Saturday, July 6, 2013

Where did I really come from? : sexual intercourse, DI, IVF, GIFT, pregnancy, birth, surrogacy, adoption

Where did I really come from? : sexual intercourse, DI, IVF, GIFT, pregnancy, birth, surrogacy, adoption 
by Narelle Wickham 
illus. by Ingrid Urh 
Language: English 
Dulwich Hill, N.S.W. : Learn To Include 2008. 
2nd Revised edition
31 p. : ill ; 19 x 24 cm.
ISBN: 0646496158; 9780646496153
Recommended age: 5-8
Review: First published in 1992 and now in its second edition, this is the first sex instruction book for children that mentions same-sex parenting as well as the various assisted reproductive technologies. Although the book includes all aspects of alternative family building, none is explained in any detail. Young children will find the language difficult and older children may need more details. Includes nudity.
Annotation: This book begins by telling children that the most important thing they need to know about where babies come from is not how they began “but that certain people wanted you to be born.” It begins with a chapter on sexual intercourse, describing the mechanics of how sperm and egg meet, but right from the get go instructs children that sexual intercourse is not the only way to make a baby, thereby suggesting that this book is really meant for children who were conceived in ways other than intercourse. Given that most of the chapters are devoted to methods of assisted conception: DI, IVF, surrogacy, and adoption, this seems to be the case. For example, in a bold shift from other books on human reproduction, the chapter on donor insemination states outright that sometimes “a woman really wants to have a baby but she doesn’t want to have intercourse with a man,” or that she wants to raise a baby by herself, or with another woman. In these cases a woman must visit a doctor and acquire sperm, herewith introducing children to the terms “donor” and “donor insemination” with a description of how it is done, building on the information introduced in the chapter on sexual intercourse about how sperm and egg meet. Egg donation is given a single sentence in the book and gay fathers are only visually depicted in the chapter on surrogacy. They are otherwise not mentioned in the way that “two mums” are mentioned in the chapter on DI. Although the intention of this book seems to be comprehensiveness, the book could be confusing if not read with a parent who could help explain the more difficult concepts around assisted conception introduced here. Cartoon, sepia-toned illustrations include nudity and visual and verbal depictions of lovemaking. Recommended for children ages 5-8. 

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