Tag Archives: IVF

British Author Steve Petrou Offers Insightful Wisdom In heartfelt Story Of His Family’s Battle With Infertility

Review by: KEN KORCZAK

This is a book that reads like a classic Greek tragedy.

But not all Greek tragedies end in despair and disaster. Sometimes they result in what the ancients called a “catharsis” – and a catharsis can bring healing, hope and understanding.

As it happens, the author is a Greek-Cypriot. Greek was his first language. STEVE PETROU immigrated to England and established himself there as a successful owner and operator of a fish-n-chips shop, what the Brits call a “Chippy”.

His wife Vaso is also Greek-Cypriot. After falling blissfully in love and marrying, the two soul mates set out to complete the perfect picture of their lives by producing children – and that’s where the odyssey of the Petrou Clan begins.

Vaso was unable to get pregnant naturally. After years of suffering, the desperate couple opts to try IVF – In Vitro Fertilization. Anyone who thinks this is always a simple, clinical process that just sort of “zaps” a healthy fetus into a woman’s womb will be well-informed here about the potential pitfalls and enormous challenges that can result from the IVF process.

Author Steve Petrou, his wife, Vaso, and son, Petros

The couple’s experience was a nightmare of such monumental proportions it seems a miracle they persisted through three arduous trials of IVF before finally achieving success.

You can read all about the incredible journey of battling infertility in the author’s first book – All I Ever Wanted to Be Called Was Mom. In this follow up, and as the title implies – I Only Wanted To Be A Dad – you are going to get much of the same story, but this time focused through the eyes, mind and experiences of a father – and it’s important to say this – a male – a man!

Yes, having babies and then raising children is not 100% “woman stuff.” The man may perform just 1/1000 of what a woman does in the physical process to create a new life – but ahhhh – his role is still vital, integral and a lifetime commitment.

In these pages, Steve Petrou brings remarkable insight to the critical role the father/man/figure plays in the real-life drama of bringing children into the world, especially when that process takes extraordinary measures.


In my review of the first book I noted that it read like it was written by a person who was a professional fish-n-chips man first and a writer second.

But just a few pages into I Only Wanted To Be A Dad, I was amazed at how vastly the writing had improved. I think it should be recognized that in between the first and second book Steve Petrou evolved from “Chippy” to bona fide “Author.”

The first book was a powerful read because of the story and content. This book is just as powerful, but we get the added benefit of reading the prose of a man who is coming into his own as a skilled writer.

Indeed, in telling a true story, the narration takes on the riveting quality of a thrilling work of fiction. Consider this paragraph as the author accompanies his wife as she is being wheeled into surgery for a dangerous C-Section operation:

“Walking down that long corridor, expecting death to meet you as soon as that door opens, make your legs tremble. You do not want that walk to continue, wishing you could go back into the room where you felt safe. You are scared, want to cry and scream because deep down in your heart you know that if you enter through that door, you will lose everything. You think you are screaming, asking them to stop, but not a sound leaves your mouth. The distance between you and that damned door keeps getting shorter.”

That’s a compelling passage and there’s a lot more where that came from.

This is certainly a book that will help an uncounted number of people because of the insight it offers in dealing with the agonizing condition of infertility which a growing part of the world population is confronting every day.

But also, this book serves as a  kind of Man’s Manifesto, in that, it lays out a viewpoint and philosophy for the modern male in our society who aspires to be the best father, family man, husband and care giver he can be.

The view offered is an appeal for compassion, understanding and an encouragement for men to make a brutally frank and blunt self-examination — and then strive to be the best kind of man one can hope to become – keeping in mind that none are perfect and that we should all expect to learn lessons from bad mistakes we will inevitably make along the way.

I found this book to be an extraordinary narrative on many levels. Every man should read it, married or unmarried, father or childless, young or old.

NOTE: You can read my review of this author’s first book HERE.

Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS


Follow @KenKorczak

“All I Ever Wanted to be Called Was Mom” tells the heart-wrenching journey of a young couple who want a baby


Review by: KEN KORCZAK

This is the story of a quest. A quest for life.

Like all quests, the path is fraught with pitfalls and hidden dangers. There’s the joys of small battles won and the tragedy of painful losses, including sometimes the most tragic defeat of all – death.

It all begins with the sweet story of a young couple who fall in love. Both are ecstatic to have found each other. They get married surrounded by family and friends.

For young STEVE AND VASO PETROU, the future seems bright with nothing but smooth sailing ahead as they launch a new life together.

As happy as they were, they knew the picture would never be complete until they became a “real” family – that is, not until the Petrous’ achieved their deepest heart’s desire – to become a family with children.

It all seemed simple. All they had to do was “get to work on it” and soon Vaso would be a loving mother, and Steve, a devoted father. After all, most other couples they knew completed this magic formula as easy as falling off a log.

But that’s where their nightmare begins.

Like millions of women, it soon became apparent that Vaso was unable to conceive naturally. After months of frustration, Steve had his “swimmers” tested, and they were just fine. But a certain abnormality in Vaso’s uterus meant conceiving would not be easy, if not impossible.

The couple sought out medical science for help. They eventually decide to undergo IVF – In Vitro Fertilization. If making a baby the natural way is simple and straightforward, the cold, technical process of IVF is everything the opposite. Steve and Vaso would soon learn that the IVF path was a complicated, grueling, enormously painful journey that in no way guaranteed a happy ending.


IVF: Fertilizing the egg

The first exhausting round of IVF failed, the second was first a nightmare and then a total bust, and then the third …

I’ll stop there because don’t want to give away any more of the story except to say that readers who take the journey with Steve and Vaso through these pages will confront a heart-wrenching saga that will challenge all emotionally and may have you pleading; “Please, God, just give these people a baby already!”

Of course, it’s not all pain and suffering. Ultimately this is a book of hope. It’s a true story of how unflinching faith and an unlimited willingness to press forward can result not only in the greatest joy, but also leave the participants of such events deeply changed.

I think the insights Steve Petrou provides about the deeper, inner psychological struggles a husband experiences in this situation will be of enormous help to countless others who are embarking upon, or contemplating the same route chosen by this man and his wife.

Female readers will probably find even more to relate to in these pages, but, I’m a guy so I can only speak for my own gender.

One of the things I really like about this book is how the primary narrator, Steve, finds himself transformed psychologically, emotionally and spiritually by the ordeal he shares with his wife. In the end, he not only … oops … but there I go, giving too much away again.

Suffice it to say that I found this short book a powerful read. Note that this is not an offering that reads like a slick, polished product of a professional writer – the author owns and operates a fish-n-chips business in England – and reading this is more like sitting down across a table from him as he unfolds an enthralling experience for you in plain and simple fashion.

Get the book, click here: All I EVER WANTED TO BE CALLED WAS MOM

Ken Korczak is a former newspaper reporter, government information officer, served as an advocate for homeless people as a VISTA Volunteer, and taught journalism at the University of North Dakota for five years. He is the author of: BIRD BRAIN GENIUS


Follow @KenKorczak