Cover Image: INCONCEIVABLE

INCONCEIVABLE

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Member Reviews

I'm going to come back to edit my feedback on this book because the subject is very personal & difficult to talk about at the moment.
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It is deeply honest. And to be able to speak about this openly need more than just courage. There is so many things to learn and explore. Reading this makes me ponder a lil bit more extra than usual. Sure, life is a set of decision-making that turns into consequences one need to bear.
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INCONCEIVABLE: My Life-Altering, Eye-Opening Journey From Infertility to Motherhood by Alex Johnston
Publisher: Sutherland House
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Mind & Body, Parenting & Families

INCONCEIVABLE: My Life-Altering, Eye-Opening Journey From Infertility to Motherhood by Alex Johnston is an inspirational story of one woman's path to motherhood.

I struggled to read this more than I thought I would. I wanted to read this because I thought it would be informative and inspiring to me in my own journey to motherhood and it was....I just wasn't ready for it.

This book is well-written and is easy to read. But it can be very triggering.

I'm so grateful to Alex Johnston, Sutherland House, and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this ARC ebook in exchange for my honest review.
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This quick memoir details the emotional journey that the author went on with her husband to have children. They endured countless years of infertility, IUI, IVF, surrogates, miscarriages, and their first daughter being stillborn, on their quest to form their family. The story is both heartbreaking, yet filled with hope, as they preservere, while enduring some impossibly difficult challenges. I love the insight that the author provides and the light this book sheds on what infertility can look like.
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I couldn’t continue reading this as it was triggering all kind of feelings and thoughts. Sorry. But I do see the relevance of this book.
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Inconceivable is a memoir about the author's journey through infertility. Alex Johnston was in her 30's when she realized she would need some help having a child. She and her husband both really wanted to be parents so they started down the path of fertility treatments. They started with IUI and then moved onto IVF. When these didn't take, they started with surrogacy. They had the heartbreaking experience of their baby girl (carried by a surrogate) dying during labor resulting in a stillbirth. After consideration, they continued to pursue having a child via surrogacy.

This was definitely heartbreaking at times but it is important to get these stories out there. More and more, women are having to seek help to have babies and it is good to have books like these to show what can happen on this journey. We live in a time where there are many medical options to help a woman have a child, however, that doesn't mean that it is always an easy path.
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When Alex Johnson and her husband decided to start a family, they didn't envisage the problems that would stand in their way of becoming parents.
But when years passed without them creating the family they dreamed of, they had to face the facts and make difficult decisions.
 

This is the first memoir that I've read, and I have no idea how to rate it.
This book raises the important and very overlooked topic of infertility and having gone through similar problems although, on a much smaller scale, I could definitely relate. The book made me cry, and it made me smile.
But how can anyone put a rating on someones' harrowing story?
I'd love to leave it unrated, but for the benefit of NetGalley, I'd go for 4 stars.
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Content warnings: Full-term stillbirth, infertility’s effect on mental health, medical details re: fertility treatments

Inconceivable is Alex Johnston’s account of her journey through infertility, IVF, and surrogacy. Johnston openly shares the realities of every step of the process – medical procedures, information and misinformation, societal prejudices and pressures, and the emotional toll of all of these factors – and brings the reader along in the telling with a conversational and warm tone. In telling her story, Johnston advocates for awareness, better access to up-to-date evidence-based fertility education, and accessible and affordable assisted reproductive health benefits.

This is a timely release – it hit shelves last Tuesday, May 4th – as April 18th-24th was National Infertility Awareness Week in Canada. Infertility is a complex and difficult subject, but if you’re aware of the statistics, it’s a shame that an experience this common is shrouded in misconception and uncomfortable silence. Approximately 1 in 4 have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth, or loss of an infant. Many suffer consecutive losses before seeking medical assistance. 1 in 8 couples have experienced infertility (defined as not conceiving after a year of actively trying to conceive). Social media has given rise to more and more people sharing their stories, both in search of community and to educate others, but there’s still an educational barrier and a general unwillingness to engage the subject.

Personally I didn’t know much about reproductive health – beyond the standard contraception and STI info given in sex ed – until pregnant with our daughter, at 26 years old, from an amazing and informative OB-GYN. Access to evidence-based information is more important than ever as the average age for starting a family continues to rise – well into the late 20s and early 30s – given that infertility rates increase dramatically with age, while the success rates of assisted reproductive technologies inversely decline. Many only learn these statistics when faced with an infertility diagnosis.

One thing I appreciate about this memoir is the author’s honesty regarding her privilege and the hundreds of thousands of dollars invested into growing her family. There is an astronomical – and in many cases insurmountable – financial barrier for assisted reproductive technology; this memoir talks about the high costs of IVF and surrogacy, but also mentions how many other options, like adoption, are prohibitively expensive and complicated. Ontario provincial health benefits currently cover one round of IVF in a patient’s lifetime – but if you’ve ever looked into the average success rates per IVF round, multiple rounds are required on average for successful conception, with success rates dramatically decreasing with age. This barrier disproportionately shuts out anyone who requires medical assistance to grow their family – in this memoir’s case a heterosexual couple, but Johnston also frames this issue in relation to same-sex couples and anyone planning a pregnancy without a partner.

Johnston’s experience in government is also a unique asset: daughter of a former Governor General, with current and prior experience working in political and non-profit advocacy roles, she has a broad perspective that includes both personal experience and the realities of pushing for policy changes, even on widely popular issues with champions in politics. The takeaway is that it took a demographic shift in elected representatives, and the efforts of numerous passionate campaigners, many years to make small changes. The details are specific to Ontario but the story at the heart of the book is one that many people face – with different degrees of social and financial support.

