Discussing use of donor with kids

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Discussing use of donor with kids

Postby impavide » Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:14 pm

My husband and I are planning to disclose/discuss to our children the use of a donor. We want to start as early as possible, but make information age-appropriate. Most of the books I have found on the market are geared towards the gay/lesbian community and don't discuss the use of donors. Our situation from a fertility perspective is quite different. I'm looking for books for kids, or books that my husband and I can use to help us present information. I also want to hear from other parents about their conversations with their kids. It's our deepest prayer that our children grow up to be comfortable and accepting of who they are.

Looking forward to hearing from others, JLD
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Re: Discussing use of donor with kids

Postby cottonlily » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:06 pm

When we first learned we couldn't get pregnant on our own we researched foster adoption. There are many books available for both parents and children on the subject of adoption. It's certainly not the same but perhaps you could tweak the information provided in those to your particular situation. We've thought about this issue too as we will also be honest with our child about their beginnings, age appropriately of course. I just want to convey to them how much they are wanted and loved and how their donor made it possible for them to be a part of our family.

I have to admit, though, that I don't want anyone to think of the donor as their "real father". I believe we will express to them the situation in comparison to a blood donor. While a blood donor may have saved your life, you don't typically have a intimate relationship with them. We really want everyone to understand that the donor is just that, a person who donated a specimen for us to have a baby, similar to a person who donates a specimen for those who need blood. I don't think I'm going to find that in any children's literature though! We still understand that the child may be curious as to inherent physical characteristics and will do our best to provide them as much information as possible, while respecting the privacy of everyone involved.
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Re: Discussing use of donor with kids

Postby impavide » Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:53 am

Thank you for your response! I really appreciated the analogy to a blood donor, and it's probably one we'll use in our conversation. We too want to avoid any confusion between the donor and the father (my husband, of course). Although our children are too young at the moment to make this distinction, I do find myself correcting close friends who know about our use of a donor... its not terribly uncommon that they might refer to the donor as "the father". I am very straight forward (and gentle) in making the correction, but it highlights the importance of language in the conversation. And perhaps adults require more education than children on this subject. At any rate, other specific examples of conversations and language within that conversation would be helpful. So would questions or responses from the kids.

The only resource that I've found that deals specifically with the use of donors is called "Mommies, Daddies, Donors, Surrogages: Answering Tough Questions and Building Strong Families" (by Diane Ehrensaft, PhD). Our fertility counselor recommended this before we even decided to use a donor, and it's been a helpful reference throughout the process of building our family. It also has a few chapters on how to talk with your kids. Many of the websites dealing with donors and children conceived with donors are unhelpful, scary or angry. We want a more positive conversation. With the growing use of donors, I just can't believe that there aren't more resources out there.
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Re: Discussing use of donor with kids

Postby hoppingpenguin » Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:24 pm

There's a great book out there that is specifically about donors.
Helping the Stork: The Choices and Challenges of Donor Insemination http://www.amazon.com/Helping-Stork-Cho ... 002861917X
In addition to tons of stories and information about dealing with male infertility, it has a section on discussing DI with family, friends and your children.
There is also a set of pamphlets available on line that give age-appropriate ideas for parents. I can't remember who put them out but when I find it, I'll post a link.
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Re: Discussing use of donor with kids

Postby hoppingpenguin » Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:32 pm

I found the link to the pamplets - http://www.dcnetwork.org/
They are called Telling and Talking. The webpage describes them this way - "These booklets are aimed at parents of children aged 0 – 7, 8 – 11, 12 – 16 and to young people and adults over the age of 17." There is a small fee to download a pdf or you can buy printed copies.

You can also find resources on line. I did a google search for "talking to children about donor sperm" and got several hits that, at first glance, appear to be pretty good resources.

I hope that helps!
My daughter is not quite 3. So far she hasn't asked about where babies come from but when she does, we're prepared to tell her about the "usual" method as well as letting her know that there are other methods and that she was made in a special way. Wish me luck with that one!
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Re: Discussing use of donor with kids

Postby miracle2011 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 12:05 am

Hi! I am new here and couldn't be more excited! Our we finally got our little miracle this year. We are also planning on telling her about how she conceived. There is a great book called DADDY, was mommys tummy big? There are 2 versions. One for egg donor the other for sperm donors. It is very appropriatey for young children. It is cartoon elephants and it talks about all the tests. And shots that mommy had to do and still no baby. It talks about how sad they. were to not have a baby and then how someone somewhere was so nice donated sperm to make the perfect baby. Sorry if this is all jumbled. I am typing from my phone and cannot see the screen as I type. Hope this helps!
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Re: Discussing use of donor with kids

Postby ladyrosaleah » Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:31 pm

I'm adopted so my boys are used to hearing "biological father". However, as we've all had genetic testing done in the last year, we've coined the phrase "Genetic Donors". The only question my teens asked was "why not adopt". We're of an age that we can not get permission to adopt through normal channels. I've already raised two boys with high medical/educational needs and honestly have tried to pick genetic donors who are intelligent but don't have a history of the issues that my other children have now.
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Re: Discussing use of donor with kids

Postby KristiBell » Tue May 01, 2012 9:34 pm

Even though we have been unsuccessful at becoming parents I know we will be and have already started to prepare for this topic. My current plan is to buy several age appropriate book about the many different types of families and the many different ways they were created. It is my hope that by exposing my child to the many different ways of creating a family will help to create an open mind and open a natural communication. I will also create there own special photo book so their story can be read to them too.
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Re: Discussing use of donor with kids

Postby Threeatms » Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:53 am

What/how were yo planning to make their own story book? I would love to do the same!
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