Will and Hope Have a Baby: The Gift of Surrogacy By Irene Celcer (Graphite Press, 2007)
This book forms part of collection of stories for children born via extraordinary reproductive circumstance and also includes sperm and egg donation editions. I agree with the author, a mental health professional, that children born through assisted reproduction should benefit from their parents being upfront about their beginnings. They have a right to know, and it is our duty as loving parents to ensure that the messages they receive are both truthful and age-appropriate. We would like our twins born via surrogacy to be proud of the efforts so many people made to bring them in to the world, and to know how wanted and cherished they are. That said, their older sister – born in the conventional way – knows that she is wonderful and special too…and it is our love for her and how she enriches our lives that inspired us to embark on the quest for a larger family.
So, to this book, which is well-aimed at children and really does try to evoke pride and joy at the creation of a family through surrogacy. It is very detailed though, suggesting that a child might need to be old enough to start asking about the ‘birds and bees’ before benefiting from this story. Perhaps upwards of five or six, and definitely not for toddlers. We may have to wait a few years before reading this to our daughters, but this story is my favourite children’s surrogacy story so far, mostly because it is close to our own journey in many ways.
The basic story is a loving couple, Will and Hope, long for a baby but are unable to have a child the regular way. They visit a fertility doctor and are introduced to a wonderful surrogate called Sunshine who helps them achieve their dream. They tell their little son, Matthew, all about his unique beginning in the form of a story, which becomes his favourite tale as he puts two and two together and realises, to his delight, that it is all about him. It really shares the celebration of the generosity and kindness of the surrogate mother, and inspired me to stick photos of our wonderful gestational surrogate and her family in the flap of the book so our children can see who helped bring them in to the world when reading the story.
There is a small religious element, when Matthew is described by his parents as a ‘Gift from God’, which prompted one nonreligious reader to write a poor review on Amazon. However, for many I suspect that this will not detract from the appropriateness of the story, and may even enhance it. This is definitely one to keep on our book shelf, and I will let you know in time if it becomes a firm favourite for our daughters like it did for little Matthew in the story!