Recommended Reading

Assisted Conception   ~  Resources for Single Mothers  LGBTQ Resources  Legal  ~   Fertility  ~   Pregnancy and Parenting   ~    Books for Children  ~  Talking about Donor Conception  ~  Websites

Getting Started

  • Building a Family with the Assistance of Donor Insemination. Daniels, Ken. Dunmore Press, 2004. For those considering or who have built their families through donor conception. Includes the experiences of families who formed this way, their journey and their issues associated with talking to children about the family’s donor origins.
  • Choosing Assisted Reproduction: Social Emotional and Ethical Considerations. Cooper, Susan and Ellen Glazer. Perspectives Press, 1998. An in-depth look at the issues involved in third party reproduction, including donor insemination, egg donation, surrogacy, and embryo adoption.
  • Do Your Own California Adoption: Nolo’s Guide for Stepparents and Domestic Partners. Doskow, Emily and Frank Zagone. Nolo Press, 2003. Contains information and forms to help you complete a stepparent or domestic partner adoption in California.
  • Everything Conceivable: How Assisted Reproduction Is Changing Men, Women, and the World. Mundy, Liza. Knopf Publishing 2007. An insightful and fascinating account of the world of assisted reproduction, including interviews with mothers, fathers, infertility doctors, surrogate mothers, egg donors, sperm donors, and adult children conceived through surrogacy and IVF.
  • Experiences of Donor Conception: Parents, Offspring, and Donors through the Years. Lorbach, Caroline. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2003. Lorbach is the consumer advocate for the Donor Conception Support Group of Australia. Her guidebook quotes 94 parents, offspring, and donors from around the world. Includes the experiences of married heterosexual, single, and lesbian parents.
  • Helping the Stork: The Choices and Challenges of Donor Insemination. Vercollone, Carol Frost, Moss, Heidi, and Moss, Robert. Macmillan, 1997. A practical guide to the issues and challenges of DI.
  • The New Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth. Brill, Stephanie. Alyson Publications, 2006. A thorough, practical guide to the physical and emotional stages of pre-conception, pregnancy, and delivery.
  • Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control and Pregnancy Achievement. Weschler, Toni. HarperCollins, 1995, 2001. This accessible, detailed guide to understanding your body’s fertility signs gets our highest recommendation.
  • The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians: How to Stay Sane and Care for Yourself from Preconception Through Birth. Pepper, Rachel. Cleis Press, 2005. A humorous and insightful guide written by a lesbian mother who herself used donor sperm to conceive.

Resources for Single Mothers

  • Choosing Single Motherhood: The Thinking Woman’s Guide. Morrissette, Mikki. Be-Mondo Publishing, 2005. A comprehensive resource book for women who have chosen, or are thinking of choosing, single motherhood. Based on extensive research, this book “funnels twenty-five years of hindsight into up-to-date insight on all aspects of the Choice Motherhood movement.” Morrissette is founder of ChoiceMoms.org.
  • Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice: How Women are Choosing Parenthood without Marriage and Creating the New American Family. Hertz, Rosanna. Oxford University Press, 2006. Interviews with 65 mothers—both straight and lesbian—who speak candidly about managing their lives as single mothers.
  • Single Mothers by Choice. Mattes, Jane. Random House, 1994, updated 1997. A useful guidebook from the founder of the organization Single Mothers by Choice.

LGBTQ Resources

  • A Donor Insemination Guide: Written By and For Lesbian Women. Mohler, Marie, MA and Frazer, Lacy, PsyD. Harrington Park Press, 2002. Partners and parents children conceived through donor insemination share their experiences and offer detailed advice.
  • COLAGE's Donor Insemination Guide. Degroot, Jeffery, 2010. Available from COLAGE. Offers testimonials and advice to answer the questions and address the concerns of current and future generations of donor-conceived children, youth and adults.
  • COLAGE's Kids of Trans Resource Guide. Canfield-Lenfest, Monica, 2015. Available from COLAGE. This guide is the first of its kind, a resource specifically created for and by people with transgender parents.
  • The New Essential Guide to Lesbian Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth. Brill, Stephanie. Alyson Publications, 2006. A thorough, practical guide to the physical and emotional stages of pre-conception, pregnancy, and delivery.
  • The Queer Parent’s Primer: A Lesbian and Gay Families’ Guide to Navigating the Straight World. Brill, Stephanie. New Harbinger Publications, 2001. Practical suggestions for dealing with the challenges of defining, protecting, and celebrating queer families
     

Legal

  • Do Your Own California Adoption: Nolo’s Guide for Stepparents and Domestic Partners. Doskow, Emily and Frank Zagone. Nolo Press, 2003. Contains information and forms to help you complete a stepparent or domestic partner adoption in California.
  • Legal Guide for Lesbian & Gay Couples. Clifford, Denis, Hertz, Frederick and Emily Doskow. Nolo Press, 2007. Helps LGBT couples take charge of their legal needs and take the necessary steps to define and protect their relationships. Addresses same-sex marriage and marriage-like relationships, property ownership, health care directives, estate planning, and parentage questions. With CD containing useful forms.

