02 April 2012
ByAppeared in BioNews 651
The Two Week Wait
By Sarah Rayner
Published by Picador
ISBN-10: 0330544098, ISBN-13: 978-0330544092
Buy this book from Amazon UK
As I sit at my computer on this glorious Sunday morning to write this review, I suddenly realise the coincidence of the day: it is Mother's Day. Today of all days it seems very apt to be writing a review of Sarah Rayner's novel about two women and their quest to become mothers.
'The Two Week Wait' follows the lives of Lou and Cath and their respective journeys to have a child. They are very different people, at very different stages in their lives, but their desire to have a child binds their fates closely together.
Lou is a school counsellor and lives with her partner Sofia in Brighton. After a health scare, Lou realises that her biological clock is ticking and that she wants to become a mother. But her partner Sofia, being a lot younger than Lou, is not keen on the idea of having children. So Lou must ultimately choose between her relationship and motherhood. She chooses motherhood. But she cannot have a baby on her own.
Cath is a happily-married gallery worker, in her forties and living in Yorkshire. Having been given the all-clear after her cancer treatment, Cath is finally ready to broach the subject of having a child with her husband, Rich. However, part of her cancer treatment involved removing her ovaries, so she is unable to produce eggs of her own. But she is desperate to have a baby.
Both women turn to a fertility clinic in London in search of a solution. And it is here that their journeys become linked. Lou is unable to afford the IVF treatment she will need, so turns to egg-sharing as a way of subsidising her treatment. And Cath needs an egg donor in order to become pregnant.
What follows is a well researched and well thought-out story of the shared heartaches and battles that these women face on their journeys to motherhood. And how, even though they go through their journeys as two separate women and will never meet, they still feel a connection to the other: their 'mirror woman'.
The detail Rayner provides on the procedures the women go through, the agonising wait that they must endure and the rollercoaster of emotions that they encounter, leaves the reader very well informed on what might be involved in undergoing fertility treatment. Moreover, in providing a balanced overview of the topic, Rayner cleverly uses each character to reflect society's differing opinions on women's use of reproductive technology as an aid to having a baby. We read not only about the potential mothers' opinions, but also those of the potential fathers, the families and those opposed to the women's decisions. This is perhaps the great strength of the book. Rayner has not shied away from providing the reader with the different moral and ethical viewpoints of fertility treatment.
'The Two Week Wait' is both an educational and emotional read. Being in the 'chick-lit' genre, it serves well as a platform for informing a different type of audience on this area of technology. It includes detail of the emotional, financial and possible health implications that can be faced by those undergoing egg-sharing and IVF treatment. It might even change some people's assumptions on the topic. Furthermore, I think the issue of egg-sharing is one that is not as well documented as it could be, so I applaud Rayner for her insight into such a relatively unknown area of reproductive technology.
Buy The Two Week Wait from Amazon UK.