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Sisters of Spicefield

Sisters of Spicefield

By Fran Cusworth.

A story of love, loss and learning to move on. A moving exploration of parental bonds and the complex world of infertility treatments.

COULD you donate a leftover embryo to a childless couple after doing IVF? If your answer is no, you’re not alone. Recent studies found only ten per cent of Australians could. Award winning journalist Fran Cusworth explores this tangled and emotional issue in her third work of fiction, Sisters of Spicefield.

Sisters of Spicefield explores the issue of influence on a child’s life, and questions who has the right to decide on the care of children when there are various parental ties involved. In an era of growing sperm and embryo donation and surrogacy pregnancies, complicated ‘super-sized’ families are very much the way of the future. Fran is available to discuss her research into these often emotionally confused family dynamics.

Jessica and Matt have four beautiful children. When they donate one leftover embryo from IVF, it’s a gift of thanks to the world for their luck; an offering to the fates. Seven years after this gift, the family is struggling with grief after the loss of their youngest child, Eeny. Jessica and Matt’s relationship is strained, their relationship with their oldest child is fraught, and beneath these tensions flow the currents of anger and shame connected to Eeny’s death.

A new girl starts at the children’s school, and Jessica realises that this child, Mia, is her biological offspring; the embryo born of her and Matt’s donation years before.

Alarmingly for Jessica, Mia’s life is not the idyllic family life she envisioned for her offspring – her parents are now divorced, and Mia’s mother is a damaged woman – and Jessica is increasingly drawn to protect and care for this look-alike child.

Sisters of Spicefield is available now.

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