Many parents are afraid of the question their children will eventually ask when they grow up: “Mom, Dad, where do I come from? But, what happens when a child is born from egg donation, artificial insemination from a single mother, or has two mothers, as for reciprocal IVF?
These concepts may be more difficult for a child to understand. Mothers and fathers often have doubts about how to approach the subject, or even if it is necessary to do so.
Experts in child psychology agree: yes, we do have to explain it to our children. And, if we do it when they’re little, so much the better. In the early years of their lives, when they are beginning to shape their image of the world, it will be easier for them to assimilate concepts such as not having a father, or having two mothers. The key is to offer them only the information they can assimilate at each age.
To face this task, there are many children’s stories that can help us. Through stories and metaphors, younger children will better understand such complex concepts.
In this article, we bring you a collection of stories suitable for all types of families.
Stories for families with single mothers
Before you were born: Our wish for a baby – Janice Grimes
This book is intended for children between three and five years of age, with beautiful illustrations showing the day-to-day life of a family of bears. Through this story, the youngest will be able to understand in a simple way what in vitro fertilization (IVF) means. Its language is simple and avoids the use of technical terms such as “spermatozoa” or “oocyte”, using more generic terms to make the story comprehensible.
There are actually sixteen versions of this book. Janice Grimes has created various versions of the story to suit all types of families: with children born from IVF, from egg or embryo donation, families with two fathers or mothers…
Sperm, egg or embryo donation
A tiny itsy bitsy gift of life, an egg donor story – Carmen Martinez Jover
Comet and Pally are two happy rabbits who have everything in life except a baby rabbit. But, they receive the sad news that mom can’t have a baby on her own. The situation changes when, one day, a very kind Mrs. Rabbit knocks on their door with a small gift, an egg, half of what they need to conceive their baby.
This story tells in a very simple and colourful way how the process of egg donation works.
The very special duckling: A very simple story about egg donation – Wava Cirisan
Once again, a metaphor with animals is used to deal with the issue of egg donation. In this case, the main character is Mary Duck who cannot have chicks with her own eggs. However, thanks to the help of a very generous Lady duck she will be able to form a family.
Hope & Will Have a Baby – The Gift of Embryo Donation – Irene Celcer
A very curious child finds out the journey his parents went through in order to have him. This story tells how mom and dad met, fell in love and ended up having a child by donated sperm and eggs.
“Hope & Will have a baby” is part of a collection created to help families born by means of very different methods to explain to their children where they come from and, above all, to explain how much their parents loved them even before they came into the world.
Daddy, Was Mommy’s Tummy Big? – Carolina Nadel
Sometimes it takes nothing more than a few simple illustrations to explain to children how they came into the world. Specifically, this story talks about insemination with donor’s sperm telling the story of two elephants eager to have a baby.
This story may be useful for couples who, for example, have undergone reciprocal IVF.
Stories for families with two moms or dads
The family book – Todd Parr
This book is not intended specifically for families of two mothers or fathers, but on the contrary: its aim is precisely to make us understand that all families are equal.
With colourful illustrations and a story with touches of humour, the author, acclaimed editor of the New York Times, conveys his message of acceptance to all family models: “two mothers or two dads, a big family or a small family, a clean family or a messy one”.
The story of our family
Mommy and Mama are a couple with a great desire to have a child, who go to a very kind doctor who helps them to have it. The great advantage of this book is that, when talking about artificial insemination with a donor, it offers two versions: one with a known donor and the other with an anonymous donor. In this way, when reading the story to the child we can use the story that better suits us.
These stories are the ideal tool for parents with children born by means of assisted reproduction, who want to explain to their children how they came into the world.