Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Inconceivable: A Medical Mistake, the Baby We Couldn't Keep, and Our Choice to Deliver the Ultimate Gift” as Want to Read:
Inconceivable: A Medical Mistake, the Baby We Couldn't Keep, and Our Choice to Deliver the Ultimate Gift
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,731 Ratings  ·  265 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,
ebook, 304 pages
Published February 14th 2011 by HarperOne (first published January 27th 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Inconceivable, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Inconceivable

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
May 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
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
Feb 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 15, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Kind of lame. I just didn't "get" these people.
Crystal Nelson
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
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
Interesting story, but so whiny.
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
It is hard to rate this type of book. I can't say that I loved it or hated it, so I think a 3 is safe.

This audio brought out many strong reactions, so many that I had to keep track on a slip of paper. So here they are, in no particular order.

One thing that really bothered me throughout was that the Savages, being devout Catholics, would completely disregard their churches stance on IVF. Whether or not the Catholic church is right or wrong on this issue is irrelevant. I kept wondering how they co
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Michelle Shipe
Aug 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jessica Ashe
May 27, 2014 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
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
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
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
4.0 Stars

This is an emotional, gripping memoir. I was immediately pulled into this extraordinary story. The chapters alternate between the two spouses, providing an interesting duel perspective. The Savages came across as a relatable and likable couple, acting with grace and compassion in a very difficult situation.

I read this as an audiobook, which was an excellent experience. This book featured two narrators, one female and one male, representing Carolyn and Sean's perspectives.
JJ Wall
Mar 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

Sep 20, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: melcat
It's so hard to feel bad for her because of her poor attitude.
Jenn O'Brien
Feb 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Amazing book that I couldn't put down. The Savages are selfless wonderful people. Beautifully written.
Heather Kolm
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An unbelievably courageous & heart wrenching story.
Aug 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: inconcievable 1 3 Aug 31, 2012 06:46PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: inconceivable 1 2 Aug 10, 2012 07:01PM  
Questions for the author? 7 45 May 08, 2012 12:51PM  
  • Misconception: One Couple's Journey from Embryo Mix-up to Miracle Baby
  • Gianna: Aborted...and Lived to Tell about It
  • A Father's Love: One Man's Unrelenting Battle to Bring His Abducted Son Home
  • Bringing in Finn: An Extraordinary Surrogacy Story
  • Ask Me Why I Hurt: The Kids Nobody Wants and the Doctor Who Heals Them
  • The Sacred Thread: A True Story of Becoming a Mother and Finding a Family--Half a World Away
  • Signs of Life: A Memoir
  • Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice
  • Murder by Family: The Incredible True Story of a Son's Treachery and a Father's Forgiveness
  • Where You Left Me
  • Love Times Three: Our True Story of a Polygamous Marriage
  • Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love
  • Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction That Changed America
  • I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy
  • Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader's Eye-Opening Journey Across the Life Line
  • The Waiting Child: How the Faith and Love of One Orphan Saved the Life of Another
  • Unsinkable: A Young Woman's Courageous Battle on the High Seas
  • A Love That Multiplies: An Up-Close View of How They Make it Work
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
More about Carolyn Savage...

Nonfiction Deals

  • Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival
    $8.24 $1.99
  • A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf
    $27.00 $2.99
  • Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
    $8.99 $1.99
  • A Room of One's Own
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Life in a Medieval City
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Forged a New Afghanistan
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Too Close to Me: The Middle-Aged Consequences of Revealing A Child Called "It"
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Inside the Criminal Mind: Revised and Updated Edition
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
    $13.99 $2.99
  • How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Evangelii Gaudium: The Joy of the Gospel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Heart of Christianity
    $9.74 $1.99
  • The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Skin: Talking about Sex, Class, and Literature
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Hidden Figures
    $4.09 $1.99
  • Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man
    $7.24 $1.99
“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
More quotes…