If you are lucky enough to have had successful IVF treatment, have you told your child how they were conceived?

(33 Posts)
wifeywish1 Wed 23-Jan-13 14:40:13

My IVF conceived DS is 10 years old and about to learn sex education at school. DH and I are undecided whether to tell him he was conceived by IVF so would really appreciate any experience you can share in terms of telling children, age of telling them and how they reacted.

wifeywish1 Wed 23-Jan-13 14:41:56

I should add he is biologically ours

thewalrus Wed 23-Jan-13 15:38:40

My kids are too young (6 and 4) for this to have come up yet - we haven't had any specific conversations about how babies are made. But at the moment we're intending to tell them about it as early as we can and as part of our general 'facts-of-life' stuff. (In our case there is a genetic issue which the kids will need to know about as it may impact on their fertility too) Will be interested to hear the views/experience of anyone else too.

DS is 11 and has had the sex talk at school but we still haven't told him that he was IVF. Just hasn't seemed the right opportunity. I don't want to sit him down and have a big chat as I don't want it to seem a huge deal. I am assuming that something will come up in conversation and we can tell him then casually.

Pizzaexpress2 Wed 23-Jan-13 16:27:45

Do you feel the need to tell him this level of info?
I haven't had experience of IVF so not something I have had to consider. My dc's know I "grew them in my tummy" just as you did in essence so isn't that all he needs to know at this stage? I find basic info and answer to any questions is often enough to satisfy their curiosity on various possibly sticky subjects.

galwaygirl Wed 23-Jan-13 16:33:07

My DD is only 19 months so much too young yet but we are very open about having had IVF and plan on having it just as a known fact as much as possible. Not sure if we will need to have a proper chat about it at some point, she's nowhere near understanding anything like that.

galwaygirl Wed 23-Jan-13 16:34:09

Sorry - meant to ask why you would think of not telling him?

LouMacca Wed 23-Jan-13 16:47:55

We have 10 year old twins and we haven't told them. We just went down a different route to get pregant, no biggy. If they do ask about IVF in the future we would tell them that's how they were conceived. It's funny because when they were babies/toddlers we discussed about when we would tell them but now they're 10 it just doesn't seem as important....

badtemperedaldbitch Wed 23-Jan-13 16:55:15

My dd is 9 and we have always told her. She heard us referring to the ivf on a number of occasions. I was so proud that it actually worked! Dd is biologically ours too. But I never wanted it to be a big surprise to her just incase my fertility problems were passed on to her. I often say that I'm lucky because I saw her when she was two cells big

So I actually sat her down for the chat one sunday after her bath, when I was doing her nits! At first it was just that sometimes mummies and daddies need a doctors help to have a baby. Then as she's got older she has asked more questions, we have told her more.

Dr Kingsland helped us, and we've actually pointed him out when be was doing an interview on tv and said that's the doctor that helped us. There was an advert that showed the egg at the two and four cell stage and I pointed it out to her and said that picture makes me feel mushy because that could turn into a wonderful person like her.

She's never mentioned that it feels weird and she goes to school with a boy who is also ivf and me and his mum have chatted about it too.

TattyCatty Wed 23-Jan-13 17:11:50

My DD is nearly 7 and was conceived via IUI. I've already told her that "mummy needed special medicine" to have a baby, and plan on being completely honest with her when the time comes to go into more detail. Like Badtemperedaldbitch, I would want her to be prepared in case she inherits my fertility issues. We were always very open with friends and family about the fact that we needed fertility treatment in the first place, and I'm also incredibly thankful for the miracles of medical science that allowed me to finally conceive. I personally can't understand why people would not want their children to know - it feels like a throwback to the days when adopted children were not told until they reached adulthood.

I don't intend to keep it a secret and do intend for DS to know but there just hasn't been the occasion to tell him as yet. I thought there might have been but there hasn't. And as LouMacca says it seems less important now than it did when he was a baby and it was all more recent.

