Donor Conception and Surrogacy

Donor conception and family-building – 5 thought-starters for 2023

Eloise Edington  |   4 Nov 2022

This year’s ASRM (American Society for Reproductive Medicine) conference has just wrapped in Anaheim, USA. The lead topic for 2022’s groundbreaking meet-up – Genes, Gametes & Genetics – is right up our street. But often, it’s the work going on under the medical radar, in patient care, counseling and a lifetime of family building, which drives dynamic change. 

Support beyond the BFP 

For Sali Odendaal, founder of Sensitive Matters, the world is moving in an exciting direction, in its routes to parenthood. But, as she points out in our catch-up below, care can’t stop with a BFP and discharge note. Intended parents, the children we create, and donors need more holistic support across the entire journey – long after retrieval, transfer and a positive pregnancy test. 

Who are Sensitive Matters? 

Sensitive Matters are the only organization providing fully customizable books for talking to children about their amazing origins. These creations cover the most sensitive, fundamental subjects – from The Magic of You books, piecing together a fully customizable story of how your child came to be – to beautiful versions for a surrogate’s own children (we love My Magic Mom). 

FHH readers get 15% off The Magic of You books – just pop code FHH15 into the box at checkout

Back to Genes, Gametes and Genetics, FHH founder Eloise caught up with Sali last week, to hear what’s exciting in the world of family building, for 2023. And, most importantly, where’s the room for improvement? 

Over to Sali and Eloise- 

1 We need to bring clinics on board

This is a key topic for us, at Sensitive Matters. There can be a disconnect between medical provider and patient, here, in that from the medical perspective, a BFP (big fat positive pregnancy test) means ‘job done’. And of course, in one sense, this is true. But actually, there’s a long chapter that comes next, as our children grow up. 

Getting clinics on board with supporting in that transition, whether it’s with counseling services or books and materials like the ones we create at Sensitive Matters, is fantastic. It helps us join some really vital dots in the patient experience, and the family’s journey. A journey which, of course, lasts a lifetime. 

2 The Magic of You 2.0 (corporate sponsorship)

Crystallizing the above, we’re super-excited about our new corporate sponsorship programme, as we head into 2023. This gives ART (assisted reproductive technology) providers the opportunity to build lifetime connections with the families they work with, creating books which narrate routes to being, and the part they played in the amazing journey. 

We’re delighted to offer our Magic of You books, beautifully created in the clinic, agency or bank’s branding, as a completely unique gift for their clients and patients. It’s an exciting step towards joining those dots, and building a lasting, supportive community.

3 It doesn’t all stop with a BFP

If you’ve had a fertility struggle, it never fully leaves you, even after you get that positive pregnancy test, or become a parent. We know this only too well. 

Books like The Magic of You help keep us talking. Storytelling can be incredibly therapeutic, and one of our aims at Sensitive Matters is to help provide resources to ease that journey. We’re creating human beings, with our donors and clinics, and those human beings have rights. So it’s important that we support the entire journey, and mental health of both patient and child. 

Clinics and donor banks are getting there – some more quickly than others – but across 2023 we’d love to see more initiative being taken.

4 Not forgetting our magical donors 

We have the wonderful My Magic Mom | My Mom is a Surrogate as reading options for our families. But across the board, we need to do more for donors and their families, in 2023 and beyond. 

Once a donor goes on to have children of their own, they know for certain that their children are likely to have half-siblings somewhere. So we’re putting this firmly into our product plans for next year, with creations designed for donor parents and their own families. Watch this space! 

5 Choosing to ‘tell’

Speaking to psychologists, counselors and others at ASRM, we’re happy to see the community moving to a place where the guidance is to speak to our children from quite a young age, about their origins. 

Sensitive Matters are on the same page with the counseling community, that ‘telling’, from a young age, is best. We think we’re going to see a great deal more openness, as we move into 2023 and beyond, with the norm to be open, especially in the USA, Western Europe, and Australia. In the past, secrecy was preferred, but at the very least we’re moving towards wide-scale ID release. And, as Eloise pointed out, many donor banks are closing their anonymous donation intake.

Tick a Christmas gift off your list with a beautiful Sensitive Matters creation. FHH readers get 15% of The Magic of You books, so hop over now and use code FHH15 at checkout. 

Catch our live chat with Sali at ASRM 2022, covering everything in the wings for routes to parenthood, as we close out the year.

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