Fertility

  • The Language of Fertility. A Revolutionary Mind-Body Program for Conscious Conception. Payne, Niravi B., Brenda Lane Richardson. Harmony Books, 1997. Teaches methods of conscious fertility that can work with or without the assistance of your physician.
  • Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control and Pregnancy Achievement. Weschler, Toni. Harper Collins, 1995, 2001, 2015. Accessible, detailed guide to understanding your body’s fertility signs

Pregnancy and Parenting

  • The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians: How to Stay Sane and Care for Yourself from Preconception Through Birth. Pepper, Rachel. Cleis Press, 2005. A humorous and insightful guide written by a lesbian mother who herself used donor sperm to conceive.
  • To Full Term: A Mother’s Triumph over Miscarriage. Klein, Darci. Berkley Trade, 2007. This memoir from the founder of preventprognancyloss.org includes information on seeking more aggressive monitoring for preterm labor and diagnostic testing after any suspicious pregnancy loss.
  • Families Like Mine: Children of Gay Parents Tell It Like It Is. Garner, Abigail. Harper Collins, 2004. Interviews with more than fifty grown sons and daughters of LGBT parents, Garner addresses such topics as coming out to children, facing homophobia at school, co-parenting with ex-partners, and the impact of AIDS, and the children’s own sexuality.
  • Flight of the Stork: What Children Think (and When) about Sex and Family Building. Bernstein, Anne. Perspectives Press, 1994. Explains how children organize and internalize information on sex and reproduction at different stages of development.
  • Lesbian and Gay Voices: An Annotated Bibliography and Guide to Literature for Children and Young Adults. Day, Frances Ann. Greenwood Press, 2000.
  • Mommies, Daddies, Donors, Surrogates: Answering Tough Questions and Building Strong Families. Ehrensaft, Diane. The Guilford Press, new edition, 2005. A down-to-earth manual addressing the issues raised by assisted reproduction, written by a therapist with twenty years experience in the field.
  • Raising Boys Without Men: How Maverick Moms Are Creating the Next Generation of Exceptional Men. Drexler, Peggy with Linden Gross. Rodale Press, 2006. Based on interviews with single mothers, lesbian mothers, and their sons, research psychologist Drexler offers up anecdotes and tips that are useful and validating to any mother trying to raise a strong and compassionate man.
  • The Lesbian and Gay Parenting Handbook: Creating and Raising Our Families. Martin, April. HarperCollins, 1993. An affirming guide for lesbian and gay families.
  • The Lesbian Parenting Book: A Guide to Creating Families and Raising Children. Clunis, Merilee and Dorsey Green. Seal Press, 1995, 2003. Covers the how-tos of everything from conception and adoption to addressing homophobia in age-appropriate ways.
  • Lesbian and Gay Parents: Research on the Family Life Cycle. Goldberg, Abbie E. APA Books, 2010. An up-to-date summary of research on same-sex parents and their children.

  • Lesbian and Gay Parenting. American Psychological Association. Washington, DC, 2005. Overview of research findings, APA amicus briefs, and other resources.

Books for Children   

Thanks to Jean Benward, LCSW, for introducing us to many of the following titles.

  • Hope and Will Have a Baby: The Gift of Sperm Donation. Celcer, Irene. Illustrated by Horacio Gatto. Graphite Press, 2007. The story of how mom and dad met, fell in love, and built a family with the help of donor sperm. (ages 3-6)
  • How Babies and Families Are Made: There Is More Than One Way! Schaffer, Patricia. Tabor Sarah Books, 1988. This explanation of anatomy, conception, and birth acknowledges the variety of ways in which families can be created, including donor insemination (doesn’t mention donor egg or surrogacy). Heterosexual focus. (ages 5-9)
  • It’s Not the Stork! A Book about Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families, and Friends. Harris, Robie. Candlewick, 2006. A comprehensive book explaining a myriad of topics related to growing up and getting to know yourself and your body. Illustrates a wide variety of family types and has a diversity of characters. (ages 4 and up)
  • It’s So Amazing: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families. Harris, Robie. Candlewick, 1999. An upbeat, comprehensive sex education book for kids. (ages 7-10)
  • It Takes Love (and other stuff) To Make A Baby by L. L. Bird and Patrick Girouard. Catadon Press, 2014.  A book for kids in two-mom families born via donor insemination. Using bright illustrations and simple, concrete language, It Takes Love explains the basics of reproduction and introduces the concept of the donor. 
     
