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CRACKED OPEN by Miriam Zoll


Liberty, Fertility and the Pursuit of High-Tech Babies

by Miriam Zoll

Pub Date: June 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-56656-923-1
Publisher: Interlink

A scathing attack on the fertility industry in the form of a memoir by a woman whose experience was marked by repeated disappointment and physical and emotional trauma.

Zoll, founding co-producer of the Ms. Foundation for Women’s annual Take Our Daughters (and Sons) to Work Day, married at age 35 and began to think about having a baby at age 40. The fertility industry, she asserts, sells hope to women like her who have chosen careers over parenthood. The author seeks to reveal what she sees as the deception practiced by this largely unregulated industry, whose inflated claims for the wonders of assisted reproductive technologies have led women to believe that they can delay childbearing past the normal fertile years. After four attempts at in vitro fertilization failed, doctors told her that she could try again with a new drug, go for a donor egg or adopt. After some debate, she and her husband chose the donor egg route, but many thousands of dollars later, that method, too, failed to produce a baby. At age 46, years after embarking on this venture, she became a mother through adoption. Zoll compares the emotional toll of her expensive roller-coaster ride with assisted reproductive technology to the five stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance—proposed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Blended into Zoll’s account of her personal experience with this high-tech world are family stories and stories of her on-again,off-again romance with the man who later became her devoted and supportive husband. Reinforcing her claims about the fertility industry are statistics about its rates of success, which, had she known them earlier, would have convinced her to “never have set foot in an IVF clinic.”

A must-read for any couple contemplating fertility treatments.