If a child was conceived with the help of an egg donor, it’s best to tell them as early as possible. Some kids may be ready earlier than others but generally speaking its best to start the conversation when the child is pre-verbal. However, it’s never too soon to introduce the idea. An intended parents support group can offer guidance, but here are some tips on discussing using an egg donor with your child.
Not telling children they were conceived through third-party reproduction could be psychologically devastating in the future. The child may suspect they’re different as they age, a family member may accidentally tell, or they may someday undergo a genetic screening that will reveal the truth. The actual dialog may vary from one family to another, but the ideas discussed may include:
- Mom and dad had some of the ingredients, but not the egg. You can explain how the egg donor was found and was eager to help and how the egg was subsequently fertilized.
- Same-sex partners wanted a child but needed the help of a special egg donor to complete the process
Parents.com has more thorough explanations and examples of such conversations to serve as a guide. How you explain egg donors and intended parents depends on the child’s age. As they grow into adolescence and their teen years, you can get more specific. Here are some basic things to keep in mind when revealing and discussing the matter:
- Revealing to a child they were conceived with an egg donor’s help is not a one-time occurrence. Your child won’t comprehend all the fine details the first time they’re told. Lay the groundwork with basic information; it’s best not to wait. However, the tougher questions may come later.
- Start simple by explaining you wanted your child so much and getting pregnant was difficult. You received a doctor’s help and tried different things, and the help of a donor was the one that enabled them to be born.
- How you explain the subject is important. First, you want to distinguish what a donor is compared to a mother and father. Then you want the child to feel comfortable asking more questions. Most likely, they will, even if the questions don’t come to them right away. They may not ask, so bring it up again from time to time to show you’re open to the discussion
- Encouraging privacy and secrecy can lead the child to feel their secret is wrong. You could encourage them to discuss their conception within the family, but it’s ultimately their decision who they want to reveal the truth to.
- A child may ask if they can meet the donor. This just means they’re curious. Whether they can will depend on whether you can identify the donor. Also, explain complications, such as their wish for anonymity, but show you’re willing to help in the future if a meeting remains an important goal.
Egg donation can be an issue for an intended parent long after conception and birth. Whether it’s a support group or insights from children’s books on conception via egg donation, there are resources to help tell your child they came from an egg donor. For additional resources from The Donor Solution, submit a question online or call 713-827-0301.
Tags: explaining third-party conception, ongoing dialog, telling a child they came from an egg donor