INCONCEIVABLE

My Life-Altering, Eye-Opening Journey From Infertility to Motherhood

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Pub Date 04 May 2021 | Archive Date 04 May 2021

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Description

Fifteen years ago, Alex Johnston and her husband decided it was time to start a family. As it turned out, that was the easy part. Like many women of her generation, she had left child-bearing until her thirties as she finished her education and established her career. She was stunned to learn that her fertility had already peaked and was in serious decline. What followed was a harrowing, sometimes heart-breaking journey, including infertility and IVF treatments, and multiple attempts at surrogacy. She refused to quit, even after losing her first child (carried by a surrogate), a tragedy that jeopardized her marriage and her mental health.

Inconceivable is a deeply personal story of one woman’s path to motherhood told with grace, compassion, humour, honesty and love. It is also a manifesto for change. As a lawyer and public policy expert, Alex was astonished to be on the receiving end of out-dated medical information and advice, and alarmed at the lack of institutional support for infertile women in the workplace and the health care system. Her book is intended to “pay her experience forward,” informing women of the realities of their fertility, helping them to avoid some of the pitfalls she faced, and shining a light on one of our most critical and least discussed social issues.

Fifteen years ago, Alex Johnston and her husband decided it was time to start a family. As it turned out, that was the easy part. Like many women of her generation, she had left child-bearing until...


A Note From the Publisher

About the Author: ALEX JOHNSTON is the CEO of 360 Concussion Care. Between 2012-2016 she ran the Canadian office of Catalyst Inc., a global non-profit advocating for the advancement of women in business. She has served as executive director of the policy team for Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and as a vice-president for Canada’s national broadcaster. She is on the board of Desjardins and co-chairs the board of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. She lives in Toronto with her husband and their three young children.

About the Author: ALEX JOHNSTON is the CEO of 360 Concussion Care. Between 2012-2016 she ran the Canadian office of Catalyst Inc., a global non-profit advocating for the advancement of women in...


Advance Praise

"Alex has a truly unbelievable story: this is a wild journey to motherhood, filled with hard-won insights into how society can help families struggling with infertility."

 -- Gillian Deacon, host of CBC's Here and Now

"When I started reading this book, I could not put it down. It is a gem. Sorrowful, deeply personal, heart-rendering, beautifully written, and with a happy ending. Alex deserves our deep gratitude for sharing this journey with so many, and for bringing greater awareness, understanding, and action to this important issue."

 -- Katie Taylor, Chair of the Board of Royal Bank of Canada 

"Raw and painful, well-informed and thoughtful, Inconceivable is a brilliant achievement. As couples choose to delay child-bearing into their thirties and beyond, we are finally starting to talk about the anguish of infertility. Alexandra Johnston explores the subject through both her personal experience and through its policy implications. The book is a valuable public service and a gripping memoir."

-- Charlotte Gray, author of The Promise of Canada: People and Ideas That Have Shaped Our Country 

"It is brave and selfless of Alex Johnston to write this honest, deeply informative, and engaging book. Her journey will resonate powerfully with those who have struggled to have children, but her story is equally compelling for anyone who wants to understand the profound impact of infertility on women and men today. It is especially important for business leaders to read this book and then ask themselves: What are we doing in our company to support our employees in building their families? What more can we do? Addressing these questions is an important corporate imperative."

  -- Norie Campbell, Group Head and General Counsel, TD Bank Group

"This book is an important call to women and aspiring parents. Alex takes us behind the curtain and reveals her jaw-dropping, heart-wrenching, yet uplifting story of her infertility journey and the path to becoming a parent. This book flips the current narrative of infertility and surrogacy; from one that is reactive, to one that urges women and aspiring parents to become more proactive. She pushes this topic to centre stage and reminds us to know the facts, know your body, make that doctor's appointment, ask tons of questions and take responsibility for your own parenting journey."

 -- Jamie Shea, CEO of Chef's Plate 

“Alex's story is both heart-warming and heart-breaking. It is a desperately needed warning tale about the challenges of modern family making. This book is an important read for everyone in the TTC (trying-to-conceive) community - aspiring parents, supportive friends and family, physicians and government policy-makers about the hurdles facing people in creating a family. Our advice to every young woman out there is to buy this book and to ask your doctor about fertility testing." 

-- Tara Wood, President of Conceivable Dreams & Carolynn Dube, Executive Director of Fertility Matters Canada 

"Alex has a truly unbelievable story: this is a wild journey to motherhood, filled with hard-won insights into how society can help families struggling with infertility."

 -- Gillian Deacon, host of...


Marketing Plan

- Publishing trade ARC/galley outreach (PW, Booklist, Kirkus, Foreword, LJ, Q&Q) and positioning for coverage in Spring 2021 trade previews

- PR campaign for features, excerpts, and round-ups with women’s interest print, online and talk shows media in the U.S. and Canada

- Leveraging author's professional affiliations in law, government, and public broadcasting, and vast network of professional women across Canada, for in-person and virtual book talk events

- NetGalley listing & category spotlight in Health, Mind & Body

- Pre-release ARC seeding with Canadian women’s interest/lifestyle and professional communities such as law, medicine, finance, marketing, and education

- Pre-order push and ongoing release promotion in Sutherland House Books newsletter and social media

- Publishing trade ARC/galley outreach (PW, Booklist, Kirkus, Foreword, LJ, Q&Q) and positioning for coverage in Spring 2021 trade previews

- PR campaign for features, excerpts, and round-ups with...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781989555392
PRICE $17.95 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

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Average rating from 29 members


