About the Author
Jana M. Rupnow, MA, LPC, is a licensed professional counselor and consultant specializing in fertility and family building. Jana has helped hundreds of people facing the challenges of infertility as well as those preparing for third-party family building and adoption.
Jana works independently in private practice in Dallas, Texas. She has built relationships with fertility doctors across the country to help their patients with the psychological challenges of donation conception prior to medical intervention. She works with couples, parents, donors, agencies, and endocrinologists across the nation in her Dallas offices and via Skype or FaceTime. Jana also helps parents learn to communicate with their children about donor conception and serves as a liaison for communication between donor-conceived or adoptive families and genetic or birth parents.
She is a speaker and a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s Mental Health Group and a professional member of the National Infertility Association, Resolve. Jana has a clinical background in physiology and has published articles through Baylor University Medical Center.
Jana is also an adoptee and adoptive mom. She and her husband, Scott, live in Dallas with their son, Caden, and daughter, Jade, and two goldendoodles, Oliver and Chloe.
For consultation, counseling, training for professionals, or a speaking engagement, email Jana@JanaRupnow.com or learn more on JanaRupnow.com. Follow Jana Rupnow on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @janarupnowlpc.
Uprooted offers a personal view of the consequences of secrecy in the practice of donor conception. A prominent CEO, Peter Boni, uncovers a family secret that both validates and disrupts his life. Combing his extensive research of the early practice of donor insemination with his own genetic discoveries, Boni reveals the questions, uncertainties and confusion he faced, as well as the exhilaration of connecting with genetic kin.
Boni provides a detailed history of the practice of donor conception, walking us through the social, legal and religious climate that encouraged secrets in reproductive technology and stunted the advancement of our social narratives.
Secrets are no match for personal determination and the universal need for self-discovery, no matter what age. Boni doesn’t stop his search until his deceased parents’ secret comes to light.
When scores of aspiring parents turned to the fertility industry to start families, they chose a remarkable young man to be the biological father of their children. He was a music prodigy and gifted athlete who had a genius IQ, movie star looks, and perfect health.
Except it was all a lie.
In this tour de force of investigative reporting, host Dov Fox unravels the case of Donor 9623, examining the complex forces and competing agendas behind the biggest reproductive hoax of our time. The story is dark, propulsive – and in an unexpected turn – hopeful. This Audible Original exposes the billion-dollar industry that creates hundreds of thousands of babies every year, through unprecedented access to its key players – and to Donor 9623 himself.
The 8-episode series raises hard questions about what we want when we set out to have kids – and what happens when we don’t get it. It places us in the grip of life lived with crushing uncertainty. And unsettles our deepest understanding of what it means to be human.
Romi and Britt, two moms through sperm donation, share their journey to better understanding their child’s potential perspective. Britt shares how she has worked through her vulnerabilities as the non-genetic parent and has a totally different view from when they first embarked on this journey. Romi’s lived personal experience with non-genetic family life, gives her an inside understanding of the irreplaceable role of parenting.
Update since the recording: They connected with their child’s donor.
Some things feel scary and with Halloween near, I thought I’d use this motto:
Don’t get scared, get skilled!
This 4-week online workshop helps you learn skills to build healthy family narratives and interactions around the topic of donor conception. I will teach a variety of skills such as how to foster open dialogue, learning to listen, learning to see through the eyes of your child, and allowing feelings. We will cover how expectations can be the enemy of growth and common questions parents have about DNA testing, telling their story, privacy vs secrecy and more. We will explore the juxtaposition of the parent and child narratives, experiences of grief and family loyalty.
Connect in small, intimate groups with other recipient parents. A supportive learning environment is my priority!
The workshop includes hard work. Its curriculum is designed to challenge you and may push you outside of your comfort zone.
During the workshop, you’re going to learn how to understand your child’s potential feelings. I’ll cover:
Learning to listen
Creating space for your child’s emotions
Learning to Listen
First, we’re going to cover learning to listen. This is important because listening is harder than we think. It requires us as parents to clear a space, basically get our junk out of the way. Here’s what you need to know about learning to listen: We have to first UNLEARN some things. We will get into that in the course.
Creating Space for Your Child’s Emotions
Next, we’ll talk about creating space for your child’s emotion. This is important because it goes beyond good listening skills. It requires some detective work. We will discuss this in our first zoom call.
Finally, we’ll discuss how to build skills. Skills are how we put theory into practice and we will do several practical exercises including role playing and script work to create a plan for you
This workshop will keep growing too!
The curriculum will keep evolving, growing and include controversial topics as they happen. It is led by Jana Rupnow, a clinically and personally informed perspective and author of Three Makes Baby. Information provided will be evidence-based when at all possible. Keep in mind that evidence-based information may include surveys and polls. It will be clear when it is published research vs original research.
All materials used will be owned by Jana Rupnow, through Trademark law or used with permission by the original content creator. In that case, the original content creator will be given due credit.
3. TAKE THE SURVEY to let me know what you’d like to learn
Lindsay shares difficult feelings around being donor conceived like, the guilt and divided loyalty she felt between her dad and the desire to know more about her biological father. She explains how the lack of genetic mirroring impacted her as she searched for her identity in strangers faces as a teenager. Lindsay found her biological father but still must keep his secret. She shares how being “severed” from biological family has impacted her in Part 1 of this episode.
In Part 2, we explore ideas around DNA testing and whose story it is to share.
Olivia Montuschi, co-founder of the Donor Conception Network in England, has over 35 years of experience as a parent to donor-conceived children and is the author of several resources for parents.
Olivia shares her personal story as well as the story of how the @d_c_network was born.
In this episode, she shares valuable perspectives from her interviews with donor conceived teenagers. Their perspectives were included in her latest book, Continuing the Conversation which is available for purchase through @d_c_network.
Below are my comments on her latest publication:
Continuing the Conversation, Talking with Young People and Adults 12 yrs and Up, is an invaluable resource for families with donor conceived teenagers and young adults. Applying over 35 years of experience as a parents of DC children plus interviews with 21 donor conceived teenagers, Olivia Montuschi and Jane Ellis provide readers “a look ahead” at this crucial stage of child development. Montuschi and Ellis describe common challenges and mistakes that parents of teens make, while navigating the shifting and sometimes disorienting dynamics in the parent child relationship. In addition to learning how to engage in conversation with their teens during time when teens are naturally pulling away, readers will learn more about unique issues donor conceived adolescents face as they search for genetic kin, take a DNA test for the first time or begin dating.
Continuing the Conversation is an answer to the most common question parents ask me, “What will my child feel?” DC teens and adults offer direct advice to parents, on topics such as privacy, supporting their search and having uncomfortable conversations with them. As pioneers and leaders in the DC community, the DC network continues to address real issues, normalizing the challenges teens with disconnected genetic ties may face, so they don’t have to face them alone, but with their parents by their side.