How to Talk to Your Child about Sperm Donation
Whether or not your partner and you used a sperm donor to have a baby, children are prone to ask “Where did I come from?”
It’s a completely understandable question, one that parents often struggle to answer, even those who conceived naturally. Explaining reproduction to your child can be tricky – many parents want to offer age-appropriate, but honest answers – yet how do you find the right balance? Especially, when adding the concept of sperm donation into the mix?
It’s okay to feel a bit overwhelmed when your child starts to ask questions, but it’s also important to remember the time, energy, effort and hope that went into your journey to parenthood. Your child is here with you because your partner and you made the decision to use technology, including the help of a sperm donor, to make your dreams a reality.
If your partner and you are ready to begin discussing sperm donation with your child, here are a few tips that can help make the conversation easier on all of you.
Remember to take it slow – If you find you are struggling to explain these topics to your child, it’s important to remind your child just how much you wanted them, that you and your partner needed some help in order to have a baby, and that with another person’s generosity, you were able to bring that baby into the world. If you need to explain sperm donation in small doses, that’s perfectly okay.
Be clear – Confusion regarding third-party reproduction is common for children who are often just learning how babies are made naturally. You and your partner should have a clear message during your conversations with your child – again, emphasizing that your child was wanted and is loved.
Questions are OK – If your child asks a question you are not ready to answer or for which you don’t know the answer, it’s okay to tell them that you’ll think about it and get back to them another time. When you’re ready, be sure to answer your child’s question.
When and how to talk to your child about sperm donation is entirely up to your partner and you. Discussing your child’s origin story is deeply personal, and parents are often concerned about confusing their child or wonder if their child will feel different from other children because of their origin. Many organizations with experience in modern family building, such as RESOLVE, encourage practicing honesty at your comfort level.
RESOLVE notes that children often sense that there is a secret within their families and that repressing information about sperm donation, egg donation or gestational surrogacy can be damaging in the long term, possibly causing strain on your familial relationship.