The Paths to Parenthub Summit

A virtual event to allow you to gain perspectives, build resilience and navigate donor conception with confidence

Saturday 27th April – 1pm until 6pm (BST)

Recipient Parent Panel  • Donor Conceived Panel  •  ‘Dealing with the emotional complexities of donor conception’ with Julianne Boutaleb  •  ‘Communicating with your child about their story’ with Dr Avital Pearlman  •  ‘Balancing privacy whilst avoiding secrecy’ with Lisa Schuman  •  Virtual drinks and Q&A

With thanks to our sponsor, Apricity

Tickets available now

What’s included?

As with everything we do on Paths to Parenthub, this event has been specially curated to provide knowledge and insights from real lived experiences, the opportunity to find validation and support, as well as strategies to navigate parenting after donor conception with confidence. You will gain perspectives from recipient parents, donor conceived people and donors, knowledge and tools from professionals in the field, and a real sense of the support and understanding that is out there along this path to parenthood.

14 Day All Access Pass – the all-access pass grants the ability to watch back a recording of the live event at a time that suits you

Panel discussions and Q&A with lived experiences of recipient parents, donor conceived individuals and donors

Additional inputs from the donor conception community

Tailored reflective and compassionate keynotes with our brilliant Paths to Parenthub professionals

Bonus content and giveaways for live attendees

Downloadable journal to collect your thoughts and learnings throughout the day

Virtual drinks and Q&A with Becky, Hayley and Eleanor

What others have said

“An amazing sense of connectedness, positivity and hope. THANK YOU!”

“It was a profoundly reassuring experience, to be among so many women going through similar things – it made the idea of donor conception seem much more real and accessible, and not so strange after all. It was lovely to hear from DEIVF parents and be able to “feel” their bond with their children as they spoke about them. I feel much more confident about going into the process.”

“What you have created is truly remarkable and I wish you could bottle it all up and share it with more and more people, so they can see what a beautiful path this can be.”

“I’m just so grateful that the event existed! There was a sense of generosity about the whole thing – from Becky conceptualising and organising it, to the speakers’ honesty and everyone’s willingness to share. I feel there’s something profound about this, because it tallies with the kindness and compassion of the donors who give their eggs altruistically to women who need them to start families. It made me feel connected to something bigger. Thank you! :)”

“Joy and happiness. Lots of different emotions. A feeling of not being alone and being part of a special community. I loved how Julianne described grief as being a black ball in a jar and adding other colours to it over time. That really resonated with me and somehow lifted me. I’ll always remember that and think of it when I’m feeling sad or overwhelmed.”

Speakers

Recipient Parent Panel

Hosted by Becky Kearns

On this panel we will hear from a range of experiences. Specifically, those parents who have built their families thanks to egg donation, sperm donation, double donation and surrogacy. We will also hear from parents who identify as being part of the LGBTQ+ and solo parenting communities, those that have used known, open and anonymous donors, and those families who are parenting older donor conceived children.

Hannah

I’m Hannah. I’m 48 and single, and after 4 rounds of IVF with my own eggs and known donor sperm I was lucky enough to welcome my daughter Luna into the world in October 2021 via donor egg. It was my first embryo transfer. It’s been a hard and sometimes lonely road, but now she is here I still have to pinch myself with wonder and awe at the amazingness of it all. I am so lucky.

Akua

My name is Akua Ankrah. I am a fertility advocate who is passionate about educating people about infertility with an aim to de-stigmatize people’s approach and thoughts to infertility; helping people realize their dreams of being parents in whichever form they choose; educating women & men to advocate for themselves, and, finally; advocating for infertility causes such as insurance coverage and donor conceived people’s rights.

Through ivf, donor sperm, and surrogacy, I have three lovely girls with my husband. My husband and I dealt with unexplained infertility for over 10 years of our marriage. We are enjoying parenting Blair, Sloane, and Hunter.

My successful pregnancy, including two successful surrogacy journeys, and, having our lovely daughters, drives my goals and fuels my passion to not only support as many families as I can but also advocate for donor conceived people.

Julie

Julie is a grateful mother thanks to egg donation. After her infertility journey, she became an infertility advocate and author of the children’s book collection, Happy Together. Happy Together is a heartwarming story told through clear language and cheerful illustrations, intended to help introduce young children to the family building concepts of IVF, donor conception and surrogacy. Julie’s hope is to provide support, connection and resources to others in the infertility and donor conception communities.

