How to Tell Your Child You Used an Egg Donor

Many couples who have successfully conceived with the assistance of an egg donor struggle to disclose the information to even their closest friends and relatives. Telling your child may be even more difficult, but the following tips should prove helpful if you decide to share the circumstances surrounding their birth.

To tell or not to tell:

The first choice you must make is whether to tell your child at all. This decision may prove just as emotional as the initial determination that you should use an egg donor. Your values, beliefs, and desires will likely come into play, as will your culture and any concerns regarding the opinions of those in your life. Various fertility organizations that study fertility-related issues agree that you should aim to be as honest as possible, but every family is different and the decision regarding whether to tell is yours alone. Aspiring parents usually turn to egg donation after all other available techniques have failed, therefore, children born as a result of this procedure are usually deeply cherished. Just because your child doesn’t share all of your genes doesn’t mean that he or she will feel anything less than desperately wanted and loved.

Whether you decide to tell your child, and possibly others, about the egg donation does not make you any less of a parent. Being a parent doesn’t have much to do with the genetic makeup of a child. It doesn’t even have much to do with birthing a child. You are a parent when you provide love and protection and guidance, and when you support a child emotionally and financially and want the very best for them and help them to realize their dreams. Keep this in mind as you contemplate your decision.


Start explaining when the child is still young:

It is generally recommended that you start talking about the egg donation—openly, casually, and matter-of-factly—with your child when they are quite young. This way, they will not grow up with a “before knowing” and “after knowing” history, and their birth story will instead be organically related and experienced.

At first, you don’t have to tell your little one all the specifics of fertility treatments, donations, and other practices. What you should start explaining is that you wanted a child so very much that you overcame many challenges to have your precious baby and that you love him or her all the more for how they came into the world.

As your child grows older, you may layer in details, which will also help to build the trust between you and your child.


Find appropriate books:

There are many  books available that explain the process of conception through donation in an age-appropriate manner. You should stock up on these books ahead of time, as they will provide you with many useful tips and assist in introducing the topic to your child at any age, which will allow for their origins to become an intimate yet  ongoing and natural topic. A simple online search will yield numerous results regarding appropriate literature.

Don’t wait for your child to be a certain age:

There is no “right” age to start this kind of conversation with your child. If you consult specialized books, you will discover that the earliest options are targeted at the 0–7 age range. Start as early as possible, perhaps by telling stories about how you needed a “helper” to become a family and that helpers are very special people. Later, you will be able to explain the helper role in more detail. Whatever you do, never fail to remind your child how much he or she is loved.

Don’t put your child in a position of keeping a secret:

Remember that a child doesn’t understand the difference between privacy and secrecy, so if you share your egg-donation conception with your family and closest friends, but wouldn’t want the information spread to outsiders, you might encounter some difficulties. You can’t tell your child that you are proud of who they are and how they came to be, but also tell them that they should keep the information a secret. Such mixed messages and will only create confusion and may result in trust and self-identification issues for the child.

By sharing the egg donation information with your child, you are allowing them to feel about it and use it as they see fit. Your role, then, is to accept the consequences of your disclosure.

What if the child wants to meet the donor:

It is possible that your child will want to meet the donor when he or she grows older. If this does occur, you should discuss their request as a family and make a decision together, taking into account the input and feelings of every member. You may also need to inform your child about any privacy agreements signed with the donor.

Teach your children that your family is no different than others:

There might come a time when your child encounters others who don’t understand or support various types of fertility treatments. Therefore, it is essential that you instill the idea that even though your family may be different from some others, there is nothing abnormal or wrong with yours. Conversations concerning how your family came to be should incorporate your child’s response in situations when uninformed or opposing viewpoints come into play.

Accept that your children may not even care about their birth story:

Quite often, parents experience years of anxiety only to be met with a reaction that borders on “Okay. What’s for dinner, Mom?”

In such a situation, what you should understand is that for your child his or her origin story may not seem like a big deal because he or she knows that you are a loving parent—and, really, does anything else matter when you consider how you want your child to feel about you?

Much as you might not have expected to use an egg donor when you embarked on your journey to parenthood, you simply cannot be prepared for all of the outcomes later in your child’s life that accompany such a decision. What ultimately matters is that the child grows up in such a way that he or she feels their addition to your life is one of immense value and that no matter how you chose to create them—or whether you even decide to share the information with them or anyone else—they continue to be very much desired and cherished.