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Inconceivable: A Medical Mistake, the Baby We Couldn't Keep, and Our Choice to Deliver the Ultimate Gift

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  1,588 Ratings  ·  251 Reviews
A medical mistake during an IVF procedure. An unthinkable situation . . . you’re pregnant with the wrong baby. You can terminate, but you can’t keep him. What choice would you make?

Carolyn and Sean Savage had been trying to expand their family for years. When they underwent an IVF transfer in February 2009, they knew it would be their last chance. If they became pregnant,
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published February 14th 2011 by HarperOne (first published January 27th 2011)
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May 22, 2011 Vonette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was torn on how to rate this book. First, let me say that I have not read the other side of the story written by the genetic mother, Shannon Morell, but I would like to now. Let me start with the good things about this book. The writing was pretty good, and most of the time it held my interest though I do think it could have been shortened. The story is worth hearing. The Savages were brutally honest about their emotions, and I applaud them for their honesty -- for the most part (more on that ...more
Apr 27, 2011 Beth rated it really liked it
Recommended to Beth by: Meggin
Wow. I thought I knew "the story" after reading Misconception, told from the point of the view of Shannon Morrell (whose frozen embryos were implanted in Carolyn Savage's womb due to an unbelievable medical mishap). But, like they say, there are two sides to every story (at least!), and this story would be hollow had the Savages not shared their point of view. I admired their values that led to them making the right choice, even when it meant emotional heartache (oh, what heartache!) and isolati ...more
Mar 24, 2011 Ruth rated it did not like it
I'm having difficulty with this review. How much do I write about the book and its merits as literature and how much do I write about the authors?

I debated about accepting this book for review, since as a Catholic I believe in-vitro fertilization is immoral. I figured that the authors espoused a religion that did not so believe and that I'd be able to see their point of view, even if I didn't agree with it. Unfortunately, I was wrong on both counts. However, I'll be the first to admit that my b
Jill Heather
May 27, 2011 Jill Heather rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
An oddly unaffecting story about an avoidable medical error.

The IVF clinic where the Savages were being treated accidentally implanted another family's embryo -- and Carolyn Savage got pregnant. From the beginning, she and her husband Sean knew that they would not have an abortion, and that they would not seek custody (custody they would have been unlikely to win, though this does not appear to have been any part of the reason they chose not to seek custody.) This book covers the period of the p
Sheryll Putnam
Feb 20, 2011 Sheryll Putnam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
A more honest read about the mixed up embryo story; after reading "Misconception", I felt really disturbed because I really disliked the woman after reading it. She was self-absorbed and her personality just bugged me. All she could say was how badly she was suffering. The whole time, I kept telling myself, "Consider how Carolyn Savage felt, you egotistical, self-absorbed woman!" Perhaps this is why I ran to get "Inconcievable" as soon as I heard it was out.

"Inconcievable" told the story of Caro
Jean Godwin Carroll
An unbelievable story about a woman who was implanted with another couple's embryos. Because of their religious beliefs, they made the difficult decision to give birth to the baby, and then gave the baby to the genetic couple.

Although the story was fascinating due to the topic alone, I found a couple of points about their story off-putting. First, they make an admirable, yet unfathonable, decision to carry through the pregnancy. They also decide upfront that they will give the baby to the right
M. Ables
Apr 19, 2011 M. Ables rated it did not like it
The story itself is fascinating and they must be strong people to have endured this situation...but the minutiae of their everyday life is already exhausting. I wouldn't be surprised to find a thorough explanation of why they chose Just Beige instead of Cappuccino as paint color. ***********************************************************************

OK, I have finished this book. Let me first say that I believe writing a book must be incredibly hard. You put a personal part of yourself out there
Feb 27, 2011 Meggin rated it really liked it
"The IVF mistake was simply stated: Carolyn Savage was pregnant with someone else's embryos. She and her husband Sean were forced to make a seemingly inconceivable choice: Either terminate the pregnancy, sue for custody, or deliver the baby—and relinquish it. The Savages decided to do what they would hope that another couple would do in a comparable situation. This is their story. Impossible to read without placing yourself in their situation."

I couldn't agree more. The whole time I was reading
I cannot stomach this dull memoir. Perhaps a ghost writer would have helped? Carolyn Savage comes off sounding whinny and self absorbed.
You know those memoirs where you almost hope something awful will happen to the main character/narrator to actually give her something to whine about? Yes, this was one of those.

