If you are in the midst of IVF, looking to start IUI or feel the need to ask for help from the reproductive industry due to ‘unexplained infertility’, I would wholly recommend you read this book.
A Child Against All Odds is an accessible scientific look at the history, methods and numerous studies on in vitro fertilisation (IVF), IUI, ICSI, surrogacy and the science of making babies. Written and collated by a pioneer of reproductive science as we know it today, Prof. Robert Winston, this book enables the average reader to understand in more detail not only how these treatments work and are delivered, but the moral, ethical and economical justification for such treatments here in the UK.
It is UK based, but I would seriously consider borrowing or buying yourself a copy even if you’re not in the UK, simply because the scientific information and knowledge of the reproductive industry is so important to us as patients and customers to the business that is assisted reproduction.
Even as I race to finish my older, battered copy from 2006 (don’t worry, a newer updated version exists) I can find incredible tidbits of information for those considering or going through any kind of fertility treatment in the UK. Treat this like an encyclopedia, because it’s knowledge is vast and you may be put off a long, tedious read of the history of these treatments if you’re not specifically going through them.
Dip into the pages which are relevant to you, or, like me, find yourself fascinated by the anecdotes and religious debates noted within. The information it provides on proper diagnosis, the state of the industry in general, the HFEA and various treatments available with negligible or ambiguous results in the fields of reproductive medicine is eye-opening.
I am not a book reviewer, and probably won’t be great at giving any ‘star’ ratings for books or media in future, but am going to push you, right now, to acquire this book, somehow.
And if you really can’t focus on reading right now, have little time on your hands, or just aren’t a great reader, consider watching the accompanying series which was produced at the same time as this book, A Child Against All Odds on the BBC. I can’t find a copy myself, but I’m certain somewhere, somehow there will be clips or episodes on the web to find.
I am incredibly impressed by the amount of justification and scientific backing for the points Winston makes, along with stories and anecdotes of his time as a ‘fertility doctor’. There is warmth and emotion peppered throughout, encapsulated in a medicine and science first attitude, which I feel would help many of us to see the facts and figures and ignore the hype created by media frenzies, miracle stories and unproven ‘facts’.
If you do anything to help yourself, get this book. It will help you make your fertility choices!