First of all, let me say that I think this novel was ill named. A man should not be allowed to claim a child simply because he provided the sperm. That thought alone festered and annoyed me throughout the majority of this book. I think the author tried to help you not hate him so much for such an unspeakably horrific act throughout the book - but no, I was having none of that. He becomes this terrifically giving doctor but cannot bring himself to tell this truth to the child's mother? No. In four words: I hated this book.
After a certain situations force a doctor to birth his own children (this is back in the 60's, I guess the guys generally weren't in the delivery room then) he discovers the second born, a girl has Down Syndrome. Swiftly deciding that he doesn't want his wife to have to endure the emotional turmoil (or some other such crap) he sends the child off to a home for the mentally disturbed with the attending nurse. After experiencing a few minutes of disgust at the home, the nurse makes a life altering decision and keeps the child. Oh, did I mention that the guy tells his wife that the child died in childbirth? Yeah, I'm still mad about that part. He never even gives her the opportunity to have a voice. Spanning over 25 years this book tells the tale of the remaining family members and how the nurse builds a new life with her adoptive daughter.
I didn't find myself welling up, as two of my other friends did. I just found myself getting really worked up and angry over the whole thing. I'm glad I was able to finish it in between the rest of my activities today, I think I would have put it down and "forgot" to come back to it if I hadn't.