Hearing the stories of others who have gone before can be enormously helpful.
These letters have been written by parents to help would-be parents understand what thoughts and feelings they may have in coming to a decision about using donor conception.
Dear would-be sperm donation mums
'When my partner and I talked about having a baby, it wasn’t any baby I had in mind but the baby we would make between us…perhaps even HIS baby, because of his lovely blue eyes, his way of explaining things, his patience…because we loved each other. How could we now be thinking the unthinkable…considering having a baby using a sperm donor!'
'Like you I imagine, I never expected to be here. Unless you’ve had some disease or complication as a boy as a result of which you’ve always known you wouldn’t be able to have children of your own, or you’ve had a vasectomy, you don’t expect it. And it’s a body blow when they tell you you’re infertile. For the rest of my life I’ll remember the day, many years ago now, when they told me in that matter-of-fact way doctors have. I’ve now got two children conceived through DI, born in 1983 and 1986, but I can remember something of the feelings that hit me then ...'
'The process of becoming a parent is a major upheaval at the best of times. Whether you use a clinical process or opt for adoption or an informal donor, you will bring a child into the world who will have to live with your decisions for a lifetime.'
'When I finally met the man I wanted to have children with I was in my early forties. He and I were ready for parenthood but unfortunately my body was not in a state to co-operate. Two attempts at IVF later we were faced with the options of childlessness or using a donated egg from a younger woman in order to create our family. We were considered too old to adopt a baby.'
'This letter is to any single lesbian woman or couple thinking of building a family through donor conception. We hope that these thoughts will help clarify your own, may answer some questions and enable you to go forward with confidence in your decision.'
'Both our children have known about their DI origins since they were very little. It is now common practice to be open with children about their origins but back in those days our clinic was very surprised when we said we were going to tell them. We made this decision because we couldn’t imagine living with a lie about something so important, and we have never regretted this decision.'