A comprehensive guide for children of LGBTQ parents
by Bradley Donalson
COLAGE is an organization dedicated to serving the interests of children raised by at least one parent who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. The group’s members first came together in 1990 under the name “Just for Us” while their parents were attending a conference sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian Parents Coalition International (now known as the Family Equality Council). The group serves as a way to connect children of LGBTQ parents to a network of peers in order to share stories and empower youth to become voices in their community.
One resource that COLAGE hopes to provide is the ART Guide, an aid for people who were conceived using assisted reproductive technologies (ART). The organization previously released a similar guide—called the DI Guide—that focused on children born with the help of a sperm donor. The DI Guide has been lauded by the Sperm Bank of California (one of the first sperm banks to offer services to single and/or lesbian mothers), as well as by faculty from the University of California. Sacha Finn, the ART Fellow with COLAGE, says, “The ART Guide is going to be a more updated DI guide which will include all forms of ART that LGBTQ parents are using to create families these days.”
By making the ART Guide an online resource, COLAGE hopes that it will be more accessible to those it targets. According to Finn, the guide will offer testimonials from ART-conceived youth that respond to questions and concerns of their peers, as well as discuss the relationships youth have with their donor or surrogate and how their families define those relationships. It will also address issues surrounding methods of conception, ways to explain these family dynamics to others, and will provide information about social issues in media and the law that are affecting people born through ART. The guide will also feature links to upcoming conferences, current research, blogs, and other support groups that deal with these same issues. “For those youth who have felt isolated, simply reading about how others have dealt with telling their ‘creation story’ can make a meaningful and positive difference,” Finn says.
But to make the ART Guide as comprehensive and useful as it can be, COLAGE and Finn are asking for help. They are currently conducting an online survey to gather stories and information from children born through ART methods. They are asking that any children, youth, or adults who were born through ART to complete the survey (link provided below), which will gather information about their conception, desire to meet their surrogate/donor, their relationship with their surrogate, dealing with LGBTQ parents, dealing with not knowing one of their parents, bullying issues and coping mechanisms, and more. Finn hopes that the survey data collected will help make the ART Guide complete and that it will “give a voice to the youth who live in silence, having no one to turn to for answers to their questions about their family and their conception.”
The COLAGE ART survey can be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/colageart.