We recently interviewed an author, Jordan DeGusipe, who wrote the children’s book series, Baby Cake. Baby Cake is a book series for parents to read to their children conceived through IVF, egg donation, sperm donation, surrogacy, general infertility and all other paths to parenthood. As a woman who struggled with infertility herself, DeGusipe knows how difficult the process of conceiving a child is.
Tell us about your journey to becoming parents.
When I was 15 years old, my doctors suggested I was in the early stages of Premature Ovarian Failure (POF). By age 24, I was officially diagnosed with POF. My entire life, my dream has always been to be a mother. No matter what I chose to do, career wise, I knew my dream was to become a parent. When I found out I would need an egg donor to conceive, I was initially devastated. However, as the years went on, I realized how lucky I was to have an alternative path to becoming a mommy.
My husband and I were able to find our donor at a frozen egg bank, and I instantly knew she was the one. The experience of using an egg donor was surreal and amazing. I have never met and will never meet our donor, who is anonymous, but I have such a profound respect and love for her.
What inspired you to write these books?
When I spoke with several psychologists, they all recommended being completely open to my donor-conceived child about our birth journey. Several of them suggested reading children’s books that were aimed to facilitate the discussion about how a donor-conceived child came into the world.
Yet, from my research seeking a children’s book about donor conception, I found a void. So many books I read just weren’t getting the message across in a way that I was satisfied with.
I realized I could be the one to fill that void. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies from Pennsylvania State University, and I specialize in children’s emotional development. Leveraging my academic knowledge and reflecting upon my own personal struggle with infertility, I decided to write a book that teaches children their birth stories in an exciting and clear way.
From that, my ‘Baby Cake’ children’s book series was born. I now have four books published, based on the themes of egg donation, sperm donation, surrogacy, and general infertility. I am also in the middle of working on several more books, based upon using sperm and egg donation, embryo donation, single mother egg/sperm donation, adoption, same-sex donation, and surrogacy stories. I want to include all of the beautiful families that are out there and help them celebrate their children and their stories. Occasionally, I also create custom books for families by request.
How do you plan on sharing your story with your children? When will you know it’s the right time?
I plan to tell my children when they are infants, even if they can’t understand my words yet. Studies show children adapt to their birth stories and can best form their identity when they are taught the story of their conception early on in life. Most psychologists recommend starting the conversation no later than the age of 4-5 years old.
I believe, in my heart, that the best route is to share the conception story as soon as the child is born, so that parents can get comfortable with the conversation. This way, by the time the child starts asking questions, the parent will be comfortable with answering them.
My hope is that my books will serve as the foundation for starting this dialogue – and I am honored by the thought that I’ll actually be able to help parents along their journey.
Studies show that children who are donor-conceived, IVF-conceived, or adopted are more likely to function well as adults when their parents normalize their birth story and share it at an early age. The risk for developing an identity crisis is lower, since the child avoids confusion about his/her origin and the birth story is celebrated.
I think that, as parents, we have a unique opportunity to bond with our children and celebrate the paths that brought them to us.
What tips do you have for other aspiring donor recipients as they deliberate how to share their own story?
My advice would be this: be proud of your story. Be confident in your path. Parenthood, no matter what path you take to get there, is such a beautiful destination. It is something to be proud of; you wanted your children so much that you went through a struggle to have them. You fought the tears, the disappointments, and the setbacks. You didn’t take no for an answer.
Your children will be blessed to know that they were so wanted and loved prior to even being born. This is an opportunity to appreciate the gift of parenthood in an even larger capacity. Your story is an accomplishment, and your children will know how loved they are.
About the author:
Jordan DeGusipe holds a Bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University in Human Development & Family Studies, with a Minor in Psychology. Graduating at the top of her class, the author always excelled at writing. When she and her husband faced infertility, and subsequently sought egg donation to have their children, she realized the void that existed in quality children’s books, to tell their children their birth story in an exciting and clear way. With her knowledge of human development, and her personal struggles of infertility, Jordan went on to write the ‘Baby Cakes’ children’s book series, a series for parents to read to their children conceived through IVF, egg donation, sperm donation, surrogacy, general infertility and all other paths to parenthood. Jordan resides with her husband and their pets in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
For more information, the author can be reached at: [email protected]
Links “Baby Cake” Books:
Baby Cake Sperm Donation Story
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