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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

We are due to start DIVF in the next few months. We have discussed very deeply the fact about telling the child that they were conceived using donor sperm. When we first found out about needing donor sperm we both said that we didn't want the child to know as we don't want them to reject DH. I just wondered how everyone else felt and how people have dealt with it.

Kelly
 

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my mother died when i was four my father remarried - and had more children - i always felt different because my mother who looked after me was not my real mother. it is  a feeling i wouldnt like my child to feel under any circumstances.  it is for this reason that i did not consider having a child by myself - i did not want my child to grow up without a parent as i did. We are going for donor egg and my partners sperm and we are absulutely not telling the child (if wer that lucky) the truth.    truth. i am telling you this because i have experienced what it is like to miss a parent and it does colour your life. babydust to you
siobhan       
 

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Hi Kelly,

Jayne is a great person to talk to as she has two little boys who were conceived using donor sperm;  she thought she wouldn't tell them but when they arrived she felt differently.  Not wanting to talk for Jayne, however, if you go to page 6 of the Donor board you will find a post on this topic which is really interesting to read.

Of course we're happy to discuss it with you on the donor sperm thread too though!
Caroline x
 

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Hi Kelly

As Caroline says, we did initially decide not to tell our child(ren) about how they were conceived, but in all honesty the guilt was just too much for me once my baby was born.  I couldn't lie to him.  I won't repeat all I've said previously as it's on the boards already - will try and find a link to the page Caroline's talking about in a sec. 

I will emphasise here thought, that although I am very much for telling a child how they were conceived, I still respect other people's choice to do things differently. 

Something I thought about though after we had discussions on here recently was that, isn't it odd that how I as a complete stranger to a lot of you will know that your child was donor conceived, yet your own child - the most precious person in your life - won't know this.  Also, what if you've told a close friend or family member and then don't tell your child.  I find those 2 things a bit hard to get my head around, but hey, we all have to make our own choices as to what we feel best for our family  :)  It just adds another angle to it in my mind. 

I really don't think a child would reject your dh at the end of the day.  It will be a long time before that situation could arise anyway, and if you tell your child from a young age, you put the building blocks there from early on and it's something they grow up just knowing  :) 

I hate to compare donor with adoption, because the circumstances are very different, but the telling part is similar, in that it is known if you tell young then the children grow into that knowledge. 

Please do come and join us on the Anyone Else Using Donor Sperm thread  :) 

Wishing you lots of luck in achieving your dream.

Jayne x  ^fairydust^
 

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This is a copy of an IM that I sent to someone recently, which also explains how I feel about this subject :)

[quote author="Jayne"]

On the subject of telling, when we first decided on donor we made the decision to never tell, but once Jack became a reality, that decision made me feel incredibly guilty and just before his first birthday we reversed this decision, and have decided to tell. In fact, we started telling Jack - who is now 4 and a half - about 3 months or so ago.

The reason for the change in mind was that pre-pregnancy children were a dream, but once he was here, he was reality and the most precious person in our lives. I couldn't lie to him. I worried myself sick that he'd grow up and work in the hospital where he'd been conceived, find my medical records and find out what had happened. Worried about the future when he was an adult - didn't he have the right to know where he came from. Worried that we had told a very small close circle of family and friends about the donor conception, and how could they know, yet my own child wouldn't know. Worried that the secret would one day come out when he was grown and it would completely destroy my family, as the 2 people he'd truste the most - his mummy and daddy - had lied and deceived him. As you can see, I worried a lot ;D So ultimately to not tell wasn't the right decision for us.

I am very pro telling, but at the same time can completely respect and understand why some people would chose not to tell. It's just it seems to me that that decision not to tell often stems from trying to protect the husband from any micky taking about not having adequate sperm, etc. but it doesn't really consider what's best for the child. As these decisions tend to be made before a child is born, then I think that's the most natural choice for a lot of people to make.

What I would suggest is that so long as you and your dh are reading from the same book, so to speak, then you don't have to set your decision in stone before you embark on the donor route. Why not just say you'll see how it goes. You have a good 4 years or so into your child's life before they will understand the most basic of information anyway, so why rush the decision.

So, I don't agree with people who don't tell, but I can most definitely support it, and understand reasons for it. I think we all have to do what's right for our family at the end of the day.

Jayne x
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This really is a very emotive subject for all of us, and I am sure there will be plenty of replies here.  I think it is a very useful thread to see all sides of the for and against telling discussion, but please, I ask before it takes off that we keep it as 'nice' as possible so it can maybe be made sticky for others to read as the question naturally crops up so very often. 

Jayne x
 

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Hi Aisling

Have just read your post properly, and it's so sad that you lost your mum at such a young age.  Can't imagine how hard that must be. 

