The Story of our Family. A book for lesbian parents with children conceived by donor insemination
For many years now, lesbian women have fulfilled their wish for a child with the help of donor insemination (DI). In some countries, the number of lesbian couples creating families via donor insemination has become even larger than the number of heterosexual couples using DI. In most countries, however, there are no statistics. In cooperation with Lisa Green, lesbian mother of three children conceived by DI, I adapted my book „The Story of Our Family“ so that it can be used by lesbian parents. Since the notion of „family“ traditionally refers to a unit of mother, father and child or children, lesbian parents are frequently confronted with the necessity to explain their family – how it was created and what the family structure is. To be visible as a family, lesbian parents need to be explicit about their family formation not only to their child but also to the child’s social environment. This book supports parents in explaining conception via DI and their family formation to their children. The target age of the book is ages three to six years old, as this is the age when children in lesbian-headed families begin to become interested in their origins and begin to be confronted with questions from others. In simple terms, this book explains the parents’ wish for a child and his or her conception via DI.
On two pages, at the beginning and at the end of the book, a photo of the family and the child, respectively, will be inserted so that this book becomes the story of your child’s family. Please read these instructions.
In addition, this book explains conception via medically assisted DI as well as self-insemination. When your order the book, you need to chose between these two versions.
Lesbian families are not only different in terms of the way they have been created. They also differ in terms of the terminology used for the two mothers. In this book, we have chosen the words “Mommy” for the birthmother and “Mamma” for the social mother as, in our experience, these are the most widely used terms. If you use different words, feel free to replace our terminology with yours. This book is also helpful in explaining lesbian family formation to your child’s social environment and in discussing alternative conception in schools. The content focuses on the love between the parents, their desire to have a child and their joy over the child’s birth. These are all aspects that are helpful for a heteronormative environment to understand that families are united by love even if their structure, i.e. two moms, two dads or a mom and a dad, differ. The language, which is targeted at a young audience, is also helpful in overcoming the stigma of discussing alternative forms of conception with older children and adults, while answering the question of male involvement in conception in the absence of social fatherhood. Our book ends with my personal story (Lisa Green) in which I colourfully describe my experience with explaining our family formation to our children. At the time of this writing, my children are aged 17, 13 and 11 years.
We would like to thank all couples and families, who have given us valuable feedback so that this book could be written.
Mörfelden/Germany, April 2013
Petra Thorn and Lisa Green