Kim Bergman has helped bring more than 1,700 babies into the world throughout her 30 years working in the assisted-reproduction field.
She and her wife Natalie, who celebrate their 36th anniversary this October, also have two daughters of their own, Abby and Jenna, who were both born through assisted reproduction.
Creating Strong families is Bergman's life's work and with her new book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction, she hopes to help welcome even more children into the world by empowering soon-to-be parents.
"This is a sort of guidebook on third-party assisted reproduction that also goes into personal anecdotes and the emotional side of things," Bergman told the Windy City Times while in Chicago visiting her daughter Abby, who graduates graduates from the University of Chicago with a master's degree in Social Science Research this month. "So I cover the logistics of third-party reproduction, what all the ingredients arelawyer, psychologist, insurance or surrogate donorand then the emotional side of this."
Bergman said the book's audience is anyone who's looking to have a child through third-party means, but LGBTQ people especially can benefit from reading, because assisted reproduction is the only path to parenthood besides adoption.
She said the book includes many anecdotes of same-sex couples who had babies through assisted reproduction and includes a chapter on who to talk to children about their birth story and family makeup.
"LGBTQ people have a lot more planning and extra steps to reach parenthood," Bergman said. "Because of that, many LGBTQ people feel they need to be even more ready, having dotted every "i" and crossed every "t" to make sure they've planned. It's an unfair burden because they just want to have kids."
Bergman said she hopes readers, both LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ, will not only receive all the necessary information to move forward with assisted reproduction, but will realize from the patient anecdotes and Bergman's own family that they can have the same.
"I hope readers at the end of the book breath a sigh of relief and feel like this is not only doable, but they can absolutely manage this process and go for it," Bergman said. "If I can help anyone move a little further along in the process and journey, that's what I want to do."
Kim Bergman's daughter, Abby Bergman, said she proud of her mom for creating the book and inspired by her mom's drive to have a positive impact in her field, individual families and the greater LGBTQ community.
Abby Bergman, who after graduating will start work at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, said she thinks of the most important parts of the book is the section on how to talk to children about their life story.
"My mom encourages people to bring their honestly when talking to kids about how they were created, which gives the kids and parents so much power in creating their story in a way that the kids can grow up feeling proud of their family," Abby Bergman said.
Abby Bergman said anytime she had a question about her birth, she got an age-appropriate answer. This knowledge helped her explain her family to other children who might not understand and feel proud about it, she said.
"There was never any big secret part of my identity, and that's what I think she brings to other people," Abby Bergman said. "She teaches parents how to be comfortable enough in themselves and not let the parents' fears of homophobia to olor how they talk about their kid's story."
Conari Press published Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction May 1. It can be purchased online at www.amazon.com/Your-Future-Family-Essential-Reproduction/dp/1573247464 .