FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Teresa Villegas, info@HowWeBecameaFamily.com tel:602-790-4009, Parenting after Infertility: 5 Steps to Telling Your Donor Conceived Child. Phoenix, AZ - September 23rd, 2013 - More than 10% of all couples in the U.S. suffer from infertility and one in eight couples need medical help to create their families. Fortunately, there are many options with the help of medical science and a donor, but many parents are at a loss to explain this process to their child. "With so few role models to follow, it's hard to know how to approach this conversation with young children," says Teresa Villegas, and Bernard Villegas MD, parents and authors of the new children's book How We Became a Family. The Villegas' offer the following tips for helping parents feel comfortable and begin telling their donor-conceived child, how they became a family through science and the help of others.
1.) Let Go of Your Genetic Dream Family. Acknowledging that you wont be raising a child with yours and your partners' genes combined is heartbreaking for most couples, and it's normal to experience this grief, - if you allowed it. After experiencing years of infertility, and in your drive to become pregnant, you may have skimmed over or delayed this first crucial step. If you have not begun this subtle, yet necessary step, it may be part of what's holding you back from feeling ready to talk about it.
2.) Define Your Beliefs About Family. Defining what family means to you will strengthen your ability to communicate about how you chose to build your family, should you encounter any negativity about your decisions. Perhaps what you've discovered is that love, trust, relationships and support are the foundations that make up a family - not genetics. Understanding how you feel about your choices will make it easier for you to explain them to your child.
3.) Affirm The Donor. Regardless of whether you chose to have an open or anonymous relationship with your donor, it's a good idea to talk with your child about the significance of the donor's role with appreciation and respect. Children intuitively tune in to your feelings about the donor. Because the donor will forever remain in your awareness, and because how you think and feel about the donor will affect your child, embrace them and celebrate them wholly.
4.) Tell Your Child Early. Generally, it is not conception that you want to communicate about as much as the unique path by which your child has entered into your family. Therefore, begin to practice talking about the presence of the other people in that child’s life to whom they may be genetically related, normalize it as it is - a basic fact about their life. "Before you were born, we needed help from a very kind person, for us to make you."
5.) Embrace Your Child's Curiosity. As your child learns about their donor origins, they may be curious about the donor and wonder and ask questions such as "What are they like?" What do they look like?" As your child grows, they may ask more mature questions such as "Why did they donate?" "Do they have children too?" Research shows that donor conceived people are inquisitive about their donor origins even when they experience positive parent-child relationships. Curiosity will continue and evolve and they will look to you to help them understand it all.
The How We Became a Family children's book series is a welcome relief for parents of children born through IVF with donor conception. Using a children's book to introduce the conversation with your child about their donor conceived beginnings is an easy way to start. There are four versions available depending on your family's needs. Two versions are for families whose children were conceived with an egg donor, resulting in either a single child, or twins. Two other versions are for families whose children were conceived with a sperm donor, resulting in either a single child, or twins. The books are beautifully designed, with highly-nuanced illustrations with remarkable combinations of depth and whimsy to be read with children ages 2-10. Introduce the conversation with ease by simply reading together. Published by Heart and Mind Press now available. Each book is a high quality hardcover children's picture book with a matte varnish cover, full color, 32 pages, 8"x 8" for parents to read with their child ages 2-10 $25.00. For more information go to info@HowWeBecameaFamily.com. Journalists, if you would like an illustration to accompany this tip sheet - free copyright usage to the press, go here.