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Sunday, October 12, 2014

should you disclose egg donation to your child?


there are honestly so many things to consider when deciding whether to disclose or not disclose egg donation to a donor-conceived child. the most important factor should always be…what's best for the child.

in the case of our son, my husband initially thought it might be easier on our son if he doesn't know that he was conceived with the help of an egg donor. i understand the idea behind this "ignorance is bliss" philosophy. if he doesn't know, he won't feel different and he won't have to deal with any negative emotions that could come from this knowledge.

however, i believe full disclose is best in our case. since we've been open about our journey with family, friends and the blogosphere…i don't think non-disclosure is a viable option. if we were planning on non-disclosure, we would've needed to decide that 8 months ago and not share with anyone. it is too easy for someone to slip up and spill the beans. having our son find out from anyone other than his parents is not right. 

not to mention, i plan on sharing k's information with our son when he is an adult (if he wants to contact her, he can). i want him to grow up knowing how he was conceived. i don't want him to ever remember the day we dropped a bomb on him and everything he knew to be true about his life was a farce. that would be devastating to anyone's sense of self. also, how would he know that he could trust anything that we've ever said if we kept something like this from him for years?

even if we hadn't told anyone and could easily keep this information a secret…i don't know that i'd want to. 1) it would be so hard to keep a secret of this magnitude from one of the most important people in my life. 2) secrets by their very nature illicit a feeling of shame and i'm not ashamed of my son's beautiful story. if i do my job right as a parent, i hope that he won't ever feel anything but loved. 3) i think everyone deserves to know their genetic make-up and background. 

i imagine that we will tell him using age appropriate books (which i will write about in a separate post) and statements like the ones below to communicate how much he was wanted and loved…even before he arrived.

we wanted you so badly that we went through amazing steps in order to bring you into this world.
we worked very hard so that we could have a wonderful child like you.
with the help of a doctor and a very special lady, we were able to have you.

in the end, my hope for our child is that he grows up knowing how he was conceived and understanding that being a parent has little to do with the genetics or contribution of DNA. instead, being a mommy and daddy has everything to do with providing loving, emotional and financial support to a child. this support doesn't require a genetic contribution, but is very dependent upon the hearts and minds of the people raising him.


27 comments:

Lisa Mace said...

I think being honest is always the best option. We will be upfront with the child we adopt as well. I think hiding it can cause resentment in the future. We are also going to have a relationship with the birth mom so that our child can know about their genetics and background. It is not an easy choice, but we believe it will be best!

Caroline @ In Due Time said...

So glad y'all have made this decision Jessah!! He is so blessed to have such amazing parents!

D said...

Ian and I are headed in the same direction- we decided recently to move forward with donor eggs in the Spring. I, too, am all for full-disclosure, and a lot of it has to do with my educational philosophy and view on childhood, in general. Our children deserve all the information that we can give them because we have the utmost for respect them, and view them as being capable of processing and being with information such as that. Hope you are well, dear friend. Xo

Holly said...

I love this and 100% agree with you. It won't ever come as a shock but something he always knows-his mom loved him so much she took insane steps full of love to bring him in <3 Perfect.

I can haz babyz? said...

I believe that full disclosure is the best route. When my husband and I finally get pregnant and have a child we plan on letting him/her know there story. It's important. And like you said if done right they will be happy children and grow into happy adults.

-Mindy (mm29)

JoJo said...

I think this is a very brave decision yiu have made. I would have to agree with," How would he know that he could trust anything that we've ever said if we kept something like this from him for years?"...sometimes kids have a strange way of processing info when they hear through the grapevine.

Erika said...

I totally agree- I'm glad you're planning to be open with him about it!! And I'm so thankful there are so many good books now to help explain a variety of 'how our family was formed' scenarios- we already have a good stack of adoption ones!! :)

Ashley @ Life on the Parsons Farm said...

As an adoptive parent I totally agree with you!!

Suzanne said...

Love this. These are all the exact reasons that we will be disclosing our child's entire story to him/her. I could never keep a secret from them. It would weigh on my heart. I feel like many people have been a part of why we will potentially finally have a child and that child deserves to know about each and every one of them. Love you friend. xoxo

shay said...

i think this is a great choice you are making... as someone that is adopted (and i understand this is a bit different) i have always believed that my parents are my parents. its nice to provide him the option to know his genetic make up but i think he will always consider you his parents.

