A stimulating, illuminating look at the booming baby-making business and the knotty questions it raises.



Washington Post Magazine feature writer Mundy examines the cultural impact of reproduction technologies through the stories of individual men and women and the people helping them create the babies they have been unable to conceive naturally.

The author puts the present status of assisted reproduction in perspective with a brief history of the science behind the new technologies and some revealing statistics about the number of people and dollars involved. While sperm banks have been around for decades, it was the discovery that eggs could be retrieved vaginally that sparked the rapid growth in fertility clinics. Childless wives and heterosexual women whose biological clocks are ticking are not the only clients seeking help at these centers. Demonstrating how the traditional family unit is being changed by reproductive technology, Mundy includes in her cast of characters a gay male couple who acquired twin daughters, using both an egg donor and a surrogate mother, and bisexual or lesbian women who turn to sperm banks to conceive their own babies, many of them having struck out with adoption agencies. Fertility is big business, generating three billion dollars in annual revenues, and it’s largely unregulated in America, the author notes. She identifies many medical and moral issues that must be addressed. The sharp rise in multiple births poses dangers to the health of both mother and babies. Donors’ rights to privacy can conflict with their progeny’s desire for information and/or a relationship. Hundreds of thousands of unused frozen embryos currently have an ambiguous legal status. Male IVF babies appear to have higher rates of physical defects. Many professionals are troubled by the use of reproduction technology to select a child’s sex.

A stimulating, illuminating look at the booming baby-making business and the knotty questions it raises.

Pub Date: April 24, 2007

ISBN: 1-4000-4428-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2007

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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