Well, sometimes it takes a village to help you even contemplate that journey.
Everyone needs support and community at different stages of life. For those considering egg, sperm or embryo donation, or raising a family after donor conception, we know that is especially true. People may be going through the stresses of fertility treatment or dealing with complex emotions and having to make difficult decisions and they often need the support of others going through something similar. They also need to connect with people who have been through all that and come out the other side, giving hope and guidance. Parents who are raising kids need to meet up with other parents with kids, and the kids themselves often benefit hugely from knowing others who were made 'just like them'.
That is precisely why our charity was founded all those years ago. To break the isolation felt by so many who were navigating donor conception issues.
The main way we create our village is through a membership subscription. Joining DC Network means we know a little more about you so we can connect members with other members, safely and confidently, as well as offering tailored support thanks to our volunteers and facilitator teams.
We want you to feel part of a community of DC families and prospective families and we want to support you through the services we offer. Have a look below to see all the benefits (there are lots!).
You’ll be joining a large and long-established specialist donor conception support organisation with members from the UK, Ireland and across the world. You are welcome regardless of your family situation, where you are having (or have had) treatment and whether you have an anonymous, known or ID release donor. We also welcome professionals working in the field. Donor conceived people and donors can join for free.
The financial support we get through your subscription fees enables us to offer and continually develop these services, responding to your needs. But it also means we have the resources to be a voice for donor conception families to government, clinics, lawyers and others whose decisions affect our community.
We are grateful for YOUR support, helping us do this essential work.
As a new member, we will welcome you to the Network and ensure you are aware of the resources available to you.
Upon joining, a welcome pack will be to be sent to you by post (or email if you prefer, or if you live outside the UK and Republic of Ireland), which will include a copy of our latest Journal, personal stories, recommended reading, and other information on our services.
You will be matched with a volunteer on our welcoming team - this will be someone who is in the same family type and will offer an optional telephone conversation or email exchange.
We send you an email detailing the support and resources available to you in the Network with personalised suggestions for the ones you may wish to plug into.
You will start to receive our carefully selected bulletin with news, articles and events on topics relating to donor conception from around the world.
Contact with others
You will have access to our in-person meetup groups - volunteer led peer support available at different locations across the UK and Ireland.
Access to WhatsApp groups set up for different family types, age of children, special interests or local groups.
Access to our online small group discussions, DCN Chats - facilitated spaces for members to connect with each other about shared experiences.
Availability of further peer support through a contact list held by the office.
A discreet forum, for those who prefer to ask sensitive questions anonymously or not ready to be more public.
Specialist support and engagement
DCN membership offers you access to specialist events for donor conception prospective parents and families.
We’ll invite you to the two day-long meetings we hold each year – one in London in the spring (usually April) and one in the autumn outside the capital (usually in September/October). In London we have around 200 people and 100 children attending. The out-of-London conferences tend to be smaller. We have plenary speaker sessions and small facilitated groups where members can discuss their personal issues.
Activities children and young people
At the conferences we provide a crèche for babies and children up to about 12yrs to ensure that children can also meet other donor conceived children. Also for children between 8 and 12, there is the opportunity to join a half day children’s group led and facilitated by professional consultants, allowing children to share their feelings about being donor conceived with each other in a safe setting. We also offer opportunities for young people and DC adults to meet at these events.
The conferences encourage and facilitate on-going connections and friendships between both parents and children.
Other member services
From the library you can borrow books, films and pamphlets from our extensive collection of material on donor conception (UK only).
We’ll send you our DCN Journal twice a year. It contains longer articles, commentaries, personal stories and research material.
You will be able to access our helpline by telephone and email.
Discount on DCN publications
As a member you can buy our publications at a discount.
Our membership acts as a body to support us to represent the voices of DC families. We engage with you on questions and research about donor conception and we share that with policy makers, media, academics and fertility patient organisations in the UK and across the globe.