Telling children how they were conceived isn’t a common occurrence for those who conceived “naturally.” Kids typically learn how babies are made in late elementary, or middle school, and they don’t question if this is the way they were made . Or perhaps their parent(s) told them earlier than this. Regardless, many kids have no reason to believe they were created in any way other than the “old fashioned” method.
What about those who were not brought into this world naturally? What about those whose parent(s) used Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), donor sperm, donor egg, donor sperm and donor egg, donor embryo, gestational surrogacy, or adoption?
These kids have a different conception story. How do we go about explaining this?
Working at a reproductive endocrinology facility, I am exposed to people who have created their families in various ways. I have the pleasure of discussing being honest with their children as early as possible. One of the ways to do this is to read a myriad of children’s books to ease into their story.
There are single mom, single dad, two moms, two dads, egg donation, sperm donation, embryo donation and adoption books for kids. There are even books to help children of surrogates understand how their mom is helping someone else bring a child into the world. However, until recently, I was unaware of a book that is inclusive of all of these scenarios.
Fellow blogger and infertility advocate Kaeleigh MacDonald released Extra! on January 22, 2018. Extra is a children’s book that tells the story of a family that needed a little extra help to create their son. It’s a story that reveals how families are created in a myriad of ways. It is inclusive to all of the scenarios mentioned above.
My own son was very much wanted, and took a bit of extra help to create. Because my own eggs and my husband’s sperm were utilized, it did not occur to me to sit down with my child to reveal how he was actually conceived. However, during those consultation sessions at work, I almost always say “Put yourself in your child’s shoes. Would you want to know where you came from?”
This book is not just about how babies were created though. It’s a book that can open a child’s mind so that he or she will hopefully be more accepting of differences. In those work consultations, I also state that only 25% of modern families are comprised of a mom, dad, and their genetic children. An astonishing 75% of families are made up of step-children, half siblings, same sex singles or couples, single heterosexual parents, as well as children who were donor conceived, carried by another woman, and adopted. This book captures it all.