Category: fertility

We’re very excited to be introducing a new feature to our community today: the Featured Community Content Widget.
We’ve been working hard here at WEGO Health to create a series of widgets that feature high quality content created by Health Activists. Each widget focuses on a single topic and highlights user-generated content: summaries and direct links to the best discussions, blog posts, interviews, podcasts, and videos that are taking place across the web.
Take a look at our new Featured Fertility Community Content Widget:

To see more of the content featured in the widget, simply click that “more” button.
As you can see, some of the links and summaries featured by our editorial team are from the WEGO Health community. Most of this content, however, was created on – and still lives on – other sites.
Because our mission here at WEGO Health is all about empowering Health Activists (that’s you!) to help others, we link directly to your content in our Featured Community Content Widgets. Our goal is to make sure the great content you create gets exposed to as many people as possible.
We’ve tested this widget with members of the WEGO Health community and we’d like to take a minute to share some of their frequently asked questions (and the answers) with you:
How do I put this widget on my own site?
If you’d like to get regular updates about great content within your community, or share this widget with your blog readers or fellow community members, simply click on the “get widget” link at the bottom of the widget. From there, you’ll be able to copy the embed code, or begin the process of embedding the widget onto your dashboard, iGoogle, Blogger, or other widget-friendly sites.
How is content selected?
WEGO Health’s editorial team searches for the most helpful, interesting, Health Activist created content on the social web. This is an ongoing process, so if you’d like your content featured, or if you want to recommend content created by someone else, click on the “submit” link at the bottom of the widget to let us know!
Who owns the content in this widget?
The Health Activists who created it. WEGO Health believes very strongly that you own what you’ve created and we don’t want to infringe upon that.
How can I report an issue (eg. broken links, questionable content, etc.)?
Just send us an email describing the issue and we’ll look into it right away.
Why are there ads?
These ads pay for the widget to appear on many other websites and health social networks around the web – we’re putting advertiser dollars to work, guaranteeing greater visibility for your content.
Can I suggest a topic for a new widget?
Of course! We’ll be introducing more widgets in the months to come, but if there’s a widget you think would be very beneficial to your community—please don’t hesitate to let us know by leaving a comment, or sending us an email.
We hope you’re as excited about this new WEGO Health feature as we are!

Join us on Wednesday, November 4th for an exclusive, Health Activist-only event: “When to See a Reproductive Endocrinologist: 7 Key Factors“.

Our speaker, Dr. Glenn Schatmman of Cornell University, is one of the country’s leading reproductive endocrinologists.

Health Activist participants will gain:
  • Valuable insight to help women online to make informed decisions
  • In-depth medical updates – usually reserved for physicians – about the factors that all TTC women should consider
  • Exclusive direct access to Dr. Schattman during our live Q&A session
This event is free and made possible by one of WEGO Health’s sponsors.
We’ll be offering this one-hour webinar at four different times on Wednesday, November 4th: Noon, 4PM, 6PM and 9PM (please note: all times are Eastern Standard Time)
Earn $5 for RESOLVE:
WEGO Health is always looking to improve the quality of our Health Activist events. To help us incorporate your ideas and feedback into later programs, WEGO Health will invite all webinar attendees to participate in a brief follow-up survey.
For every attendee who completes this short survey, WEGO Health will make a $5 donation to RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. Your time helps us learn where we can improve and helps RESOLVE reach more families coping with infertility.
To receive your invite to this exclusive event, please complete this brief survey: Fertility Webinar Survey.

A member of the WEGO Health team will email you if you qualify for this event.
Please contact us at if you have any questions about attending “When to See a Reproductive Endocrinologist: 7 Key Factors”.

Here at WEGO Health we’re always looking for great new resources – sites we know our community members will find helpful and informative. So we’ve created a new series, “WEGO Health Loves”, to share some of our favorite sites for Health Activists.

Check back every week to see our latest crush. We hope you love them just as much as we do!

This Week on WEGO Health Loves: Stirrup Queens

During a recent podcast interview with Kelly Damron, author of the book Tiny Toes, we candidly discussed the challenges faced by women who are experiencing infertility. Specifically the need for information that is not always available in a society that may not be supportive or sympathetic to the conversation.

