When I first heard about test-tube babies, I thought FINALLY! I never wanted to go through the whole nine-months-of-being-pregnant process – I couldn’t even last six weeks with a cast on my wrist – but now that there was a way around that, I might actually consider having a child. I envisioned a large, cavernous lab, dark and empty except for a giant glass test tube in the center, lit from within by a glowing yellow light. Inside, submerged upside-down in a special liquid, floated a translucent thumb-sucking baby that you could visit every couple of days – maybe even attach a set of headphones around the glass and play it some Rachmaninoff.

And in nine months – voila! You picked up your full-term baby. No morning sickness, no messy afterbirth, no stretch marks, and no post-partum depression. If you were in a rush, maybe they could even crank up the heat a little and speed up the processing time. Or, if you had a thing against crying babies and Terrible Twos, you could just leave him in there until he was old enough to be checked into military school. Maybe I could do this mothering thing after all!

Last year, however, when I learned the truth about test-tube babies, that kind of ended it for me right there.

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