Family Trauma, Unknown Origins, and the Secretive History of Artificial Insemination
by Peter Boni
Narrated by Josh Bloomberg
Pub Date 25 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 25 Jan 2022
Greenleaf Book Group, Greenleaf Book Group Press
How a journey of self-discovery unearthed the scandalous evolution of artificial insemination
By his forties, Peter J. Boni was an accomplished CEO, with a specialty in navigating high-tech companies out of hot water. Just before his fiftieth birthday, Peter’s seventy-five-year-old mother unveiled a bombshell: His deceased father was not biological. Peter was conceived in 1945 via an anonymous sperm donor. The emotional upheaval upon learning that he was “misattributed” rekindled traumas long past and fueled his relentless research to find his genealogy. Over two decades, he gained an encyclopedic knowledge of the scientific, legal, and sociological history of reproductive technology as well as its practices, advances, and consequences. Through twenty-first century DNA analysis, Peter finally quenched his thirst for his origin.
In Uprooted, Peter J. Boni intimately shares his personal odyssey and acquired expertise to spotlight the free market methods of gamete distribution that conceives dozens, sometimes hundreds, of unknowing half-siblings from a single donor. This thought-provoking book reveals the inner workings―and secrets―of the multibillion-dollar fertility industry, resulting in a richly detailed account of an ethical aspect of reproductive science that, until now, has not been so thoroughly explored.
Average rating from 14 members
Peter Boni has created such a gripping story, I genuinely couldn’t put this book down. The chapters are a mix of his personal life and the history of artificial insemination and he couldn’t have done a better job with it. The memoir aspect is stunning. Boni reeled me in immediately with his mother’s secret, his lifelong fears about inheriting his adoptive fathers genetics, and just how difficult it was to uncover genetic information in the 90s. Hearing about how his search for information included his daughter and his wife and friends was heartwarming, they all worked together for so many years to help him discover his origins. The history part is just as incredible. I didn’t realize how shady the assisted reproduction industry was. There’s a lot of really interesting information about how sperm donors came to be and the social stigma that many couples faced, to the point where they were told not to tell anyone (even the obgyn in charge of pregnancy care) and have the assisted reproduction doctor sign the adoptive fathers name on the birth certificate. It never occurred to me that artificial insemination and the eugenics movement would have had such a heavy crossover, that chapter was really eye opening. If you enjoy memoirs and or medical history you’ll love this book. I think everyone should read it, it’s just fascinating.
A very interesting read. It dives into the history of artificial insemination, backed up with facts and case studies that appear to be well-researched and relevant. Alongside that, Peter manages to zoom into his own emotional story, then seamlessly zooming back out to give plenty of background to the era or situation. Context and detail were fabulous throughout and I’ve learnt a lot. Fans of medical work, adoption or found family would enjoy this memoir.
Genre: memoir, science/medicine Pub date: Jan 4, 2022 In one sentence: Just before turning 50, Peter Boni found out that he was a product of artificial insemination; this discovery sparked a journey of personal and scientific discovery. In a world where IVF and other reproductive technologies are commonplace, it's hard to imagine that artificial insemination was ever taboo. But it was! Boni did an excellent job blending history of science with memoir in this book - there's a lot here that was new to me. I appreciated his coverage of the unethical experiments conducted in the name of science, from insemination of an unconscious woman to forced sterilizations, as we cannot forget the harm that science has caused. One of the most moving parts of the book concerns Boni's search for his sperm donor (likely a medical professional) and biological relatives on his father's side. The advent of home DNA sequencing with 23andme and Ancestry enabled him to find relatives and start relationships with them. The dynamics were fascinating - the experience affected Boni profoundly, but it also affected the family members raised by his donor, and he did a great job exploring this subject. If you like popular science and/or memoir, this is a good choice on audio! Thank you to Greenleaf Book Group for providing an ALC on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Uprooted not only takes you on a very interesting journey but it teaches you the stigma of infertility that plagued marriages which lead to lots of secrets. Filled with lots of worrisome medical tidbits of information that have taken place and makes you question how medicine was practiced especially artificial insemination. Many points are mentioned in Uprooted and are quite valid, with new measures taking place as some places will limit the number of times the sperm of one subject can be used, but who is really holding these facilities accountable? Also, we are currently filled with intrigue about family trees and all the secrets once thought buried can be uncovered with all these DNA websites connecting people that you've had no idea about. We have all heard or seen on the news how because of these websites families have come together and grown, or there is no interest in pursuing that familial line with stories of rejection. You will laugh, cry, and learn from Uprooted whether you have knowledge or interest in artificial insemination or not, it is worth the read.
