Who are you telling about DE?

(35 posts)(33 voices)
  1. Who do (or did) you choose to tell about your decision to do DE? If you are waiting, when are you going to tell? Baby to toddler age? Preteen? Teenage or young adult years?

    Preferably, I would just like to tell immediate family members, but knowing how families work; things tend to get around. I'm not sure what we will be doing. We are definitely telling the child at some point.

  2. I am just starting the process. But, if I am successful, immediate family and child will know. My family aready knows I am starting the process.


  3. It was my intent at first to not tell anyone, mainly because of the embarassment and feeling ashamed. After speaking with a therapist we have decided to tell some of our immediate family right away and the rest over a course of the first year of the childs life. Its not about us, its about the child and as all children love to know 'their story'. I was told by the therapist to tell the child and to start right when they are born so you become comfortable with talking about it. She really helped with the age appropriate conversations, like Mummy and daddy wanted you in their lifes so much and they had to see a lot of doctors to make that happen etc etc. There are alot of books I am sure I will be reaching for when it comes time to tell more people, but basically we have decided to tell the people who are close to us and will be an important part of our childs life.

  4. lagaluga87,
    There are many different ways to consider this. There is some "right" and "wrong" in there--e.g. I would not lie to a child. But there is many good ways to handle this too--not one. Your therapist went beyond his/her role by telling you what to do. At first we agreed with the point of view your therapist pushed, but over time we've come to see that there are many different ways to handle this that are all okay. You do not know that the only pronounced by your therapist is "the correct" way to handle this. We have not made up our minds yet. This can easily be argued many ways. Some in our culture like to pretend that life is often black/white in terms of these issues but it is not. This situation is more complex than that. Meanwhile, phoey on therapists who tell others what to do. That is not their role. H43

  5. My DH doesn't want ANYONE to know. I told him that was too late as my online friends already know. I also wanted to tell my cousin, who is more like a sister to me and has been TTC for 1.5 years and is now 38. I've confided in her with everything up to this point and it's very hard for me not to include her in it now, but getting DH to agree to DE was hard enough so I'm not going to push this - yet. Once I'm PG I'll push it.

    I didn't have any problems wanting to tell family members, but DH does. And I think if he had it his way, he wouldn't tell the child either, but we definitely will.

    Good luck!

  6. I am such a big mouth! I have told everyone. I am very surprsed by the results of the poll. I kind of thougth there were more "do not tell," but it looks like the results are prettty even.

  7. We have a 3 month old DS from donor eggs. we have told all of my husband's family, my siblings, all of our friends. we have not told my mother because she is certifiably crazy and obsessed with genetic stuff, or my father cause he'll tell her. i don't know how long that can go on, though, because she has gone on and on about how he doesn't look like the family, etc. etc. i'm afraid one day that conversation will wear me down and i'll just blurt.

    for those who plan to keep their children's origins a secret, i want you to know that my experience has been that MANY people notice and comment on not seeing a resemblance between my DS and i. and this is just the people who are outspoken or rude enough to comment- many others probably think that and don't say so. if you don't tell, you are in for years of this kind of thing and, i would imagine, feeling uncomfortable whenever it comes up.

    i feel very strongly about being honest with my child. there is a lot of research on the negative effects of not telling children about their origins from donor sperm; it is the same with egg. even if it makes me feel bad that i was infertile and have to tell that to everyone, his mental health is more important.


  8. pilma - I just wanted to thank you for your perspective on this. I am just starting to consider DE as we've failed 2 ivfs while ttc#2. I'm agonizing over the idea of not telling and putting myself in the position of years of lying while people blithely comment on lack of resemblance to me or to DD. From having made the comments myself, I know that it's not malicious, just a point of conversation when you're presented with kiddie photos or whatever.

    When did you start telling people??

  9. pilma,
    Thanks for sharing. How can anybody draw conclusions about who he looks like at 3 months old? That seems strange to me. They kinda all look so new at that age. And go on to change VERY much. Just proves to me that people really are clueless and insensitive, but really, like you said, they mean nothing by it. Unless...do you think they have suspicians about DE and are trying to get info.? Sorry you have to put up with that. Congrats on your boy...enjoy!!

  10. Hi, ladies- didn't realize that you had replied to me on this thread- sorry for the delay.

    robertobiloslav- there were some people we told as we were deciding on a donor- my best friend and her son helped look at pictures and gave opinions. they knew that their opinions didn't weigh much, though, and gave mostly silly stuff- "she looks like arnold schwartzenegger," for example, "or can you just adopt her?" my teenage son also looked at donors with us- liked the one we ultimately chose cause she looked like Alyson Hannigan from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. needless to say, my DH and i did the serious stuff. anyway, those people knew from the start of the process. i told all of my friends at some point during pregnancy and most relatives after the baby was born- and the "who does he look like?" comments started. oh, and i told one sister before the baby was born, because she just got married at 43 and is all gung ho to do IVF, which she thinks will absolutely result in a baby because it worked for me. i just had to be honest with her- she's a very naive person. i really hate to lie- sometimes i'll just let comments pass, but i usually fess up if its someone i'm going to see again. best of luck with DE if you decide to do it- for me it was such a relief- not worrying about crappy eggs, not worrying about the baby's health, not being disappointed time after time after time....

