In the UK these days most people take it for granted that it is in the interest of children and the whole family that children should be told about their origins by donor conception…and as early as possible. Reports from clinic counsellors and the culture on leading fertility web sites make it clear that ‘telling’ is now the norm and that figures of 70 per cent of parents ‘not telling’ is, yet another, media myth. When I was in Stockholm recently I started my talk about sharing information with teenagers by commenting on the fact that no-one had been asked to talk about whether telling was the right thing to do or at what age parents should start to tell as it is now accepted that this should happen and ideally start under the age of five. Except of course where it doesn’t happen. And this is in most (not all) East and West European countries where many UK residents go for treatment…plus of course most of the rest of the world, with Australia and New Zealand as the notable exceptions.
One country where secrecy about donor conception is currently being challenged is Poland. There was a representative from a Polish fertility organisation in Stockholm and she came up to thank me afterwards. We next heard by email that they would like copies of all our Telling and Talking booklets, also permission to translate them into Polish. We were happy to send the booklets free of charge and to give permission for translation, as we have to a number of other countries…again without charge, simply requiring acknowledgement of the source. The following day I was invited to speak at a conference in Warsaw in September with a request that I include the perspective of the child. It is of course fascinating that this should be a special request as we always promote this point of view as being of the ultimate importance…but this is an insight into how unusual this thinking must currently be in Poland. I have of course accepted the invitation and look forward to hearing more about who I am sharing a platform with. Hope there will be translation facilities as it would be good to understand everyone elses point of view and my Polish is a little rusty.