I’m very proud and pleased, but a little sheepish, about having my name attached to an academic article that was published in the Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology on 9th January. The article is titled ‘Participants’ views of attending preparation workshops for those contemplating donor conception parenthood’ and it describes the outcomes of surveys sent to couples (heterosexual and lesbian) and single women who had taken part in the first two years of the very successful Preparation for Donor Conception Parenthood workshops run by DC Network. I say sheepish because although I was the leader of the team who devised the workshops and managed them until a year or so ago, it was Marilyn Crawshaw from University of York who did all the hard work of the research itself and the writing up. I simply supplied the description of the workshop, the aims and objectives and the reasons for bringing together the different elements in order to meet the needs of participants. I am particularly delighted for DC Network that they now have an academic reference to quote when seeking funding to subsidise future workshops, now that the initial monies from the Department of Health have ended. The workshops themselves remain hugely popular, despite DCN now having to charge considerably more than they did a couple of years ago. The two at the end of January are completely full, the one for single women and lesbians in particular being so over-subscribed that DCN are seriously contemplating putting on another in April.
Follow this link to take you to the abstract –
What participants of the workshops particularly like is that they are offered non-judgemental space in which to think about whether donor conception is right for them or if they have already made the decision, to focus on thinking about future parenting rather than baby-making. They also love the opportunity to meet with others in similar situations and share both formal small group and informal time together, the evening meal as a group being a particular highlight. Confidence levels tend to rise very strongly following the weekend experience. Individual counselling will always have an important place but meeting others in safe, relaxed surroundings seems to work a magic that no counselling hour can reproduce. People also very much appreciate the two facilitators who are always appropriately qualified parents of donor conceived children who are happy to share their own experiences.
Currently workshops are only being held in London but I know DCN would like to be able to again offer them in different parts of the country, as they did in the first two years. Explorations are being made into innovations and fresh sources of funding that might make this possible.
If these plans come to anything you will hear about it here first!