Compelling Tales of Infertility and Breastfeeding
How much thought have you given to the plight of infertile women who seek out an egg donor and then a gestational surrogate to carry their baby? Or how about to the oftentimes acrimonious, bitter battles mothers sometimes wage against one another over the issue of breastfeeding? Writers Jennifer Weiner and Joanna Weiss have been thinking a great deal about these subjects. Their new books, Then Came You and Milkshake cleverly and empathetically put these maternal powder-keg issues under the microscope.
I started off by reading Weiner’s Then Came You which I took with me on vacation. It didn’t take long for me to be drawn into and intrigued by the journeys of four very different women: A college-aged egg donor in need of money to help her addict father get treatment, a married mom of two who wanted to contribute to her family’s paltry income by being a surrogate, an infertile “trophy” wife from a modest and emotionally challenged background who desired a baby, and the adult daughter of said trophy wife’s husband.
A quick, compelling read, Weiner touched on the many angles and issues involved in donating/receiving eggs and of gestational surrogacy, not the least of which are the financial needs that often prompt women to volunteer to give away their eggs or carry someone else’s baby, along with the incumbent claims that the whole process exploits poor women. The women who eventually become egg donors and surrogates believe they’re doing something noble for another woman in need by helping to create life, but at the same time they’re trying to financially provide for their families by using their reproductive organs as a means to earn an income, something which, in Weiner’s book, put the marriage of the gestational carrier, Annie, in jeopardy as she was on the receiving end of ample moral and ethical criticism.