Although you may feel anxious about this, we do encourage patients who are using donors to always be open and honest with children about how their family came to be formed.
Our fertility counsellors will help you with this. They’ll help you anticipate conversations now, so you can positively and sensitively help your child understand their special and unique story, when the time is right.
Here’s some advice and tips about when to tell and how:
When to tell a child: What age is right?
Many parents choose to start talking to their children about their origins from a young age, so it’s a comfortable and natural part of the family conversation as they grow. Telling children from a young age also means it’s a gradual process of information, that can be much easier to accept. The Donor Conception Network advises it’s best to start talking to children when they are five and under.
What to tell a child
When you’re ready to start talking to your child:
- Keep it simple – young children won’t understand or think about the genetic implications
- Introduce it as a very positive and happy experience. Start by talking about how happy you felt when they were born
- Talk about the fact that you wanted your child so much, someone very special helped you
As they get older and become more aware of what it means for their own identity, you can add more age-appropriate details about why you needed an egg donor and how you chose her.
There are lots of available resources to help you start the conversation with your child. The Donor Conception Network has dedicated ‘talking and telling’ storybooks for different age groups and support forums where you can talk to other parents of donor-conceived children.
Donor identity reassurance
As your child gets older they may start to ask questions about who their donor is. It’s very reassuring to be able to tell your child that they have the chance to find out about her, if they want to know.
This is because when you have treatment with donor eggs in the UK, egg donors aren’t anonymous to the children they help to create.
Your donor-conceived child has the right to request certain information from the HFEA’s Register about their egg donor from the age of 16, and from the age of 18 can apply for identifying details. Your child also has the chance to find out about any donor siblings.
All Manchester Fertility UK egg donors are HFEA-registered and are fully identifiable and traceable.
Counselling support and further resources
Our dedicated fertility counsellors, together with our clinic and Donation Team, are here to support you every step of the way so you can look forward to having your family. You can see our fertility counsellors anytime you need to.
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