IVF Lit for Kids: Cool or TMI?

Posted by Erica Noonan  April 19, 2010 01:07 PM

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They had me at "sperm."

Finally, a new children's book that explains -- and even normalizes -- IVF for the preschool set.

"I Can't Wait To Meet You" by Claudia Santorelli-Bates is about a cartoon couple, Grace and Charlie, who can't make a baby after trying for a year. They become distressed. They visit Dr. Nelson who tells them that there are "different ways you can try."

Grace's ova and Charlie's swimmers make cameos, and lo and behold a child is created.

Finally, Grace and Charlie get to paint a nursery and moon dreamily over a selection of expensive strollers. When their baby girl arrives, she is christened "our little miracle.... wanted and loved long before we met you."

The book is sweet and simple, though for kids much into grade school with curiosity about conception, it just won't be enough.

There are just too many questions about where the other fertilized embryos wind up, how Charlie got the sperm into that cup, and why Grace's egg retrieval looks like it's being done via roto rooter.

(Also, Charlie and Grace must be living in Massachusetts, because they are not handed a $20,000 bill by Dr.Nelson at the end of the story.)

OK. I am mocking this book a bit, but truthfully I was really pleased to see it.

More and more of our kids are not conceived the old-fashioned way, and parents need tools to educate them as they grow up. Books like this can help.

Do you know of any other teaching materials out there to explain assisted reproduction to kids -- and even other adults? How do you handle the subject in your family? Or is this just way Too Much Information for a kid? Leave a comment or drop me an email at enoonan@globe.com

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about the author

Erica Noonan is chief of the Globe West bureau. Before joining the Globe in 2000, she worked for the Associated Press in Boston. Raised in Wellesley, she has a master's degree in political communication from Emerson College and a BA in political science from Trinity University in San Antonio. She lives in Natick with two energetic children: Dennis, 6, and Lila, 4.

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