How do you explain assisted reproduction to children?
Consider these facts: there are 315,000 babies born in Australia each year, with one in 25 children conceived via assisted reproduction. That is one in every classroom!
Which means that many parents (or soon-to-be-parents) out there are considering how they might explain to their children the story of their conception – whether this involved a journey of IVF, IUI, sperm or egg donors, surrogates or any of the other wonderfully diverse ways people achieve their dreams of parenthood.
Research shows that the earlier you begin telling a child the story of their conception, the more straightforward and stress-free it can be for you and your child.
Lauren Knight, author of the children’s educational book ‘Baking a Baby’, knew that transparency would always be an important factor in discussing the topic with her two sons who were born via donor sperm.
Read more about Lauren’s inspiration for the book below, and her advice for parents to use the book as a tool to start the conversation.
What inspired you to create ‘Baking a Baby’?
I was looking for an effective way of explaining some of the complexities of assisted reproduction and donor use to my own kids – and found there was a lack of tools to assist in simplifying these concepts. Children learn so much through reading books, so I wanted to create a story that was engaging, inclusive and easy to understand.
Baking a Baby is the perfect introduction to the ingredients needed for making a baby – eggs, sperm and a tummy for the baby to grow.
What does the book cover?
Baking a Baby covers an introduction to assisted reproduction, donor use (known and anonymous), surrogacy and adoption. I aimed to normalise diversity, with characters of different sexuality, race and appearance.
This book reinforces the message that it doesn't matter who the ingredients come from or how the baby comes into this world; it's those who love and care for you that count.
How do you recommend using this book?
‘Baking a Baby’ is an excellent conversation starter, to be read with children and their guardians. I have read it to my six-year old son a few times now, and he takes away different messages each time.
The best approach is to use this book as a tool to spark meaningful conversations with your children, and embed the understanding. It doesn’t need to be a ‘one-off’ conversation, rather it can be used to re-introduce and re-enforce the topic of your child’s conception in a comfortable and safe environment.
Ultimately, this isn’t just a tool for your child, it’s a tool for you!
It can be a difficult conversation to start, and to know how to start. But there’s no right or wrong way of approaching it. My hope is that this book provides parents with a stress-free stepping stone to share the story of their child’s conception – as well as introduce the many other ways children can be born.
It’s also a great tool for friends and family. Given the prevalence of children born from assisted reproduction in Australia, this tool can also be a great resource for friends and family, even if they themselves did not conceive through assisted reproduction. In fact, a few of my testimonials are from parents of children who were conceived via natural conception, saying how great it is to be able to help their children understand that not all families are created the same way. Its about creating acceptance, among all children.
Interested in learning more? Join our online event on Saturday, 28 August at 11am with Lauren Knight and IVFAustralia’s senior fertility counsellor, Melissa Stephens.
Enjoy a live reading of the book by the author herself, as well as informative discussion and advice from Melissa on strategies for speaking to children about assisted reproduction.
Simply visit our Facebook page to learn more!