I get like this when I’m really into writing something. It infiltrates everything I do, including my dreams, and I find myself sneaking away from TV programmes I would usually enjoy just to go and have another go at it. It’s annoying but a necessary part of a successful process…so I’ve discovered over the years. My current obsession is the booklet for gamete donation recipients to give to close family and friends so that these people can understand what donor conception means both practically and emotionally. I’ve never written from this perspective before – putting myself in the shoes of those who are learning about donor conception through having a relative or friend who is using it for family creation – and it is fascinating. Quite different to writing for parents. More like writing on behalf of parents toward helping those close to them offer the most appropriate support possible. This means being prepared to do lots of listening, holding back on unasked-for advice and witty remarks, cutting the cliches and getting the terminology right. That and the law and technicalities is quite a lot to catch up on.
The first draft of this one is nearly ready to go out to others, inside and outside of DC Network, for comment and suggestions for amendments, whilst I get on with writing the next booklet for potential and actual parents. Whilst the main advice to relatives and friends was to ask the couple or individual using donation what they needed from them, the point to make to recipients is that they should be prepared to ask for what they need and be an educator. Not always easy when you are feeling vulnerable and out of control.
If anyone reading this has strong feelings or ideas about what should be included in either booklet, I’m still open to suggestions.
In the meantime I am delighted to have re-made contact with Kate Bourne, former counsellor at Melbourne IVF clinic in Australia, now working for the Victorian Assisted Reproduction Treatment Authority (VARTA). Kate is the author of the only book for children conceived by egg donation I have come across to rival Our Story in it’s usefulness to parents. Sometimes it Takes Three to Make a Baby, which is devoid of all the sentimental references to angels and fairies so beloved by US authors, is now available to download as a pdf http://mivf.com.au/sites/mivf.com.au/files/attachments/sometimes_it_takes_three_to_make_a_baby.pdf
The book also has a lovely introduction by Kate giving warmhearted and sensible guidance to parents about how to go about sharing information with their DC children.