Another Year’s Gone By And I Still Haven’t Told My Kid The Truth About Egg Donation
Each and every day in my office I field at least five of these kinds of calls and I’ve lost track how many emails – and they all say the same thing:
“Another years gone by and I still haven’t told my kid the truth about Egg Donation”
Some parents when they call are angry, while others are sad or resigned, but most of the parents to call or write are feeling panicky and really not knowing what to do or how to do it.
I’d be lying if I said that having these kinds of conversations and information sharing with your child in regards to their origins would be naturally an easy thing to do. The reality is – in the beginning like any important conversation it can be awkward.
What I recommend to all parents who have had children through a donation or embryo donation is to start these conversations early and often.
And whatever you do – don’t make it weird.
You might be asking your self : Early and often? Like how early? Like how often? What do you mean don’t make it weird!?
In my case, I wasn’t going to tell my son anything. I was just going to sweep everything under the carpet once he was born and just move on with being his mom. In my mind nobody needed to know – how he came to be was not as important as the fact that he was actually here.
Boy was I wrong.
I’m not sure what your belief system is but personally, I believe in a higher power greater than me and I can only say that meeting one of the best mental health therapists on the planet that specializes in third-party reproduction who is also a mother herself via egg donation and adoption was hands-down divine intervention. Her name is Carole Lieber Wilkins. Carole is well known for her work regarding disclosure of information to children, having helped hundreds of patients feel comfortable talking with their kids about how they built their families. Many clinics and practitioners around the world distribute to patients her groundbreaking article, Talking With Children About Their Conception.
And how lucky am I to have actually met her and now know her well- I know, right!?
I remember the flurry of exchanged emails, and during my pregnancy through her guidance realizing that not only was it healthy to tell my soon to be born son how he came to be and the details surrounding his conception – it was truly his right. she asked me what I was afraid of and what I thought might happen if you knew and what did my fear look like. All great questions that were food for thought.
Did all of this take the scary out of it?
No – not by a long-shot.
But you know what – we as mothers do a lot of things outside our comfort zone when it comes to our kids and this is just one of those things. So I jumped in to the deep end – off the high dive with both feet. And I’m happy to tell you that I survived, my son survived, and our entire family is better for it.
When say I began to tell my son early and often I practiced beginning in my third trimester with him. The phrase that I use every day with intended parents and parents via Egg Donation is:
“If you don’t make it weird your kid won’t make it weird”
This is exactly how I made sure that I didn’t make it weird for my son. I wanted to be prepared and ready if he began to ask questions – I may have been a little zealous in my concern about sounding or coming across as weird but I really wanted to be prepared.
I can remember sitting on the couch rubbing my huge belly and telling him the following:
“Mommy and daddy have been waiting so long to have a special baby just like you for a very long time. We wanted to have you so much that we even went to a special doctor because mommy and daddy weren’t getting pregnant. And the doctor told mommy that her eggs were broken and that she would need help from a special lady that would give her some of her eggs that were not broken. So mommy and daddy found a special magic egg that they put back in mommy’s tummy and nine months later you were born! And mommy and daddy couldn’t be happier now that they have their amazing special little boy to love forever”
And that’s exactly what I would say every day, several times a day until the birth of my son. And when he was a newborn I would continue to say that every day and then a few times a week when the mood struck – and I made sure that as he got older the message was the same but of course the words were of course different because he was older.
By the time he was able to put all of the working pieces together – his story flowed so easily that I could say it in my sleep – it became just a part of me and a part of him. The other thing that I have done every year on his birthday was tell him about the night he was born – and our son grew we grew with him, in our comfort, in our ease, and in our confidence as his parents.
The important part to all of this is that not only does he know his story, his conception, and how much he was planned for, loved and wanted – it’s integrated in him – it’s something he has always known and not something he can look back on and remember a time when he didn’t know.
And of course now it’s just so blasé because he’s a teenager and when we talk about Egg Donation and his conception it’s just such a matter of fact that even though I work in this industry and I’m saturated and surrounded by third-party reproduction the egg donor piece doesn’t come into our conversation very much anymore because I’m too busy parenting and he’s too busy being a teenager.
So the take-home message is tell them early, tell them often, and if you don’t make it weird they won’t make it weird. And be prepared for questions – because questions are natural and normal. If you treat all of this with love, compassion, and continue to have an open and honest dialogue with your child being comfortable this will go away and this won’t be weird it will just be your families story.
For more information about our third-party guru Carole LieberWilkins more information about Carole can be found here:
And more resources about information sharing and disclosure to your child can be found here:
Beautiful. Thanks to you, I started telling our daughter when I was pregnant. When she was two months old, friends asked how I planned to tell her. I grinned and said, “Well, I’m working out the flow of the story, but it goes a little something like this…” I don’t do it every day, but this post reminds me it’s time I practiced again.