Tuesday, May 15, 2007

REVIEW: Waiting for Daisy by Peggy Orenstein

Subtitle: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, an Oscar, an Atomic Bomb, a Romantic Night, and One Woman's Quest to Become a Mother

I really like this book, if anything, that it supports the FertilityBitch theory that fun free sex is the way to go (and, scientifically, if you shut your ears to the artificial fertility treatment types and their so-called ticking biological clock, that's also what the numbers bear out**). I will note that in Asia, getting pregnant in our forties is considered to be pretty normal--it's believed that with good health practices, fertility doesn't automatically poop out at the stroke of 35 (and don't forget about the effect anxiety/stress has on fertility...).

Peggy Orenstein
(I've always enjoyed her pieces about young women in the NY Times) injects herself with unspeakable things that make her so hormonally craaaazy that "fertilizing intercourse" boils down to her yelling to her husband to hurry up and watch some porn (and in another room, by yourself, por favor), get it up, and just get it over with. Okay, are we pregnant yet?

Like the best "fertility" books (e.g. Julia Indichova's Inconceivable), this one is also a mediation on life and what it means to produce life (or not--so comprehensive is her SIX-YEAR experience, she even delves into adoption). Orenstein has the advantage of turning the reportorial eye on both the mundane and the profound (and the humorous) ranging from the Oscars to the scarily unregulated fertility industry.

And, may I spoil the ending? After all the IVF and stuff (including an expensive, awful, painful fiasco with donor eggs), and the skeevy, rippy-offy doctors who glibly fan false hopes, take her money, are unbothered by incompetence at both the medical and laboratorial level, and seem to truly not care about her psychic pain resulting from their broken promises, she and her hubby randomly get busy one night (i.e., the one time she is not obsessively checking her basal body temps), they have sex for the sake of sex...and the rest is history--Cute Baby! Amen!

** Apparently a majority of couples will get pregnant merely after having unprotected intercourse for 2 years (84% of couples within a year with regular intercourse and no contraception is another stat). The problem is, most doctors start crying "fertility problems!" at about 6 months, and you start falling (then hurling yourself) down the slippery slope of carcinogenic Clomid and hamster gonads and womb transplants before your know it.

Check out the info from the BBC here.