Enter Melissa (Mel) Ford of Stirrup Queens. Stirrup Queens has carved out a space full of life, information and support as well as the brutal, yet critical, honesty required by those of us who have experienced or are currently experiencing struggles with infertility. Mel’s passion and spirit is undeniable. It jumps off the site and makes challenging conversations with difficult topics open for discussion in a safe and nurturing way.

You don’t understand, so let me explain.

We thought we’d be able to have children and then we couldn’t.

It wasn’t a choice to enter into treatments/adoption/donor gametes; it wasn’t an option.

Having a child may feel like a choice to you, but it isn’t to us.

You and I will need to disagree on that, because you’ll never change our feelings about having a family be a need over a want.

Excerpt from A Stirrup Queen’s Manifesto

The site itself boasts an impressive array of resources and is perhaps one of the most comprehensive sources of infertility information. It covers a myriad of issues that impact women who are trying to conceive including the more heart wrenching topics of loss, disappointment and the ever-growing list of reproductive options available.

In addition to the website, you can find Stirrup Queens on Twitter (@stirrupqueen) – and an online community devoted to the conversation. The honesty of the community is striking and it’s impossible not to feel a connection with these women. Stirrup Queens is not only an impressive repository, but a safe place for women struggling with infertility to support one another through the journey. Thank you Stirrup Queens – many of us couldn’t do it without you!

Wait, wait! There’s more. Wondering what other sites we love?

Spotlight: Trish
Websites: Fertile Hope and Remarkable Robbie
Blogging for: 2 + years
Occupation: Network support, but currently a stay-at-home mom for the next year
Favorite food: “I could eat Mexican food everyday!”

Read full article

“Stick with it until you’ve exhausted your options. And if your journey doesn’t end with a biological child, don’t feel defeated. You’re a solider in the battle. You matter.”

What motivated you to start blogging about your fertility experiences?
I’ve always been one to write through the pain. As a teenager, I wrote angsty (awful!) poetry. Then as an adult, I tinkered with a journal here and there but nothing ever really stuck.

At age 30, I spent over a year in the process of trying to have a baby and also experienced my first miscarriage. I was hurting and felt like I really had nowhere to go with the dark thoughts that filled my head. My husband didn’t seem nearly as troubled by the jealousy and grief as I was. I needed a place to get it out.

When I started, I didn’t expect anyone to read. For a while, I didn’t tell anyone I knew (even online friends) about the blog. It was just for me. That changed later – but in the beginning, it was just a much-needed emotional release.

What was your motivation for getting and remaining involved with the online fertility community?
Getting involved was a gradual process. I made an online friend (on a message board that had nothing to do with babies or even health) who had been through some infertility testing and treatment and suffered a miscarriage. I’d gotten to know a little about fertility issues during her trials. Naturally, when my husband and I started trying to conceive, I asked her questions. As it became more apparent that we were having trouble, she referred me to a few communities – which became nothing short of an obsession.

After that, staying involved wasn’t a choice. Even after my son was born, I’d simply made too many friends to leave. Plus, my son was born extremely premature and those community members had rallied their support in spite of their own issues with getting and staying pregnant. They weren’t just a “community” anymore – they were my friends.

What additional encouragement and/or advice would you offer to those experiencing infertility?
I try to not offer too much advice because the usual “advice” is often nonsense (the blogging community often calls it “assvice” because it’s useless). During our struggles, I thought if I heard “just relax” one more time, I might turn to homicide.

As for encouragement, all I can offer is a view from the other side. It IS worth it. Our path was easier than some and harder than others. And our foray into parenthood hasn’t been an easy one by any means. (Our son was born 14 weeks early and spent his first 3 months of life in a hospital. He still suffers some medical issues.) But I can say with confidence that it is worth it.

I liked to think of infertility as the enemy – I personified it and refused to let it win. Sometimes that meant that I couldn’t take a break cycle when we probably needed one, but it’s also what kept me from giving up.

Stick with it until you’ve exhausted your options. And if your journey doesn’t end with a biological child, don’t feel defeated. You’re a solider in the battle. You matter.

What has been the most rewarding part of it all?
That one is easy – my son, Robbie.

