* Author Topic: How do you deal with telling your child, when you've used anon. donor?  (Read 8202 times)

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Offline bundles

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Ladies  :) we have a new member who is interested in some discussion about using an anonymous donor but planning to tell the child. Have any of you done this ?
Are there any advantages to using an anonymous donor if you are going to tell your child? I can think of a couple of reasons to go abroad : lower cost, higher success rates, but how do you balance this against your desire to tell, and therefore the inability to trace.
Please play nicely  :)
Bundles xx


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    Offline Moragob

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    I am interested in this discussion too.  We will tell (LO is only 2 so subject hasn't cropped up yet and I am 12 wks pregnant using a different donor) and we used a Spanish clinic in both cases.

    Anonymity was important to us as we feel we are our child's parents and as only one cell was donated not a child (as in the case of adoption) there is no other 'parent' or 'siblings' to be considered.  The clinic will release further info if medically required so we feel that covers the only situation we could envisage where we would want more info.  We have not reached the point where she is asking questions but think that we will be as open and honest with her (and her sibling due in Jan 15) as we possibly can be.


    Offline Me, Myself and I

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    Though I am currently in the not telling camp so to speak, my donor was anonymous so though I have all available information, that would be the sun total of what my child would gain if I shared and I now wonder if a little bit of knowledge is far worse in this scenario?
    The donor no longer donates, and has noone on sibling registry, not that I see these as "siblings" in the true sense......
    I suppose I ponder is it "worth" the potential heartache of such information for so little concrete information?

    Offline Turia

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    Also interested in this thread!

    We used a donor in Spain so obviously anonymous.  Given our ages and that we have been together 23 years, most people know it is IVF and I don't mind saying so but only immediate family and a couple of friends know that it is donor but that still adds up to about a dozen.  And of course it is now in my medical records.  Having followed the threads, I was always quite happy to tell any child, knowing from the threads that if I did it early enough they would always know and therefore it wouldn't come as a big surprise.  OH was quite happy to go along with that.

    However now that I am finally pregnant (see signature), I'm having real doubts about telling and my OH is dead against the idea too.  As far as he is concerned, I'm carrying baby and that is all baby needs to know.  I also don't want it to be a big deal and I don't want there to ever be any doubts as to who is mum. 

    But I'm completely torn as (a) it seems a lot of people know and these things are hard to keep secret (b) there are things I would want to share when baby is much older - for instance we bought baby a Real Madrid scarf at the stadium right next to the clinic on the day of conception and of course (c) what is the point of telling if they cannot do anything about it other than cast it up against me in a moment of being a typical teenager.

    Looking forward to reading other people's thoughts!

    Turia x

    Offline Chrissy Lou

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    We are due to go for donor IVF at Reprofit in October and the same questions are keeping me awake. My boyfriend is very pro-telling and I do see his point in wanting things to be out in the open for all involved, but i am concerned about telling a child who then can't do anything with the information.

    I attended a talk a while ago where the donor recipient told me that her DE son really isn't all that interested in the story, but then he was only five years old and that might change? My partner says that, as long as the child feels loved, special and secure, that's all that matters - but how can you be sure how your child will feel...

    I am taking a lot of comfort from reading up on epigenetics, which means I would have quite a bit of influence on my child's development and expression of genes. Check out Robert Sapolsky's youtube videos on genetics, epigenetics and pre-natal influences on the foetus, it's fascinating stuff.

    Offline daisyg

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    Hi Tigger,

    For many reasons (including cost) I chose to have donor embryo treatment in Spain.  I have cultural links to the country and, after 6 miscarriages (3 OE, 3 DE) my finances and emotional energy were spent.  As I am a solo mum, I was already using donor sperm, so donor embryo was a good solution for me.  Also, really important, I had counselling at my UK clinic to talk about moving to DE.

    My children (boy/girl twins) have been told about their conception since they were tiny.  I always felt that I could not keep such an important fact secret and I felt it was respectful to my children and also I chose to use donors to create them and I felt no shame about that.

    At first I just used to practice the words I would use and get used to telling the story of how they came to be.  When they were about two, I bought 2 books from the DCN. One for my children called 'Our Story' and one for me called 'Telling and Talking'.  I read the book for children to them as a bedtime story at first, keeping everything very light and simple as they were very young and didn't understand.  They got the basic story and loved it because it was all about them!

    As they got older, I continued to read the book and tell my story and I think they just absorbed it.  It was only when they went to Primary school that they realised that most kids had a dad and that led to questions about not having a dad and their donor/s.  I just answered them as simply and positively as I could.  I also told their school so they could be supported is any questions came up.

    There is no doubt that now they are 8, my kids would like to know more about their donors and possible siblings.  The clinic only gave me blood group and age.  However, for now they are ok just talking generally about being donor conceived and talking generally about their donors.  Most of the time, they are busy being normal eight year olds so being DC children is way down the list of stuff for them.  It does not define them but is still an important fact of their lives.

    What is clear is that I am their mum and the donor is a donor not a parent.   That is something that is clear from the research on donor conceived children who are told early.  Yes, kids say all kinds of hurtful things to you as a parent and some of them may have something to do with their donor conception (I've never encountered that personally), but I am sure we as parents can handle that stuff.  However, I think that is unusual and a DC adult said to me the other day that her parents worried about the DC stuff much more than she ever did!

