Cracked Open, a journalist’s memoir of IVF

Journalist Miriam Zoll has just released a personal account of her traumatizing encounter with the reproductive technology industry, Cracked Open: Liberty, Fertility and the Pursuit of High Tech Babies.

Like many women, she felt that she was exempt from age-related fertility decline. When she marries in her mid-30s, she was shocked to discover that she had endometrial cysts on her ovaries. Then she turned to IVF treatment. When that failed after four cycles, she turned to two egg donors. These both failed.   

Drawing on her own experience, Zoll has written an eye-opening memoir. As a professional human rights and health advocate, she is well-qualified to investigate the fertility industry. It is not a cheerful story. She writes:

“The fact is, in the United States, there is virtually no oversight of any aspect of the industry, and few if any long-term studies tracking the health of women undergoing treatments or the babies born from them. The only requirement is the Fertility Clinic Success Rate and Certification Act of 1992 -- a ‘law’ that loosely mandates clinics to report their annual ‘success rates’ to the Centers for Disease Control.

“In the course of my research I discovered that the vast majority of assisted reproductive technologies fail. Around the globe in 2012, approximately 1.5 million ART cycles were performed, with an estimated 1.1 million failed cycles (76.7 percent). In 2010 in the United States, the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control reveals that of the estimated 150,000 ART cycles conducted, approximately 103,000 (68.6 percent) failed.”

The goal of Cracked Open to ignite a consumer-driven public education movement as a counterweight to decades of uncritical media coverage. Zoll would like to see more protection for women undergoing treatment and their children. 



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