Featured Reviews

Heartbreaking, emotional and informative, Inconceivable, the story of Alex Johnston’s tragic road to motherhood, is a must read for young women planning to have children. Alex, a lawyer, was 34 when she and her husband David decided to start a family. After months of trying, they consulted a fertility specialist and learned that she was premenopausal, her fertility had peaked when she was 28 and that her chance to have a baby was slim. With determination, she researched other options. After IVF failed, she turned to surrogacy, then not well known in Canada. The search for a surrogate, the excitement of the pregnancy and the thrill of labor end for Alex and David ended with the death of their daughter Sam minutes before she was born. This is shattering for Alex (and the reader). Alex and David will finally have children and complete their family. Alex Johnstone is a force of nature. I have children. I have no idea how she survived what she did. She writes beautifully and her sense of humor shines through. The description of her wild ride home from Green Bay with a newborn is laugh out loud funny. She also describes her frustration, anger and grief so well that you rage and cry along with her. She ends her story with an appeal to young women, advising them to have fertility counseling early so they can freeze eggs or start a family earlier than planned. She has worked tirelessly to change policies in Canada, including funding IVF. This is a 5 star read. Thank you to NetGalley, Sutherland House and Alex Johnston for this ARC.

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When Alex and her husband decide to start a family, they never would have imagined the challenges that they would soon face. In this memoir, Alex shares the trials and tribulations she faced in hopes to help another wishful mom-to-be. • Inconceivable centers around a husband and wife’s journey to parenthood. The author goes into grave detail about her failed fertility treatments, infant loss, surrogacy, and life after infertility. There were several times throughout this short but impactful memoir, that I felt my heart physically ache for this family and I ended up shedding more than a few tears before it was over with. So many women suffer quietly with infertility and I praise the author for sharing her harrowing story. I know it could not have been easy to share her family’s story with the world, but it was absolutely necessary. The author said this book is intended to “pay her experience forward,” informing women of the realities of their infertility, and it did exactly that. Thank you to Sutherland House, NetGalley, and the author, Alex Johnston, for the eARC. I will absolutely be purchasing a copy of this memoir when it releases in May. • Overall: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️(5)/5

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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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I’m fascinated with stories about the journeys women embark upon to become mothers. Johnston’s story is from a unique angle. After countless rounds of injections, IVFs, surrogates, and sorrow, Alex and her husband end up having 3 children within 15 months. They had two children with 2 separate surrogates and Alex gave birth as well. I don’t recall reading about a couple using two surrogates before so that angle was new to me. The author is Canadian so it was also interesting to read the differences between Canadian and American laws, costs, and procedures. Ultimately, women who seek motherhood speak the same language of love and longing, no matter how they get there.

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In her memoir, Alex Johnston details the harrowing journey through a long fertility process to finally reaching motherhood... in surprising ways! The author's honesty about her process and experiences offers a rare glimpse into the ups and downs of fertility treatments. It will be interesting reading for anyone going through their own fertility process or difficult pregnancy. The book is a short but informative read that should however be accompanied by a trigger warning that we will also encounter pregnancy loss at various stages. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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In "Inconceivable" Alex Johnston details the long, painful and arduous road she and her husband take in an effort to have a child. Alex finds herself unable to conceive at a fairly young age, in her mid-thirties, due to a decline in fertility that began at the shocking age of 28 years old. Thus begins their attempts to conceive via IVF and then surrogacy- a time in which they will withstand blow after heartbreaking blow. Ultimately Alex and her husband David go on to have a three child family- I will let you read the book for find out about that, but I sure didn't see it coming! This was an easy yet heartbreaking read, in that it was a fairly short but at times harrowing and intense book. That being said, it was devoid of dialogue - it was definitely the telling of her story but at times I felt distanced from it- and I wished I knew more about her children after their arrival, but then that isn't the point of the book, really.

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I can't stress enough the importance of this book. I am a healthcare worker that specializes in women's health and there was so much in this book that I wasn't aware of. The author does a fantastic job of immediately addressing sensitive topics that every woman needs to be informed of. Fertility is such a sensitive topic and one that most women either don't know much about or don't know what questions they should be addressing with their doctor. Alex does a wonderful job of advocating for women to take charge of their bodies and ask the challenging questions before it's too late. I found myself so emotionally invested in Alex's fertility journey. Her emotions were honest, raw, and left me in tears at time. I highly encourage all women who want to start a family to read this book.

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This book tells the story of Alex Johnston, and her long, difficult road to motherhood. This book tells of her infertility, and the long years it took for her conceive and have her children. This was an honest and up front memoir, and one that I was happy to have read. All those who want to become parents take their own path, and it is no different with Alex. She details a journey of difficulty, loss, and ultimately joy. This is well written and engaging book. It was easy to get into and relate to Alex, with her struggles, fears, and you wanted her to get her family. I enjoyed hearing her story, and learned a lot about fertility treatments, surrogacy, and the health system. The author lives in Canada, and a lot of the information on treatments and steps that were taken were very specific to Canada and the health system there. It doesn’t pertain much to the United States health system. Also, the author and her husband spent ultimately hundreds of thousands of dollars on treatments and surrogacy. A lot of people do not have the money or the means to engage in what they did to have kids. In Canada, Alex was working to change the laws, but in other countries the path that she took may be unattainable. Overall, this book is educational, entertaining and I would recommend reading this, especially if you’re struggling with fertility or just want to learn about some options that are out there.

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Inconceivable tells the story of Alex Johnston and her husband David through their infertility journey. I cried, i smiled and I read this book in two hours because I could not put it down. The way she talked about such terrible subjects and still came out of it in the end was admirable. Alex talks about her privilege being able to pay for numerous IVF cycles and surrogacies which is something I've never thought about or had to think about. I realize now how privileged I am to say that. I would explain this book as heart breaking but also happy and educational. Thank you to Sutherland House Books and NetGalley for this ARC.

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