Deadline Now: Carolyn and Sean Savage
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Deadline Now: Carolyn and Sean Savage

Friday, May 13, 2011

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, they would celebrate the baby as an answer to their prayers. If not, they would be grateful for the family they had and leave their fertility struggles behind forever.

They never imagined a third option. The pregnancy test was positive, but the clinic had transferred the wrong embryos. Carolyn was pregnant with someone else’s baby. Carolyn and Sean Savage have written about their heartbreaking experience and choice in a new book, "Inconceivable."

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Here are Jack Lessenberry's Final Thoughts for this edition of Deadline Now:

I’ve heard a number of people talking about the Savages’ remarkable story since their book Inconceivable came out on  Valentine’s Day.  Some of those thought they did the right thing, some the wrong one. And some said they had no idea what they would have done if that had happened to them.
My suspicion is that the people who said they didn’t know were both the wisest and most honest. I don’t have any idea what I would do in a situation like that. As far as we can tell, this story has had as happy an ending as it possibly could have. The baby Carolyn Savage carried to term is in a loving, happy home.
And it looks like the Savages’ wish for another child is about to come true, times two, courtesy of the right embryos this time and a surrogate mother. However, there‘s also a question of how much genetics has to do with the whole question of who you really are.
Years ago, a young genetics researcher who sat next to me on a train told me that perhaps a quarter of people were fathered by a  man different from the one they believed was their dad.
I’ve met two young women who learned late in life that the woman they thought of as mom was really their grandma, and that they had actually been born to a woman they thought was their older sister. A wealthy lawyer I know adopted three toddlers of different ethnic backgrounds; he and his wife say they don’t feel any less their parents than if they had given birth to them.
Yet on one level, Inconceivable is really about something else. What it shows us is that you can have all the fancy high-tech science in the world, and still have everything ruined by sloppy record-keeping. That‘s exactly what happened here. I think one of the great miracles of our time is that such a mixup never led to either a nuclear war or a nuclear meltdown. In a sense, Inconceivable is all too fully conceivable, when you think about it. What is more inconceivable is that it all worked out so well. Perhaps that’s because both families remembered that every human life is, in a sense, a miracle.