Did IVF? Wondering How to Explain it to Your Kid? Try This.

I'm grateful every day for in-vitro fertilization (IVF), since that's how I was able to conceive my stunningly smart 6-year-old. I think a lot about what my husband and I are going to tell our son (if anything) about his 'petri dish' origins. With IVF, there's a lot to be proud of -- I see it as one of the most incredible miracles of our time. But the birds and the bees are tough enough to explain to a kid; getting conceived with the help of technology seems even more awkward.

So I talked to Angela G. Bowers, PhD, a clinical psychologist in private practice in Scottsdale, Ariz., who routinely conducts evaluations for couples doing IVF. Bowers says that, like with most things, timing is everything with having the IVF talk. Until a child is mature enough to understand how babies are "made" (most experts believe that it's between the ages of 8 and 11), you should focus on other details about your child's birth story. "Tell him or her about the hospital, the birth, who was there and any interesting anecdotes about the day," she advises. Then, wait until there's a sign that the time is right -- it could coincide with the day he starts taking science and gets curious about the facts of life. Dr. Bowers suggests saying something like "Mommy and Daddy needed some help from the doctor," to explain why you opted for IVF.

Her bottom line: "The most important thing is to reassure a child that there is no difference in the quality of love that a child receives, whether the child was conceived via IVF or the more traditional way." That's about the best advice I can imagine. I plan to share it with all my mom friends who got a little "conception" boost, too.

Have you explained IVF to your kid? How did you do it? Chime in below!

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