To tell or not to tell

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-16-2006
To tell or not to tell
21
Wed, 11-22-2006 - 9:59am

Well, I've been a lurker here for a couple of weeks. Have been through many of the same things that you all have gone through and/or are going through. I have one DS who is 3 1/2. I had absolutely no problems with his pregnancy- it was like clockwork. In 2 years, we have had 4 miscarriages and I was diagnosed with a balanced translocation. We decided to try and continue to get pregnant on our own (knowing our chances were about 23% chance of success). We had talked to the genetic's counselors, investigated PGD, adoption and donor eggs. After my last miscarriage earlier this year, we decided to go the egg donor route. It has been a wonderful process for us. My egg donor retrieved 46 eggs (which we shared with another couple). My husband fertilized 14 all of which took. We implanted 2 and froze 12 and I am now 16 1/2 weeks pregnant. We feel very blessed and are very excitd for our little one to arrive. Now for the question. Before beginning this process, my husband and I agreed that how we got pregnant is our business only. We never wanted this child to feel that he was not 100% ours, so we have told no one (except for family) that we were doing egg donors and IVF. All of our friends think that we conceived this one naturally, just like the others, and that odds played to my favor this time. Since then, I'm feeling very conflicted if we should tell this baby and others that we did use an egg donor. The first reason being is that obviously this child will look very little like my son, as my son favors my family to a tee. And secondly, because I think if I was in this child's position, I would like to know (eventually). My doctor who is amazing, said it's obviously a personal decision. She has known people that have told and are very open about it and others who just prefer to keep this in the family. It's very common in families to have kids who don't look exactly like each other- I get this, but am still worried that the difference will be so noticable that people will begin to wonder. We did not meet our egg donor and have not seen a picture of her. We know basic stats- height, weight, eye/hair color.

I'm just wondering if anyone else has had this conversation and or thoughts on this topic. It seems like a frivolous issue to worry about, but I think it's an important one. We know that we will love this child no differently than our biological son but we also want to make sure that we are doing the right thing. Any words of advice??

Thanks for listening!

D

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Wed, 11-22-2006 - 1:56pm

Our fertility center doesn't even let you get to actual procedures with donor anything without first going to a counselor for donor specific issues. I agree that it is a individual, personal thing based upon so many different reasons for each couple.

If we are lucky enough to become pg, we have decided not to disclose. But I understand why for some it is not an issue to disclose.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-30-2006
Wed, 11-22-2006 - 5:05pm

D -
First let me say Congratulations on your pregnancy! Thank you for coming on the board and telling your story. I too have been diagnosed with a balanced translocation and have had four miscarriages in the past 2.5 years. We have decided to go the DE route and we are lucky enough to have one of my cousins who have come forward to be the donor.

Because the donor is known, we have decided to be open with the family (including the child)and close friends about what a wonderful gift my cousin is giving me. We didn't want only a few people knowing and then our child finding out years down the road. I think that would be harder than making it "normal", part of everyday life. My husband, my cousin and her husband have told everyone that if they have any questions to please come to us...not to gossip amongst themselves.

I have actually done a little research and I have found a couple of books to read to children at a young age to help them understand.

Again, congratulations on your pregnancy and I hope you and your family have a wonderful Holiday Season!

Best,
Cathe

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-16-2006
Wed, 11-22-2006 - 5:16pm

Cathe-
Thanks so much for your email. I'm so happy that your cousin has volunteered to be your donor. That is excellent! Where are you in the process? Just curious....after so many disappointments you deserve a bit of luck and happiness. Thanks so much and have a great holiday too!

D

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 11-22-2006 - 11:16pm

We have a son via donor sperm, who is now six.

While we have yet to disclose to him, I know we will.

Why?

For me...its twofold

If ONE family member knows there is a chance that this child could hear the news from someone other than his parents. That puts the child at a huge disadvantage (think evil teasing cousins). I am not saying your family can't keep a secret, but this type of secret it a huge burden to carry at times.

Second reason, and I've learned this the more he grows, is out of respect for him. I've raised him to be a caring, respectful honorable man...how could I disrespect him by keeping this a secret?

As for the coloring...you'd be surprised. My son looks exactly like my DH did at this age...its freaky.

I also have one blood sister, one adopted sister and one x-step-sister.

I look MOST like my adopted sister.

My other thought is...if this child was adopted a birth, would you keep it a secret?

Joisey used to post here a lot and she's been very open with her two dd's, she had a book she suggested a lot (something about Helping the Stork)...I wish she could post on this, she explains herself so much better than I!

