Perhaps everybody who has used, or has considered using, donor eggs has had the thought: Should I tell, or not tell, others how I got pregnant?
Is there anything wrong with keeping it a secret from friends or even family? Would they be better off simply not knowing? And what about the child?
Let’s be clear: There is no cut-and-dry, right-or-wrong answer about disclosure of a donor egg-conceived pregnancy. What is right for one person may not necessarily be right for another. Your decision over how to disclose—and to whom—is yours and yours alone.
But if you are resistant to telling people, it may be helpful to determine why. For example, do you feel differently about disclosing to your siblings than you do to your parents? Are you comfortable with telling your friends, but uneasy about confiding in a coworker?
Remember to consider the idea that maybe only your child deserves to tell their story. Is it better to wait until your child is old enough to make that decision for him or herself?
One way to help decide: A simple pros and cons list. In one column, write the name of each person you may or may not want to tell. Then list the pros and cons of telling each.
Do the pros outweigh the cons of telling each person? Do the pros outweigh the cons of telling everyone? Why or why not?
In a 2011 study from the University of Cambridge, titled “Secrecy, disclosure and everything in-between: decisions of parents of children conceived by donor insemination, egg donation and surrogacy,” researchers reported that they couldn’t conclude “that successful withholding of the nature of the child’s conception has any negative impact.”
In other words, what children don’t know won’t hurt them. However, they did offer the following caveat:
It has been suggested by family therapists that secrecy surrounding the circumstances of the child’s birth will be detrimental to family relationships because it may interfere with the reciprocal relationship of trust or create boundaries between those who know and those who do not (Karpel, 1980).
So, while it may not necessarily be harmful if the child never finds out, if anyone in the family knows the truth, it could create trust issues due to the inherent secrecy involved.
If this is correct, then perhaps the issue of maintaining a secret like this doesn’t just entail keeping the truth from the child—it also involves keeping it from, well, everybody.
It also means that things could get tricky pretty fast. For instance, how will you handle taking your child to the pediatrician? Given that family medical history can go a long way in predicting or even preventing certain inherited disorders, could honesty be the best policy?
Which leads us into our next consideration, one that you shouldn’t take lightly: How will keeping this secret affect you? Will you want to bear the secret as your child grows up and has children of their own?
To further complicate matters, there’s the issue of DNA banks like Ancestry.com and 23andMe. In today’s world, the chances are very high that your child, at some point, will learn they are donor-conceived. The familial damage that can be created by such a shocking discovery has torn some families apart. With that in mind, you’ll want to consider the future implications of your decision today: Will keeping this secret from your child affect or destroy your relationship later on?
These are all big considerations, so be gentle with yourself. In the end, though, it’s better to sit through the discomfort now than it is to make such large decisions without some contemplation.
If you’re interested in learning more about egg donation, the expert team at Donor Egg Bank USA is ready to answer your questions about egg donors, the IVF process, and our success rates. Contact us today.
Check out any of the "donor conceived" groups on FB and you'll see how angry and hateful donor conceived people (DCP) can be and usually are when this info is eventually found out as a teen or adult, especially after a random DNA test (usually taken for fun, or for genealogy reasons) happens. This completely changed my perspective as a possible recipient. I would strongly encourage everyone to do a lot of reading and research, to make the best choices for everyone involved.
Submitted by TC 1 year, 8 months ago