My impression of this book:
"We are Catholic. We want to have lots of Catholic children but only have three. *whine, whine, whine* IVF is expensive and against Catholic beliefs. *whin
Mar 29, 2011 CMLiffengren rated it liked it
Why in the world would I read a book like this? Did I want to read about this couple's strength in an unbelievable situation? I don't know, but just looking at the photos in this book made me cry. After spending years and years trying to expand their family, Sean and Carolyn Savage turned to IVF. Desperate for just one more child, they undergo an embryo transfer only to find out shortly thereafter that the embryos weren't theirs. The fertility clinic had made a colossal error! What transpires is ...more
Mar 30, 2011 Ashley rated it it was amazing
I went to a discussion with the authors and I can't wait to read this book - I was very impressed with this couple and am glad they are sharing their story.

The best way to describe this book is honest. At times I would like to think I would handle things differently than Carolyn did, but really, who knows? Hopefully no one else will have to go through a similar situation.

Book was a quick read and written from each of their perspectives. They are good people and I hope that they get to add to th
Mar 21, 2011 Missy rated it it was ok
Kind of lame. I just didn't "get" these people.
Crystal Nelson
Jul 15, 2012 Crystal Nelson rated it it was ok
The subject matter of the book was what attracted me to it. However I felt that either the writing or delivery was poor. While I assumed I would have strong feelings of empathy for the couple I really didn't connect with them and I've struggled to figure out why. I'm not a religious person so their choice of IVF didn't and doesn't affect my viewpoint (I'd be a supporter of that choice). I do value honesty but I suppose I was looking for them to have an epiphany about the situation and see some p ...more
Jun 03, 2014 Rachel rated it it was amazing
I read this over about a 12-15 hour period and both this and the book by the bio mom in 30 hours both.
My heart goes out to the savages. I understand peoples feeling like their boys should've been enough but they wanted a bigger family from the beginning and tho not every moment of the book is about that I feel it came through that they were throughout the pregnancy with Logan still very involved with their sons and their baby girl. Many of us aren't at our very best when not feeling good durin
Jessica Ashe
Jun 02, 2014 Jessica Ashe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inconceivable will go down in my book as one of the most intriguing, memorable, informative, heart wrenching reads.

This is Carolyn & Sean Savage's story of an IVF pregnancy that they prayed about for so long. There was a mix up with the embryos and Carolyn is pregnant with another couple's child. They decide to keep the baby and give the ultimate gift of life to the family who had also been praying about this baby for so long.

They did a wonderful job portraying their side of the story. Carol
I found the author whiny and self righteous and self centered. I was a little disgusted at how proprietary she was towards the child, knowing full well it was not her child. I felt bad for the biological parents.
Jonathan Minnick
Aug 19, 2012 Jonathan Minnick rated it it was ok
Interesting story, but so whiny.
Jul 28, 2015 Shoshanah rated it it was amazing
I remember seeing this book when it first came out and being slightly heartbroken by the idea of it. It's about a couple who gets pregnancy with IVF only to find that the wrong baby was implanted. At the time I wasn't even married but was deadly afraid about getting pregnant in the future and the idea that something like that could happen absolutely horrified me.

Clearly this book left an impression, which is why 4 years later I remembered it and decided to read it. Turns out that this was a book
Marcy Reiz
Mar 06, 2011 Marcy Reiz rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
It's hard for me to say that this book was amazing. I would probably choose the word beautiful. Amazing wouldn't be the word I would choose because this isn't an amazing story--it's truly an inconceivable one, but so beautifully written. I remember vaguely hearing about this story in the summer of 2009; I was away with my husband for the majority of the news interviews so I didn't focus too much on it. I finished this book several days ago (I couldn't put it down!) and have been trying to think ...more
Eva Leger
I'm at a loss as to what to say about this book, this story, everything. I keep thinking about when I, and others, say "I can imagine" and "I can't imagine". We don't really mean that most of the time do we?
I literally can't imagine having to deal with what the Savages have dealt with and are still dealing and will always be dealing with.
I'm not one of the most likely many people who think it's over because Logan is gone. I understand - it'll never be over.
Maybe it takes someone who has dealt
Aug 11, 2011 Jenny rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
Inconceivable is Carolyn & Sean's true story of being mistakenly inseminated with another couple's embryos during an IVF procedure. In so doing, Carolyn unwittingly becomes a surrogate mother for this other couple's child while giving away her last opportunity, due to her age, for a healthy pregnancy that could have borne another child.