Learn more about Trish

Who inspires you? Let us know who we should feature in our next Spotlight interview. Write us at

Spotlight: Rachel Gurevich
Websites: Fertility and
On the web: since 1999 (for since 2008)
Occupation: Writer
Favorite vacation spot: “My favorite vacation spot is a place you have probably never heard of – Tzipori Cottages in Israel. You get an entire cottage to yourself, it’s quiet, it’s beautiful. It has a loft, a small kitchen, a cozy bedroom, a Jacuzzi, a porch with a view… and in the morning, they bring your breakfast in a basket, with local cheese and breads and veggies and… oh my G-d. I love it there!!”

For full interview
Learn more about Rachel Gurevich

What motivated you to start writing about fertility?
I’ve always used writing as a way to express myself and help me cope with difficulties in my life. I write in an effort to use my experience, problems, and troubles to help others. For example: I had a traumatic childbirth when I gave birth to my first son. This led me to an interest in doulas (labor coaches). I went on to write two books on doulas. It was my way to sort of heal my own past, while helping others have better experiences.

My desire to use writing to heal myself and to help others is what led me to write about fertility. I’ve been trying to have a third child for six years now. I’ve gone through three miscarriages, lots of fertility testing and treatments, and plenty of failure too. I’ve looked into natural solutions and dealt with all the emotional blah that comes with infertility.

I know what it’s like to go through all this and feel like you’re totally alone in your feelings and experiences. There’s some information out there on infertility, but much of it is written from a removed, medical perspective. Or it’s written without any medical backing or with crazy promises (“Just do this, and you’ll get pregnant today!”). Some of the information is downright wrong or even dangerous. What I craved was a friendly, girl-friend-to-girl-friend voice that gave me the information I needed but was also firmly grounded in current medical research. That’s what I aim to offer in my writing on fertility.

What was your motivation for getting involved with the fertility conversation via
I feel is the perfect place to use as my platform to write on fertility. There’s a lot of great writing out there that isn’t found because the internet is so big. helps people find my articles and that’s a huge help. Plus, everything I write goes through medical screening, reviewed by a medical doctor. Though I’m not a doctor, I put a great deal of effort into making sure that I write medically accurate content. Having a medical professional review my writing helps me do just that. I also have a wonderful editor who reviews my writing so it’s not just medically accurate, but also presented clearly and typo-free.

What have been some of your favorite articles/posts?
Oh, don’t make me pick! I guess one would be an article I did on Seven Signs of Ovulation, mainly because it was fun to write and provides lots of information in one place. It’s one of my most popular pieces, too.

Another article that is new is a piece I wrote on coping with the two week wait. The two week wait is a crazy time. And I spent way too many years living in my head and missing out on life during two week waits. The whole anxiety over whether or not this will be the month – and what it will mean if it’s not – can take over your mind. When I wrote in this article, I wanted to share things I learned on my own over time and from my therapist – things that really help! I hope others can both read and use this advice. Infertility is hard enough, but letting it take over your life is just adding insult to injury.

What are some of the first tips/suggestions you offer to people who are in the initial stages of infertility diagnosis or are simply trying to conceive?
If you’re just starting to try and conceive, try to be patient. I hated to hear that in the beginning. But often those who worry that they aren’t pregnant after three months will achieve pregnancy in another three to six months. In school, we’re taught that we’ll get pregnant if we look at a boy – so when it takes more than once, we start to worry that something’s wrong. It’s actually normal to take up to six months of well-timed intercourse to get pregnant.

However, if you’ve been trying for a while, (a year, or six months if you’re over 35) don’t wait to see a doctor. There are many couples that go into denial, not wanting a doctor to say something is wrong. And I really understand that. I’ve been there. But if you wait, depending on what’s wrong, things can get worse. Plus, it may not be as bad as you imagine. I think some couples think, “Oh, but I don’t want to do IVF.” But only a small percentage of infertility cases are treated with IVF. Until you at least get tested and evaluated, you won’t know what the solution options are.

Another thing: make sure that you both get checked out! Infertility affects women and men but sometimes the man gets away without being tested. I know way too many couples who went through treatments for months, only to find out that male infertility was the problem that wasn’t being addressed. He should be tested right away, especially given how easy the test for male fertility is.

