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Richards, A.K. (2006). Mommies, Daddies, Donors, Surrogates: Answering Tough Questions and Building Strong Families by Diane Ehrensaft Ph.D. New York: Guilford, 2005 303 pp.. Fort Da, 12(1):88-91.

(2006). Fort Da, 12(1):88-91

Mommies, Daddies, Donors, Surrogates: Answering Tough Questions and Building Strong Families by Diane Ehrensaft Ph.D. New York: Guilford, 2005 303 pp.

Reviewed by
Arlene Kramer Richards, ED.D.

Who Am I and How Did I Get Here?

Anything new, anything different, anything that changes inevitably causes anxiety. Taking away the comfort of precedent always creates fear. There has to be a strong need for change if the inertia of fear is to be overcome. The strong need and strong desire to have a family has become an engine for change in our society. But this change produces fear, and that fear is what this book addresses.

Back in the 80s when I was teaching at the Smith College School for Social Work, the first “turkey baster” babies were appearing on campus as the children of lesbian faculty and students. Hotly debated in the psychodynamically sophisticated world we inhabited were the topics: What would happen as these much wanted and much loved babies grew up without fathers, with either one Mommy or two? How would they understand the world they had been brought into? How would they understand their place in it? And, where would one find precedent to allay this fear? This led me to think about the experience of one of my favorite poets, Hilda Doolittle. She had raised a daughter with her lesbian lover in a tight-knit family. The daughter was now grown with a husband and a large family of her own. How had the experience of being brought up by two Mommies affected her? Could her experience help in predicting the kind of experience that these later children had? Doolittle's daughter had been conceived in the conventional way but with a father who did not take part in raising her. She had a bisexual birth mother and a masculine-identified social parent who was a woman.

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