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How do I tell my sons (19 yo twins + 17 yo) I was an egg donor?(24 Posts)
About 22 years ago I went through IF treatment for years (PCOS). We conceived twins and a year later naturally conceived our third son. About two years after I had my youngest I decided to donate eggs with the same clinic that helped us conceive. My ex-husband and mother were fully supportive and I went through about 4-5 cycles which as far as I know resulted in multiple pregnancies.
Unfortunately about seven years later my children’s father and I divorced; three years later I met the love of my life and we’ve been married for eight years. When my husband and I decided to get married I told him about donating eggs. I agreed to be contacted by the clinic only in the event of a medical necessity - I never intended to have any other type of relationship with the children in the future, I still don’t. However, I wanted to make sure my husband knew and was okay with this in the event there would be a medical need for the clinic to contact me.
Fast forward to today and coming across all of these stories about families contacting their donors through these DNA testing companies has made me realize I’m going to HAVE to tell my sons they have multiple half siblings. Even if Im not in the database I don’t know if they might choose to do it themselves. Heck, a future spouse might innocently encourage them to do it.
This has created tremendous stress for me and I don’t know how on earth I’m going to tell them, much less how they may react. I would prefer to wait a few years until they’re more mature - I think I can, I just don’t want them to find out on their own. Any suggestions on how I can tell them? Fear is paralyzing me on how to do it.
Thanks so much for reading!
I'm not sure how the law stands, I think that eggs donors donating now have to be contactable by offspring once they reach 18, but don't know if that applies retroactively. I wouldn't panic. Do you even know if the eggs resulted in births?
I can see why you are stressed about this but I can’t help thinking that you are massively over thinking things. It absolutely doesn’t (and shouldn’t) need to be presented to them as some big “confession”. Just start a casual conversation about your fertility treatment and or dna testing/family history and take it from there. I doubt they’ll bat an eyelid!
I know the offspring can’t legally contact me directly. Yes, there were multiple births. My concern is should the boys enroll in one these companies at some point there’s a very good chance there will be a match.
You did a really amazing thing. You took away the misery of infertility to multiple people. I understand that your sons might feel a bit weird about it, but there is a good chance they might see what a wonderful act of kindness you did. You should be proud of it. And I also don’t think secrets are ever a good thing. Take some time to tell yourself that you did an amazing thing, and once you believe it in your heart, tell them with pride.
I would just tell them. It's not a huge deal, they're not siblings really. Genetically yes, but they weren't carried by you and you don't know them. It shouldn't be a massive issue.
I'd tell them. They're old enough to know and will probably be very impressed.
Don't tell them, it's not their business. Yes, sometimes children do find out details of their birth parent or parent but the parent doesn't have to see them, there's no obligation. Even if you did meet them you wouldn't have to involve your family. Sometimes even a nice card or short letter would do, letting them know you're glad they've grown up well and happy (hopefully they have), and sending good wishes to their parents.
It's a very delicate situation. I was an adopted child and desperately wanted to find and know about my birth mother. I did and she was kind enough to meet me and fill in all the details but she had had no other children and was widowed. I felt quite protective of her and never intruded into her life, left it up to her to contact me if ever she wanted to. Which she did quite out of the blue, a few years ago. We corresponded regularly for some years and sent things on Christmas and birthdays.
She died a year ago and her money and property was divided equally between her several nieces and nephews - and me. That was a lovely surprise, I'd never expected anything and will always be grateful.
A slightly different situation to yours though.
Please don't worry about it. Adult children are usually quite sensitive about such things - but your 'donor' children may never know themselves or be interested. Whatever, they don't just come along and knock on the door.
Engineer a conversation starter, e.g. watching a programme about ivf or whatever, and then just casually state that you donated eggs when you had gone through that process and then take it from there.
I would tell them. I think it's a hugely selfless act and I would be in awe of my mum if she told me she'd donated her eggs. Especially as I have had to go through fertility treatment to conceive my son. Knowing how hard infertility can be means I would be especially proud.
Like a pp has said, secrets are never a good thing.
There really is nothing for you to be ashamed of, OP. I realise that your children might initially be rather surprised/shocked and that you might need to rehearse just how you tell them to try to strike the right note.
I would just tell them. I think in some ways they will take their lead from you as to how "big a deal" it is.
I would mention it fairly casually when prompted by something on the tv/radio/news, rather than have a big serious sit down talk about it.
You did a lovely thing and I'm sure you DC will see that. That said, I think openness is important and I think keeping it a deep dark secret makes it seem like something problematic when it really isn't.
I has a slightly similar situation to you. I am a carrier of a rather serious genetic illness. My children could obviously be carriers too. They need to know in case their future partners are also carriers and they want to have children.
Anyway, It just came up in general conversation, so I slipped it in naturally. It was fine.
No! Please don’t try to make it casual! How cringeworthy!
I think you need to tell them. This is an unfortunate conseqience of DNA testing being abvailable to anyone that wants it.
I have a 1 year old son from donor eggs so I just wanted to say a huge thankyou as if it wasn't for women like you then women like me wouldn't have a chance at being a mum I agree with a PP just bring up a general convo about IVF and take it from there, they may well just take it in their stride, I have a kids book about donor eggs that I will read to my son when he is a little older
Why would trying to keep the discussion fairly casual be "cringeworthy" Maria?
I think they need to know about it. Imagine if they fall in love with someone they are a half siblings with?
It has happened 🤷🏻♀️ before ..
Oh gosh, OP. Tell them.
I can say with absolutely no doubt that, if you were my mum, I would be so proud of you and wonder why you hadn't told me years ago. You did something very special.
I understand your concerns about the Ancestry DNA kits etc and them finding out that way. Much better to hear it from you.
Don't make it too much of a thing. Introduce it casually; "Oh I've been hearing all about DNA testing kits and realised I hadn't told you that I previously donated eggs..."
They'll be proud and in awe of your altruism - and rightly so.
You need to tell them. As someone pointed out it is a much smaller world these days. what if they meet and fall in love with a half sibling.
I would be proud of my Mum for being so caring to help other people to have their own family. I am pretty sure they will be too.
Maybe you could get them to consider how they would feel if someone they knew donated sperm, and take it from there? Would they regard it as different?
what if they meet and fall in love with a half sibling
How would they find out? Are you suggesting they DNA check every potential partner?
The recipient isn't known and unless the OP has a significant genetic problem it is not going to matter.
Get in touch with the donor conception network- very friendly & helpful on the phone x
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