For full interview
Learn more about Rachel Gurevich

Let us know who we should feature in our next Spotlight Interview. Write us at

Blog: The Well Time Period
Blogging Since: 2003
Occupation: OB/GYN

What prompted you to start your blog?
Correcting mainstream-media misinformation about reproductive health issues, in particular contraception and menstrual management (my areas of interest) is was started it all.

Helping women make informed medical decisions, by disseminating complete and correct repro health information, debunking the noxious propaganda targeted at female patients of repro age, and combating the relentless politicization of women’s healthcare followed in short order .

To this day I remember, way back in ’03, coming across a deeply misinformed article-cum-propaganda piece about Seasonale in an online newspaper article and my reaction to it. The idea that, just because the topic is female reproductive health, it’s acceptable to throw science and accuracy out the window, and lie, cheat, and play political games with medical information, and, ultimately, patients’ lives was shocking to me. [Yes, it’s fair to say I had been living in a bubble.]

I just had to do something about it and I realized, slowly but surely, that blogging would be a most effective way to do just that. Reaching millions of people from all over, establishing a reference site, and the ability to educate 24/7 are invaluable tools.

How did you become interested in women’s health?
Professional bias, I guess.

What are the three questions people ask you most frequently? And what do you tell them?

  1. Practical questions about menstrual management, like what regimen to use, what pills to consider, side effects like breakthrough bleeding/spotting
  2. Medical analysis of various reproductive health legislation.
  3. Factchecking mainstreammedia articles.

What do you wish people would *stop* asking you?
Frankly, I never tire of repro health questions. The way I see it, the more accurate information you have, the better positioned you are to make a medical decision that’s best suited for your unique circumstances and needs. In this age of information (frequently, of questionable accuracy) overload and journalistic laxity it’s ever more important to insure women have access to reputable, practical resources.

Bottom line: Since I have the knowledge, I am best positioned to disseminate the information. Having people ask me questions and look to me for guidance is a privilege, not a chore.

Your site is really well organized and you track an impressive number of birth control and menstrual products. How do you keep track of all the research you post on your site?
Mostly by reading specialty journals (listed on my sidebar). They’re excellent resources; unfortunately they require a subscription and are heavy on “medspeak”. So what I try to do is to bridge the gap by presenting the information in a more accessible/practical format for my readers. (I’ve deliberately targeted my blog to laypeople.)

What birth control/menstrual management research has you most excited/encouraged right now?
A few things. First, the on-going research into developing better IUDs (like GyneFix, the frameless IUD), and efforts to educate the US public about using this excellent method of birth control (there’s even a Mirena TV ad!). I, like The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the specialty journals, just can’t say enough good things about the IUD. It is a very effective, safe, easy to use method, one that, unfortunately, is underutilized in this country. It’s very important that we do everything we can to educate the public about this method and encourage its use.

Second, better emergency contraception pill methods (like the one dose [10 mg] RU-486/mifepristone), with improved efficacy and side-effects profile (less nausea/vomiting, less disruption of the menstrual cycle).

Last, but not least, I’m also cautiously optimistic about research into microbicidal spermicides. Although there’ve been some setbacks, developing a contraceptive that could also broadly prevent STIs (sexually transmitted infections) would be a very beneficial step.

What are the biggest trends you see right now in the women’s health community?
One encouraging trend I’ve noticed is the increase integration of women’s health into the mainstream arena, combined with a move towards encouraging a more active role for women in managing their repro health-from direct-to-consumer ads about menstrual management and contraceptive methods, to companies like Goldman Sachs and drugstore chains like Duane Reade staring to offer in-house health care with a focus on women’s health, to the so-called contraceptive convenience movement (somewhat of a misnomer in my opinion, but that’s a discussion for another time).

Related to the above, I also see more of a willingness from the Ob/Gyn establishment to stand up for patients and go on the offensive. Clearly, when it’s acceptable public discourse to ponder what degree of trauma and/or mortality risk a female patient should present with before she may be allowed to receive medical care, and when laws have been passed in some states that 1) force physicians to subject women to unnecessary tests before they’re allowed to render care, and 2) ban women from suing physicians who lie to them and commit malpractice, the time to stay on the defensive and hope for the best has passed. (Oklahoma SB 1878)

I mean, when you have ACOG openly calling HHS Secretary Leavitt a liar and ABOG challenging him to produce some evidence, you know something’s afoot.

