Over Christmas and in the early months of this year, I set my novel in progress aside to work on this collaboration. As you might expect, it’s a fascinating story, and the work caused me to dig deeply into in vitro fertilization–when is it right, when is it wrong, and what guidelines can a couple use to be sure they are honoring the God-given gift of life? Here’s the official blurb from Amazon.com:
Coming in May, 2010: MISCONCEPTION, by Paul and Shannon Morell with Angela Hunt
“Your embryos have been transferred into another woman.”
With those words, the journey began.Paul and Shannon Morell struggled through miscarriages and infertility, then finally experienced the joy of childbirth: twin girls, born in 2006. One of the girls was profoundly deaf, and her needs had to be met before the Morells could transfer the six remaining embryos. As they prepared to move ahead with their plans, their doctor called with devastating news: their six embryos, tiny lives suspended in time, had been thawed. According to the doctor, three embryos had been transferred to another woman . . . and she was pregnant. With more questions than answers, Paul and Shannon could only hope and pray for a miracle. This is their story.
Oddly enough, after first posting about this book several weeks ago, I’ve been bombarded with comments saying nasty things about this book, me, and the Morells . . . and I can’t imagine why. This is the Morell’s story, and they have a right to tell it. They hope that telling it will prevent mistakes like this one from happening in the future. The woman who gave birth and lovingly surrendered the child will, I’m sure, write her own book, and the Morells will forever be grateful to her. This book is a testimony to her courage and sacrifice, as well as being a warning about the risks inherent in technological advances. It is a positive, enlightening, uplifting book . . . and people should read it before commenting about it. To do otherwise is to be prejudiced and judgmental, no?
In any case, I’m happy to present the introduction to the book, which should clear up any misconceptions and prejudices. 🙂 Enjoy!
You can read the Associated Press article about the book’s release here.
There is probably nothing more private for a couple, more personal,
than making decisions about reproduction. At least that is how Paul
and I always felt. We have always been intensely private about such
matters. Even close family and dear friends were not privy to our
struggles with infertility or our decisions about turning to in vitro
fertilization, using our own eggs and sperm, to build our family.
Before September 2009, if you’d told us that we would reluctantly
be featured on national television and plastered across headlines as
the victims of a rare in vitro fertilization mistake, we would have
been horrified at the thought. Quite frankly, as our very personal
nightmare unfolded in the public eye, we were more than horrified.
We were shell-shocked, embarrassed, confused, and overwhelmed.
So why would two very private people expose their personal
health information to the public and write a book about how their
baby ended up inside another woman’s womb?
Because through our ordeal we have discovered so many misconceptions.
We have had to face misconceptions of our own about in vitro.
Though we believed we were well-informed before we proceeded,
we have learned much more about the ins and outs, processes and
complexities of in vitro that we never imagined.
We’ve become aware of misconceptions of other couples who,
in considering in vitro for themselves, are turning to our story with
questions and fears.
We have encountered misconceptions on the part of family and
friends—our own and those of other infertile couples—who care
and want to offer support and empathy, but find themselves confused
and reluctant to pry.
And finally, we find ourselves face-to-face with misconceptions
of the public, wanting to understand what happened—how and
why—and maybe most important, how such errors can be avoided
in the future. The scrutiny of the public is also driven by the highly
controversial questions of when life begins, when infertility treatments
and procedures cross the line of moral ethics, and when assisting
in conception becomes tampering with God’s divine will.
We are not theologians or medical ethicists. We are not setting ourselves
up as authorities on these issues. We are simply one couple
who wanted to build a family of our own, and whose story has become
a touchstone for all who are debating such topics. Our hope is
that in exposing our misconceptions, our questions, our discoveries,
and our experiences, our story will shed light on these critically important
We have witnessed how a single careless error can have life-
changing consequences. We have learned some important lessons
and gained valuable insights. And perhaps the most life-changing
benefit of all, we have realized that God was working behind the
scenes and continues to do so, bringing his plans to pass and answering
our prayers . . . even when we find it hard to accept what is
So, though we are not at all comfortable in the spotlight, since
we find ourselves here, we do not want our pain or experience to
be wasted or our joys and gratitude to go uncelebrated. It is our
hope and prayer that in telling our story many misconceptions can
be cleared away, leaving nothing but the truth.
–Paul and Shannon Morell