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Life beyond IVF purgatory

  • 31 May 2013

Resurrection Year by Sheridan Voysey. Thomas Nelson Inc., 2013. Website


It wasn't so much a phone call as a lifeline. That's how I remember the day the fertility clinic called me with news of my pregnancy. After six years of hoping and lamenting, the life my husband and I had all but given up on was to be ours.

Meanwhile, religious broadcaster Sheridan Voysey and his wife Merryn Voysey were in IVF purgatory. In 2010, after a decade-long journey through 'Expectation. Expectation. Expectation. Disappointment', the Voyseys came to the 'heart-breaking conclusion' that their quest for a family was over.

'The wilderness, I find, reflecting on those scriptures, is a place of rich significance,' writes Sheridan in his aptly named memoir Resurrection Year. 'At its best it is the place where we encounter God and discover his will for our lives ... At its worst it is the place of unfaithfulness and judgment'.

I don't think it's giving anything away, Barry, to say that when we first meet this deeply Christian couple both are struggling to see the wood for the trees.

It doesn't much improve, for Sheridan anyway, when Merryn suggests they look towards Europe for their 'new life'. The move would mean turning his back on a successful media career and Christian talkback radio show. He's unsure whether his ego, already reeling from the perils of infertility, can survive another hit.

'Empty and confused', yet totally committed to Merryn, he decides that cutting ties and relocating overseas is the only path towards 'restoration'.

While undeniably candid and, at times, uncomfortably confessional, there's nothing glib about this very modern story. Often we hear of IVF success stories (yours truly, a forever grateful example), yet Resurrection Year reminds us that while great advances have been made in this critical area, IVF is no miracle cure.

Sheridan writes with the clarity of someone who knows what it means to live daily with the spectre of infertility. 'Like chronic illness, unwanted singleness, and other life statuses that deviate from the 'norm', childlessness can bring isolation', he writes. 'Infertility can remove you from community.'

And yet he's nothing if not engaged with the world around him and driven to find his and Merryn's place in that world. Resurrection Year delights with a surprising vitality. This is