It’s Fertility Show time again at the weekend and with it comes my struggle with this essentially commercial showcase for fertility clinics – most of them touting for business from overseas – and the various snake oil salespeople offering hope in small jars for high prices. Along with one or two other organisations like Progress Educational Trust, DC Network attempts to be a very small haven of sanity and reality in a sea of high pressure salesmanship. Whilst most other stands will be focusing on producing a pregnancy (and I am not denying that this is important) DCN talks about building families and how important it is, if you need donor help, to think about the needs of the child and the whole family BEFORE making decisions about having treatment abroad. And it is different. Whilst most clinics used by UK residents outside of these shores are scientifically advanced and completely safe, the majority do not think about the needs of the child and are content to recruit entirely anonymous donors, mostly not offering recipients a choice of donor and rarely giving more than absolutely basic information about what this person is like. This might be entirely comfortable for the parents but none of us can know how our children are going to feel and it might not be OK for them, particularly if they know that children conceived in the UK at the same time have rights that they do not. It has to be better to keep the door open for children, offering them options for the future, rather than to close it by making the choice of an anonymous donor.
Not that DC Network is ‘against’ people going abroad, as it is sometimes accused of. It is simply against people making the decision without being fully informed about the differences and also potentially having been given false information by their UK clinic on waiting times for egg donors in the UK. If intending parents understand all this and then decide to go abroad then no-one in DCN is going to judge them for it. DCN is parent led but child centred and as such is there for all families, no matter where they have conceived.
So if you are thinking of going to the Fertility Show over the weekend do come along and talk with us at Stand 53 and perhaps come to my talk about openness on Saturday lunchtime. I will have a very special person with me.