Veerle Provoost talks about families of children conceived with donor sperm and their views about what a family really is. These alternative families teach us what matters most in the decisions we all make for our children, whether or not they are genetically related to us. The parents and children she studied created their own family stories (about how their families were made) in highly diverse but very creative ways. However, some parents thought that they should strictly follow the advice of experts in their communication with their children. Because of that, they discounted their own competence. Based on her research experience, Veerle warns us for the negative effects of problematizing these families. Because no matter what a family looks like, or how it is made, parents should believe in their abilities and their creativity. As they know their families best, they are the real experts in how to find the best way to tell their own family story to their own child.
Veerle’s main research interest is empirical bioethics in the field of reproductive medicine. She is a professor at Ghent University and coordinates a team of researchers who work on a study about genetic and social parenthood in the context of donor conception.
Drawings are the courtesy of our partner, StoryMe.