I am so happy for you...after such a terrible road now you've been given such a wonderful, amazing gift.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2006
Thu, 11-23-2006 - 3:24am
Frivolous? No! Crucial.
As I understand it, research so far has shown that children who grow up knowing they are DI (and therefore, also, I assume, DE) children grown up feeling more comfortable with their origins.
Also keeping a secret is a terrible burden. I have tried to be open about using Donor Sperm to as many people as possible (I am now 20weeks pregnant with twins from identity release donor sperm). all my family and my close friends known, and I amy veering to not hiding the truth to anyone at all. The children will find out and it is not in my nature to keep a secret like this. It would mean lying to the children and I think that would somehow come through;they would feel uneasy and sense it... I feel if I didn't tell the truth they would think there was something to hide.
The world is also changing. DNA testing is more and more common. It's no longer just a matter of a baby finding out its blood group is different from it's parents, and that therefore it couldn't be a biological relative. I wouldn't want the children to find out that way.
That said: I am a single woman, and this makes a great deal of difference I imagine.
You could look at the donor conception network in the UK - a site dedicated to oppenness in donor conception to get some more views.
Congratulations on the pregnancy and very good luck.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-08-2006
Thu, 11-23-2006 - 9:50am

We used a sperm donor (two different one's to conceive two chidlren) and we are telling. I realize that it is a very personal choice and before you decided you need to really work through this. You and your DH have to be on the same page about it all. You need to discuss every aspect of it and look into the future and the what if's.

I am pg with child #6 and I can say that your children will look different yet similar. Your DH is 1/2 of the euqation. You would also be surprised what an effect that simply being the parent has on the child. Our DD (now 4) has so many traits like her Daddy. Me and my DH are always commenting to each other "oh, she got that from you (meaning DH) lol!

We have begun the disclosure process and our families do know that we used a donor. I think we made the right choice for us.

Good luck in your decision

Alex - 36 and pg with #6 due 5/24
DH - 46

3 DS's ages 19, 14, 12

2 DD's ages 4 (by DI) and almost 2 (our surprise .....somehow DH's vasectomy fixed itself just enough (150k swimmers) to give us another bio child and then his count went back down to zero thus the reason for using a donor again)

Avatar for cl_packersrnumber1
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 11-23-2006 - 11:20am

Welcome to our board.

jhscalis@wisc.edu

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 11-25-2006 - 4:11pm

Personally I can't imagine keeping something so important from my child. I want him to trust us implicitly and know that no matter what, he can rely on and trust us, so I don't see how keeping something important from him can be of any help whatsoever. There is a Donor Conception Support Group here in Australia and we have a book they have produced with a lot of donor stories in it, and the general consensus has been that the earlier the child knew, the better the relationship they had with their parents. The later they found out, and some in adulthood, only by accident (and trust me, these days, with DNA testing, etc, at some point they *will* find out) the more betrayed they felt. And those that found at later, all said that they knew something was different, many thought their Mum had had an affair, but kept it to themselves, and when they found out, it was like, "gee I always knew that but why did my parents lie to me..."

I don't mean this to be harsh or anything, but I really do feel very strongly about this and that it would be doing a disservice to a child *not* to be completely honest with them. After all, it is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, and by keeping it a secret, it seems as though it is... And there is absolutely no way in this world that Mitchell is or ever will be anything other than DH's son and telling him about his conception will just be another bond to bring us closer as a family. Nothing bonds like complete and total honesty...

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-16-2006
Tue, 11-28-2006 - 10:07am
Thanks for all of your input ladies. I agree that it's important to tell the child once you're ready. I think that we will disclose to our friends when we disclose to child (close friends that is). I definitely don't want our child to find out from someone other than us and I think telling even close friends just makes it that much riskier. I think that's the biggest concern for us.


Edited 11/28/2006 10:46 am ET by qdsmom
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 11-28-2006 - 2:24pm

Now this is just an idea...

I did a journal during my TTC and then while pg...I have the donor info and my journals wrapped in a special box that I will give to Danny when he is old enough.

For now, we have a scrapbook of him as a baby (and before) and I tell him that he was extra special because a doctor had to help "make" him and I've got pictures of her in there.

We also have talked about why some people get one child, some ten and some none.

He's still too young to understand the "man's special powers" but is kind of grasping it takes a man and a woman (we had kittens over the summer)

Kind of breaking it in slowly....

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