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Mommies, Daddies, Donors, Surrogates: Answering Tough Questions and Building Strong Families Paperback – July 6, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
With the spread of nontraditional families and the rise of infertility, "assisted conception" (donor insemination, egg donation, surrogate mothering or any combination of the above) is a big new fact of life. After two decades of counseling "biosocial" families, Ehrensaft, a clinical and developmental psychologist (Parenting Together; Spoiling Childhood), wrote this honest, down-to-earth manual to help parents work through the problems. Just because people are brave enough to create nontraditional families doesn't mean they've anticipated the difficult questions those arrangements raise. Do shared genes give the biological parent more rights than the "social" parent? Is it wrong to have fantasies about sperm donors? How do you decide how much to involve the "birth other" in the "family matrix"? At what age do you tell your child his or her birth story? What do you tell them? Ehrensaft groups the issues thematically with plenty of firsthand anecdotes. An experienced therapist, she acknowledges up front many things we do that we shouldn't: social moms feeling jealous of surrogates, parents hiding the truth from their children, etc. She understands—and then nudges parents in a better direction. This is a terrifically useful book for nontraditional families and everyone (teachers, ministers, therapists) who works with them. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"Dr. Ehrensaft has written an extraordinarily sensitive yet comprehensive book about the issues raised when a surrogate or donor is involved in creating a child. She covers everything from the fears and fantasies of parents-to-be to whether, when, and what to tell children about their origins. This fascinating, thought-provoking book is a 'must' for anyone contemplating taking advantage of these new technologies."--Kim Paleg, PhD, author of The Ten Things Every Parent Needs to Know and "new technology" mother
"This is a great resource. It offers concrete examples and suggestions for dealing with many issues that are likely to come up as I raise my kids. There is so much to learn from the stories Dr. Ehrensaft shares of others who have walked this path before me."--Anne-Marie, "new technology" mother of two
"This is the first book to map the emotional terrain of parenthood that is aided by a 'birth other,' the author's inventive term for a donor or surrogate. Dr. Ehrensaft sensitively explores the hopes and dreams, concerns and fears of parents and prospective parents, and offers the best available knowledge for facing the tough questions. Wise, highly readable, and insightful, this is an essential guide."--Anne C. Bernstein, PhD, author of Yours, Mine, and Ours and Flight of the Stork: How Children Think (and When) about Sex and Family Building
"This groundbreaking book demystifies technology and focuses our attention where it should be--on the gift of life, and the human beings involved in creating a family. Dr. Ehrensaft tackles your medical questions, your psychological questions, and your parenting questions, all in one readable, authoritative volume."--Susan H. McDaniel, PhD, Department of Family Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
"Few issues are more stressful than navigating the emotional minefield of assisted reproduction. Diane Ehrensaft serves as a sensitive, knowledgeable, and inclusive guide through the minefield. Her understanding of the assisted reproduction process and the often difficult and thorny issues it raises for couples and individuals is brilliant. Dr. Ehrensaft's refreshing openness and deft touch make this an invaluable resource."--Kate Kendell, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights
Top customer reviews
This book helped me a lot to ask myself a lot of questions and start previewing on future dilemmas my children might have, which are totally understandable with a complex, sensitive journey that egg donation and surrogacy is.
I read the previous comments and I do understand that some people might find the questions that Diane asks in her book a little bit straight forward, but what you have to ask yourself in your journey is; Once you have your child (let's pray to G'd this blessing happens)...after all the roller coaster, reality starts and you have to face that our children were brought to this world in a different way; and that your child will ask you even tougher questions...
It's 2013 and even though 8 years have passed that in the ART world is a HUGE gap, it is still being really useful.
Just be aware that the book has a strong psychodynamic orientation (Freud, psychoanalisis, and all that stuff...); so if you have never been to psychoanalysis, therapy, etc at the beginning you might find it a little difficult to understand all the subjects that the author touches in the book.
You will really enjoy it, and I'm sure it will help you too.
Reading this book reminded me of reading the warning insert in a medication package - yes, they are all possible side effects, but if everyone feared each item then we'd take no meds and have no DI babies. An example of this is the authors asserting that if one uses a known donor than that female will likely have sexual feelings towards the donor, she likened this to the Oedipus complex. I never experienced an Oedipus complex, nor do I think I will be subjected to the many other deleterious emotional assuages that the author claims will likely occur.
I hope this book doesn't make people feel bad about themselves or the lives they are planning.
I recommend: Experiences of Donor Conception for those who plan to tell their children that they were conceived through DI, and leaned more towards unknown donors. Helping the Stork was perhaps the fairest book in my mind, though they did seem to favor known donor and telling children about how they were conceived.
If you feel like you have to buy this book, at least buy one or two others - so that you don't get too despondent.