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Sing You Home
a blog by Infertile Naomi, April 20, 2011
“One of the hidden costs of a courtroom trial is the amount of time that your real life is entirely interrupted by something you’d much rather keep secret. Maybe you’re a little ashamed; maybe you just don’t think it’s anyone’s business. You have to take personal time off work; you have to assume that everything else is on hold and this takes precedence. In this, a lawsuit is not much different than in vitro.” – Sing You Home
I recently read the new book, Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult. Since Picoult is one of my favorite authors, I was excited to read her book, but especially intrigued when I heard it also discussed infertility.
Sing You Home is a story about love, marriage and the desire to be parents. Zoe and Max are a married couple who have spent years trying to get pregnant. After exhausting in vitro fertilization (IVF) and experiencing miscarriage, the couple divorces and tries to move on with their separate lives until a court battle over their frozen embryos brings them back together. (After doing IVF, the couple froze their remaining embryos, but later decided that they both desired to use them with separate partners).
As a woman who has experienced multiple IVF cycles — both fresh and frozen — I immediately questioned why this couple had to battle this issue in court at all. Before my IVF procedure, my husband and I had to sign a stack of consent forms stating what would happen to any frozen embryos should we divorce, separate, die, etc. (a VERY romantic process, let me tell you). I had assumed these forms protected us. So what did I do? I Tweeted the author to clarify. She responded to me right away.
@InfertileNaomi , @jodipicoult Great new book! But couples would sign the embryo consent forms before treatment that would include in case of divorce. Right?
@jodipicoult, @InfertileNaomi You're right. But those consent forms do not always stand up as contracts in court.
I was surprised to learn this as our clinic’s consent forms were extremely detailed, and I thought we were protected (should my dear old husband wish to divorce me and use my eggs in a more fertile woman). But the story rang very true. Many seemingly strong marriages are tested and later destroyed by infertility. It is an extremely stressful period with many emotional and financial implications. Sing You Home is a well written and eerily accurate portrayal of the emotions and procedures of the IVF process — and how we all need a glimmer of hope and support to pull us through.