I had read about this story in PEOPLE magazine a while ago and was interested to learn more. Despite being a full memoir length, I still was as interested as
Oct 16, 2013 Mom rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bellevue-library
What a heart-wrenching story. To carry a baby for 9 months and then give him to someone else would break my heart. What a sad error on the part of the fertility clinic. Their slip-up caused a lot of pain. Sean and Carolyn made tough choices. To give Logan up to the genetic parents after being pregnant for 9 months was really a selfless act. I hope the Morrells keep in contact with the Savages even if it is just yearly so that they can see how Logan grows and changes. This can be done without Log ...more
Michelle Shipe
Nov 09, 2011 Michelle Shipe rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
A true story. The title of this book is exactly what it should be. The Savage family should never of been put in this situation and have to deal with the life consequences the mistake created. No family should ever been put in the Savage or Morrels situation. The protocols in place should of avoided this situation completely. This book make me cry and made me feel there loss. It is painful to hear of any situation when a child is lost. But in the Savage's situation there is no typical way to dea ...more
Jul 21, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it
This was a quick read. I really wanted to like this book, but the Savages' attitudes kept getting in the way of my really enjoying it. I have nothing but respect and admiration for their decision and unselfishness to give Loagn life. The thing that really got me was the fact that they blamed everyone else and refused to take any responsibility for their first decision to participate in IVF. The Catholic church has a policy against IVF, but they decided to go against their church's teachings and ...more
Feb 11, 2013 Donna added it
I first saw this story on Dateline and I felt so bad for them but was really impressed how they handled such a difficult situation. They had such love for this baby even though they knew they were going to lose him. I really was not to impressed with the genetic parents I thought they were a little self absorbed I dont think they really ever thought about how hard it was for this couple to do what they did. She gave birth to a baby that she knew the whole time she would never take home. But just ...more
Aug 11, 2016 Donia rated it it was ok
This is a difficult book to rate in that the writing is acceptable but the story for me was not. Had I known that this couple already had 3 children (one of them still an infant), I would never have read their story. Once I realized that this couple already had a large and beautiful family, I had a difficult time feeling good about their elitist, self-centered, self absorbed attitudes and complaints.

Yes, a woman goes through a lot to bear children or try to bear children. It is all consuming. I
Mimi Fintel
Apr 11, 2016 Mimi Fintel rated it it was amazing
When Carolyn and Sean Savage's attempts for a third child ended in miscarriages they finally resorted to IVF to help them expand their family. The IVF procedure resulted in the healthy birth of a baby girl and a number of embryos frozen. About a year after the birth of their daughter, the couple decided to move forward with trying to bring to life more of their embryos. The Savages were thrilled to find they were pregnant. However, shortly after they learned of the pregnancy they were told anoth ...more
JJ Wall
Apr 12, 2015 JJ Wall rated it it was amazing
I have so many opinions about this book but none I feel comfortable posting in a public forum. I could never understand what either of these families went through and for that reason prefer to keep my opinions to myself. I do highly recommend this read.

This was a brave story to tell for what must have been an awful, life altering, and extremely emotional event. My heart goes out to all involved.

Feb 21, 2011 Lindsy rated it liked it
I would give this book 3.5 stars if Goodreads had the option. The book is beautifully written and their story is so heart breaking that I was drawn in from the premise alone. I can only imagine the pain the Savage family feels on a day to day basis moving forward. Sometimes the descriptions of their feelings seemed to go on and on, I'm not saying their feelings weren't valid but for the purposes of writing a book the descriptions boardered on lengthy.
Jun 07, 2014 Dawn added it
I don't really feel like I can give this book a rating of any kind. I had previously read the book detailing the other parent's story and couldn't wait to read this one.

I really enjoyed Mr. Savage's point of view. He seems like a calm, reasonable and caring man.

Even though I read the story, I still can't imagine the turmoil and heartbreak that all went through. I applaud them for writing the story as they had to live through the heartbreak all over again. It seems like they are raising an incr
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Sean and Carolyn Savage were horrified to hear in early 2009 that the embryo that had been implanted in Carolyn wasn't theirs but belonged to another family in Ohio. Carolyn bravely carried the baby to term and the Savages handed the baby boy over to his biological parents. A story covered in People Magazine, the Associated Press, and Today, they tell the full story for the first time in this book ...more
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“Carolyn and I struggled with how or if to forgive while we dealt with the impact of the clinic's actions. Kevin Anderson helped us by introducing the idea of intolerant forgiveness: the ability to forgive the person who committed the error, but not the actual mistake.” 1 likes
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