I would have appreciated more attention to supporting facts – statistics, particulars of legislation changes including names and dates – but that’s personal preference, as my usual go-tos for nonfiction lean more toward investigative journalism and academia than memoir. Johnston includes a short list of citations at the end of the book, including enough general supporting info to back up her points, contextualize her personal story, and give a jumping-off point for anyone who wants to learn more.

Inconceivable is a quick and easy read in terms of length and author’s voice; its subject matter is difficult but shared with honesty and a solid understanding of the author’s personal story in its broader societal context. Johnston’s memoir is a valuable contribution to the conversation around fertility and assisted reproductive technology in Canada, published by Toronto-based nonfiction firm Sutherland House Books, with content addressing current fertility options and existing legislation in Ontario.
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Such a lovely book, though heartbreaking and honest. It was relatable, readable and informative.  One of the reviews I read said this book should be read by everyone, and I think that's true - it's a great way to understand infertility for those who have (luckily) not had that experience, and it's relatable to those of us who have. 

THank you to NetGalley and Sutherland House for the opportunity to review this book!
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Thank you NetGalley for the ARC of Inconceivable by Alex Johnston. This book stood out to me, as I'm currently going through secondary infertility after the loss of our second child to an ectopic pregnancy. Though I knew there was a possibility of triggers, I was willing to do my best, hoping there was also some "light at the end of the tunnel" moments.

Alex Johnston documents her struggles with getting pregnant, how much time and money she spent on IVF treatments, and her experiences through multiple tries at surrogacy (as in, someone else carrying for her). We have not tried IVF ourselves, but I do feel like I know a bit more about it after reading this memoir. 

I would recommend this book, honestly, to anyone. It really helps you look into the world of infertility, whether you live there or not.
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A powerful story about trying to conceive that puts the author through a lot. The journey spans years and at times seems to be heading towards conception but obstacles and life interferes.
The only thing I wanted more of is how this made Alex feel, as well as the relationship with her husband which seems to be gleamed over for the most part.

3.5 Stars
I received a free copy of this book via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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What an intense journey on the way to motherhood. It's always nice to be able to read about someone who has gone through what you've gone through or are going through. I found this book easy to read (in terms of the author's writing) and I kept wanting to read more. It's also humbling to read about someone who has gone through similar things but has had even more difficult circumstances.

I think this was a cathartic read for me as well as a story that shows their are multiple ways to accomplish some goals.
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While very readable, I did not find this book necessarily relatable. Infertility affect women of all socioeconomic backgrounds and it is hard to empathize with someone from a very privileged background who was financially able to explore all available options to create her family.
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Alex Johnston finds herself unable to conceive in her mid thirties. She undergoes multiple rounds of IVF without success and then she and her husband pursue surrogacy. Each step of the way Johnston and her husband are faced with heartbreak and terrible loss, but they never give up hope. We get a peek inside IVF and the toll it takes physically as well as financially. Johnston describes the surrogacy process and how complicated it is, not to mention expensive. I appreciated that she touches on the financial aspect of infertility and how she and her husband are so fortunate to be able to afford all of these treatments, while most couples cannot. Johnston lives in Canada and a lot of the details she discusses are specific to her home country and the health care system there. 

This memoir is short, but packs a punch. I commend Johnston for sharing her story with the world and opening up about her experiences, which must not have been easy to do. I recommend this book for those struggling with infertility or if you know someone who is.
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This is a must-read book for anyone who wants to gain a deep understanding of women's bodies, the medical industrial complex and family building. Unflinching in its honestly and vividly written, Johnston's book is outstanding.
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Inconceivable is the story of Alex Johnston's journey to become a mother. When Alex and her husband decided to have a baby, they were unable to conceive. Over several months and consultation with a fertility specialist they learned her chances of conceiving a baby were very slim. They turned to other options, including IVF and ultimately surrogacy. This is a hard story that is full of grief, loss, and even child death and tragedy. However, the author is a strong woman, and her humor and determination shine through.
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As someone who is currently going through infertility, this book hit home and gave me a realistic hope. Having hope while keeping the reality of the situation in the corner of your eye is why books like this are so important. I greatly appreciate the honesty of the author as I know sharing this kind of information can be hard, even taboo.
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Alex has a very personable way of pulling you into her story.  She is everyone's sister or friend and it's so easy to understand how medical misinformation at the beginning of journey could happen to any of us.  How she chose to deal with it and move forward is inspiring.  Her candid description of the surrogacy relationships and her determination to become a voice for those struggling with infertility comes across in this heartwarming story.  Many thanks to Sutherland House and NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book. as I have received a free copy.
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Inconceivable is one that is going in my list of memoirs that everyone should read. It is a heartbreaking yet hopeful, raw and honest account of the author’s infertility journey. 

One fact that stood out to me (and was repeated throughout the book) is that a woman’s fertility begins to decline by age 28. As a woman in her 30s who has been taking my sweet time to start a family, this is a fact I feel I should have known before now. 

When reading this book, not only was I emotionally invested in Alex’s journey to motherhood, but I was astounded by some of things I didn’t know about infertility and the different options toward parenthood. This book is a must read for any woman hoping to have children one day.

Thank you to NetGalley and Sutherland House Books for the advanced digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
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This memoir comes from the voice of a woman who has suffered amongst the most painful losses - pregnancy losses. This woman has incredible resilience and I’m left quite speechless by her intense journey and unfailing hope.

While I appreciate reading her experience, as someone who has experienced pregnancy loss myself, I have to say that her finances allowed her to go through so many treatments (something she does acknowledge) so it’s not an experience nor a voice that I can really identify with. It is, at the foundation, a book about hope and not giving up. 

It’s a nice memoir, but I didn’t read anything that grabbed my attention or kept me hooked on reading. Sometimes there was too much narrative, too much time spent on something insignificant, when her strength is what should have shone through.
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