A Family from Donor Insemination: ‘Taking the baby home was just the beginning’


Genetic problems and how / what to tell the children.

SKU: 560
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Producer: Alexa McWhinnie
Year Produced: 2001
Running time: 90 minutes
Trailer:  Watch on Youtube
Watch online: ideo on demand


Two donor insemination (DI) families who have made the decision to tell their children about their origins. Throughout the history of the use of Dl – from its beginnings in the 1930s, its gradual increase in the next three decades, although carried out furtively in private clinics, until the 1970s when it was accepted within the National Health Service – the practice had been to advocate that the parents need not tell the children about their origins. The anonymity of the donors and the cloak of medical confidentiality made such advice pragmatically acceptable and possible to follow. It remains the norm for most Dl parents at the present time.
How this works out in practice, and how possible it is to maintain the secret for a lifetime, are an essential part of the study of parenting. However, some clinicians have begun to question this approach and to advocate to their patients that they should consider a more open approach. There is also much more open discussion of this in the media and elsewhere. Both the Dl families in this video series attended a Dl clinic which had this more open policy. However, they themselves had decided, for reasons given in the videos, that they should tell their children about their Dl origins. Why and how they put this into practice emerges in their conversations.
In one family who have two children, the conversation covers: The discovery of a serious inherited genetic condition in the husband’s family; the steps they went through in making a choice between biological parenting with this genetic risk or donor insemination; discussion of their decision to be open about their children’s origins and when to start telling them; their family life, including conversations with their children; discussion of men’s attitudes to being infertile.
Does not necessarily show current practice.

A Family from Donor Insemination, 'Taking the baby home was just the beginning' from Concord Media on Vimeo.

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