Telling your child about egg donation

  1. avatar
    suzy smith

    Hi there… Let’s see, my situation is rather strange and I’m starting to be greatly concerned on this topic, since my child is getting older every day and he’s not stupid… I mean, we, my husband and I, have curly brown hair, but my child’s hair is almost blonde and straight, so he’s beginning to ask himself why. And we are considering telling him about his biological origin, that is, he is a donor-conveived child, but we don’t know what his reaction will be like, and that’s why I’m writing now in this forum, to seek some counseling. We’re especially interested in reading other’s experiences because I think that’s the best way to overcome this kind of “fear”. Any ideas out there? We are from Cincinnati, OH… Thanks in advance.

    October 14, 2015 at 7:14 pm
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  2. avatar
    Sandra F.
    Fertility counselor

    Dear Suzy,

    Openness is in the majority of the cases the best for all children. Telling your children about his/her origins by donor conception is a way through which you can strengthen your family relationship by putting honesty at the heart of it. Besides, it allows donor-conceived people to become more open-minded and make their own choices about their lives.

    Usually, parents decide to tell their child about donor conception due to the cause you’ve mentioned: because they see significant differences between the child and his/her parents, such as in looks or talents, among others. By telling him or her, such differences can be easily explained; there are cases of donor-conceived adults who have assumed they were adopted because of the many differences between he/she and his/her parents.

    Conversely, not telling your child about donor conception is not advised only in cases where the child suffers from any severe developmental delay or has learning difficulties. Also if you belong to a community where egg and sperm donation are disapproved, the parents will be forced to answer very difficult questions, and the child will be unable to be proud of the ones who have brought him/her up, probably not telling will be the most reasonable option.

    Therefore, my recommendation is that you wait till your child is the right age from your point of view to tell about his biological origin. Usually, their reaction is very positive and you’ll see your relationship strengthened.

    Good luck!

    October 15, 2015 at 3:16 pm
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    • avatar
      Gusty09

      Okay, I agree with you, Sandra. But my problem is not telling my child, who I know loves us a whole lot, but that our child starts sharing the news with others such as friends, neighbors or even our family. We’ve kept it a secret over these years (he’s 7 by now) and we’re very concerned all of them start seeing us as “strangers”. What can you tell us about that? We live in the UK.

      October 15, 2015 at 5:43 pm
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    • avatar
      Sandra F.
      Fertility counselor

      Hello Gusty09,

      Usually, when you tell your child about donor eggs, his/her response is indifference, because that topic does not interest them at all due to their age. As you said, they’ve grown up with you and haven’t met anybody else over these years, so who cares? (that’s their thought, usually).

      Nevertheless, 8-year-old or older children have much greater understanding than younger kids. The way in which they receive the news will depend to a great extent on, firstly, how you feel about it and, secondly, how you tell him. Also their personality may have an influence, but to a lesser extent.

      As for telling other people about it, as I said young children rarely talk about it with others, since they find it too abstract and other children probably won’t understand what is it about either.

      Parents who feel comfortable about donor conception and extend that feeling to their children see how he or she not only is comfortable with his/her origins, but tends to correct others when they criticize you or make wrong assumptions because of it. And more or less, the same happens with adopted children.

      October 15, 2015 at 5:53 pm
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