Embryo Culture: Making Babies in the Twenty First Century
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“Injections + Appointments + Egg Retrieval + Embryo Transfer = Resources (Energy x Time x Emotion)” That’s the equation that was projected onto the screen when Beth Kohl and her husband first showed up at the in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic. “Good evening,” the program’s psychologist told the gathered infertile couples. “Before you begin your treatment, you should know that this program is emotionally and psychologically stressful.”
And how. In this marvelously unconventional account of her struggles to bear children, Kohl leads the reader on an oh-so-up-close tour of fertilization in America, and the ways in which science and miracle, technology and faith, converge to create life in the twentyfirst century. Along the way, Kohl wrestles with a new world of medical ethics: Should she “selectively reduce” the number of embryos successfully implanted in the womb in order to prevent a potentially complicated pregnancy? How much genetic testing of fertilized eggs is too much? What is she supposed to do with the seven embryos left over from the IVF process? When Andrew Solomon wrote The Noonday Demon, he opened the world of depression to readers as no writer had done before. And when Stephen L. Carter wrote Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby, many readers were forced to completely rethink race and prejudice. Kohl’s spirited and rich exploration of “embryo culture” will completely revise how we see modern motherhood.