I do sometimes still look at him and think Wow! My mum and dad do too!

badtemperedaldbitch Thu 24-Jan-13 21:31:52

If the child isn't biologically yours.........look at the passport website!

wifeymerrick Thu 24-Jan-13 22:22:21

I was planning on tellling my DS but DH isnt so keen, he doesnt think there is any need ?! Its a big debate tbh in out house...i feel like he has the right to know DH thinks it not !
Hes only 3 so still undecided.....so etching this thread with much interest :-)

GoAndDoSomeWork Fri 25-Jan-13 09:51:10

My DD is 6 and came to IVF clinic to quite a few appointments until she started school as was trying (and failing) to conceive sibling. She Knows that mummy has a poorly tummy and that's why the doctors had to help. She knows that they took an egg from mummy and a bit of daddy and the doctors mixed it together and got to see her grow up to a few thousand cells then put her back inside me.

I think it is important that she is aware of it so that it is no big secret and in case she ever has the same problem - I will explain more about endometriosis when she gets older. She has a friend who is also an IVF baby and they sometimes have serious (but very funny to listen to) discussions on how their mummies have poorly tummies and so the doctors have to help. I am really glad about this as a couple of other friends with ivf children have not told their children and are very secretive about it all - like it is something to be ashamed of.

givemeaclue Fri 25-Jan-13 09:58:55

Mine are five, have always told them special doctors put them in my tummy but that is not how most babies are made. Have told them in general terms how babies are normally made. It's just part of who they are, no big deal and no wondering "whether to tell them" etc. Why would you tell them how babies are made and not include how they themselves were made!?

RachelmyIVF Fri 25-Jan-13 15:28:22

When I was born there were a few complications and I had to be placed in an incubator for a few weeks - in the same way my mother told me this, I will tell my son when he's older that he was made in a special way/ I'm not going to make a big deal of it and will answer any questions he has.

PicaK Fri 25-Jan-13 17:26:58

We always planned to tell our DS and still will. But we did get a shock one day when he was a baby. Got on the train and a bunch of young teenagers got on at next station. They were messing about and teasing each other but it went from happy to catty very quickly. Culminated in the worst insult (after swearing etc) of "you're a testube baby you are". We were both a bit shocked.

CaipirinhasAllRound Mon 28-Jan-13 07:24:17

I can't see that it matters or why you would need to tell him at his age. I don't want to know the details of my conception!
I don't have any children yet but I'm going in for egg collection today

wifeywish1 Mon 28-Jan-13 15:04:29

Thank you for all your responses, they have certainly helped us discuss what to do and agree a way forward - which is to explain should it come up in conversation at an appropriate time but not to plan a BIG conversation or keep it secret. Like many have said, the older he gets the less of an issue or concern it becomes.

Startail Mon 28-Jan-13 15:16:27

As far as I know DDs friends have always known.
Their mum has never kept it a secret.

badtemperedaldbitch Mon 28-Jan-13 15:56:21

it may be important for them to know... IT might even be on thier passport?

how do you teach a child to be proud of all that they are unless they know all that they are.

When my dd was a baby i took her to a doctor, an indian doctor as it happens and i told him that she was IVF. He recoiled from her. this man should have known better. that is the only negative experience i've had from telling anyone, and we have been quite open about it.

Thing is.... its not just your story is it.... its thiers and maybe your parents friends and relations stories. Who knows who may let slip later on. thats when kids are devastated, not with the knowledge of thier conception but the knowledge that thier parents can keep something so BIG from them.

Honesty is always the best policy

My son is only 2 but when he is older I will teach him about sex but not just in a 'sex is for making children' way, After all - having sex never managed to make me any children did it?!

I find, as time goes on, you basically all but forget that you had IVF. If he asks me where babies come from I will tell him all about how he was made and how some other kids are made.

All IVF is, is a bit of help with getting the egg and sperm together. All the rest of the pregnancy and the birth are normal bog standard stuff. IMO there's nothing damaging or weird about telling a child that some babies need a bit of extra help to be made in teh begining.

I will have a harder time explaining to my son why it's ok he only has one testicle to be honest.

Nodney Tue 29-Jan-13 19:51:31

My eldest DS (IVF) (5h) saw me injecting daily to conceive DS2, and then again to conceive DS 3 (still unborn - due in the spring). I didn't want him to think I was unwell so I told him that mummy needs a bit of help to grow a baby. I also wanted him to understand why I couldn't play much on the 2WW! We are talking about where babies come from on an ongoing basis at the moment, and I'm including the basics of IVF. I don't want to make a big deal of it to him, it's just another way of creating a baby to us.

