Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Misconception - By Shannon and Paul Morell A Review

Shannon and Paul Morell are the other couple in the switched IVF embryo incident. I blogged about the other couple in the situation here, here (a review of their book Inconceivable), here and here.I wanted to read the Morell's book Misconception, to get the other side of the story.

Other than problems with infertility, the Morell family couldn't be more different from the Savages.  Where as the Savages seemed to have an endless supply of time and financial resources to pursue their ART and IVF desires, the Morells are more struggling middle class.  The time, effort and cost for just one set of frozen embryos was going to be all that they could elect to do, and it was the limitations of these resources that made the transfer of their embryos into the wrong mother a desperate and devastating situation for them. When I initially heard about this fiasco I that it would be so nice for the genetic mother to just let the birth mother keep the baby. But now after reading both books, I understand why that would not have been a practical solution for either couple.

I felt Carolyn Savage  had been very hard on Shannon Morell in her book to the point of portraying her as being selfish and thoughtless.  On the other hand Shannon was very gracious towards the Savages and their predicament. The letter written by Shannon that so offended Carolyn Savage is reproduced in the book and reads as very genuine and kind to me. If any fault could be found it might be that Shannon treated Carolyn as a confidant and as another mother "in this together" with her.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Shannon Morell is not Catholic and her faith background doesn't seem to have any type of moral objections to ART or IVF. So it was a little stunning to have try to argue that surrogacy is biblical (a la Hagar,Bilhah and Zilpah. 

Later in the Appendix she argues for personhood from the moment of conception and uses examples from the bible to support that. I think there's a bit of a disconnect there from supporting life at the moment of conception, to freezing embryos but I appreciate their grappling with this issue when they didn't really have to. In fact, I'd say there is more grappling with theology in this book than in the Savage book, which is kind of surprising considering the Savage's had a fallout with their bishop over this very issue.

Overall this was a fast and pleasant read.   I found both Paul and Shannon to be likable writers. But as a side note I think between both books an Catholic/Christian  apologist would have no problem getting material to support argumentation  against IVF.



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