    Also, my children to date have never told anyone they are donor conceived, even though it is not a secret.  It simply is not something they would share as it is not important to them and they are busy getting on with their lives!

    DCN has many DC kids (many teenagers and some now adults!) who were conceived using anonymous donors and those that I have met are well-adjusted, happy people.  Yes, they may be curious about their donor/siblings and some have more issues and some are not bothered -  but generally they seem to be glad that their parents told them young and told them often.  They have a feeling of being respected by their parents.  They don't feel that the donor is a dad or a mum - they are donors and their parents are the ones who love and care for them and who are their family.

    I think you just have to feel as confident and positive in your choice as you can.  If you make a positive choice to go to Spain, you can weave those details into your child's story.  Lack of information may be an issue and for this reason I would definitely try to find a clinic that will give your more information than mine.  Spanish clinics each interpret the law differently and some will give you much more information on the donor.

    Anyway,  I just keep myself open to talking as honestly and age appropriately with my children as I can.  I am a member of DCN and that is a great resource for those who want to explore the issues around donor conception.  They have lots of members who went to Spain and other countries for their babies and they do not discriminate (contrary to received opinion!).

    Please do let me know if you would like more information.

    Best wishes,

    Daisy xxx

    Offline suitcase of dreams

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    Hi there,

    My experience is rather similar to daisyg. I am also single and used both donor egg and sperm (anon) at a clinic in Czech Republic. My twin boys turned 4 recently

    In my case I definitely wanted ID release donors and had many attempts in the UK, initially with my eggs and donor sperm and then with both donor eggs and sperm. But after multiple BFNs, miscarriage, cancelled cycle (donor did not produce enough eggs) etc, I eventually went abroad - I had counselling to reach this point, having wanted ID release donors I was concerned about moving to anon donors but at the end of the day my chances of conceiving successfully were higher going abroad (younger donors, cheaper so I had the opportunity of more attempts) and that's what made the decision for me

    Yes, sometimes I wish the donors were ID release so my children would have the choice to find out more and maybe even contact them in future, but they are not - it is what it is and I am (mostly) at peace with the decision I made. And who knows if ID release donors will still be contactable 18 years later, or if they will be open to contact, if they will be a 'disappointment' etc etc - we all want the very best for our children but it's hard to know what the best is....

    The boys have been told since they were tiny and are familiar with their story. I made a picture book for them and we read that when they ask to (they go through phases). Right now they are not terribly interested, although they start school in Sept so that may change. They know they don't have a 'daddy' and they know that the doctor and the donors helped mummy to have them. I've also told them we don't know the donor's names or anything about them (I have some very basic physical characteristics but for various reasons I am not convinced they are reliable) and we never will - so as to manage expectations over time.

    Only time will tell in terms of how the boys feel about all this. What I think is important is that anyone going down the anon donor path is fully comfortable with that decision before doing it - if you are not comfortable, that will come across to a child. Counselling really helped me with this.


    Offline Blondie71

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    Daisy did you not get anything on your donors at all??  :o I got quite detailed stuff when I eventually asked for it all, I got usual height weight and very specific eye shade and hair shade/texture, his degrees undertaken, musical instruments he plays & sporting abilities.

    Stuff I didn't expect to receive were his political views (that was interesting  ;D) and very specific beliefs he holds and also many personality & character traits (I have one son who has very strong traits in some areas described), hobbies and how he spends his free time, his family background and their health overview also. There is lots more as well but it definately paints a bit of a picture for them!

    Have you asked clinic for more detailed but non-identifying?

    Offline theodora

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    Great post Daisy!

    We did double donor & we are open about it with friends & family & our son. But without complex -- it doesn't worry us & I am sure this will be picked up on by our son. Although we know his genes come from somewhere else, he is totally ours, no question about it. (He is only 14 months so of course it has not yet come up...)

    I grew up with quite a few adopted kids around me, total chance. None of them ever worried about who their "original parents" were much. More recently, my cousin adopted 2 kids & of the 2, 1 asked a few questions when she was a teenager, but then dropped it (my cousin had some contact with the mom, but in the end her daughter didn't want to know more).

    However I have heard lots of stories of folks feeling betrayed by parents who didn't tell them they were adopted earlier on in ther lives, so there has never been a question for us that we wouldn't be open with our son. I think the fact of having loving parents even if not biological helps a lot.

    When we first started IVF we contemplated donor sperm, & I signed in to a donor company in the US where you could get a lot of information about the donors. I actually found it more creepy than anonymous donor -- it's too much like choosing dinner from a menu!

    My mom died a few years back, & with her died all my childhood health information. You ask my dad & he is useless. So the whole idea of not knowing medical background for anonymous donor is silly -- if I had a "natural" kid, I still wouldn't know!

    Offline daisyg

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    Hi Blondie,

    I have asked a couple of times but the clinic won't give me more.  I think other countries give more info. than Spain, but not sure.  I am thinking of trying again to get more out of them,  but not very hopeful.  :(

    Anyway, as Tigger says, maybe there will be a database of dna one day who knows?  Maybe the clinic will change their minds.   The law in Spain says you are allowed non-identifying information, but the clinic do not follow  the spirit of the law,  hence the variation on donor info. from clinic to clinic.

    I live in hope!

    Best wishes,

    D xxx