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Donor sperm conversations with child/teen(10 Posts)
Hello, I am brand new.
Well I have been lurking for a while on fertility board, but I have just joined!
My wife and I are about to start our first cycle of IVF. We are using donor sperm and have done lots of thinking and talking about how we will talk to our child (if we are lucky enough to have one) about their genetic story and roots and how they were made. I guess we will handle things as they come up, and I feel pretty confident we will be able to do that, but it would be so lovely to hear a bit from parents of children made with donor sperm or eggs about how these conversations have panned out, what sort of questions their children had at what ages, and whether they have any advice of how to think about this sort of communication.
We are especially thinking about the fact that when our future-child turns 18, they will be able to access donor information, and we are wondering how best to prepare them for that and to support them through the choice of doing it/not doing it etc. I know this is all a long way in advance, but I'd love to hear other peoples thoughts and experiences about their plans in relation to the big 18-anonymity question, how their children feel or what their children ask or whether, in fact, it doesn't interest or bother them at all!
Thanks so much and looking forward to chatting on here,
The earlier you start the conversation, the less of an issue it is, because there is no 'big reveal'.
Have you been in touch with the Donor Conception Network? They have lots of good resources about talking. When dd was a toddler, we used to read their My Story book to her a lot. She loved it and would join in and talk about the ways her own story was different to the one in the book.
When dd was about 7 or 8 she went through a phase of wanting to talk about her donor and speculate about what he is like. Her friends knew all about the mechanics of sperm donation
Now she is 17 and completely uninterested. She just has other things on her radar, like A levels.
Thank you hippy, this is exactly the sort of thing I was hoping to hear, it just really helps to hear from real people about how it is working out for them.
Were you worried when she was wanting to talk about it a lot at 7/8?
Really appreciate your reply
Following. We're expecting our first using donor sperm. Intending to be as open as possible from early on. A friend recommended a good book that can help but I can't remember the name - will try to source it.
It didn't worry me. I think she was learning about heredity and trying to work out how that relates to her. She has blue eyes, I have brown eyes, maybe her donor has blue eyes. That kind of thing.
Also following with interest so no advice I'm afraid our LB has just turned 2 using donor sperm x
Also advise you to join the donor conception network, which was specifically set up to support openness among donor conception families. There is a useful publication, talking and telling, which you can also buy as a non dcn member as well as annual conferences. All the research to date shows that openness is beneficial to children and that not telling really means holding a secret at the heart of family life: many children/adults who find out later in life feel deceived and betrayed by their parents. In my experience openness is the key...you may wish to write and self publish your own little book telling your child the story of their conception. My advice is start reading and telling from a very young age... even as pre verbal babies... as telling the story to your child also helps you get comfortable with the words and ideas and find what is comfortable for you. Telling never really stops as your child will continue learning/deepening understanding as they grow up. The best way to help your child, I'd say, is to be totally confident and help build your child's resilience. Another way that dcn can help is putting you in contact with other families who have used do or conception so that your children can grow up knowing other kids in the same situation which will help normalise their idea of family.
Re open donor: the balance you/people who have used donor conception need to strike is making your offspring aware of the possibility of contact without promising too much. An open id donor has not committed to a meeting, only to having their identity known. It is possible, for example, that a donor might have died, or moved to another country, or not be reachable at their last address. You may also wish to decide whether you want to try and seek contact with half siblings prior to sixteen by joining a registry such as the donor sibling registry in the USA (another brilliant source of information, suggest browsing and joining). Possibility of early contact at present partly depend on whether you have used uk or oversea donor.
Tapping this on phone while kids watching very loud film and I'm scrunched into corner on floor... So if you have any questions please do feel free to pm me.
Thanks frumpy, this is really kind of you and great information, I had heard of DCN and been considering joining and your post has prompted me to look into it a bit more seriously today. Also I didn't know about finding out about half siblings, that is really interesting. I am a bit concerned about you being scrunched into a corner on the floor - I see that was last night so i hope normal systems have resumed and you are more comfortable today?! Really appreciate your reply and I will PM if I have any specific questions. x
My DD is 7 and really isn't interested in knowing anything about her donor. It's something that I bring up on occasions and she did ask at age 4/5 if her daddy had died or if he didn't like her. I explained that I couldn't find a nice daddy and so had gone to the Dr's and he had helped me have a baby. We've had a few conversations about how babies are conceived but she thinks it's disgusting and doesn't really want to know the mechanics right now. It's obviously a work in progress and as she gets older I'll explain in age appropriate ways but TBH it's not something that plays on her mind very much.
My dd is a straight surrogate so similar story
We (I) made a lamenated book with a very simple story
Mummy and daddy wanted to have a baby to have their own family blah blah
Mummy's tummy didn't work properly and they were sad
Just went on like that.
Had phoyos of me and dh then surrogate then me an surrogate him and surrogate etc etc
She loved her book and is also 17, completely disinterested and just done AS levels