We had some new books come into the office this morning. One from New Zealand has the title A Bun in the Oven. My recollection is that this used to be slang for being pregnant but has now gone out of favour. In this context it seems to be trying to make an analogy between making cakes and creating a baby with the help of donor eggs. Mummy’s tummy, where the eggs are put when they are mixed with Daddy’s sperm, is likened to an oven where the baby ‘cooks’ for nine months. Whilst I can see that this comparison might work for an older child – except that you wouldn’t need to use it for them because they could understand the process without this infantilising help – I can imagine a younger one might get very confused, even worried. And eggs used for making cakes come from chickens and are bought in supermarkets. I could imagine some very interesting conversations around a laden trolley with a child wanting to buy a box of eggs to make babies. I talked with Nina (DCN Manager) about this and she recalled her (then) seven year old son’s assumption that an essential ingredient for mums and dads to make a baby with was a skateboard – an impression gained from reading Babette Coles very funny sex ed book Mummy Laid an Egg.
There are an increasing number of books around to help explain (particularly) egg donation to young children. This is wonderful and DCN certainly does not mind the competition. Sadly, however, most are either sickly sweet and sentimentalised, anthropomorphic in the extreme or verging on the religious. Most come out of the US and the most recent ones from Down Under. There is a really good Australian one called Sometimes It Takes Three to Make a Baby…but in the end you just can’t beat the My Story and Our Story books for simple, straightforward language appropriate for very young children, illustrated with stick people drawn by children too.
Three other books also came through from Amazon. These are novels for young people that have donor conception themes, but none of them are about families I would recognise. Why do authors think that to grab interest they must go to extremes? Sam, our donor conceived adult volunteer of two weeks ago, trawled through a list of these books that had been compiled by Patricia Sarles http://yabooksfordonoroffspring.blogspot.com
He decided that only four were probably worth reviewing – these three and one other still coming from Canada. We’ll pass them on to Sam, but I’m not hopeful about being able to recommend any.
These are the books for young children that I have mentioned above. The first five are all intended for young children approximately between 2/half and five years and are published by and available from DC Network. They can be bought via this website www.dcnetwork.org
My Story – for children conceived by sperm donation into heterosexual couple families Our Story – for children conceived by egg donation into heterosexual couple families Our Story – for children conceived into lone mother families Our Story – for children conceived into lesbian mother families Our Story – for children conceived by double or embryo donation into heterosexual couple families
A Bun in the Oven – The story of conception via donor egg by Anita Stokes ISBN No: 978-0-473-19000-2