This is THE book for any couple or individual contemplating building a family with the assistance of sperm donation. It is also essential reading for those of us who already have children and are pondering the 'when' and 'how' of sharing information with our children and others. There is no question that it should also be required reading for all those who work in clinics where sperm donation is practised.
Ken Daniels is Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch , New Zealand . He has worked in the field of donor conception and assisted human reproduction for 27 years and is well known to DC Network members. Many years of conversations with sperm donation families around the world make up the meat of this book. The chapters are packed full of quotes from mothers and fathers illustrating the wide spectrum of thoughts and feelings experienced at the different stages of creating a family using sperm donation and then bringing up children.
The focus throughout the journey that the book describes, is on the creation of families where parental comfort with the decision to use sperm donation is the key to building confident, healthy family relationships based on honesty and trust. Secrecy, which takes up so much energy in families, has no place here.
Mingled in with the quotes from parents are the results of research (such as it is) into sperm donation families and their well being. But it is from the families themselves that we learn how to start conversations about sperm donation with small children, the pros and cons of telling teachers and how to handle stroppy teenagers……this is what parents really want to know!
Given the increase in egg donation in recent years it is a shame that this book does not touch on this topic, although the principles involved of course apply to all gamete and embryo donation. However the book does include experiences of single and lesbian women as well as hetero-sexual couples and is richer for it. Ken Daniels is an academic, but he is also the father of adopted daughters and writes with the understanding and sensitivity of someone who has taken the trouble to really listen over the years to all the parties involved in donor conception, particularly prospective and current parents, donor conceived children and adults and the donors themselves.