Uprooted is more than just a riveting narrative of a man's journey to find his father. Peter Boni captures the sentimentality that a memoir has, the thrill that an investigative tale offers, and the amount of information that a short history book can provide. Although I appreciate the author's style of narration, which is adding encyclopedic paragraphs in between the details of his personal story, there are several things that I didn't like about the book. Boni shares a lot of unnecessary details about his personal life just for the sake of making the narrative longer. As an example, sometimes it's hard to understand why he needs to mention his career successes. Moreover, even though it offers a rich amount of information about the topic, I find that most paragraphs that feature historical accounts resemble a summary of Google search results. I also tried to do my own research and found out that some parts of the book are paraphrased sentences of some Wikipedia articles. I'm not sure if that is just a weird coincidence or if it's something that demands to be questioned. Despite these issues, I consider the book as an important material that people should read if they're interested with the reproductive industry or with the history of artificial insemination. Fans of memoir and nonfiction would also enjoy this book since it manages to combine the intimacy of a personal story and the comprehensiveness that we often look for in short history books. Thank you to NetGalley and Greenleaf Book Group for the digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Peter Boni lays bare some of his family's skeletons in this memoir meets historical mystery surrounding artificial inseminations' dark past. Poignant and cathartic, this account touches a nerve since (as the author points out) artificial insemination was quite taboo before the later 20th century. A fascinating listen that is well narrated, this is a great audiobook connected well to history and social beliefs throughout history.
An interesting read. Overall a blend of a narrative and autobiography of sorts about the main character as he struggles with his own humanity and personal journey. Along that, he learns that he is actually the product of a "semi-adoption", or the product of donor conception. This read chronicles his journey to find his origin and biological father, and secondarily, his true self. The author demonstrates quite a historical review of artificial insemination and its various forms and evolution, then moves through the play-by-play as he inches closer to finding his true genealogy. This truly embodies the struggles and vulnerabilities of humanity. What I don't understand is the last chapter or so. It's comes across as a call to action, but to what purpose? Increasing regulation on artificial insemination? Because of this section which seems out of place and detracts from the read overall, I have downgraded to 4 stars. Still worth the read or listen.
At the age of 50 the Author, Peter J Boni, discovers via his 75 year old mother that he was conceived via artificial insemination due to his father being infertile. His parents had a choice of remaining childless or his Mother could undergo conception via anonymous donor. In 1945 they chose the latter. Peter was conceived and raised as if he was born to the two biological parents he’d lived with. Within this book is a beautiful intertwining of a more personal retelling amidst a great deal of deeply researched scientific data and history of artificial insemination. I found this Audiobook very difficult to stop listening to; it was absolutely riveting to discover that personally I had always presumed artificial insemination to be an almost modern choice of childless couples, and yet it has been going on for so long and with such fervour that the true date of the inception of this practice is probably unknown. For 20 plus years Peter seeks to not only share his findings, but to seek his true origins. In the beginning he mainly wanted to fill in his medical history, but what came about was far more than he could have wished for. There’s been a great secrecy regarding artificial insemination and Peter exposes a lot of it, but when he was conceived his parents were told to keep the matter a secret, even from his Mother’s own treating Obstetrician! The data on eugenics is eye opening and stark, and yet told in a manner that is easily understood. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in memoirs dealing with medical issues, particularly personal accounts! As an added bonus I found the narrator Josh Bloomberg superb. One of the best books I’ve listened to all year! Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
When Uprooted author, Peter J Boni learns that his father is not his biological father before his 50th birthday, he sets off on a quest to find where half of his DNA comes from. Uprooted is a chronological rendition of his search for the truth. I love that he not only tells us about his discoveries, which were quite amazing, but he also relates a comprehensive history of the fertility business. Which he accurately displays as being more about making a profit than helping desperate couples fulfill their dreams of being parents. I love his honesty and appreciate how he shares his feelings on how he was conceived. I have three children conceived with donor eggs and I really appreciate all his wisdom on how parents like myself should navigate this journey. Always being honest and truthful. Highly recommend to anyone going through ivf, is donor conceived, or just interested in the subject.
Thank you NetGalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review. This was so interesting! I had no idea about the history of fertility treatments, specifically donors for sterile couples. Learning about Boni's experience being someone who was born thanks to a sperm donor. I really enjoyed this.
I listened to the audiobook of Uprooted via NetGalley and I was very pleasantly surprised. I have become a very big fan of memoirs in the past year, especially of people that I am unfamiliar with. I was quickly invested in the Peter Boni’s story and his quest to find out about his parentage. The book is also very informative, alongside the author’s personal journey there’s the detailed history of artificial insemination, which I found interesting and very balanced with the rest of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed the reading experience and I highly recommend it.