Contrary to what you may have learned in your fifth grade “where babies come from” assembly, not all infants arrive to this world the same way! In fact, a little over 2%—or 86,146—infants born in America each year are welcomed by way of assisted reproductive technology (ART), such as IVF. Ali Prato is Mom to one of those babies. His name is Sonny, he’s now 8 years old, and he’s the inspiration behind Prato’s brand-new children’s book on IVF called Work of ART.  

This is hardly Prato’s first foray into sharing her fertility story. She launched the wildly popular Infertile AF podcast back in 2019 and, more recently, co-founded Fertility Rally, an online and IRL community for those dealing with infertility. But we at Happiest Baby were curious: Why a children’s book? To find out—and to learn more about secondary infertility and IVF—we sat down Prato and asked her.  

Happiest Baby: What’s your new book Work of ART about?
Ali Prato: Work of ART is my family’s true story, including my secondary infertility, my pregnancy losses, how much I love being a mom, and how Sonny was born through IVF. In short, it’s the story of an IVF kiddo the day he learns he is a “work of ART”—born via assisted reproductive technology.

HB: As a journalist, it makes sense that you wrote a book about IVF, but why a kids’ book?
AP: Actually, I set out to write a book about IVF for adults years ago, but all the publishers and agents told me, “The writing is great, but this won’t sell. We won’t make any money off this book.” I was blown away. I have always wanted to write a children’s book and I landed on the book title a few years ago. I loved that ART has the double meaning: It stands for assisted reproductive technology, but it also means that kids who are born through ART are literally works of art.

HB: What do you hope that children and families get out of Work of Art?
AP: My main thing was to normalize the conversation and let kids know that however they came into this world, they were wanted and are so, so loved. I see Work of ART as a jumping off point for families to talk about ART, IVF, and all the different ways that families can be created. It’s very palatable for kids—and I hope after reading it, they might ask their parents, “Can you explain that more?”

HB: Can we back up for a minute to hear a little bit about your fertility journey?
AP: Sure. Between Ever [my first born] and Sonny, I had several miscarriages. After the first, I was like, okay, this is pretty normal. A lot of my friends have had miscarriages. But then when I had the second, and third, and then the fourth, I was like, something is definitely wrong here. I had never heard of the term secondary infertility. This was around 2012 to 2015 and NO ONE was talking about secondary infertility. No one at my clinic even referred to it as that while I was going through it.

[Secondary infertility means you’ve already had one or more successful pregnancies but are having trouble getting pregnant again.]

HB: So, then you turned to IVF?
AP: I found a fertility doctor and was told I was “the perfect candidate” for IVF. I was 40 and had a healthy egg reserve. I had no idea about egg quality decreasing as you got older—that’s how clueless I was about my fertility and my own body! After that convo, I was ready to do IVF, but…we had no insurance coverage, and it’s insanely expensive. It took a while…but we finally decided on doing one round of IVF. And unbelievably, it stuck, and I was pregnant. Our son, Sonny, was born on December 11, 2015.

HB: You’ve called your fertility experience traumatizing. How did you get from that state of mind to where you are today with the Infertile AF podcast and new book about IVF?
AP: Infertility is trauma, no doubt about it. Miscarriage causes trauma, and not being able to have a baby when you want one more than anything in the world was absolutely the saddest, most depressing thing I have ever gone through. Even after Sonny was born, the trauma of everything remained. But I’m a journalist and I have always been a storyteller. I knew that I needed to talk about and share what I had been through. I was baffled that there weren’t more books, resources, and podcasts talking about this.

When I finally felt “healed” enough to share my story, I set out to write a book. But everyone told me it wouldn’t sell. I finally decided that instead of waiting for someone to “greenlight” my story, I’d start my own podcast. I launched Infertile AF in March 2019. Today, it’s the number one infertility podcast in the world, with more than 270 episodes—a different story each week—and more than 1.4 million global downloads. I’m very proud of it, and I don’t see it stopping any time soon.

HB: And then you co-founded the Fertility Rally!
AP: Yes! I co-founded Fertility Rally with another infertility warrior, Blair Nelson in 2020. It was during Covid lockdown, and we started out doing Zoom calls with women we had met via Instagram, to talk about our infertility journeys. We soon realized, as the calls got bigger and bigger, that there was a need for this. We kicked it off as an official membership community and today we have more than 400 members. We do five to six virtual support groups every week, IRL events, and more. Everyone is welcome, no matter what they’re going through.

HB: One last question: Did Sonny help at all with Work of ART?
AP: Yes! Sonny had a say in some of the illustrations and some of the details of the book, including the jersey he’s wearing, and how he is drinking PRIME [a beverage put out by popular YouTubers-turned-boxers/wrestlers] and lifting weights in our basement. When you read it, you know he really wants to have a future in the NBA. His hoop dreams are strong!

HB: Okay, I lied. One more! You started out as a music editor at Playboy and now you’re well known for your fertility journey. How do you feel about that?
AP:  I never imagined that I would end up in the fertility world. But it makes sense: What I’m doing through Infertile AF, Fertility Rally, and Work of ART is telling and sharing people’s stories. And at the core, that’s what I’ve always loved to do.

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