I wonder though, if a child conceived via a donor would feel differently though, as the circumstances of their conception would be very different to what your circumstances were.  A donor conceived child would grow with the knowledge that their parents went through a lot to get them and that they were extra special because of this. 

Just another angle on your thoughts  :)

Jayne x
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Aisling, So sorry to hear about your Mum, that must have been very hard to deal with.

Jayne, Thanks for the posts it has been very helpful.

DH and I keep thinking of scenarios that might happen if we were not to tell the child about being conceived with donor sperm. Like later in life (God forbid this doesn't happen) what if DH needs a kidney transplant and our Son or Daughter stepped forward for the tests, how would we explain the fact that they are not compatible.

We worry about our close family who know about the donor letting it slip be accident. They could say I can't believe what a resemberlance the child is to DH and the child will ask questions as to why people keep saying that.

We have both come to the conclusion that we don't want to have any secrets in our family (if we are lucky to get one) and will therefore introduce it to the child at an early age, so that it has been something they have always been aware of.

Thanks so much for your replies

Kelly
 

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Hi Kelly

I'm glad the posts were helpful, and I am sure you will get to hear lots of views for and against the argument  :)

I think the whole illness of a child/adult later in life, and whether the secret then comes out about things not matching up, etc. is something 99.9% of us think about.  I'm not entirely sure it's a great reason though, simply because not all genetic parents would be a match anyway, so you'd not need to explain for that reason. 

The problem I have is that if you have already told others, then there is a HUGE chance that the truth will come out one day.  Who knows what family feuds could ensue.  Also, the guilt for me would be too much to know that others around us knew, but the child didn't - especially as that child would one day grow to be an adult, who surely has the right to know how (s)he were conceived, just as you and I do. 

Oh, it's such a tough and emotive subject, and probably as you can tell, something I'm pretty passionate about - but only since Jack was born.  For me, that really did change my feelings dramatically.  I fell like so many on the side of not telling and was so committed to that decision, but within a year of Jack being with us the guilt was just too much for me and I could never cope with a lifetime of that.  I'd rather face possible consequences from being truthful than lie to my children.  Sorry, I know that will sound harsh to those that have made a different decision, but it shouldn't be a comment that would hurt you if you believe 100% in your decision to not tell. 

Jayne x 
 

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Hi there

I just wanted to add that I can recommend the Donor Conception Network for help and support in this area. My DH and I are seeking an egg donor and thought long and hard about the subject of telling the child and anonymity. After meeting and talking to several wonderful members of DCN we are convinced that openness and honesty is the way forward for us, and that is why we are seeking a UK donor.

I hope this is helpful

Deirdre
 

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Hello to you all (esp Deirdre who made the last post).
Been married to a wonderfull DH for nearly 9 years now, his tadpoles are fine (grinned like a Cheshire cat when we got his results), but my eggs have ran out.. hence we are looking for an egg donor.
On a waiting list at NHS clinic in B'ham, told that we should get treatment via egg share this summer, but not sure whether to wait for this or go abroad, still trying to weigh all the pros & cons up, which is why I have just applied to join the Donor Conception Network. Mainly to get to talk to other couples who have gone through or going through the same as us & to maybe seek other opinions etc on the subject of going for egg donation here in the UK or abroad.
Anyway, getting back to the subject, it has taken me a while to come to terms with the fact that when (not if) I have a baby & it is a little girl that when she grows up she will not look like me, my mum or my grandma or her cousin my niece (as there is a very strong family resemblance through the generations on the female side). I have now accepted the loss of this mainly because my niece looks so much like me and her grandma & great grandma.
Hence I can go forward with egg donation.
Amongst our family & friends we have always been open and honest about our fertility problems, in our inability to conceive normally, then in the fact that we are to have ivf and now that we need an egg donor. Ever since the realisation that we need an egg donor has been the underlying fact that if we are fortuneate enough to succeed with the treatment and I get pregnant and we have a baby, that we will tell our child that we did have problems, and that a very special generously lady donated her eggs to us to help us have the family that we have always dreamed of. I do not see any reason why we would not tell our child the background to thier conception, espically when we have been so open about our fertility problems anyway.
I hope that this helps you and good luck with whatever path your treatment and life take.
Life is for living and have no regrets.
Take care.
Cathie
 

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Hi I've posted on donor sperm about this subject myself and it really is a very personal decision we all have to make.I don't think there is a right or wrong answer because at the end of the day as parents you will do what you think is in the best interests of your child and whatever decision you make will be the right one for you!


