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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2011
Thank God for Holly Finn...For those of us who have struggled in the dark and largely silent swamp of IVF it is a ray of light to hear someone speak. Holly accurately articulates the horrible 'aloneness' of IVF. The terrible isolation that leaves you so profoundly on your own during some of the worst moments of your life and the hardest choices. Even the people you rely on most are often useless; 'Why anyone would want to have a child at your age I can't imagine'...and that was my mother. Don't even ask about my husband or my friends or even many of the doctors. But then in the end I was one of the lucky ones - I have my two boys...and I do mean lucky - with all the science we can throw at it as Holly says..'one third of fertility...' is due to unknown factors. So maybe all those people who told me to just 'relax and stop thinking about it, then you'll get pregnant!' were right but I'd still gladly machine gun every one.
And I completely agree - if you want children - DON'T WAIT. Turns out the advice I least wanted to hear and fought the hardest against was the most accurate...Just do us a favor and try to be kind with it...
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2011
I am a 22-year-old male. I have a girlfriend of two years, yes, but children aren't even minor blips on the radar yet. If you were to predict the demographics of the average person who read and enjoyed this piece, that person would not look like me.

And yet I read it from start to finish, as if transfixed, and hardly noticed the passing time. Writing like this, writing that bears incredible emotional truth and packages it seamlessly alongside cultural trends and statistics that tell us something about the age in which we live, is hard to come by. It's hard to come by, which is why Holly Finn's piece deserves a read.

If I found it enthralling- and I'm one of the few people to type this cliche line and actually mean it- surely you will too.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2011
I'm not over 40 and childless for no reason either. As a guy, my baby-desiring clock however ticks intermittently at best, although it does tick, and as Holly suggested to me, guys who want children will benefit from knowing about IVF.

Holly is an extraordinary writer, generous with her story (her triumphs and her insecurities), compassionate and open. Admittedly, my gender will never undergo an invasive procedure to save eggs, and on the top of my "to read" list is not a book on reproductive issues. (I read this book though, on my iPhone, in one sitting.) Yes, a tremendous amount of information is provided and you will be forever better prepared to cheer, console, sympathize and empathize with the women (and their partners, families and friends) in your life who choose IVF.

What I found most compelling is the under-theme -- Holly has risked everything for love. Yes, she could foster and/or adopt (if we read this book solely as a tactical manual on getting to motherhood). And yes, she could spend her dollars elsewhere. And in about two sentences I can summarize why, for guys, "over 40" + "fatherhood" is a dimming prospect.

This book is about a journey, a victim-less one, and having the balls (or as Danica Patrick remarked, the ovaries) to follow your passions, and how hard it can be to do so. I was inspired by the story. Whether he is a Lucas (or a Lucy), IVF, donor egg, foster, adopted, god-mothered or special-aunted, a child today (or a pre-person tomorrow) can count on having a courageous role model in his/her life.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2011
"Trigger shots," bad odds, abnormal chromosomes, testosterone gels, syringes, car crashes, reckless smoking, psychological distress, and finally "the bazooka of protocols" -- Holly Finn has sent us a battle report from the front lines of modern fertility. This is the book Sebastian Junger might have written if he was trying to get pregnant.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2011
After reading Holly Finn's essay, The Baby Chase, you will hate:

-- The cop who gave her a jaywalking ticket
-- X (may everyone he knows read this essay and know him for real)
-- Y (kindness is easy until it's hard)
-- Carlo Caffarra (and everyone who mistakes cruelty for piety)
-- the fiancé (a made-for-TV villain)
-- Dr. Subtle at UCSF
-- Car parking mother (I almost can't believe she exists)

But, you will love Holly. She bravely shares her experiences where so many have felt compelled to stay quiet. In doing so, she tells a heartbreaking tale with grace, wit, and humor and gives valuable advice to those who follow her -- may they read this and heed it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2011
My wife and I used IVF and we had healthy identical twins, first try. But we were lucky. For many others it's a lot harder, and Holly Finn's book lays bare the personal side of this process. We were both very healthy and didn't have much experience with the health care system before this, but we were pretty surprised by how invasive the whole process is.

One of the most important lessons for younger people thinking about kids is not to assume that medical technology will fix it for you no matter how long you wait (true for both males and females, the world is now learning).. And even if it works for you, it's still a very hard process, so don't discount the difficulties of going this route. IVF isn't for sissies, that's for sure. It's magical when it works, but never easy.

Another lesson is to make sure your IVF doctor really knows his/her stuff. If you are a difficult case, find the best doctor you can. Don't go with practitioners who are just average, because time's a wasting and a lot of this treatment regimen is based on the doctor's judgment, not on massive double blind studies. Many of the drugs are prescribed "off label", which is legal as long as a doctor does it, but it's really a judgment call by the doctor.

You need to do your homework--ask about success rates for IVF practices you are considering, and ask about success rates for people with health issues like yours, not just on average. If you don't like what you hear when you ask these perfectly legitimate questions, then go elsewhere.

Finn's book is a great window onto the challenge of IVF. I think men and women in their twenties and thirties should read it so they can be fully informed about their reproductive choices, now and in the future. My wife and I had no idea how challenging the process would be until we went through it. You can learn by reading instead. Another helpful book on the more technical aspects of this process is Expecting Miracles: On the Path of Hope from Infertility to Parenthood by Christo Zouves.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2011
"The Baby Chase" by Holly Finn is an EXCELLENT read for MEN and women. Not only would I recommend it to those who are in the process of trying to conceive with IVF but, to anyone who has or will tussle with the decision to have a child and HOW. It is PACKED with researched information on the process of IVF in 2011 AND also gives the reader an understanding of the personal toll IVF might take on the adventurer. HOPEFULLY this book will help us to have more compassion and respect for our fellow travelers who dream of baby. And, maybe, keeping the discussion of IVF HONEST and OPEN will increase the support we all get for making choices with INTEGRITY. I believe it will:))
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2011
Holly Finn bears her soul in this beautiful piece. Her story of multiple IVF attempts is by turns heartbreaking and funny. It's funny only because somehow she has kept her sanity and perspective through it all. She writes with great clarity and courage. This woman has guts and her writing is fluid and honest. A great read. I highly recommend.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2011
Holly Finn's struggles to conceive are told with refreshing honesty. She has a clear eye for the absurdity of some of what she goes through. Very readable, and (for me) an eye-opener about the difficulties of IVF.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2011
Holly Finn is a beautiful writer, and she shares so many stories of her journey with IVF but also provides fascinating medical and historical context. I learned a lot; I have a new appreciation for the dedication it takes to travel the journey and am grateful to have a better understanding of what people are going through when they embark on this quest. The wonderfully crafted descriptions of people Holly Finn encounters on her journey are a joy - a reminder of what a good (or not so good) heart can do. I recommend this read for everyone; we all know someone going through this, and reading this is our guide - as friends, supporters, family, loved ones, neighbors, colleagues - for how to be there. And for those on Holly Finn's journey, it is a rousing cheer for the astonishing work they are doing, complete with the anguish. The final echo of this cheer: hope.
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