How to Tell Family and Friends You're Using a Sperm Donor
The decision to use a sperm donor to help build your family is an important step for couples and single parents alike. For some, the need for a sperm donor was expected as they are an LGBT couple or a woman wishing to pursue parenthood on her own. For others, needing to use a sperm donor may have come as a surprise because of an unexpected infertility diagnosis.
In cases of the former examples, explaining the need for a sperm donor can be straightforward because people expect it. For the latter, you and your partner may feel as if discussing sperm donation with family and friends is an unwelcome experience. You may worry about possible judgment, along with uninformed opinions and hurtful questions. Even the most well-meaning of individuals may ask inappropriate questions regarding third-party reproductive services like sperm donation, so navigating these conversations can feel taxing.
Ways to share your story
- Plan with your partner. Deciding who you will share information with and what you feel comfortable sharing is important. Your privacy is of utmost importance, and conversations about family-building decisions can easily feel like an invasion of this privacy. If there are aspects of your family-building journey that you feel should remain between you and your partner, coming to a decision on these points can help avoid awkward situations. There will always be people who you feel more comfortable sharing with and those who you would prefer to stick with the basics.
- Have answers ready. Even as third-party reproduction becomes more commonplace in modern family building, services like sperm donation, egg donation and gestational surrogacy are not widely discussed from a point of awareness. Chances are, your family and friends are not experts in donor sperm, so they will have questions about how the selection process works, the procedure you used and what relationship, if any, you will share with the donor.
- Use available resources. The fertility community has a wealth of information for those who wish to learn more about third party reproduction so they can share this knowledge with others. The Fertility Center of California offers patient resources that include a video library, a fertility blog, a clinic directory and other resources on success rates, the Donor Sibling Registry and more.
Ultimately, sharing the news of your growing family with those in your life is entirely your decision. Being honest about the process can go a long way toward relieving any stress you may feel, but how much you discuss, to whom and when is your decision.