconventional approaches to treatment, which we supplement with factual data. We look at the effects of treatment on patients, and on their friends and family. We give you true stories as a basis of comparison for your own problems. And we call on a number of well-known psychologists, who contribute insights based on their professional experiences. The result? A book of unparalleled scope, and specific advice you'll be able to adapt to your own fertility situation.

Our book will help you to:

* Understand the true nature of your infertility problems.

* Consult appropriate sources to find the best doctor for your treatment.

* Prepare for the physical and psychological side effects of being infertile by hearing about the problems of real patients.

* Understand the impact treatment can have on you and your relationships.

* Separate the myths from the facts about evaluation and treatment.

* Anticipate the financial aspects of treatment.

* Learn how to survive your pain if you don't conceive.

Not all problems are alike. This book will satisfy different needs for different people. The index will help you quickly find answers to your specific questions; the table of contents summarizes topics that will be discussed in each chapter. User-friendly charts and illustrations appear throughout the book to aid you in analyzing your changing feelings and goals at various stages of treatment. And there's a glossary of terms to help you through the technical medical information, and a list of resources--groups that work in various aspects of infertility and adoption--for you to call on if you need even more detailed information in a specific area.

Our goal in writing this book is to enable you to understand the advances made in the area of human reproductive disorders in order to help you aggressively seek solutions to your problems. We also want you to gain a realistic understanding of the emotional baggage that often accompanies the disorder, and how to deal with it. And we want you to realize that the fertility field is constantly changing, giving new hope to those who are trying to conceive.

--Richard P. Marrs, M.D.
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Table of Contents

1 Why You're Longing for a Baby 1
2 A Woman's Role in Reproduction 11
3 A Man's Role in Reproduction 34
4 Infertility and Its Treatment - Are You Ready? 55
5 The Basic Workup 75
6 Problems with Ovulation 117
7 Cervical Problems 166
8 Tubal and Uterine Problems 187
9 Male Factor Problems and Solutions 233
10 Pelvic Factor Problems 256
11 Infertility and Miscarriage 279
12 Assisted Reproductive Technologies 302
13 Is Infertility Treatment Only for the Wealthy? 347
14 Infertility and Your Emotions 369
15 Controversies in Reproductive Medicine 450
16 The Future of Reproductive Technologies 463
General Glossary 475
Resources 489
Index 493
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