Reviewed by Vera Pereskokova
College sweethearts Carolyn and Sean Savage wanted nothing more than to have a big family. Their sons Drew and Ryan were born two years apart, but Carolyn’s health problems and the couple’s unexplained inability to conceive made it difficult to have more children. After more than a decade of trying, their daughter Mary Kate was born after a successful round of in vitro fertilization (IVF).
The Savages, devout Catholics, struggled with their decision to turn to IVF, since the Catholic Church is expressly against artificial conception. In the end, their desire for another child proved stronger, but they decided that they would give every embryo a chance at life.
Intent on using every embryo, Carolyn and Sean scheduled another implantation. Little did they know that that day would change their lives forever; Carolyn was implanted with another couple’s embryo and became pregnant.
Carolyn’s joy for her pregnancy quickly turned to despair when their doctor discovered the mistake. She had a choice: she could either abort the pregnancy or carry it to term and give the baby to its genetic parents, the Morells. Relying on their faith, Carolyn and Sean chose the difficult path and embarked on a heartbreaking path of spending nine months loving a child that would never be theirs.
I read several reviews of Inconceivable prior to starting the book that criticized Carolyn for the way she portrayed Shannon Morell, the genetic mother. Yes, Carolyn was not always kind in her discussions of Shannon, then again, I can’t imagine feeling different if I had to give the child I was carrying to another woman. Carolyn must have felt inconceivable despair (hence the name of the book) and she reacted the best way she could. If anything detracted from the story for me it was the heavy handed religious discussions, which I was often tempted to skip over.
Inconceivable is a tale of science gone wrong, and of one couple’s decision to do the right thing, no matter how difficult. Have the tissues ready, you’ll need them.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by HarperOne. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.