As a pediatric provider it can be difficult to know how young is too young to discuss fertility preservation topics directly with patients. I see many children around the age of 12/13 who are undergoing treatment and these children have not learned human growth and development topics at school and may not be at the age where they can discuss these topics. I am curious how other providers discuss these topics with the 6-8th grade demographic?
I think this is a really interesting question! As a psychologist-in-training, it raises a lot of really complex questions for me too! I wonder about the age group you described, such as pre-teens, but also about even younger children. While my practice is primarily with adults 18+, these are such complex questions to consider. In addition to the concerns that you described about knowledge regarding human growth and development, I also wonder about cognitive development, especially in the younger children. Do they have the capacity to understand what their options are, what the pros and cons of these options are, and to explore how they might feel based on which option they choose? To predict their emotional functioning based on their choices, in the future? I also wonder what information and awareness do they have at a young age about sexual health, sexuality, and future goals for parenthood. If we think they don’t have enough information about these topics, what is the most developmentally appropriate way to educate them in order to optimize decision-making and/or assent, since I’m guessing decisions will ultimately be up to the parents? This question of education is especially tough if there is a push to get treatments started ASAP.