Living Proof, Kira Peikoff’s debut futuristic thriller, piqued my interest because it dealt with a near-future that seemed plausible and frightening.
Set in New York City in 2027, destroying an embryo (say, for stem-cell research) is illegal and considered first degree murder. Similarly, pregnant women are monitored for any behavior that could be potentially unhealthy and a prosecuted for missing prenatal appointments or ingesting alcohol.
In this world, fertility clinics are big business, so there are many, many unused embryos in storage. Doctors are charged with preserving the embryos indefinitely and are subject to severe criminal prosecution if they are found to be negligent in their care of the embryos face prosecution while the separation of church and state has eroded almost completely,
“I really think we are at a crucial fork in our history. The separation of church and state is breaking down all the time. First the line was blurring, and now it’s all but indistinct.” She swallowed the words that dangled from her tongue, threatening to expose her fury toward the DEFP and the DEP.
Arianna is a obstetrician with a secret—she has rapidly progressing multiple sclerosis and a connection to the radical scientific underground. Her only hope to avoid the always-fatal outcome of the type of MS she has is a stem-cell transplant, which scientists (including her father) had nearly perfected as a treatment prior to it becoming illegal. However, the Department of Embryo Preservation (DEP) is suspicious of her (they are unaware of her connection to her father’s work) because of the sudden popularity of the fertility clinic she operates, and they send in an undercover investigator (they are also motivated by threats to the department because they haven’t had a major bust in ages).