David

David is Dad to three year old Delaney, who was conceived following IVF with donor sperm after he recieved a diagnosos of azoospermia. Infertility, and the journey to becoming a Dad changed his whole life, and now Delaney is here he wouldn’t change his path to parenthood – it was always Delaney he was waiting for.

Caroline

Caroline and her wife are proud mums to their daughter born in 2022 following reciprocal IVF. This involved Caroline carrying an embryo made using her wife’s egg, and their donated sperm. Caroline has been a keen fertility advocate in the LGBTQ+ community and enjoys sharing her unique perspective with others to raise awareness of the different ways families can be made.

From parenting dreams to reality: Dealing with the emotional complexities of donor conception

Julianne Boutaleb, Parenthood in Mind

Hosted by Becky Kearns

Whether donor conception was always an option, or whether it is a new path to parenthood arrived at after infertility and loss, there is likely to be a variety of emotions throughout the journey.

Whilst this path offers a real possibility for our reproductive dreams to become a reality, we must consider that pregnancy and parenting after donor conception may be complex, and that the considerations and conversations about this path may continue across our whole parenting experience.

This session with perinatal psychologist Julianne Boutaleb will help us think about the sorts of themes and issues that may come up for us as we consider this path to parenthood, become pregnant after donor conception, and embark on parenting our much longed-for donor conceived children.

Julianne will discuss themes such as:

  • managing the transition to parenthood
  • attachment and bonding with our baby
  • managing feelings of loss and complexity

We will look at how these issues may arise for both us as parents, and longer-term for our children, and how we can manage and hold space for these very normal feelings throughout our journey.

Read more about Julianne

Donor Panel

Hosted by Hayley King and Becky Kearns

During this panel, we’ll hear from both a sperm donor and an egg donor, learning about their motivations for becoming a donor and insights that they’ve learnt along the way.

Alex

I became a donor in 1992 as a recent graduate in Liverpool. In those days of course all donors were anonymous and although I was always intrigued when told my donations were successful, I understood I would likely never meet these people. After I became a teacher in 94, I would often
think about which year group these children might be in and what they might look like. In the mid 2000s, I had 2 daughters with my then wife, and in the summer of the first lockdown, 2020, that I was called by an aunt in the US who told me she had been contacted by someone who wondered if they were my biological daughter. Freya and I first emailed then called and around a month later I drove to meet her family. So far I have met a further 4 siblings and messaged another 2. Although there was a substantial delay, my anonymity is now removed and I look forward to meeting the remaining 10 DCPs should they wish to make contact. For me, discovering my DC family has been a wonderful experience and one I never expected. I recognise that some donors might not feel the same, but I learnt that the
moment I was given the opportunity of meeting any of these people, it was something I couldn’t imagine not taking up.

Jemma

Hi, I’m Jemma, 38 from Birmingham. I have three wonderful children who are seven, nine and 11 and a partner of 12 years. I also have three surrogate babies/children aged four, three and one.

I’ve been an egg donor (both anonymous and known) three times and have two jobs, a surrogate mentor for the organisation Surrogacy U.K. and a part time sales assistant.

Communicating with your child about their story: Insights, strategies & tools from a professional

Dr Avital Pearlman

Hosted by Hayley King

Imagine feeling more confident when talking to your child about their conception story, being able to open the pages of your children’s story book to read the words with clarity and conviction.

Talking to our children ‘early and often’ is thankfully now regarded as best practice when it comes to donor conception. However, at Paths to Parenthub we also know how much this topic can evoke strong emotions and anxiety within us as parents.

Whether you are right at the start of your donor conception journey, pregnant or parenting a young child, or you have an older child who is now asking YOU the questions, this input from clinical psychologist Dr Avital Pearlman is designed to help guide you through the telling process, expand on existing narratives, with the aim of improving outcomes for your child and you as a family.

Read more about Avital

Balancing privacy whilst avoiding secrecy within donor conception

Lisa Schuman

Hosted by Hayley King

A common question we hear within the community is ‘how much should I be sharing with others when it comes to my child’s conception story’? Is it for me to share, or should I wait for my child to share?

