Childhood Has Never Been Tougher -- On Parents
If having kids is more fraught with complications than you expected, cheer up. As three new books show, you're normal.
By Anne Fisher, FORTUNE senior writer

(FORTUNE Magazine) - TRYING TO HAVE A BABY? About a million aspiring moms in the U.S. alone spend $3 billion or so each year in the murky (and unregulated) world of fertility treatments. In The Baby Business, Harvard professor Deborah Spar examines the economics of surrogacy, egg swapping, "designer babies," and stem-cell research. Spar is admirably thorough in this lucid look at the issues more and more parents face.

CHILD ATHLETES are feeling the heat. In Whose Game Is It, Anyway?, two Harvard sports-psychology professors and a former Olympic athlete argue that kids are under so much pressure that sports are just no fun anymore: 70% drop out by age 13. Unless we want to raise a nation of tater tots, we'd better lighten up, and the book outlines a three-part plan to help your kids enjoy the game at any age.

FOR MOTHERS who haven't worked in a while, Comeback Moms is loaded with practical tips from high-powered women who have dropped out then reentered the workforce. The authors--an attorney and a journalist--are refreshingly no-nonsense, and they brook no whining. Part-time work, for instance, may require "a transition period in which you're back to paying your dues." Their advice? "Don't be a princess." Top of page