Before You Tell Your Child
Before you tell your child anything about egg donation, it is important to take a good look at his emotional and intellectual state. Every child develops at a different rate, and your child will have different needs from other children. It is important to take these needs into consideration. Before you decide to tell your child about ovum donation, you may want to assess these aspects:
- How much does your child know about the reproductive process?
- How familiar is your child with the concept of family?
- Can your child verbally express his own feelings?
It is usually not recommended that you talk to your child about ovum donation before she is familiar with these general concepts. On average, children between the ages of 4 and 5 are ready to deal with the first stages of discussion.
How To Tell Your Child
There are a variety of ways to go about telling your child about ovum donation. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- You may want to begin with a simple explanation of how babies are conceived and born. Be sure to explain that the mom's egg and the dad's sperm are essential to the process.
- You can bring up the idea that not every mother and father are able to have a child. Sometimes, the body doesn't work right and doctor's are needed to help make the baby.
- You can explain that another woman decided to help you create a baby for your family. This woman donated an egg for mom to use.
Be sure to use simple and positive language when telling your child about egg donation. Pictures and illustrations may help.
Your Child's Reaction
Because every child is different, each child will have a different reaction to the knowledge that she was conceived through egg donation. Common reactions include:
Though you may feel a little upset at these reactions, they are entirely normal and to be expected. Try to remain sensitive to your child's feelings and discuss them thoroughly with her. Be sure to remind your child that you are still a family, and that she is no different from other children.
Where to Find Help
If you and your partner are finding it difficult to talk to your child about egg donation, there are different places that you can look to for help. Local support groups often provide information about talking to children, and can also help to let your child know that he is not alone.
The American Infertility Association also produces a free publication on talking with your children.