How do we tell our child that he/she is the product of a donation?

Silence, apparently, is easier to handle than the truth, but the easiest is not always the best.

When making the decision to use gamete donation to have a family, parents usually analyze many variables ranging from the emotions that will arise from the fact that the baby will not be genetically from one or both of them, to whether it is economically viable to look for the family in this way, even how they will tell them in the future.

There are people who think that not saying it would protect their son or daughter from distressing emotions, insecurities or even protect themselves from what their daughter’s reaction to this information would mean.

What should a couple or single mother/father take into account when this moment arrives?

  • The genetic material is the chemical base of the human and despite the influence of our genes on our physical and psychological characteristics; it is the environment, the family, our direct referents that intervene in our personality, the way we think and they are the ones that will give rise to the type of individuals in which we will evolve.

  • A quality relationship with parents produces adequate psychological development in children. The more trust they have in their parents, the children tend to have better self-esteem, are more sociable and are less sensitive to having psychological problems. Health, in this sense, has more to do with the capacity and sensitivity of parents to respond than with the genetic ties that unite them. The parents that the children know are the ones who are there, the ones who educate and comfort them. More than a blood relationship, the most important thing for the proper functioning of a family is an intense desire of a father and/or mother to be there for their children.

  • The Ethics Committee of the American Association for Reproductive Medicine recommends telling children about donation. The best time is when the child begins to ask where children come from, from the age of three or so. Experts invite you to start at this age, as it allows the fact to be assumed more naturally. The important thing is to do it with explanations that are according to their ability to understand and that it is the parents who do it. One way that has been suitable for some parents is through stories.

  • The same association, gives some advice to say it:

    1. The sooner the better.
    2. Tell the truth in a context of love.
    3. Use age-appropriate language.
    4. Allow the child to have their own feelings about the event.
    5. Leave room for future questions.
    6. Don’t ask them to keep it a secret; secrecy means something is wrong or embarrassing.
    7. Children need information to understand their genetic identity.
    8. Bonding can develop through relationships, not just genetics.
    9. Delaying saying it can break the bonds of trust between parents and children.
  • Perhaps by discussing it with your daughter (or) questions will arise and you will be able to perceive their curiosity. Uncomfortable emotions such as anger, bewilderment, frustration may come up, and while you may feel guilty in some way, the fact that they are able to express emotions of this type only shows that they understood the information. But this will not always happen, if you treat the fact naturally and from childhood, it will be much easier for them to accept than if you decide to wait until adolescence. At this time, mistrust and questioning are more likely to arise.

“Knowing the information where they come from, knowing that in the face of a disease his family will not be genetically compatible with him (her) and vice versa, understanding the wonder of his parents’ dedication and that the love they have for him goes beyond any mental border or physical, is a right of every child conceived by donation. Analyze all these issues well before making the decision, knowing that a child who does not know that it comes from a donation can be perfectly happy, simply knowing it will make the relationship with his family more fluid and comforting.”
Psyd. Adriana González
Psyd. Adriana González
Clinical sexology and sexual health
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