Miriam Zoll

What People Are Saying About Cracked Open

"Zoll has clearly done her research, both for the book and for her personal journey, but it's her craft not the statistics and study citations that make this a compelling narrative."

—Publisher's Weekly

"With journalistic flair, Cracked Open: Liberty, Fertility, and the Pursuit of High-Tech Babies shines a light on the experiences of infertile couples within an industry that, in Zoll's experience, offers inflated hope…The memoir…will empower couples with information and insight about assisted reproductive technologies…Zoll tells this story as an authority and with brutal honesty--no doubt a conversation starter."

—Foreword Magazine

"This valuable book providing truthful information for women considering IVF belongs in all public, health sciences, women’s studies, and consumer-health collections."

-- Library Journal

"Odds are, everything you know about fertility in America is wrong. Between our culture's blind faith in technology, the media's compulsion to sensationalize, and a lot of magical thinking, an entire generation of women has plotted their futures based on false information about their reproductive options. Miriam Zoll does an enormous service by making public her quest to get pregnant—but her memoir is more than a moving and honest personal story. As a professional human rights and health advocate, she is able to make sense of a confusing morass of studies, statistics, and practices with a scientific rigor that rises to watchdog journalism. May others follow in her stead."

—Kate Bolick, Contributing Editor, The Atlantic

"Cracked Open is a provocative look at what happens when feminism's promise of choice collides with the limitations of reproductive science. Miriam Zoll was confident that she could postpone pregnancy to pursue her career. But once she was ready to start a family she discovered that, despite technological advances and positive cultural support for ‘older motherhood,' fertility clinics couldn't deliver the miracle she was counting on. Her story is a powerful reminder that as long as biology can trump personal aspirations, American women, even in the 21st century, cannot fully control their lives."

––Letty Cottin Pogrebin, co-founder, Ms. Magazine; co-founder, National Women's Political Caucus; author of How to be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick

"Cracked Open tells the whole truth about the brave new world of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technologies)—and this truth isn't nearly as rosy as we've all been led to believe. I highly recommend this book to everyone truly concerned about the hearts and souls of humanity."

––Christiane Northrup, M.D., Ob/Gyn physician; bestselling author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause

"Creating a baby has gone from one of the most intimate acts and private decisions women make to a high tech industry involving dozens of actors with personal and public consequences rarely revealed. In a skillful melding of personal story and medical and policy facts, Miriam Zoll asks all the right questions about the ethics of assisted reproductive technology and the place baby making has in women's lives and identity."

—Frances Kissling, president, Center for Health, Ethics and Social Policy; former president, Catholics for Choice

"Cracked Open is a compelling narrative that speaks for a generation of women who, like the author, delayed parenthood only to find themselves immersed in the over-hyped world of America's ‘Wild West" of reproductive medicine. Miriam Zoll convincingly indicts many current practices in the IVF and egg donation industry, making her book a must read both for anyone contemplating fertility treatments, and for those who believe that reproductive medicine is badly in need of reform."

––George J. Annas, professor of health law, bioethics and human rights, Boston University; author of The Rights of Patients  

"The joy of becoming a parent through assisted reproduction is widely and warmly appreciated. But until now we've heard very little about those––the majority in all age groups––for whom high-tech fertility treatments fail. In Cracked Open, Miriam Zoll gives us an unblinking account of the emotional anguish, health complications, ethical quandaries and financial costs of her own journey into the fertility industry. Cracked Open is a wonderfully engaging memoir that also delivers vital insights into the consequences of our failure to adequately understand and regulate the business of assisted reproduction. It sits squarely in the powerful feminist tradition of revealing the political stakes of personal experience through sharing our most heartfelt stories."

––Marcy Darnovsky, PhD, executive director, Center for Genetics and Society

"Miriam Zoll's book, Cracked Open, is a powerful, personal narrative that details the hidden side of reproductive technologies in the United States––a country that, for the most part, steadfastly refuses to regulate its fertility industry, and thereby fails to protect the interests of women and men who use assisted reproductive technologies, and the children who are born from them."

––Françoise Baylis, professor and Canada research chair in bioethics and philosophy, Dalhousie University; former member of the board of directors, Assisted Human Reproduction Canada, a federal oversight authority

"Heart wrenching, raw and honest––Miriam Zoll's thought-provoking memoir brings us onto the emotional frontlines of life in the fast lane of unregulated reproductive medicine in the United States. Cracked Open powerfully illustrates the need for more public debate on the ethics, as well as the psychological and medical safety issues, related to donors, donor-conceived children and their parents. It is time that the fertility industry stopped focusing solely on achieving pregnancy and more on helping families in the most ethical and safest manner possible."

––Wendy Kramer, co-founder and director, Donor Sibling Registry; co-author of Finding Our Families: A-First-of-its-Kind-Book for Donor-Conceived People and Their Families

"Miriam Zoll's insightful memoir strikes at the heart of American women's desires and choices, and their quest to find wholeness through work, motherhood or a balance of both. Cracked Open is another sobering reminder that for couples hoping to create a biological family, trying sooner rather than later is the healthier option. With honesty and humility, the author offers her own story as proof that in order to get what we want, we sometimes have to learn to hear what we might not want to."

