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Book Review: The Two Week Wait

2 April 2012
Appeared 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

'The Two Week Wait' by Sarah Rayner

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.

25 March 2013 - by Gisela Lockie 
Every page of this slim volume (nice and short if you are already on information overload), is packed full of sound tips and advice that cut to the chase, from one who knows, both from personal experience and as an experienced fertility coach...
13 August 2012 - by Gisela Lockie 
I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that 'Having your baby through egg donation' could happily serve as an egg donation bible. It successfully brings together all the practical, physiological, psychological, social and ethical aspects of this particular form of family building....
30 April 2012 - by Dr Berenice Golding 
An illuminating insight into the experiences of those who have used IVF, Brigid Moss' 'IVF: An emotional companion' is both informative and easy-to-read. A combination of case studies, personal reflections and expert opinions from clinicians, academics, alternative therapists and counsellors support the issues discussed. Because of its accessible format, the book would be of interest to those considering IVF or indeed those further along in their treatment...
24 October 2011 - by Professor Dame Marilyn Strathern 
'How far should society go in encouraging people to donate their bodily material?' is the question at the heart of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics' report on the ethics of donation for medicine and research, which was published earlier this month...
22 September 2008 - by Dr Nataly Atalla 
The removal of anonymity in 2005 led to a reduction in the already-insufficient number of altruistic egg donors coming forward in the UK. This, combined with a strong trend towards parenthood at an older age, leads hundreds of British women to go abroad each year for treatment with donor eggs...
14 January 2008 - by Dr Rebecca Robey 
A UK fertility centre has launched a scheme to provide women with cut-price IVF treatment in return for donating some of their eggs to research. The 'egg-sharing' initiative is being offered by the Newcastle NHS Fertility Centre and the North-East England Stem Cell Institute (Nesci) and will...
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