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

  • Title: Cracked Open: Liberty, Fertility, and the Pursuit of High Tech Babies
  • Author:
  • Released: 2013-05-17
  • Language:
  • Pages: 198
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  • ISBN13:
  • ASIN: B00E257VH4

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Review 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... A must-read for any couple contemplating fertility treatments.
Kirkus Reviews
Odds are, everything you know about fertility in America is wrong. ­Between our culture s blind faith in technology, the media s compulsion to sensationalize, and a lot of magical thinking, an entire generation of women has plotted their futures based on false information about their reproductive options. Miriam Zoll does an enormous service by making public her quest to get pregnant but her memoir is more than a moving and honest personal story. As a professional human rights and health ­advocate, she is able to make sense of a confusing morass of studies, statistics, and practices with a scientific rigor that rises to watchdog ­journalism. May others follow in her stead.
Kate Bolick, Contributing Editor, The Atlantic
Cracked Open is a provocative look at what happens when feminism's promise of choice collides with the limitations of reproductive science. Miriam Zoll was confident that she could postpone pregnancy to pursue her career. But once she was ready to start a family she discovered that, despite technological advances and positive cultural support for older motherhood, fertility clinics couldn't deliver the miracle she was counting on. Her story is a powerful reminder that as long as biology can trump personal aspirations, American women, even in the 21st century, cannot fully control their lives.
Letty Cottin Pogrebin, co-founder, Ms. Magazine; co-founder, National Women s Political Caucus; author of How to be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick

Cracked Open tells the whole truth about the brave new world of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technologies) and this truth isn t nearly as rosy as we ve all been led to believe. I highly recommend this book to everyone truly concerned about the hearts and souls of humanity.
Christiane Northrup, M.D., Ob/Gyn physician; New York Times bestselling author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause


Creating a baby has gone from one of the most intimate acts and private decisions women make to a high tech industry involving dozens of actors with personal and public consequences rarely revealed. In a skillful melding of personal story and medical and policy facts, Miriam Zoll asks all the right questions about the ethics of assisted reproductive technology and the place baby making has in women's lives and identity.
Frances Kissling, president, Center for Health, Ethics and Social Policy; former president, Catholics for Choice

Cracked Open is a compelling narrative that speaks for a generation of women who, like the author, delayed parenthood only to find themselves immersed in the over-hyped world of America s Wild West of reproductive medicine. Miriam Zoll convincingly indicts many current practices in the IVF and egg donation industry, making her book a must read both for anyone contemplating fertility treatments, and for those who believe that reproductive medicine is badly in need of reform.
George J. Annas, professor of health law, bioethics & human rights, Boston University; author of The Rights of Patients --.

Cracked Open is both a touching love story and a riveting account of one couple s heartbreaking encounters with the virtually unregulated, non-transparent and profit-driven world of reproductive medicine. Although the failures of assisted reproductive technology are far more common than the successes, first-person accounts of the often-devastating consequences of entering this high-tech world remain all too rare. But finally, here is a writer with the courage to reveal the intensely personal drama of confronting infertility and medicine s inflated promises. The reader s heart will be cracked open, as were Zoll s and her husband s, as they learned what it means to be real parents. This memoir is a powerful 21st century saga that should serve as the catalyst for a long-overdue critical public dialogue on the health risks and social costs of the emergence of an industry based on creating human life for profit."
Diane Beeson, PhD, Alliance for Humane Biotechnology, professor emerita, Department of Sociology, California State University, East Bay

Miriam Zoll's book, Cracked Open, is a powerful, personal narrative that details the hidden side of reproductive technologies in the United States a country that, for the most part, steadfastly refuses to regulate its fertility industry, and thereby fails to protect the interests of women and men who use assisted reproductive technologies, and the children who are born from them.
Françoise Baylis, professor and Canada research chair in bioethics and philosophy, Dalhousie University; former member of the board of directors, Assisted Human Reproduction Canada, a federal oversight authority


Heart wrenching, raw and honest Miriam Zoll s thought-provoking memoir brings us onto the emotional frontlines of life in the fast lane of unregulated reproductive medicine in the United States. Cracked Open powerfully illustrates the need for more public debate on the ethics, as well as the psychological and medical safety issues, related to donors, donor-conceived children and their parents. It is time that the fertility industry stopped focusing solely on achieving pregnancy and more on helping families in the most ethical and safe manner possible.
Wendy Kramer, co-founder and director, Donor Sibling Registry; co-author of Finding Our Families: A-First-of-its-Kind-Book for Donor-Conceived People and Their Families


Miriam Zoll s insightful memoir strikes at the heart of American women s desires and choices, and their quest to find wholeness through work, motherhood or a balance of both. Cracked Open is another sobering reminder that for couples hoping to create a biological family, trying sooner rather than later is the healthier option. With honesty and humility, the author offers her own story as proof that in order to get what we want, we sometimes have to learn to hear what we might not want to.
Amy Richards, co-founder, Third Wave Foundation; author of Opting In: Having a Child without Losing Yourself