  • Let Me Explain: A Story about Donor Insemination. Schnitter, Jane T. Perspectives Press, 1995. This lovely and warm book explains donor insemination from the perspective of a young girl with heterosexual parents; she is matter-of-fact about her conception by DI and her close connection to her dad. (ages 6-10)
     
  • Making Miracles. Leicester, Mai. Acebabes, 2001. A book about a friendship between a boy and a frog that introduces the subject of assisted conception without any details. Available from  (ages 5-7)
     
  • Mommy, Did I Grow in Your Tummy? Where Some Babies Come From. Gordon, Elaine R. Greenburg Press, 1992. Explains infertility, IVF, and alternate ways to become a family, including donor gametes and surrogacy. Nicely illustrated. Heterosexual focus. (ages 4 and up)
  • My Story. London: Infertility Research Trust/ Jessup Hospital for Women, 1991. A straightforward and gentle guide describing how Mummy and Daddy conceived their child through donor insemination. (Ages 4-7).
  • Our Story. Baxter, Nicola. Donor Conception Network, 2003. An excellent guide to donor insemination for young children, with one version about having lesbian parents and another about having a single mother. (ages 3-6). Available from the Donor Conception Network (UK) or the Infertility Network (Canada).
  • The Story of Our Family. Green, Lisa and Thorn, Petra. Famart, 2013. 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.
  • What makes a baby Silverberg, Cory. Smyth, Fiona. 2013.  Completely gender neutral story of how babies are made, works for all family configurations and gender identities.

  • Zak’s Safari Tyner, Christy. 2014. A boy tells the story of how his multi-ethnic family with two moms came to be​. Includes a forward with tips on how to talk to children about donor conception written by TSBC's Executive Director, Alice Ruby.

  • See also list compiled by librarian Patricia Sarles, MA, MLS.

Family Diversity

  • All Kinds of Families. Simon, Norma. Albert Whitman & Co., 1975, 1987. This picture book describes many different types of families and explores what they all have in common. (ages 4-8)
  • And Tango Makes Three. Parnell, Peter. Simon & Schuster, 2005. A charming picture book based on the true-life tale of two male penguins in New York City’s Central Park Zoo, who pair up—and parent—together. (ages 4-8)
  • Asha’s Mums. Elwin, Rosamund and Michele Paulse,. Women’s Press, Ontario, Canada, 1990. Thoughtful story showing how a young girl and her two moms deal positively with homophobia at school. Characters of all different ethnic backgrounds. (ages 6 and up)
  • Daddy’s Roommate. Willhoite, Michael. Alyson Publications, 1991. Both the story and pictures are warm and positive as they show the boy Nick with the two partners and depict loving family relationships. (ages 4-8)
  • Emma and Meesha My Boy: a Two Mom Story. Considine, Kaitlyn. Twomombooks.com, 2005. Two moms teach their daughter to be nice to her cat. (ages 3-6)
  • Families. Tax, Meredith. Feminist Press, 1996. Six-year-old Angie introduces readers to her group of friends, who are loved and cared for within many different types of families. (ages 4-8)
  • Heather Has Two Mommies. Newman, Leslea. Alyson Publications, 1989, updated 2000. This classic contains a good discussion of family diversity. In Newman’s Gloria Goes to Gay Pride (Alyson Publications, 1991), Gloria and her two mothers join in a Gay Pride parade. In Newman’s Felicia’s Favorite Story (Alyson Publications, 2002), Felicia listens to her favorite bedtime story of how she was adopted by Mama Linda and Mama Nessa. (ages 4-7)
  • Holly’s Secret. Garden, Nancy. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, (BYR) 2000. When Holly's family moves to a new town, she changes her name and lies about her two moms, hoping that she'll fit in. She learns that true friends will stand by her. Loving, realistic scenes between Holly and her family. (ages 8-12)
  • King and King. de Haan, Linda. Tricycle Press, 2002. When the queen decrees that it’s time for the prince to marry, princesses come from far and wide hoping to catch his eye, but it’s one of the princesses’ brother who wins his heart. And they live happily ever after! (ages 3-6)
  • Let’s Get This Straight: The Ultimate Handbook for Youth with LGBTQ Parents. Reaches young people with gay/lesbian, bi, or trans parents to provide them with the tools to combat homophobia, take pride in their alternative family structures, and speak out against injustice. (ages pre-teen +)
  • One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dad, Blue Dads. Valentine, Johnny. Alyson Publications, 2004. Two children—one with blue dads, one from a more traditional family—compare notes in this light hearted book about parents who may look different, but aren’t really that different at all. (ages 4-8)
  • That’s a Family. Debra Chasnoff, Director, Women’s Educational Media, 2000. A 30-minute video documentary that breaks new ground in helping elementary-school-aged kids see and understand many of the different shapes that families take today. Available from www.womedia.org (note: Women's Educational Media is now called GroundSpark)
  • The Duke Who Outlawed Jelly Beans. Valentine, Johnny. Alyson Publications, 2004. A collection of five original fairy tales with a cast of gay and lesbian characters embedded within the tales. (ages 4-8)
  • The Family Book. Parr, Todd. Megan Tingley Books, 2003. A colorful, adorable, picture book about what makes families different and what makes them the same. (ages 2-5)
  • Who’s in a Family? Skutch, Robert. Tricycle Press, 1998. Picture book portraying families in all their diversity. (ages 3-7)
  • Zack’s Story: Growing Up With Same-Sex Parents. Greenberg, Keith E. Lerner Publications, 1996. Eleven-year-old Zack describes life with his two moms in this photo-essay for pre-teens.
  • 1 2 3 A Family Counting Book. Combs, Bobbie. Illustrated by Danamarie Hosler and A B C A Family Alphabet Book. Illustrated by Desiree Keane and Brian Rappa. Two Lives Publishing, 2000. Delightful picture books celebrating alternative families. (ages 2-5)
     

