Cracked Open: Liberty, Fertility and the Pursuit of High Tech Babies

Overview

A woman's battle with the billion-dollar baby business. Cracked Open is Miriam Zoll's eye-opening account of growing into womanhood with the simultaneous opportunities offered by the U.S. women's movement and new discoveries in reproductive technologies. Influenced by the pervasive media and cultural messages suggesting that science had finally eclipsed Mother Nature, Zoll postponed motherhood until the age of 40. When things don't progress as she had hoped, she enters a world of medical seduction and bioethical ...

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Cracked Open: Liberty, Fertility, and the Pursuit of High Tech Babies

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Overview

A woman's battle with the billion-dollar baby business. Cracked Open is Miriam Zoll's eye-opening account of growing into womanhood with the simultaneous opportunities offered by the U.S. women's movement and new discoveries in reproductive technologies. Influenced by the pervasive media and cultural messages suggesting that science had finally eclipsed Mother Nature, Zoll postponed motherhood until the age of 40. When things don't progress as she had hoped, she enters a world of medical seduction and bioethical quagmires. Desperate to conceive, she surrenders to unproven treatments and procedures only to learn that the odds of becoming a mother through reproductive technologies are far lower than she and her generation had been led to believe.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a finely honed narrative of her personal journey, from grandparents to fertility specialists "peddling hope," award-winning writer Zoll examines news stories of exceptions, women pregnant after fifty, and paints the faces behind real statistics. She, too, starts with the idea that she has "invincible eggs", as she takes readers on a winding, five year path of hormone injections, in vitro fertilization, donor eggs, and adoption. Speaking frankly of her depression and the debilitating strain her and husband Michael's quest for fertility put on their marriage, Zoll implicates her readers in the "push-me, pull-me". She states that she feels "reduced to own baby-making capacity," a common theme with other couples encountered in the book. Zoll has clearly done her research, both for the book and for her personal journey, but it's her craft not the statistics and study citations that make this a compelling narrative. "Hope," as Zoll states, "is a multi-billion dollar business." Over years, months, tens of thousands of dollars, multiple cities and houses, she joins the "Fertility Refugees" in an adoptive parenting class. The end, "rest assured", will bring "joy, chaos, and exhaustion." (June)
Library Journal
10/15/2013
Having a baby is something that most couples take for granted. Many women interested in pursuing career goals wait until they have established themselves at work before starting families, believing that high-tech fertility treatments give them that option. This frank memoir by writer, educator, and reproductive health and public policy advocate Zoll counters these assumptions. At the age of 40, she and her husband decided that they were ready for children. When they did not conceive, they began the journey through in vitro fertilization (IVF). Noting that this industry is largely unregulated and the physicians working in the clinics often make promises that cannot be delivered, Zoll adds that the chance of a woman in her 40s conceiving is low. Yet she and her husband persevered, supporting each other during the ordeal despite their lack of success, and eventually added to their family by adopting a son. VERDICT This valuable book providing truthful information for women considering IVF belongs in all public, health sciences, women's studies, and consumer-health collections.—Barbara Bibel, Oakland P.L.
Kirkus Reviews
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566569231
  • Publisher: Interlink Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/2013
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,497,095
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

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