Friday, 7 May, 2010

Birds, Bees & IVF

First it was the birds and the bees. Now children are being taught about modern reproduction including IVF and adoption along with traditional methods in a new sexuality education book.

Adelaide author and former school teacher Gina Dawson introduces the idea in her book So That's Where I Came From that families are no longer necessarily a mum, a dad and their naturally-conceived children.

Instead, the Black Dog Books title for six to 10-year-olds explains some families are made through "alternatives" including the help of science (in vitro fertilisation) and adoption.

It also touches on gay and lesbian family structures.

It is an updated resource for families who have turned to the pages of international best-seller Where Did I Come From? for more than 30 years to learn the basics of reproduction.

"It talks about conception the natural way, but also shows some people can't make a baby like that so they might need help," Ms Dawson said.

The book says "there are several ways to start a baby. . . Most babies start when an egg and sperm meet through sex, some begin through IVF when doctors help the sperm and egg meet and occasionally babies start with a donor egg or sperm".

Ms Dawson, who is now the director of Family Life SA, said she was unable to find an up-to-date resource that tackled the topic.

"Many parents want to address this with their children early in life but don't know how. This gives them a warm and friendly way to open up discussion about the topic," Ms Dawson said.

"It is inclusive of all children and families who didn't fit into the original book."

University of South Australia senior lecturer in early childhood Dr Elspeth McInnes said often parents - particularly those in non-conventional families - felt anxious about broaching the topic with their children.

Glandore mother of two Vicki Mangelsen appreciated having a book on this sensitive subject.

"It's a great way for families to sit down together and talk about it," Ms Mangelsen said.

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