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How do you explain it?

My husband & I are considering using donor sperm. We’re trying to think ahead to who needs to know. We don’t want to wait too long to tell the child [if we are successful] but we’re not sure its anyone else’s business either. The last thing we want to do is give the impression to our child that its a shameful secret.
Does anyone have advice about how they’ve chosen to handle this type of situation, where one parent is biologically related and one is not? Thanks,


I am thinking of this as well, but have not tried it yet.I have 3 adopted children and I think I will handle it the same, just always talk about it so it is normal for them. Things can be weird to adults, but normally are not to kids. I would not keep it a secret. It seems like it does not matter how a family is created or organized as long as there are no secrets and open communication. Also as a child or adult I would want information or pictures, etc… so the more info you can get from a donor the better. We are thinking of using the biological father of our 2 adopted daughters or our 1 adopted son, so there is that knowledge and openness. We have asked one and he said yes, but have not asked the other yet. I would love to read what others think or have experienced as well.

Posted by Private And Foster Mom on Jan 17, 2013 at 9:05pm

May I suggest that you get this book: Lethal Secrets: The Shocking Consequences and Unsolved Problems of Artificial Insemination: Parents, Children, Donors, and Experts Speak Out. By Annette Baran and Reben Pannor, 1989.

There may be an updated version.

I hope this is helpful for you and for the children who may be created in this way. And for the donor, too.

Posted by KallyLB on Jan 18, 2013 at 2:34am

When we were trying to get pregnant via donor sperm, we decided that we would tell our child from the outset that s/he came to be because of a generous gift from a close friend (we had a known donor). We were open with family that we were using donor sperm, but not the ID of the donor.  More detail to be added as kiddo got older, and nobody other than us and the kid to know.  That gives your child the agency to disclose or withhold that information on their own, when/if the time is right.  We also decided to have the donor be the baby’s godfather, in case we ever needed to explain why he had more interest in our kid(s) than any other close friend would.  We ended up with adoption, so this is a non-issue for us now, unless we are successful with donor embryos for our next baby.

Posted by Thalas'shaya on Jan 18, 2013 at 10:07am

There are children’s books about donor conception that provide an easier way to naturally bring up the subject. 

Creating A Family has some resources here:

I think if you Google children’s book donor sperm you’ll likely find some other lists as well.

Posted by IVF Traveler on Jan 18, 2013 at 10:09am

Thank you all for your thoughtful advice.

Posted by Mary-Anne on Jan 22, 2013 at 9:46pm

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