Those who require the assistance of an egg donor to achieve their goal of parenthood often have two major concerns. Time and time again we are asked:
Should I tell my child that they were conceived via donor eggs? How should I tell my child that they were conceived via donor eggs?
First of all, know that your family is yours alone. These are difficult choices, and everyone is likely to have an opinion on how you should approach your unique parentage situation. Understand that these choices belong to you, and should be made by you and your partner and no one else.
That said. We believe that it is crucial to your child’s well-being to share their unique creation story with them. And we also believe that telling them earlier is better than telling them later.
With medical technology and science as advanced as it is today, it is unlikely that you’d be able to keep your child’s genetic parentage a secret indefinitely. Those in your social circles may know your story and spill the beans by accident at some point. Or, your child takes a mail-in DNA test only to learn that you are not biologically related. This is a secret that is near impossible to keep, so we advise not keeping it.
Instead, we encourage you to focus on how to share your story. Start by telling your children age-appropriate morsels of the story when they are still young. It can be as simple as, “You were so wanted that mommy and daddy had to have a lot of help to find you.” As your child grows and matures you can begin introducing more details to their story. Eventually, you can get into the medical and legal procedures that went into the egg donation process.
By keeping open, honest, transparent communication with your child, you will inspire trust and understanding. It’s important that you never come off as aloof or deceptive. Encouraging your child to ask questions at all phases of their life is important.
While it is important to allow your child to have their own emotions about their creation, we encourage you to focus on keeping the conversation positive. This is not about a woman who did not want her eggs, nor is it about the lack of a biological link between mother and child. It is about two very strong women working together towards a common goal. We all know that love makes a family, not genetics alone, and this should be a central theme in your discussions.
Interviews with children of donor eggs as well as with adoptive children have shown time and time again that children do better with having a unique creation story when they’re included in the discussions and encouraged to express their emotions about it openly. It’s only when parents are deceptive or misleading that children seem to struggle with the lack of a biological link to their parents.
This discussion may feel intimidating, but that’s parenthood. There is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to how your family was created, and we want to empower you to feel pride in your amazing story. If you have any concerns or additional questions about sharing your story with your children, don’t be afraid to reach out to our staff. We’re here to listen, guide, and empower your family development long after your child is born.
In addition, there are several age-appropriate books out there that can help open communication with your child about their creation story. A few of our favorites include:
- Happy Together
- One Little Egg
- A Part Was Given and an Angel was Born
- Hope & Will Have A Baby: The Gift of Egg Donation
- Mommy, Was Your Tummy Big?
- How We Became a Family
- The Pea That Was Me
- A Tiny Itsy Bitsy Gift of Life, An Egg Donor Story for Boys
- A Very Special Lady: A story about IVF, an egg donor, and a little girl