––Amy Richards, co-founder, Third Wave Foundation; author of Opting In: Having a Child without Losing Yourself

"Cracked Open is both a touching love story and a riveting account of one couple's heartbreaking encounter with the virtually unregulated, non-transparent and profit-driven world of reproductive medicine. Although the failures of assisted reproductive technology are far more common than the successes, first-person accounts of the often-devastating consequences of entering this high-tech world remain all too rare. But finally, here is a writer with the courage to reveal the intensely personal drama of confronting infertility and medicine's inflated promises. The reader's heart will be 'Cracked Open,' as were Zoll's and her husband's, as they learned what it means to be 'real' parents. This memoir is a powerful 21st century saga that should serve as the catalyst for a long-overdue critical public dialogue on the health risks and social costs of the emergence of an industry based on creating human life for profit."

––Diane Beeson, PhD, Alliance for Humane Biotechnology, professor emerita, Department of Sociology, California State University, East Bay

"Cracked Open takes an unvarnished look at the netherworld of assisted reproduction and its sometimes joyous outcomes but, more often, its attendant agonies, failures and resulting emotional traumas. Revealing a labyrinth of unverifiable hucksterism, unregulated therapies and uninformed 'choices', Miriam Zoll courageously reveals her own battles with anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and points the way for women in similar circumstances to heal themselves. This book can help couples make informed decisions and should be mandatory reading for both women and men entering their reproductive years."

 ––Alexander Sanger, Chair, International Planned Parenthood Council; former Goodwill Ambassador, United Nations Population Fund; Author, Beyond Choice: Reproductive Freedom in the 21st Century 

"Unlike most traumas––which are single, horrific and devastating events––infertility is chronic, silent, and often hidden from the public eye. In her well-written, passionate, and funny memoir, Miriam Zoll shows us how this mournful health condition with its invasive medical treatments erodes one's sense of confidence and purpose, and eats away at relationships. Cracked Open is a must read for people coping with infertility––so they know they are not alone––and also for their friends and family, who often don't understand the true traumatic nature of what their loved ones are experiencing."

––Janet Jaffe, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, co-director, Center for Reproductive Psychology; co-author of Reproductive Trauma and Unsung Lullabies: Understanding and Coping with Infertility

"Finally, a book that speaks to the experience of the majority of reproductive health consumers who gamble their hearts and pocketbooks on fertility treatments but don't always win the jackpot they think they will. By telling her own story with honesty and humor, Miriam Zoll provides comfort, support––and warnings––to millions of women and men around the world coping with infertility."

Naomi Cahn, the Harold H. Greene Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School; author of Test Tube Families: Why the Fertility Market Needs Legal Regulation and The New Kinship: Constructing Donor-Conceived Families

"Told in a refreshingly honest and forthcoming way, Miriam Zoll's eloquent account of the conflict between her desire for motherhood and the ethical issues around reproductive technologies could not have arrived at a better time. In Cracked Open, Zoll leads us behind the scenes to slog through the personal and political ethics of creating human life in an unregulated marketplace, all the while dissecting through a critical lens how the reproductive industry markets its services to vulnerable women and men."

––Rebecca Haimowitz amd Vaishali Sinha, co-directors/producers of the award-winning film Made in India, about the phenomenon of "outsourcing" surrogate mothers to India

"Miriam Zoll has written a harrowing and moving account about her long ordeal in the maw of the unregulated U.S. infertility industry. Cracked Open is a love story set against a backdrop of the heartlessness of a cash-on-the-barrel-head medical trade that makes promises its technology infrequently keeps. Full of losses and spiritual insights, Zoll's book provides a sobering perspective not offered by brochures and baby-laden clinic websites. Anyone contemplating assisted reproduction owes it to themself to read Cracked Open first."

—Gina Maranto, author Quest for Perfection: The Drive to Breed Better Human Beings

"The world of assisted reproductive technologies is far more complex than it is often represented––spanning significant ethical, commercial, legal, human rights and cultural lines. Cracked Open takes us on an important personal journey through this world, one in which women and men are being offered many options but few explanations."

––Jeremy Gruber, president, Council for Responsible Genetics

"Cracked Open 'cracks open' the experimental process of IVF.  Through a memoir about her own decision at the age of 40 to have children, Miriam Zoll unravels the brutal cultural effects and unfulfilled promises of the virtually unregulated IVF industry. Furthermore, her book rings a warning bell for those who expect that medical science will enable them to "have it all." As Zoll shows, we are no where near being able to make healthy babies on command, though in the process of trying, we are all too capable of messing with lives-to-be. Highly recommended."

––S. Lochlain Jain, Associate Professor, Anthropology Department, Medical and Legal Anthropology, Stanford University; author, Injury: The Politics of Product Design and Safety Law in the United States

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