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Controversial children's book explains IVF, donor conception and gay surrogacy

12 May 2009
Appeared in BioNews 507

A controversial new publication has been released in Australia providing young children with detailed explanations of sexual intercourse, assisted conception and adoption. Entitled 'Where Do I Come From?', the book aims to provide simple, non-judgmental descriptions of conception and birth, and includes topics such as donor insemination (DI), IVF, adoption and surrogacy, according to the book's publisher.

The book, aimed at 2-12 year olds, explores issues of gay surrogacy, including an illustration of two men holding a baby, while the chapter on assisted conception discusses lesbian mothers using sperm donors.

'Sometimes, a woman really wants to have a baby but she doesn't want to have intercourse with a man. Some women want to bring up a baby by themselves, or with another woman, so the baby gets two mums,' the book says.

Deb Sorensen, a spokeswoman from Christian group 'Focus on the Family', questioned whether the messages about same-sex parents are suitable for young children. 'It devalues the traditional family unit and at the very least desensitises us' she told the Daily Telegraph, Australia. She further doubted the book would be understood by this age group. Speaking to the Herald Sun, Bill Muehlenberg, from the Family Council of Victoria, said that the book was 'way too much for anyone under 10', adding that 'to push minority agendas on to kids is a real scandal. It is obvious this is pushing an agenda trying to soften kids up to a particular minority viewpoint'.

However, the book's author, Narelle Wickman has defended the book as an important step towards reducing some of the stigma around assisted conception. 'It is just trying to normalise to children that there are many ways to conceive a child,' she told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

The book is being advertised as part of the Attorney-General's 'Learn to Include' programme, which has published many books in the past featuring gay parents. However, despite an alleged statement in the book's cover, the Attorney General, John Hatzistergos, has denied any government link with the publication. 'There is no connection between the Attorney-General's Office and the book Where Did I Really Come From?, nor is there any connection between the Attorney-General's Department and the book. The New South Wales government has not funded or endorsed the book at any time. Any assertion to the contrary is incorrect', his statement reads.

Children's book features lesbian mums and sperm donors
The Herald Sun |  4 May 2009
NSW govt denies link to gay sex ed book
The Brisbane Times |  4 May 2009
Sex instruction book Where Did I Really Come From? aimed at toddlers |  4 May 2009
When is too young for kids to learn about sperm donors?
Babble Australian |  5 May 2009
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