Talking about Donor Conception

Most of the following titles are available from the Donor Conception Network in Britain or the Infertility Network in Canada

  • Two Lives Publishing is a resource center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered parents and their children.
  • Tapestry Books is a unique source of books related to adoption, infertility, and assisted reproduction for both children and adults.

Books/Videos/Podcasts for Children

  • How I Began: The Story of Donor Insemination. Paul, Julia, editor. By N.S.W. Infertility Social Workers Group, 1988. This book describes sex, conception, infertility, and pregnancy achieved through donor sperm, in the context of heterosexual families. Available from www.infertilitynetwork.org (ages 5-8)
  • My Story. Infertility Research Trust, 1991. A straightforward and gentle guide describing how Mummy and Daddy conceived their child through donor insemination. (ages 4-7)
  • Our Story. Baxter, Nicola. Donor Conception Network, 2003. Excellent guides to donor conception for young children, with separate versions for children conceived through DI to lesbian parents, through DI to single mothers, or through egg donation to heterosexual parents. (ages 3-6)
  • Telling and Talking Liesel Evans, Director, Donor Conception Network, 2006. A 45-minute video documentary of ten families with donor-conception origins. Parents and children answer questions about their experiences of telling/learning about their DI origins and continuing to talk together as the children grow and change. It features families headed by single women, a lesbian couple, and seven heterosexual couples.
  • Telling and Talking about Donor Conception: A Guide for Parents. Montuschi, Olivia. Donor Conception Network, 2006. Four booklets to help parents decide whether and how to tell their children about their donor origins. Each booklet is geared toward a different age group, from birth to adulthood. Available free from www.dcnetwork.org

Books/Videos/Podcasts for Youth and Adults

  • A Different Story. Liesel Evans, Director, Donor Conception Network, 2002. A 30-minute video documentary based on interviews with seven people aged between seven and twenty who offer varied positive and thoughtful reflections about their DI origins. All were conceived with the aid of anonymous donor insemination, and all were told the facts of their conception at an early age by their parents. Does not include mention of families headed by lesbians or single women.
  • A Letter from Walter to Would-be DI Dads. Merricks, Walter. Donor Conception Network, 2003. A letter designed to help men think though difficult issues related to parenting through donor conception. Available free from www.dcnetwork.org
  • Choosing to be Open about Donor Conception. Pettle, Sharon and Burns, Jan. Donor Conception Network, 2002. A parenting guide based on interviews with 52 heterosexual, single, and lesbian parents about their experiences being open about their children’s donor origins.
  • DI Guide: Donor Insemination Guide. Degroot, Jeffery, 2010. Available from COLAGE. Offers testimonials and advice to answer the questions and address the concerns of current and future generations of donor-conceived children, youth and adults.
  • How We Became a Family by Using a Sperm Donor. Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA).
  • Telling and Talking Liesel Evans, Director, Donor Conception Network, 2006. A 45-minute video documentary of ten families with donor-conception origins. Parents and children answer questions about their experiences of telling/learning about their DI origins and continuing to talk together as the children grow and change. It features families headed by single women, a lesbian couple, and seven heterosexual couples.
  • Telling and Talking about Donor Conception: A Guide for Parents. Montuschi, Olivia. Donor Conception Network, 2006. Four booklets to help parents decide whether and how to tell their children about their donor origins. Each booklet is geared toward a different age group, from birth to adulthood. Available free from www.dcnetwork.org