Being discombobulated since returning from New York on Monday meant that I completely forgot to watch Generation Cryo last night so if anyone can catch me up on significant happenings in Episodes Three and Four I’d be grateful. Have put a note in my diary to make sure I watch it next week.
I have been reading through the answers to the electronic survey DCN sent to members who attended the recent national meeting. Unlike some American commentators on this blog, British parents seem very keen that schools should be raising with children the topic of the different ways that families come into being. A couple suggested that DCN should seek to contribute to the Personal, Social and Health Education curriculum or that the organisation could write an A4 Fact Sheet, available on the website, that could be downloaded and taken into school by a child or sent in by a parent to educate and inform teachers about donor conception. In fact DCN did apply to one of the grant giving foundations for money to do some educational work with teachers but were not successful with the bid. But writing a Fact Sheet would be fairly straightforward and would not need additional funding. I’d love to hear from others – perhaps particularly in the UK – about what they think of this idea.
I do believe that it is possible to explain anything to a child of almost any age as long as you do it in a developmentally appropriate way and are ready to continue the conversation at a more sophisticated level as the child gets older. This is the principle on which DCN bases it’s advice to parents on how to talk with their children about DC. Why would you not want children of 8,9 upwards in schools to know about the many ways in which families come into being and for teachers to be able to talk with ease about assisted and donor conception, step-parenting, adoption, re-formed families, single parent or lesbian families, with children of any age should the topic arise in class conversation. I can see there are those who might not wish these family forms to be ‘normalised’ but I personally don’t believe that allowing a child to feel significantly different or even deviant, is helpful to that child’s well-being. It is a tribute to the resilient upbringing and self-esteem of the children on the panel at the DCN meeting (see previous blog) that they took on the role of educators in their schools and communities, but it was harder for some than others…one girl in particular having to face both religious prejudice and sheer ignorance.
I’m off on my travels again tomorrow, Amsterdam this time, but hope to return to your thoughts and feelings on this topic next week.