Last week was ridiculously busy so no time at all to blog. Highlights were on Monday when Sharon Witherspoon, Deputy Director and soon to be Director of the Nuffield Foundation confirmed a grant of £50,000 for three, or perhaps four, of the nine projects we had put in funding bids for. It was sad not to get all we asked for but in the current climate we felt lucky to be selected at all. All four of the independent references that Nuffield sought in order to establish our credibility as an organisation were outstanding and we can be very proud of that. Towards one of our funded projects I opened a conversation with one of our members who has experience with writing science based learning materials for children. She will contribute her ideas and expertise to a meeting to be held soon to scope the writing of a book for DC 7 – 11 year olds, a group that at the moment is uncatered for. This is a developmental stage at which children often become curious and need straight forward but age appropriate answers to their questions. I then spent some very interesting time talking with a member of DCN who is a documentary film maker about updating our film A Different Story, featuring seven sperm donor conceived young people but made nearly ten years ago, and making a further film to include children and young people from different donation and family types. We are so lucky to have so many very talented people within DCN.
Most of Wednesday was spent with ‘Zannah going through her dissertation on Donor Conception and Identity Formation, making sure the arguments were consistent and logical and the sentences weren’t too long. She has had very positive feedback already from her personal tutor about this enterprise and I know was thrilled to have it finished and bound by Friday. Well done Zan, nearly there! You have done so well. So proud of you. Thursday and Friday played hooky from work to be with our beloved grand-daughter who at eight months is a bum-shuffling bundle of joy. Her mum hasn’t been well recently and it was a pleasure to go and help.
Saturday saw one of the bi-annual meetings of DCN Trustee and Steering Group. Important items on the agenda included both our Nuffield grant and our contribution to the Nuffield Council on Bio-Ethics enquiry into Donor Conception and Information. A group of us, including two DC young adults, will be going to give evidence in person on Friday 27th April but we will also be submitting written answers to questions posed on their website as well. The Trustee/Steering Group (which includes two DC adults, others being parents) cannot hope to actually represent all the shades of opinion that exist in the Network but we do aim to be informed by members views as we hear them. Sometimes, as in the case of information about donor conception being included on a child’s birth certificate, we have to say that there are strong views held both ways on this topic. No-one is against children being given the information that they are donor conceived as early as possible, but there are those who think that if parents (outside of DCN) do not take responsibility to ‘tell’ then the state should have a hand in this and others who feel that it compromises the privacy first of families (as birth certificates are mandatory for school entry) and then DC people to choose who should know about their conception. A tricky one.