The joy of becoming a parent through assisted reproduction is widely and warmly appreciated. But until now we ve heard very little about those the majority in all age groups for whom high-tech fertility treatments fail. In Cracked Open, Miriam Zoll gives us an unblinking account of the emotional anguish, health complications, ethical quandaries and financial costs of her own journey into the fertility industry. Cracked Open is a wonderfully engaging memoir that also delivers vital insights into the consequences of our failure to adequately understand and regulate the business of assisted reproduction. It sits squarely in the powerful feminist tradition of revealing the political stakes of personal experience through sharing our most heartfelt stories. --Marcy Darnovsky, PhD, executive director, Center for Genetics and Society

"Cracked Open takes an unvarnished look at the netherworld of assisted reproduction and its sometimes joyous outcomes but, more often, its attendant agonies, failures and resulting emotional traumas. Revealing a labyrinth of unverifiable hucksterism, unregulated therapies and uninformed choices , Miriam Zoll courageously reveals her own battles with anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and points the way for women in similar circumstances to heal themselves. This book can help couples make informed decisions and should be mandatory reading for both women and men entering their reproductive years."

Alexander Sanger, Chair, International Planned Parenthood Council; former Goodwill Ambassador, United Nations Population Fund; Author, Beyond Choice: Reproductive Freedom in the 21st Century
Unlike most traumas which are single, horrific and devastating events infertility is chronic, silent, and often hidden from the public eye. In her well-written, passionate, and funny memoir, Miriam Zoll shows us how this mournful health condition with its invasive medical treatments erodes one s sense of confidence and purpose, and eats away at relationships. Cracked Open is a must read for people coping with infertility so they know they are not alone and also for their friends and family, who often don't understand the true traumatic nature of what their loved ones are experiencing.
Janet Jaffe, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, co-director, Center for Reproductive Psychology; co-author of Reproductive Trauma and Unsung Lullabies: Understanding and Coping with Infertility

Finally, a book that speaks to the experience of the majority of reproductive health consumers who gamble their hearts and pocketbooks on fertility treatments but don't always win the jackpot they think they will. By telling her own story with honesty and humor, Miriam Zoll provides comfort, support and warnings to millions of women and men around the world coping with infertility.
Naomi Cahn, the Harold H. Greene Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School; author of Test Tube Families: Why the Fertility Market Needs Legal Regulation and The New Kinship: Constructing Donor-Conceived Families

Told in a refreshingly honest and forthcoming way, Miriam Zoll's eloquent account of the conflict between her desire for motherhood and the ethical issues around reproductive technologies could not have arrived at a better time. In Cracked Open, Zoll leads us behind the scenes to slog through the personal and political ethics of creating human life in an unregulated marketplace, all the while dissecting through a critical lens how the reproductive industry markets its services to vulnerable women and men.
Rebecca Haimowitz amd Vaishali Sinha, co-directors/producers of the award-winning film Made in India, about the phenomenon of outsourcing surrogate mothers to India

Miriam Zoll has written a harrowing and moving account about her long ordeal in the maw of the unregulated U.S. infertility industry. Cracked Open is a love story set against a backdrop of the heartlessness of a cash-on-the-barrel-head medical trade that makes promises its technology infrequently keeps. Full of losses and spiritual insights, Zoll s book provides a sobering perspective not offered by brochures and baby-laden clinic websites. Anyone contemplating assisted reproduction owes it to themself to read Cracked Open first.
Gina Maranto, author Quest for Perfection: The Drive to Breed Better Human Beings

The world of assisted reproductive technologies is far more complex than it is often represented spanning significant ethical, commercial, legal, human rights and cultural lines. Cracked Open takes us on an import personal journey through this world --Jeremy Gruber, president, Council for Responsible Genetics

About the Author

Miriam Zoll is an award-winning writer and an international public health and reproductive rights advocate and educator. She is the founding co-producer of the Ms. Foundation for Women's annual Take Our Daughters (and Sons) To Work Day and a member of the board of Our Bodies Ourselves. In 2005 she was an MIT Research Fellow at the Center for International Studies where she focused on the intersection of gender inequity and poverty in HIV/AIDS-affected households in sub-Saharan Africa. Her writing has been published by the United Nations, The Earth Institute at Columbia University, The Royal Tropical Institute, the Christian Science Monitor and the Boston Globe, among other venues. A seasoned professional development trainer, she leads workshops and retreats for individuals and institutions in the United States and abroad.
Judy Norsigian is the executive director and co-founder of the internationally renowned Our Bodies Ourselves, a global women's and girls' health and human rights organization. She is an author and editor of the nine editions of Our Bodies, Ourselves, the organization's landmark book on women's health and sexuality.
Michele Goodwin is the Everett Fraser Professor in Law at the University of Minnesota and the author/editor of several books, including Black Markets: The Supply and Demand of Human Body Parts, Baby Markets, and Policing the Womb.

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