Thursday, January 22, 2015

Books about egg donation

I've wanted to do this post since 2012 when we found our egg donor and I started collecting children's books about egg donation.  I have a similar post with books about surrogacy in the works, and in fact started collecting those books at the time same based on a conversation with a psychologist (required by my clinic) who suggested having an array of books about different ways families are made, not just egg donation. So include books about adoption, surrogacy, sperm donor, egg donor, two dads, two moms, etc. to illustrate all the ways people build families.

This post starts with the egg donation books, but I'm also including some more general assisted reproduction books at the bottom.

Mommy, Was Your Tummy Big

Recommended. Hardcover. Boy baby. This is my favorite of the egg donation books. The language is simple and straightforward. It addresses the sadness of not being able to have a baby. The donor is referred to as a "special lady (a donor)" initially, and then as the "donor" later. It talks about "Daddy's cells together with the donor's egg". It doesn't explain uterus vs. tummy, and uses 'tummy' or 'body' throughout. The illustrations are simple but cute. It's not at all religious.  My son asks for this book.

A Part was Given and an Angel was Born

Hardcover. Girl baby. The rhyming is overly cute and a little strained, but works well enough for reading aloud. The illustrations are cartoony. The story addresses the sadness of not having a baby. The book refers to the baby being in the tummy and is not at all specific about what's getting donated; "there was a part in Mommy that just didn't work as it should." The illustrations that go with the "part" section are likely to be confusing to an older child - one has a Classifieds page in the newspaper with "parts for sale: Auto, Body, Baby, Home" and another shows a box of "spare parts" that has safety pins, screws and nuts. Despite the title, and a later reference to 'angel', the book is not at all religious. There is a blank page at the back labeled "to baby" if you wish to add personal notes. It's not my favorite book, but I keep it in the rotation.

How We Became a Family (Egg Donor, Singleton version)

Recommended. Hardcover. Baby is not gender-specific.The illustrations are much more conceptual than in other books and less kid-friendly/more sophisticated. The couple is portrayed as two birds. One thing I like is the book describes the couple as a family of two, and that they wanted to grow to be a family with children.  It addresses that they were sad about not being able to have a baby. The book is factual about baby-making requiring "an egg, seeds (sperm), and a nest (uterus)" and the illustrations show the correct anatomical terms (in small type so it's easy to skip or not, depending on your preference and the age of your child, and these illustrations show people, not birds). The book talks about sperm donors and egg donors and defines them as "people who want to help other people build families". There's one page that talks about the egg being fertilized and defines "zygote" and "embryo". Not at all religious. It's a sweet book, but the illustration style and the detail in the text suggest it's better for an older child. There is a blank page to fill in birth details.

One More Giraffe

Baby is a giraffe, so not gender specific. I have an earlier version of this book (softcover instead of a board book) so I will update this review when the new version arrives. This book is very simple. It defines a family as including children. It addresses the sadness of not being able to have a baby. It's very general about the donor: "a kind lady giraffe who wanted to help them. She gave them a very special gift." The gift is shown as a wrapped box with a ribbon, and the text explains that a doctor helped them with the gift. It's such a simple book that it barely introduces the concept of a donor, so I wouldn't recommend it as an only purchase. It could be a good companion for a more detailed book for a very young child. Not religious at all.

The Pea That Was Me (An Egg Donation Story)

Softcover. Baby is not gender specific. This book is straightforward about eggs + sperm, which is sort of funny since the baby is shown as a pea in a peapod, and the embryo is described as a pea (the word 'embryo' is not used). It also refers to the baby growing inside of mommy's tummy. The book doesn't use the term 'donor' and instead refers to 'a very kind lady who had lots of extra eggs. There is a blank page in the back to fill in with the baby's story. The illustrations are crude but cute, and the tone of the text is cute (if you're ok with an embryo being referred to as a pea). Not religious at all.

A Tiny Itsy Bitsy Gift of Life (An Egg Donor Story)

Softcover. Baby is a girl named Nicasha (and she's a rabbit. :) This book talks about tiny itsy bitsy seeds from the mummy and daddy. The donor is referred to as "a lady rabbit" who has "lots of tiny itsy bitsy seeds". It talks about putting the seeds in the mother's tummy so they can grow. Doctors are never mentioned.  I find this book strange - it talks about putting the two seeds together to make a baby bunny, like a cookie where two halves make one, which makes no sense. It does address the sadness about not being able to have a baby.

Books about ART

Recipes of How Babies are Made

Recommended. Softcover. This book compares babies to cakes  - that with ingredients + a place to bake, you can get a baby similarly to how you get a cake. It talks about egg and sperm, which go in a woman's tummy. It later describes a woman's tummy as a womb, which may be a problem if you're trying to be precise with anatomy for your child. The illustrations are realistic but not graphic, although there is full frontal nudity. The book then steps through what happens if an ingredient is missing and what the variations are: natural conception, in vitro, sperm donation, egg donation, embryo donation, surrogacy, and adoption. It does address sadness about not being able to have a baby. There's also a page about families being different, referring to varying numbers of kids (or no kids), divorce/remarriage, one parent/two parents, etc. The illustrations are cute and the text is straightforward and educational.

I loVe my Family (a book about assisted conception for young children)

Softcover. This book focuses on IVF. It talks about putting an ovum together with a sperm and forming a "super cell" called an embryo which gets put in a uterus. There are some guidelines for parents about how to talk to children about their conception, and also some suggestions for how to use the book to discuss egg/sperm donation or surrogacy. There are some coloring pages in the back with some discussion tips on love, hope, wishes, and family. The illustrations are crude, and don't follow one family through the book, but rather show a variety of couples and kids of various ethnicities. Not at all religious.

If you have suggestions for other books that I should review, please leave a comment.