I’ve started to write my booklet for families with at least one child conceived without donor help and at least one other – often twins – conceived with the help of a donor. It’s for people when they are just thinking about having a child by donor conception as well as those who already have a child that way…in addition to the child they already had. I always find it fascinating that no matter how much I have thought about an issue before facing the blank page, I nearly always find that the actual act of writing brings up things I hadn’t thought about before. Today’s thought is not the most profound but I think it might be helpful to those women (and it is usually women) who are anxious about whether they will have the same feeling for their donor conceived child as they have for their child conceived without help. The truth is first that many parents of completely genetically connected children take some days or weeks to fall in love with their baby, so good attachment is not dependent on instant love (or genetics) and secondly, most parents will say that their feelings for each of their children are different, and change over time. This may be because of gender, birth order, the fit between the temperament of parent and child and what is going on with each parent, them as a couple and in their lives in general at the time. Treating children differently is sometimes treating children equally or at least equitably.
If parents have the range of emotional capacity and the flexibility to feel comfortable and even celebrate ‘difference’ ; to adapt to the needs of each child and a strong enough sense of self to be able to ask for help without feeling diminished, then good parenting is likely to be the result, whether a child is conceived by donor conception or not.