SODCSN is a support group for parents raising children conceived via donor conception, people conceived via donor conception, people considering starting a family with donor gametes, and gamete donors who have donated sperm or eggs to help others create families. Participants travel to semi-annual support group meetings in Toronto and London, Canada from all across the region.
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To participate in the ongoing conversation, please visit our Facebook page!
SODCSN Support Group meetings are aimed at:
- Reducing isolation
- Creating opportunities for conversation
- Encouraging a positive attitude toward openness with one’s donor conceived offspring regarding their origins
- Educating attendees as to donor-related issues and exposure to useful resources, especially materials that help parents tell their donor-conceived children about their origins
- Sharing the experiences of others
- Providing opportunities for those who have benefited from support to help others
In 1997, Jean Haase, a social worker with The Fertility Clinic at London Health Sciences Centre, started a support group to facilitate contact between parents that used Donor Insemination (DI) to create their families. This later became known as the Southwestern Ontario Donor Conception Support Network (SODCSN).
Jean recognized that in addition to providing preparatory counselling and education to patients in the fertility program, these patients often expressed a need for ongoing support after the birth of a child. Jean felt such peer-support would prove particularly important given the secrecy and stigma that has historically been associated with donor conception. By facilitating mutual contact between families, SODCSN would help to reduce this stigma and provide the basis for a healthier long-term adjustment to donor conception for both parents and children.
Jean first contacted participants in the hospital’s fertility program, instituting twice-yearly support meetings where attendees could learn from each other’s experiences. The program regularly included guest speakers, ranging from donors, donor-conceived adults, parents, and policy experts involved in the development of regulations that have implications for donor conception.
In 2010, Jean retired from active service with The Fertility Clinic and SODCSN transitioning the group to donor-conceived parent leadership. Jean remains active as a part-time counselor in private practice, and as a consultant to the board of the Southwestern Ontario Donor Conception Support Network as it develops into an independent organisation providing support and advocacy for families.
Since Fall 2010, Vince Londini has coordinated and promoted the activities of SODCSN. Drawing feedback from a strategy group of long-time attendees, SODCSN expanded it’s efforts to raise awareness by launching a web-page, Facebook page, and distributing meeting information via e-mail lists to participants and fertility-related professionals. In 2011, SODCSN expanded it’s meeting program to include twice-yearly meetings in Toronto as well as those in London.