A Universe of Context: How Research Helped Me Understand My Story

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

by Jennifer Berney

Seven years ago, when I began to draft my memoir The Other Mothers, I thought I understood my own story. It went like this: I wanted to build a family with my wife. I spent over a year and thousands of dollars trying to conceive using a method I thought would be quick and easy. We chose an anonymous donor from a sperm bank and paid a fertility clinic to perform the inseminations. The care I received was at best insensitive and at worst incompetent.  At our initial consultation, an embryologist mistook my partner for my mother. I wound up quitting the fertility industry with the hope that some other option might magically come through for me. It did. A friend-of-a-friend volunteered to be a donor, and my partner and I ultimately conceived via at-home DIY inseminations.

I believed that my story had value in that…

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