Granted, much remains to be done, and finding the right balance between the patients’ well-being and commercial and political/regulatory interests is a work in progress. (Hence, my blog!)

What is your favorite health-related website or resource?
I don’t have just one; I tend to aggregate, everything from Yahoo, AP, etc. health news feeds, to Medical News Today, emedicine, to ARHP‘s Contraception, to name but a few.

And speaking of resources, to give you an example of what lay people in search of medical information are up against, just today I caught Medical News Today doing something improper. They posted an article that’s nothing but a PR release from an interest group, without 1) making it clear that the source and the material are nothing but propaganda, and, most importantly, 2) informing their readers what the actual medical evidence is. \

How exactly are people without a medical background or those who aren’t up-to-date on the literature supposed to figure out that there even is a problem with the information, and, more importantly, know where to search for accurate data? Factor in that normal people have busy lives and that not everybody finds the minutia of medical data engrossing (imagine that!), and you begin to see the magnitude of the problem.

What has most surprised you about blogging?
If I had to distill it down to just a couple of things, first being exposed to the sheer amount of misinformation, often deliberate, that’s out there. For example, to this day, I continue to be shocked by the fact that politicians are allowed to lie about, and misrepresent, medical information on the record when enacting reproductive health legislation.

Where it not for blogging, I don’t think I could’ve fully realized what an uphill battle female patients of reproductive age face in getting proper medical care, and how dependent their health is, literally, on the kindness of assorted strangers.

Second, having the opportunity to expand my horizon and to meet and interact with so many great people.

From correcting errors on the NIH site, to learning about cephalopods on Pharyngula or reading about naval history on LGM (who knew that’s something I was even interested in?), to playing a role in protecting women in Virginia who miscarry from being considered criminals until politicians and the police decree that they are innocent, blogging has allowed me to learn something new every time I go online, and, most importantly, it’s allowed me to take an active role and have an impact. (You know, just like Mighty Mouse, who sees injustice and suffering far and wide and rushes to help, but with Ob/Gyn powers.)

What are you long-term goals regarding your blog?
Heh, just like any self-respecting blogger, world domination and untold riches through blogging!

Seriously now, the main goal of my blog has always been, and remains, to help female patients make their own medical decisions (in consultation with their Ob/Gyn and their loved ones, of course), and make the decisions best suited for their particular circumstances.

Any final thoughts?
These were very good questions and I appreciate that. It’s good, from time to time, to have to stop and reflect on why you’re putting all this time and effort into blogging. And speaking of motivation, just in case there was any doubt, and this disclaimer was needed. This blog is a personal undertaking; strictly my time and my money. I have no ties with or funding from any Pharma, HMO, politicians, interest groups, etc. whatsoever.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Ema!

Have a Health Activist you’d like to see interviewed? Leave a comment and let us know!

Primary blog: The Tales of Mama Bean
Secondary blog: Mommy Spice
How long have you been blogging? I’ve been blogging online for nine years, but I didn’t start this particular blog until my pregnancy in 2007.
Occupation Stay-at-home mom, part-time transcription editor.

What made you start blogging?
I began blogging on Open Diary nine years ago. I was 16 and wanted to vent out some teenage angst. I’ve always loved connecting with people online, because there’s a certain wall there that makes it easier to share personal or sensitive information about yourself. When I got pregnant, I really wanted to chronicle it for myself as well as share my experiences with others, so I started The Tales of Mama Bean.

What motivates you in your writing?
Currently, I am motivated to write for two reasons: so that I can log and remember important events related to my daughter’s development, and so I can get out my feelings on certain subjects. While I do love having an easily-accessible record of baby firsts, being able to just type out my thoughts or experiences uninterrupted is usually what drives me to write.

Who do you admire in the women’s health community?
Among many, many others: Toni Weschler, Ina May Gaskin, Martha Sears, and Kelly Bonyata of

How do you balance pharmaceutical treatments with complementary therapies?
I think it’s all about realizing that each one has its value, and that different things are going to work for different people. Two intelligent and reasonable people can read the exact same information on traditional medicine versus homeopathy, for example, and have completely opposing opinions on which would be better for them. As for me, I prefer to try gentler and more natural remedies first before turning to pharmaceuticals, but I definitely appreciate the advances made by the medical community.