In this session licenced clinical social worker Lisa Schuman, along with Hayley King, talk us through what the difference is between privacy and secrecy, how we can plan ahead when it comes to telling others, and also provide us with a number of supportive frameworks, strategies and resources that will help to tackle this complex subject.

Note: This session has been prerecorded.

Read more about Lisa

Donor Conceived Panel

Hosted by Hayley King

The most important experience is that of those who are donor conceived themselves. Our donor conceived person panel features both egg, sperm and embryo donor conceived individuals, and those raised in a variety of family environments. This panel will provide you with the opportunity to ask questions and learn about their own perspectives and upbringing.

Isabel

I’m Isabel and I’m donor embryo conceived. I was born following the use of an embryo which was anonymously donated by a couple following their own successful fertility treatment. My family and I recently explored more about my genetic heritage on the ITV documentary “Born From The Same Stranger”, which resulted in me finding my donors and two genetic siblings. I’m very passionate about women’s health and I’m currently studying a PhD in Reproductive Biology at the University of Manchester.

Katie

Hi, I’m Katie. I am 27 and from West London. A few years ago I found out I am egg donor conceived and have since connected with my donor and four half siblings. I’m looking forward to speaking with everyone!

Liam

Liam is sperm donor conceived, and was raised by his solo mum. Growing up, he always wondered about who is donor was, but after recently appearing on ITV’s Born from the Same Stranger documentary he was able to connect with his half siblings. He is enjoying building relationships with them and is currently not looking
to connect with his donor.

Virtual drinks and Q&A with Becky, Hayley and Eleanor

A chance to turn your cameras on, grab a drink and connect with the community.

Book your ticket

14 Day All Access Pass – the all-access pass grants the ability to watch back a recording of the live event at a time that suits you

Panel discussions and Q&A with lived experiences of recipient parents, donor conceived individuals and donors

Additional inputs from the donor conception community

Tailored reflective and compassionate keynotes with our brilliant Paths to Parenthub professionals

Bonus content and giveaways for live attendees

Downloadable journal to collect your thoughts and learnings throughout the day

Virtual drinks and Q&A with Becky, Hayley and Eleanor

£39

Paths to Parenthub Member? Click here to buy your ticket with a member discount.

5% of ticket sales will go to to DCUK, a new peer led DCP UK organisation

DCUK is a new peer-led charitable organisation to represent donor conceived people, donors and others affected by donor conception practices in the UK. Paths to Parenthub are pleased to be supporting DCUK with their fundraising efforts and have chosen to donate 5% of all ticket sales from the event to their organisation.
donorconceiveduk.org.uk

FAQs

I want to take part with my partner, do they have to buy a ticket too?

No! One ticket grants you access to the event on one electronic device. As long as you are happy to watch on the same device you are only required to purchase one ticket.

I'm not from the UK, is the summit suitable for me?

Yes! Whilst Paths to Parenthub originates from the UK, our community contains members from all of the world. Our summit speakers are from the UK and the US, and the topics covered during the day are applicable to donor conceived families where ever you are located.

I really want to take part in the day, but do I have to have my camera on?

For the majority of the day you will not be able to turn your camera on. You will still be able to interact with the speakers via the Q&A box and ask any burning questions you may have. The last part of the summit will see you invited to a ‘virtual drinks’ session where you can turn on your cameras if you wish to say hi and connect with the community.

I'm a professional who works within donor conception, is the summit suitable for me?

Yes! We often hear that professionals working within donor conception find our content helpful! In fact we encourage professionals to join and learn from the discussions that are taking place within the community.

Do I need a laptop to take part in the Paths to Parenthub summit?

The summit is being hosted on Zoom. You will need a device that is able to access this platform to take part.

I'm not sure if I can make it live, is there an option to watch a recording of the summit?

Yes, as well as entrance to the summit LIVE, your ticket also grants you a ’14 day all access pass’ to watch a recording back of the day. However, we do encourage you to attend live to get the most from the discussions. Attendees will also be given the opportunity to access bonus content, offers and giveaways exclusive to those who show up live. Please note, that the ‘virtual drinks’ part of the day will not be recorded.

I have purchased a ticket, but now can't make it, am I able to get a refund?

If you are unable to make the day live then don’t forget your ticket also grants you the ’14 day all access pass’ so that you can watch the event back when you are able. Due to costs associated with transaction admin, tickets once purchased will be non refundable.