Melissa said...

I think that is very wise to let him know the truth! And the quote you posted of basically what you would tell him is perfect. I think the worst thing would be like you said, for him to one day find out everything he new was a lie. You know? It would be up to you, of course...even if you decided not to tell him, i would understand. But it sounds to me like y'all are making a very wise choice!

Krystal Sullivan said...

I think this is such a brave, wonderful decision. We often wonder if we should tell our children that they were conceived via IVF (and I'm still undecided). But reading what you wrote, I am beginning to be more open to being completely honest about the whole thing. Thank you for sharing :)

Just T said...

It sounds like you and your husband put so much thought into this decision and it will be the best for your family down the line.

Anna said...

After several failed cycles, my cousin generously donated her eggs in our quest to have a child. We are eternally grateful to her that ONE succeeded, and we now have an 8 1/2 year old son who is our brightest shining star.

Initially, we made the decision to not tell him. Over the years, with our family knowing how he was brought into our lives, it seemed wrong to keep that information from him, especially when almost everyone else knew.

We have not told him yet, but we have started introducing information to him about X-linked genetic mutations, how the egg + sperm = baby, DNA, adoption, sperm and egg donation, etc. We will tell him with it is the right time, and for us, the timing has always been intuitive.

We see my aunt and her family (including this cousin) every year for Christmas, and this year my cousin has twin boys of her own. My cousins are effectively our son's aunts & uncles, as my husband is an only child and my brother died from the aforementioned X-linked genetic mutation. We are so grateful to have them in our lives, and happy to be an even closer part of their family. Everyone has to do what works best for them.

Aramis said...

I'm definitely on board with being open about things from the start. In fact, we never even considered otherwise. I just figure, they WILL find out someday, and why would you lie and have them resent you for it later? Be open, because it isn't something to be ashamed of. If they feel like they've known their whole lives, then it hopefully really won't be a big issue.

Aubrey said...

XOXO

Whitney @ Southern Hope said...

I distant cousin of mine (Mark Twain!) once said... “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

I think your son is only going to feel the enormous about of love his parents have for him, to go through SO much to have him. What a joyous way to know THAT'S how he came into this world!!

The Run Away Stork said...

There is no doubt in my mind that your sweet little boy will grow up feeling loved and understanding and appreciating just how badly he was wanted as your child.

Emily said...

I would think it's very hard to NOT disclose that info. at some point, if for nothing else, than the family medical history. As someone with a mom who was adopted, you don't realize until you're older how much all that info. is needed. I had to literally track down one of my mom's blood brothers to get info, and it's been very helpful. There may be a time when he needs to know what his true family medical history is, so hopefully you can get as much info as possible about your donor's entire family history and hold onto it for him.

Em said...

Love how intentional you're being about this...not that I would have expected any less. I really believe that your story will give your son a feeling of being incredibly loved and wanted and I am so glad that someday you will share K's contact info if he wants it.

Laura @ Making Baby Provence said...

As we discuss using donor eggs, donor sperm, donor embryos, and adoption as our next step, I think about this. It makes complete sense the way you write about it. I'm very grateful that you wrote this blog entry. And I'm still very excited for you and your baby boy! :)

JenS said...

I agree with everything about this. Of course he should know the truth about himself. Secrets are dangerous and have a way of getting out anyway. Plus, keeping it a secret implies there is something to be ashamed of and there is no shame in donor eggs or any type of ART. Your son will feel even more loved knowing the amazing lengths you went to conceive him.

futureMom said...

Hi Jessah!
I'm totally on the same page as you with all of this. I do plan on telling the child and there are some great books out there to help. I hope I will need them! I know keeping it a secret is not an option for us. Hope you are feeling well.

Weylin said...

Amen

rachel jenkins said...

love it

Rachel Travis said...

I think you should do what feels right for you--- but that may change as he grows! :)

Amber said...

We will do the same. Our whole family knows that my sister was our egg donor. We haven't kept it a secret from friends either. I wouldn't want to take the risk of our children finding out any other way than from us. Secrets can be dangerous.

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