Just Relax: Shows About Infertility

Curated by Anna Almendrala and Simon Ganz, the co-hosts of IVFML

Anna is a former health reporter at HuffPost. Simon is a comedic screenwriter. Together, they hosted HuffPost’s IVFML podcast, which is about all the ways people create their families despite infertility. Here, they present a collection of podcasts about other families who plunge into the expensive, frustrating and emotional world of infertility treatments.

Hi! We’re Anna Almendrala and Simon Ganz. We’re a married couple who got really TMI in 2017 with a podcast called IVFML. Over the course of five episodes, we talked (and laughed, and cried) all about our infertility treatment, which included multiple surgeries, pregnancy losses, and — yes — IVF. The second season of the show, which dropped in the fall of 2018, turns the spotlight on other families who seek infertility treatments for a diversity of reasons.

Along the way, we were inspired by others who decided to share their stories on podcasts, too. We put them on this playlist because they brought so much warmth, humor, and authenticity to the infertility experience. They aren’t sappy, saccharine, or overly religious. Instead, they’re funny, sarcastic, and at times angry and frustrated, which was more in line with how we reacted to all the usual humiliations and indignities of infertility and IVF treatment.

View, follow, and listen to the whole collection of shows on RadioPublic, available on iPhone and Android.

IVFML

Ok, this is our own show. The first season is a five-episode mini-series following our infertility journey through diagnosis, multiple pregnancy losses, IVF, testicular surgery, and then finally… the birth of a podcast season. No spoilers! The second season expands to showcase more families as they navigate the world of insurance coverage and fertility clinics, while managing their own feelings of loss and fear. Not every episode has a typical “happy ending.”

Maculate Conception

Isaac and Abbe’s marriage makes you realize that no matter what happens with infertility, some couples are just lucky to have found each other in the first place. Their love is inspiring. The finale of this six-episode mini-series took my breath away, but you have to start at the beginning to appreciate it fully.

Matt and Doree’s Eggcellent Adventure

What’s special about this one is that Matt and Doree are chronicling their fertility journey in real time. There are more than 200 episodes at this point, and it can be a little intimidating to try to listen from the beginning, or plunge in randomly in the middle of their story. So here are our suggestions: Episode 41 is when Doree found out she had an unexpected uterine complication, Episode 56 is when they’re hit with loss, and episodes 91 and 98 are really great companion episodes about feeling both really negative about their experience, as well as finding a new reason to hope.

The Wait

After The Baltimore Sun reporter Yvonne Wenger finds out that she is infertile, and that only very expensive medical treatments might give her a shot at conceiving, she and her husband plunge into the world of foster care and adoption. Their story, told in a five-episode mini-series, will be so helpful for so many families struggling with whether or not to pursue adoption. But more than anything, I wish that people who tell infertile families to “just adopt” could listen to this show to receive a much-deserved slap on the face via their earphones.

Spermcast

At the beginning of the first season, Molly is a single, 39-year-old comedic actress who realizes that it’s now or never when it comes to having children. So she launches a podcast to find a sperm donor from among her friends to help her conceive. My favorite episode is the fourth one, when she interviews her amazing parents about their loving marriage and large, happy family, and then wonders out loud why she wasn’t able to replicate it. This show is for people who want to laugh, hard, about how difficult it is to get pregnant.

Living Childfree With Erik and Melissa

Erik and Melissa have one of the most shocking and scary infertility stories we had ever heard. It isn’t often that you meet someone who almost died trying to have children. In the end, this couple decided to take a brave step and live childfree after infertility. Some people won’t be ready to listen right away, especially if they’re in the middle of treatments. But after lots of money, time, and effort spent trying to conceive, some will begin to realize that maybe parenthood isn’t in the cards. This show is for them. Start at Episode 3 if you want to hear their personal infertility story from start to finish.

The Longest Shortest Time

For us, this is the Holy Grail of parenting and family podcasts! The show’s creator Hillary Frank set the stage by interviewing families from all different walks of life, grappling with countless parenting situations. It’s a grab bag of hysterectomies, polyamorous parents, in-law drama, LGBT family making, infertility and IVF, childbirth, racism, and even a light smattering of politics. Now, the show is in host Andrea Silenzi’s hands, and the common thread that runs through it all is her compassion and light treatment of the subjects. You’ll be amazed at all the different ways people run their families.

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Want to create your own collection of shows that dovetails with your area of interest? Add shows to your Smart Folder on RadioPublic, then inform the Podcast Librarian of your collection: librarian@radiopublic.com.

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