Veerle Provoost: Do kids think of sperm donors as family?
Veerle Provoost - Bioethicist
Veerle Provoost studies genetic and social parenthood in the context of donor conception. Full bio
about the sperm donation?
to as "biological fathers,"
be using the word "father?"
about the concept of parenthood.
about what I learned
what matters most in a family,
looks a little different.
of dealing with tough questions.
the parents' uncertainties.
at Ghent University Hospital,
at which we conducted interviews.
did not have good-quality sperm,
needed to find sperm elsewhere.
like parenthood and family.
as possible to the interview,
if it were an apple tree?
for everyone who, in their view,
and hang it wherever they wanted.
with a parent or a sibling.
started mentioning the donor.
into the family?"
who have spare seeds.
mentioning the donor,
using their own words.
for the friendly man with the seeds,
up there with the others.
because my family would not be here,
constructed family tales --
with family narratives.
who made books --
throughout the treatment.
parking tickets in there.
and how deeply loved their child was.
that these children are doing fine.
more problems than other kids.
to justify their decisions
would understand their reasons
that their children might disapprove
of one mom, one dad
but not part of our study.
with his father,
the parents in our study feared.
and they made up.
that is most interesting.
with the lack of a genetic link.
is a little different.
what's best for their child.
long before they even were parents.
to the counselor,
the advice they were given.
not unless he asks,
to children's questions.
and she's made in the same way.
I just go and ask her."
what they had in mind,
it is to be an open-communication family.
we gather evidence first.
what this pill is doing
that is theoretically sound,
that there is evidence for --
improves patients' lives.
would now like to offer you a paradox:
to the warmth we found in those families.
and the trip to the farmer?
as members of families,
are warm relationships.
professionals to create those.
we can do with some advice.
that works for your family.
because you live your family life.
and your creativity,
About the speaker:Veerle Provoost - Bioethicist
Veerle Provoost studies genetic and social parenthood in the context of donor conception.
Why you should listen
Veerle Provoost is a professor at the Bioethics Institute Ghent of Ghent University and a member of the Network on Ethics of Families. For her current research she coordinates a team of researchers who work on a study about genetic and social parenthood in the context of donor conception.
Using empirical research methods and Socratic conversation techniques, Provoost studies how professionals and ordinary people reason about health and how they make decisions in health-related contexts. In her courses on empirical research methods for ethics and bioethics, she teaches students how to look beyond mere experiences or general attitudes and to explore the principles and values that guide people's reasoning and decision-making. Her research shows that patients may bring their own sets of principles when making medical decisions, principles that may be very different from what medical staff anticipated and may feature around moral elements that may completely escape the attention of ethicists. For one, the moral reasoning of everyday people is centered more around relationships than around the principles that are at the core of scholarly bioethics.
In her talk TEDxGhent talk, she explains how we can gain valuable insights from 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, Provoost 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 Provoost | Speaker | TED.com