While I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, I do enjoy a good memoir so when I was contacted by Shannon Garner and asked to review the account of her journey through surrogacy, I couldn’t resist.
Altruistic Surrogacy is a subject that has always fascinated me and, while books like Dawn Barker’s Let Her Go (which I loved), shed some light on it, Shannon Garner has been through it.
Happily married with two beautiful children of her own, Shannon’s determination to pursue her desire to be a surrogate drove her to carry out meticulous research for a complex and emotional process that remains, even in today’s day and age, a controversial subject.
With honesty and insight, she explores the highs and lows of being an altruistic surrogate in Australia and, in the process, gives the reader a glimpse into an oft misrepresented process with all its legal, clinical and ethical complexities along with the (not always positive) perceptions of friends, family and strangers.
Her joys, struggles and fears are all here and I take my hat off to Shannon because it’s not only a difficult decision – one that affects not just the surrogate but her wider family – but it’s also a journey that only a very special few are able to make and her dedication, commitment and self-sacrifice is to be commended.
With the flair of a natural storyteller, Shannon has lovingly documented her (and her family’s) profoundly personal journey, answering a lot of questions while writing with heart, humour and a light and friendly tone that sets a warm and intimate atmosphere - which leaves me in no doubt that this is who she is in real life.
An absorbing, insightful and inspiring memoir with contemporary relevance, Labour of Love is a story of love, family, hope, pure selflessness and the joy of giving that I highly recommend to anyone who is thinking of heading down the surrogacy path as well as those who, like me, just find the surrogacy world to be so fascinating.