What are the biggest trends you see around birth control? Child birth?
The biggest trend I see is that more women are researching options for themselves. We have easy, instant access to so much information today, and it’s so much easier to make an informed choice. Women can go online and read up about different birth control options, and instead of talking to their doctor without any prior knowledge, they can go into that appointment knowing what they want to try. Same with pregnancy and birth – more women can decide what, if any, prenatal testing they want to go through, and what they want available for pain relief, from active positions to water birth to an epidural. We have a chance to see what’s out there and talk to health care providers with a more informed perspective.

What is your favorite health-related website?
I’m a huge fan of, which has a ton of research-based information on breastfeeding. That’s the website I’ve consulted the most in the past year since my daughter was born. I love that despite getting misinformation on breastfeeding from otherwise awesome and competent medical professionals, I’ve had a good resource to turn to where I can find accurate and trustworthy information on my own.

What is your favorite health-related book?
I absolutely love Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. I love that Weschler promotes fertility awareness, as I think that kind of information is really eye-opening and empowering for women.

Is your writing/project therapeutic?
Most definitely. On those really stressful and frustrating days, my thoughts are a jumble in my head. Writing helps me organize all that mental clutter, and then I have a concrete visual representation of it, and that itself feels therapeutic. But what feels really good is reaching out to a community of people who care and understand. The support I’ve had from other people in the blogosphere has really helped me get through those trying times, and knowing that they’re there reading takes a load off my mind.

Who inspires you?
Leave a comment and let us know who you’d like to see featured in our next Spotlight Interview!

Spotlight: Toni Weschler
Author of the books: Taking Charge of Your Fertility and Cycle Savvy (The Smart Teen’s Guide to the Mysteries of Her Body)

How did you first become interested in reproductive health?
I spent my college years dealing with the physical ramifications, side effects and hassles of traditional birth control. In addition, I kept thinking that I was having monthly vaginal infections. It wasn’t until I happened upon a class on the Fertility Awareness Method when I was 27 years old that I realized that what I had perceived as recurring infections was, in fact, absolutely normal, healthy cervical fluid that my body produces every cycle when I am about to release an egg.

That class changed my life, even though I felt it arrived 10 years too late. It taught me how to observe my fertility signs for a scientifically-validated form of natural birth control. I vowed then and there that I would change other women’s live with this fundamental and empowering information that all women have a right to know. . .whether they want to avoid pregnancy, get pregnant, or simply take control of their gynecological health. So I got my masters in public health at UCLA, and the rest is history.

What made you decide to write your book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility?
For years, I taught seminars in Seattle on the Fertility Awareness Method. Inevitably, women would tell me that they were incredibly excited about all that they learned, but so many also mentioned that their excitement evolved into anger when they realized that this information should have been routinely taught in high school, or at a minimum, discussed by their OB/GYNs.

At a certain point, I could no longer ignore the hundreds of women who implored me to write a book to make this vital information available to more women than just the lucky few in Seattle who happened to attend my seminars!

What is the best feedback you’ve ever received?
Scores of women talk about the light bulb moment they experienced numerous times while beginning to chart their cycles. Confusing signs that at one time left them perplexed became edifying and welcome signs that only clarified what was happening in their bodies.

These are some of the themes that appear over and over throughout the thousands of letters from my readers as well as Internet postings about Taking Charge of Your Fertility:

The Bible
The Book
Invaluable resource

Changed my life
Worth its weight in gold

Read it cover to cover
Couldn’t put it down
Read the whole book in one night

Wish I had learned this fifteen years ago
Should be on every woman’s bookshelf
Should be taught in every high school
Best book I’ve ever read on women’s health
I’ve given this book to every woman I know
If I ever have a daughter . . .
I learned more from your book than from my doctor
I was initially excited, then angry that I was never taught this sooner

Tell us about your partnership with (the site and the software).
When Taking Charge was first released in 1995, I started receiving scores of calls from computer programmers who thought it would be fantastic to develop fertility software to accompany the book. But I vehemently resisted, because I felt that the beauty of women charting their cycles was that it didn’t require anything other than a thermometer, pencil and paper. Otherwise, all of their fertility signs were literally at their fingertips.