LostAndScared Tue 29-Jan-13 19:58:03

hi ,
i have been sent to a gynecologist due to absent periods, i was given provera tablets to kick start things which it did, but in my most recent appointment i was told i would most likely need fertility treatment, my problem is i fell pregnant naturally but had a miscarriage 3 weeks ago at 9weeks, i feel scared that if i go through with fertility treatment will the same thing happen again, my mind is on overdrive i am not coping well with my loss or the prospect of needing fertility treatment i feel like a failure to my partner I DON'T WANT TO CAUSE ANY OFFENSE by what i have written its just how i am feeling at the moment! x

GoAndDoSomeWork Thu 31-Jan-13 16:04:03

Hello Lost,

I think you need to start a new thread in this section to get some support and feed back. You are not a failure or as unusual as you may think - there are probably lots of people you know who have had miscarriages and or diffuculty conceiving but it is rarely spoken about. if you go for fertility treatment you will be offered free counselling for both of you (or you can go alone) to discuss your feelings and concerns before you go ahead. Because first trimester miscarriage is actually relatively common and most women who miscarry then go on to have a healthy pregnancy I don't think it is investigated until you've had at least three miscarriages.

aibu2013111 Thu 31-Jan-13 16:22:30

My dd is 7 and was born 3 years after her father/my dh died. She is at the stage of wanting to know about it all and I always answer her questions honestly and as simply as I can. At the moment she hasn't put 2 and 2 together about the time difference but I'm sure that will come up at some point in the future. If she asks me something like, what did daddy say when I was born for example then naturally that will trigger the conversation but I only ever answer the questions when raised by her, I never instigate it as I feel she asks as and when she needs to know. Sorry long winded explanation.

Cornwall73 Sat 23-Feb-13 21:23:14

I am currently pg with twins via a double donation (sperm and eggs) abroad. Our immediate family know the full circumstances of conception and the rest of the family know we have had IVF as we have been TTC for 7 yrs and had 3 mc and one bio-chem pg.

We plan to tell our children how they were conceived and how much help we needed to bring them into the world as soon as they can understand.

vallinnapod Sun 24-Feb-13 20:41:58

DS is only 18 months I plan to tell him all the time (IYSWIM) in the context of where do babies come from - but there is part of me that thinks it will confuse the hell out of him. I can't imagine it being an issue and don't want to make it one.

One of my brother's friends found out she was IVF at the age of 17 during a drunken conversation at Christmas. Her parent's assumed she knew (despite clearly never having told her...!) confused She wasn't that bothered but I could see how she might have been.

Elibean Mon 25-Feb-13 14:55:02

I have two IVF girls (not twins) conceived with the help of an egg donor - they both know already, and are happy to talk about it (aged 6 and 9).

dd1 said the other day 'I like being an egg donor baby, I feel special' and then proceeded to say she thought dd2's donor must have been 'a goblin, because dd2 is such a goblin' angrygrin

But its all lighthearted. They've known since they were old enough to enjoy story books (I made them each a storybook of their own) but obviously, there is more to it than means of conception. I think if it was 'just' IVF, I wouldn't worry about when to start - whenever the child asks questions, maybe? Just to let them know there are other means of conception when the usual means doesn't work, and that they are one of the special ones!

DD is 3 and when we drive past the hospital I tell her that was where she was "made" and then the doctors put her into mummy's tummy so she could grow.

We will, of course, be having the sex education talk when she is older, but I want to make that more about "sex does makes babies but is mostly about expressing a loving relationship". I dislike the focus on "sex education = baby making education" and would like more on "sex education = how to build a healthy sexual relationship".

Kafri Mon 11-Mar-13 16:05:32

I'm so thrilled that my IVF/ICSI worked that I wouldn't hesitate to tell him when he's old enough. He's only 12 weeks at the min but he was very much longed for. I have no reason not to tell him - deliberately hiding it would be like I had some reason to hide it from him.

Siri1 Wed 13-Mar-13 13:05:42

Hi lost
I can give you my sympathy on you loss but there is a ray of light. So many women have early miscarriages and have children. I lost early on one round of Fertility treatment using frozen embryos BUT on the next attempt with embryos from the same batch it worked & I'm over on this now. My sister-in-law conceived naturally then MC @ wk7 but now has 2 gorgeous boys. Her story is not unusual. I sometimes wonder if some of us need a practise run at pregnancy so the next time or bodies are more prepared and do the job.

Siri1 Wed 13-Mar-13 13:06:54

...I'm over 6months pregnant now (it should have said in middle of post)

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