Q: How do families that choose to tell their children about their conception via sperm/egg/embryo donation differ from families that decide not to tell?
A: Dr. Martha Rueter, Associate Professor of Family Social Science at University of Minnesota, answers: “Both families who tell their children about their donor conception and those who do not want the very best for their children, and although research is limited, there is no evidence that children who know about their conception fair differently from children who do not know. However, research-based evidence does show that when children learn of their donor conception late in adolescence or adulthood, feelings of hurt, confusion, or betrayal may damage family relationships.
Families where children know about their donor conception often have parents and family members who find it easy to talk openly about private or sensitive topics and who believe giving this information to children is in their best interest.
In families where children are not aware of their donor conception, parents also have their children’s best interests at heart. Many believe knowing of their donor conception might be harmful to children or to family relationships. In some families, topics such as children’s conception method are considered private and rules for proper behavior say private topics should not be discussed openly. Our Family Communication Project research shows that the most reported reason for not telling children about their donor conception is not knowing how. For parents who are uncertain of how to talk with their child(ren) about their donor conception, there are a growing number of resources that can help get the conversation started.”
This topic was discussed in more detail on the Creating a Family show: How are Kids Conceived via Sperm/Egg/Embryo Donation Doing?Image credit: pdam2
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