How to Talk with Kids about Donor Conception

Most parents dread talking with their children about their conception using donor sperm, donor egg, donor embryo, or surrogacy. We provide practical tips for how to start these conversations and when to begin. Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility & adoption education and support nonprofit, interviews Dr. Elaine Gordon, a clinical psychologist with a specialty in infertility and child development.

Hit the Highlights
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages to telling children their conception and genetic history if they were conceived through third party reproduction.
  • Why are parents hesitant to tell their children about donor egg, donor sperm, or donated embryo?
  • Is there one best age to start telling children that they were conceived by donor egg, donor sperm donor embryo, or surrogacy?
  • At what age do children begin to understand about conception?
  • What is the goal when telling children their conception history through third party reproduction?
  • How do you initiate the conversation if you have waited until your children are older?
  • How much detail should you share when telling younger children they were conceived through infertility treatment and donor gametes or surrogacy?
  • How can you keep children from telling everyone their conception history? Is there a danger of over-telling?
  • What does the research show on how children conceived through donor egg or sperm are doing psychologically?
  • Model conversation with a 3 year old. 6 year old, 10 year old, 13 year old.
  • What element absolutely must be included when telling children they were conceived through donor egg, donor sperm or donated embryo?
  • Do you think that embryo adoption should be addressed to others and your children as an infertility treatment or as an adoption?
  • At what age should you share all the information you have on the egg or sperm donor with your child?
  • Suggested books for telling children about their conception.

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Image Credit: Kat Grigg
Show originally aired in 2011.