Me and my DP have decided not to tell our child and we looked long and hard into this before we decided!We have our own reasons for deciding not to tell and we are doing what we think is the best thing for our child.Only my parents know about the donor sperm so we haven't got that worry of them being told by someone else which I agree would be crushing for any child to be told by someone else.I can also see why people would want to tell the child as well and as long as you don't get pushed into a decision your not sure about whatever you decide will be right for you.Just get informed first before you make a decision as then it will truly be the right decision for you both and don't let anyone make you feel bad whatever you decided as that's your right to decide and your only doing what you believe is best.


I know one lady posted on another site that she decided not to tell any child she may be lucky to conceive and was told she shouldn't be allowed to be a parent,she'd be a bad parent etc and I totally disagree with that,not telling doesn't make you a bad parent as you are doing what you believe is best for your child.Whatever you decided will be the right choice for you and I'm wishing you loads of luck and love with your TX.

Clare xxx
 

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HI!
I've been reading this thread with some interest. (Next TX we will have half the eggs with icsi with DH's sperm and half the eggs as DIVF, see sig for reasons). 
We have now had some counseling sessions on this and we have both decided to write letters to our future children to explain why we are going through this and how much we want them.
The idea is if they are conceived by DIVF (we wont be mixing embryos so we will know which sperm were successful) they can read this and know how much we want them.
Anyway that was the idea, after we wrote them we read each others, it really showed me how DH was feeling and reassured me that he wants this as much as I do. I defy any child to read those letters and tell me that they are not wanted or loved.
Writing the letters was excellent therapy and I totally recommend it, whether you intend to tell or not (and I totally support everyones right to make their own decision on that front).
Wishing you all every success.
Liz.x
 

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Hi, I don't know if any of you are single women.  My query is a little bit different.  I'm not in a relationship and used donor sperm.  Now I'm 18wks pregnant and I'm thinking what do I put on a birth certificate.  Choices seem to be Donor or Unknown - one makes me sound like a desperado because I am not in a relationship to put a mans name down.  The second one makes me sound like I slept with someone without even bothering to find out his name  :-\  I hope my mail hasn't offended anyone.  Just didn't want a new thread that would stick out by a mile lol.

Take care everyone
Zoe x
 

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Zoe, congratulations on your pregnancy.  ^babycrawl^ The birth certificate is a tricky one, isn’t it?  Assuming you are planning to tell your child, I would put ‘donor’ as it sounds more ‘taking control of your life’ than ‘unknown’, which could be ‘slept around’.  I can see your dilemma though  - good luck!  ^goodluck^

Shas, the law at the moment does not allow donors to contact their offspring.  I also think it’s a great shame that donors will lose their right to anonymity but the reasoning behind it has been the rights of the child.  For that reason it (hopefully) seems unlikely that donors will be knocking on doors 18 years later!

Lizi, I think that writing letters sounds like a great idea.  As for to tell/not to tell, I am firmly on the side of telling.  I can totally see the temptation of not telling - you could forget your child was conceived through DI and just get on with your life as a family.  But I agree with Jayne about not wanting to lie to my child.  My outlook has always been 'live your life well and you don’t have to have secrets' and it would eat me up to carry the burden of a secret that I was scared might come out one day.  Even if hadn’t confided in anyone so it couldn’t come out, keeping it from my child would make it seem like a shameful secret, and I refuse to feel ashamed about DI, we’re not doing anything wrong.  There is a distinction between what is private and what is a secret - I don’t feel that anyone outside the family has a right to know but I do believe my child would have that right.  My dilemma would be more when to tell than if - as I would be worried about them telling everyone if I told them too young, but if you left it too late it would be more of a bombshell.  That’s something I’ll have to work out if I’m lucky enough to have a baby.

As for the effects of  knowing on a child, maybe I’m being naïve but I think that as long children are secure in the knowledge that they are loved, they won’t be ‘messed up’.  It might be simplistic to make a comparison with adopted children, but most of them would want to know why they were ‘given up’, which is not something donor conceived children have to take on board, because they were never taken away from anyone else.   People have mentioned medical reasons to tell, and Jayne imagined her son seeing his medical records if he worked at the hospital where he was born.  The scenario I have imagined is what if I had a girl and she had problems when TTC and was asking me if I’d had problems… what if it was her DH and she was considering going for DI.. how bad would I feel if I hadn’t told her?

