To tell or not to tell?

(9 Posts)
raininginlondon Fri 27-Sep-13 11:16:11

Hi, I was hoping to get some honest opinions here as I'm in a dilemma at the moment. I'll start at the beginning. I have a very good friend who is infertile and has tried numerous treatments for years unsuccessfully. After years of watching her and her partner struggle I offered to be an egg donor. Obviously there are many issues that we would need to consider carefully but one that I keep coming back to is this-they don't intend to tell the child that they were conceived using donor eggs. It's not that I wat to be named as the biological mother or wish to have a relationship of any more than a friend to that child but I just get this nagging feeling that they are taking a human right away from that child. I think we should all know where we come from and it feels like deception to me. I don't know what to do now as obviously I want to help and know the baby is very much wanted and will be much loved and cared for but this issue has got me all confused.

What do you all think about this? Is it even my business whether they tell their child or not?

VioletHunter Fri 27-Sep-13 11:20:40

I think they have to tell her. I don't know about the legalities of it , but morally I think they should. Imagine in the future if she needs a kidney or something - is that the moment where they explain that Mum is unlikely to be a good match? I think people have a right to know where they come from. I'd be a bit uneasy about helping them tbh.

Idespair Fri 27-Sep-13 11:23:25

I personally don't like secrets being stored up and if it was my child, I would tell them in a simple age appropriate way as early as possible so it never became a big issue.

The child could find out anyway. Something as simple as blood groups could give it away, or even physical appearance/stature could make the child wonder for years.

If you are not happy at this stage, don't do it.

It is their choice but of you don't agree with their choice, you have the right not to be involved in the process at all.

elfycat Fri 27-Sep-13 11:31:19

I think that it's good to know that your DNA came from somewhere else. What if they have an illness later on that is dismissed as there were no familial risk factors?

Think of all the questions about family history asked during midwife appointments, that child would be answering with an incorrect set of facts. Even more minor issues, like my DDs speech therapy need family history - DH also had speech therapy as a child (tongue tie) and that little snippet adds to the picture for her.

The child answering 'I don't have a complete history for that' would be better than false information. And there are plenty of nice ways to put that story across.

But ultimately it would be up to the parents to give that information. If you are uncomfortable with any aspect of this you can retract your offer. If you don;t want to argue your reason then some 'general health thing my GP is not recommending I have hormone therapy for'.

cherrycoconut Fri 27-Sep-13 12:33:42

Hi raining I think it's a fantastic thing you're doing for your friend but I do agree that the child should know.

We're on the waiting list for DEIVF ourselves and to get to this point have had to have compulsory counselling to be allowed to go ahead. A big part of this was round the social implications and the telling of children which was actually a really helpful part of the process.

We've always been of the mind that we would tell the child but up until we talked to the counsellor have always thought it would be 'the child's secret' for them to share with who they thought appopriate, on the proviso that you can't 'untell' information. The decision was based around not wanting the child to be followed by a label that might signal them out as different from others.

Talking it through though we've come to the conclusion that it's actually better if anyone who comes in contact with the child such as close family, friends, teachers etc. are briefed and therefore able to deal with questions/comments that might come up at an age appropriate time. That way it can become just a part of who they are and their story without any sensationalism to bring up as well adjusted a person as possible.

There's also an organisation called Ace Babes which helps Assisted conception children to meet others concieved by DE or DS to help them feel like they're not alone.

This information was all given to us by the FC and is a compulsory step for DE couples as part of their licensing by the HFEA. Hopefully the clinic where you get treatment will be able to influence your friend's decision and help. You will also have to attend this step - I'm not sure whether with the couple or alone but it might be an opportunity to voice your views on the subject and for them to be mediated in a professional environment?

DE also has implications for medical support - how many times do Drs ask about family history in relation to a symptom? The child is also legally allowed to trace their donor when they reach 18. Why take away this right by creating what could become a massive desception as and when it's found out and risk the outfall I'm not sure.

I hope you come to a resolution on this. It's a tough subject and I'm sure some time and some talking will help everybody.

raininginlondon Fri 27-Sep-13 13:22:21

Thanks everyone for your views. It's pretty much inline with what I was thinking too. That to keep such a thing a secret would be morally wrong, at least for me.

I don't know what will come of the counselling as the couple involved are very set in their beliefs. But if they don't change their minds I'm not sure I would be able to be part of the process. I would hate to retract my offer but I couldn't go against my principles.

Thank you cherrycoconut for sharing your story and the link. I hope everything works out for you and wish you the best of luck.

ringo65 Mon 30-Sep-13 21:13:54


My husband and I are going through treatment at the moment and on Friday I had my egg transfer from an egg donor of which I am immensely grateful for.

The clinic we are with have policy that recipients have to have counselling with their councillor before they agree to go ahead with treatment. The councillor talked to us about everything to do with egg donation from a moral and legal point of view.
Her advise was strong that the child should be told very early on where they came from, imagine how that child would feel if they get to adulthood before they find out or even if they find out in those difficult teenage years. We have been advised there are workshops to help with how to deal with telling the there is a lot of support.

At the end of the day though We do not know who our amazing donor is and the system is very strict on this and in years to come if we are lucky to have success with the ET and our child wants to know more about the donor the donor agency will help but meeting is not advised and interviews etc will have to take place to find out why the child wants to know.

Although its amazing what you are offering you need to think very carefully as this could just be the start of a difference of opinion.

Good luck with it all honey xx

mirry2 Mon 30-Sep-13 21:26:56

OP don't do it if you have any reservations at all. It will eat away at you and I think you're right to be concerned. Secrets like this are never good

SageYourResoluteOracle Thu 10-Oct-13 22:34:56

The beautiful gift of a donated egg from my sister resulted in DD. She's now just 2 and we've already told her the story of how she came to be. She's too young to understand but thats the point: she'll hopefully never remember being told but that its just a fact about her life that she's always known. I'm currently making her a special book about her story and it includes scan pictures etc. The text will be added to as she gets.

I knew from the start that if I was going to have a child through DE IVF then I would tell and from a very young age. Research shows that children conceived this way who either experience a big revelation at, say 18 or who find out accidentally feel exactly like children who have been adopted at a young age and who weren't told early on: betrayed, grief stricken and that their life has been a lie.

Having said that, I can see why people feel uncomfortable 'telling' - for all sorts of reasons- but these reasons have to be put aside. Any would-be children's needs have got to come first.

Unfortunately infertility is fucking unfair and achieving the dream of a child often becomes a series of compromises. But there you go.

OP, I think you are prepared to do a beautiful and selfless thing but I agree that if you have any reservations at all, including the one you have over telling/not telling then you must be true to yourself.

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