Also, I felt that it would be hypocritical of me to stress the simplicity of the method throughout the book if I then offered the option of using a computer to chart cycles! The turning point for me came when women editors at the website iVillage, where I wrote a monthly column, also suggested software. Of course, once again I said no, but they challenged me to reconsider because, as they said, “you stress choice throughout your book: choice on which signs you observe, choice on whether or not you abstain during your fertile phase for birth control, and choice of what barrier you choose if you do have sex during the fertile phase, to name just a few.” They felt that the choice of whether to use software or a pencil and paper should also be left to the woman. How could I argue with that logic? And thus, the relationship with Ovusoft was born.

Are you surprised by how vibrant the community is on www.ovusoft .com? What do you think makes it work?
I’m not the least bit surprised, because once women learn about the benefits of the Fertility Awareness Method for charting their cycles, they want to shout it from the rooftops and share it with every woman they meet. I think the reason the online community works so well is that there are a myriad of different types of charts women experience, and there’s nothing more comforting than being able to compare their experiences with other women. For example, some women have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), or recurring miscarriages, or hypothyroidism, or any number of conditions that would normally be confusing or even isolating if they weren’t able to share their charts with others who actually get it.

What made you decide to write your second book, Cycle Savvy (The Smart Teen’s Guide to the Mysteries of Her Body)?
The most common reaction I heard from my readers of TCOYF is: “Why were we not taught this incredible information as teenagers? It would have saved me endless years of panic, confusion, and low self-esteem.”

Quite frankly, though, I vowed that I would never write another book again after the incredibly arduous task of writing TCOYF. But after 10 years of letter upon letter imploring me to write a book for teens, I felt that I couldn’t ignore the beseeching any longer.

Clearly, I didn’t write the teen book for girls to take control of their fertility. God knows we don’t want them doing that at their age! But what I do want is for girls to grow up with a clear understanding of how their cycles work, since they affect every facet of their female being, from their self-esteem to their informed choices when they get older. And never again do I want a teenage girl growing up thinking that she’s dirty and in need of being scrubbed from the inside out. I want her to grow up with a sense of pride at how amazing her body truly is.

What are you long-term goals? Any big projects coming up?
To get Fertility Awareness taught routinely in all high school girls, with Cycle Savvy being the text of choice.

Who do you admire in the women’s health community at large?
Like probably every woman on the planet over a certain age, I was raised on Our Bodies, Ourselves, which back then was absolutely groundbreaking. And, of course, Christiane Northrup is phenomenal. I’m still trying to figure out where she stashes the extra hours in the day to do everything she does.

What areas of fertility research have you most excited right now?
The ability to freeze younger women’s eggs for fertilization when they are older and in a better place to become mothers.

What is your favorite health-related book?
Womancare, by Lynda Madaras and Jane Patterson. Interestingly enough, it’s no longer in print, but that book was written in a way that I really appreciated when I first became interested in women’s health.

Why do you feel this information is so vital for all women to know and share?
It is probably the most practical way that a woman can tell on a day to day basis what is going on in her body. Not only can she use it for the obvious benefits of either natural birth control or pregnancy achievement, but it can tell her when she should expect her period, as well as help her detect numerous other facts, including:
• potential vaginal infections vs. healthy cervical fluid
• troublesome breast lumps vs. normal fibrocystic breasts
• accurate due dates (in women with irregular cycles)

It empowers women with knowledge that they can use throughout the many phases of their reproductive lives, from teen years to menopause and all the years in between. In addition, virtually all women discover that it increases their self esteem and sense of control in other facets of their life, because it’s so enlightening.

Who inspires you?
Leave a comment and let us know who you’d like to see featured in our next Spotlight Interview!

Stirrup Queens is a fabulous resource for those dealing with infertility and pregnancy loss. Melissa, the writer, holds a weekly Q&A on Tuesdays called Barron Advice and she has a great site map. She covers everything from diagnosis, to surgery to meds – make sure to check it out.

The Well-Timed Period is devoted to contraception and family-planning options. Make sure to check out the right nav for resources on birth control methods, medblogs, and ob/gyn journals.

Although these sites are on different sides of the women’s health spectrum, both are well-organized and right on target. Check them out!