Anyway, just thought I’d add to the discussion.  Wishing everyone luck with their tx, whatever their viewpoint.
Love Caroline xxx
 

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sweetcaroline said:
My dilemma would be more when to tell than if - as I would be worried about them telling everyone if I told them too young, but if you left it too late it would be more of a bombshell. That's something I'll have to work out if I'm lucky enough to have a baby.
This was a huge concern for me too, but I bit the bullet about 4 or 5 months ago with Jack and started to tell him using the My Story book to help. Initially it was clear that if he did say anything it would've included the sentence of going to the hospital to make the baby, and I could've easily brushed this off in front of the mums outside the nursery by saying that he meant we had to go to the hopsital to have him :) Now, he understands a bit more - we were talking about it yesterday actually - and I always finish the conversation by saying that it's something that is private to us (never use the word secret), and I list the people who know and that he can say something to about it, but that we don't tell strangers. He's aware of strangers and I just incorporate this into that we don't tell strangers everything. And so far, he's not said a word to anyone - even those that he has been told he can talk to about it :) Honestly it was such a scarey thing to tell, but it's going so well.

I know the future may bring difficult moments of discussion - particularly when the implications of what he's being told kicks in, but if it goes as well as this initial stage of telling has, then we have little to worry about :) What was so scarey is actually turning out to be really easy. I'm just 100% honest with him about everything he asks and he's going to grow up just knowing. It's never going to be any great shock to him.

Yesterday Jack looked at the My Story book and asked which of the men in there left their sperm at the hospital (I know, he's learning the biology of making babies a bit younger than most children, but hey, it's a fact of life and he's going to learn it one day anyway, we're just getting it started early ;D I'll never get the question, where do babies come from mummy? will I ??? ;D). I explained that it wasn't any of those 3 men in the book, but that there were loads and loads of very kind men who do this, but we'll never know who it was, and that's okay because it doesn't matter as he has his daddy, etc. etc. That was the first time I'd really said something along the lines of dh not being biologically connected to him. Of course he didn't understand that, and I didn't press the point, but one day he'll get what I'm saying, and you know, the more I say the tough stuff to him now, that he doesn't really understand, the easier it's going to be for me to say it to him when he really does understand. It's a bit like practicing :) I used to practice a bit when he was a baby by telling him everything, and he didn't understand anything at all, but it helped me put it into the right words.

Telling isn't easy, but it's not as hard as I imagined either. And once you start, you just get into the swing of it :)

Love

Jayne x
 

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Thanks so much, Jayne, it's great to hear from someone who is living this rather than hypothesizing about it!  :) I agree totally with your advice to use the word private rather than secret:  I have always impressed upon my DD that even if someone tells her something is a secret, that doesn't include me as she can tell me everything (well you hear horror stories of abusers getting away with it because it's 'our secret'), and that honesty is so important.  I told DD about how babies are made when she was 9 and I felt I'd timed it beautifully as she was really interested but not 'grossed out' about it - it was probably harder for me to tackle the subject earlier as we had a tough time when my then DP moved in and she seemed traumatized when she walked in on us kissing in the kitchen, so I didn't want to bring the topic of sex into the equation!  ^scared^

She did get over it though!  On our wedding day she urged us to try for a baby that night;  I've told her that it doesn't always happen easily and that I can't promise she'll have a brother or sister, but that we are hoping it will happen.  So that made me think that a child would have to be aware of what conception was all about before you could introduce the donor issue.  But what you say makes sense, and the fact Jack hasn't mentioned it to the people who know, suggests that it's not a big deal for him.  It goes back to being able to take things in your stride when you are secure and loved - my DD doesn't have an ideal family, with her father in the UK who she only sees once a month, but she deals with it and knows she's lucky in every other way.  Some kids have awful lives - you only have to think about them to put our worries into perspective, I am confident that if you handle it the best you can, it will all turn out ok.

love Caroline xxx
 

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Don't get me wrong now  ;D  Jack doesn't know about sex!  :eek:  He just knows that a sperm from a daddy and an egg from a mummy make a baby.  The book tells him that the nurse put sperm inside mummy, and I've had to tell him that he was made a special way as not all babies are made like that, but we've not discussed the other way in depth as yet  :-[    Think I will save the details for a few more years yet  ;D 

I think having Ben helped a bit as he saw my tummy grow and me go to the hospital, etc. and we talked a bit about it all then, so I just say, remember when Ben was growing in my tummy, etc. 

Love

Jayne x
 

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Hi Shas

Glad I could be of support  :)

I hear what you're saying, but I'm afraid that regardless of any argument I still feel that a child has the right to know how they were conceived and for their parents to be honest with them.  That's what's most important to me, not the difficulties that it would cause for me and my dh if a donor turned up, etc.  I really can't ever see the law changing that way though, but there is always a chance of course.  I also can't see donors en mass trying to find their offspring. 

I recognise that in my situation I never had to face these questions as my boys were conceived under the old law.  However, I am 100% sure that if I were to be ttc now, I would still tell. 

Love

Jayne x
 

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Hi Caroline, thanks for your reply on this subject.  Its nice to have someone else's view.

Goodluck with your tx
 
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