I’ve been doing my bit for the research community today. This morning it was questions about going abroad for fertility treatment from an independent researcher working to a Department of Health brief to find out the soft and hard economics of why so many people are opting for medical treatment abroad…fertility procedures being one of several. Did you know, for instance, that Hungary and Poland are very popular for dental work? Many people come to the UK for consultations and operations but many more pour into other countries for skills equivalent to the UK, but at prices way below those charged here. As is true in the fertility world I suspect many people like to get away from the rules, regulations and waiting lists of the NHS (as well as prices in the private sector) and take charge of their own destiny. The researcher confirmed that many people had spoken of the respect and excellent customer service they had received abroad. UK medics have something to learn here.
This afternoon it was the turn of a doctoral student in psychology who wanted to talk about openness in families and particularly the meaning of this for parents and young people. I was answering mostly as a mother of two donor conceived adults and found myself reflecting on our early decision making and the impact it had on our family and as the children grew and changed. Certainly we never considered NOT telling as it seemed a dishonest basis for family life. What made this an easy decision? Well partly because I for one could never have lived with the lie but also because Walter never felt ashamed of his infertility and couldn’t see a reason why the children shouldn’t know that through no fault of his own he couldn’t be their genetic father, but that he could be a full father in every other sense. And that is what the children love him for. As Zannah has said before, this is what real men are made of.