    Hi, Tatum- i think some people are tuned into these family resemblances and others really don't pay attention. the moment my DS was born, he looked very much like his donor and his dad- i thought the resemblance was striking. but i have some friends who are absolutely flabbergasted to find he isn't genetically linked to me- and we did not use a lot of physical criteria for our match- just chose a blue eyed donor cause everyone in my family is blue eyed, and a donor who had been blonde as a child, again cause all the grandkids are blonde/blue. some people really just look at coloring- i have an older son from a previous marriage, when i was young and more fertile. he is my bio son, his dad is black. his coloring is somewhere in between, and even though our facial characteristics are strikingly similar, those who look only at color don't realize he's my son.


  11. I told all my close friends and spouses which consists of seven people and one family member. As silly as this sounds, I won't tell my parents until it becomes obvious that the baby isn't related to me. Ditto with work friends.
    When to tell the baby: the same way adopted parents intro it to their kids, which is a little at a time in the way that is age appropriate. Ex. storybooks, explaining in a simplistic way when they're in grade school, etc.
    To do or not to do: I'd rather not but if the child finds out from someone else or if it's revealed to them thru their medical records, they'd be devastated. Letting them hear from me in a positive way is less painful than the latter.

  12. p.bride, i totally agree w/your therapist's point of view, but i also hope she didn't exactly "tell you what to do!"

    pilma, as always, your perspective is helpful to hear! i hope you're doing well, btw!

    we are telling close family and friends, and our children. we do feel that the story has become "theirs" and we are hoping to express it to our children in such a way and at such appropriate times that they will be able to make mature decisions in the future about who they want to tell.

    btw, if you have not decided whom to tell yet--do think carefully about it! we told my mil early on, and i kind of wish we hadn't. she told her daughter, after we asked her not to. i adore my sil, but you just never know who will be judging or not understanding to your children on this issue, which is totally out of their control. so, do think carefully about it.

    as far as resemblances go, here's an article that might be helfpful to people:


    No Resemblance
    What happens when the baby you get isn't the one you expected?
    By Paula Spencer
    You're the only one with brown eyes," my mother points out. We're looking at the first four-generation portrait ever taken in our family, when my firstborn was a baby. Sure enough, I'm the odd woman out. There's my mom (light green), my mom's mom (sky-blue), and my 6-month-old son (bluer-than-blue). And there's me, a brown-eyed brunette.

    This surprises me because I'm used to family photos dominated by brown: All four of my siblings have brown eyes or hair (or did, before time and Clairol interceded). We look like my dark dad, whose apparently dominant genes canceled out his wife's fairer looks.

    I'd assumed the dark side would triumph in my children, too (in terms of pigment, not character), until I gave birth to a light-eyed, light-skinned baldy. Two years later, Henry's sister Eleanor turned up fairer still.

    Scientists used to think that infants tended to resemble their fathers more than their mothers as a kind of evolutionary safeguard. The idea was that a strong resemblance would ensure paternal devotion, since there could be no doubt as to who was the father. More recent research has squashed this notion, though evidently most of my children were destined to leave all traces of Mom behind in the womb.

    It's not that I was disappointed by this. I was tickled to see Henry's hairline precisely mimic my husband George's, and startled to discover a dimple on one side that deepened just like Daddy's when he was trying to keep a straight face. It was also cool to find that Eleanor, who is named after my own mom, shares her blonditude.

    But what about me? Where was the mini-me I expected?

    Long before I ever met George, when I imagined a child holding my hand, she was a girl with bangs and a Brownies-brown bob, just like mine. By the time I was pregnant, the baby I talked to and patted was this same vision, albeit shrunken down. My little brown bunny, in curled-up baby size.

    Every mom-to-be cradles some fuzzy image of the baby on its way, whether it's a mirror reflection or a face borrowed from her niece's Bitty Baby Doll. We say we only want it to be healthy. But secretly we embroider details: Girl. Or boy. Or curly locks or dimples. Or please not Uncle Gerald's bowlegs.

    Except, of course, it doesn't work out that way. Blondes beget ravens, stork-legged supermodels have wee preemies. My stick-shaped sister-in-law has given birth — six times — to strudel-shaped 10- and 11-pounders.

    These parent-child disconnects can surprise onlookers as much as parents.

    "Are they yours?" a woman once asked me as I watched Henry and Eleanor collect rocks at the playground.

    "Sure are," I said with pride.

    "I would never have guessed."

    "Oh?" "They're so Nordic looking!" she trilled. "I thought you were the babysitter!" I marveled that my splotchy denim shirt and black stretch pants hadn't tipped her off. Then I wondered whether this was some kind of veiled ethnic slur. At least, I consoled myself, I hadn't been mistaken for their grandmother.

    By the time my third child, Margaret, came along, her shock of black hair and eyes as big and dark as saucers of straight-up espresso startled me almost as much as my firstborn's paleness had. I had come to count on a certain model of baby.

    Then, as I took in her remarkable ruddiness there in the delivery room, I felt a shiver of recognition: This was the baby I'd expected five years earlier!

    With my fourth and final child, our DNA went back to the fairer-than-fair drawing board. Page and her older sister Eleanor look so much alike, in fact, that it's hard for me to tell them apart in their baby photographs, unless there's another child around to use as a benchmark. But by the time Page arrived, I had pretty much surrendered my preconceived notions about who might turn up in the delivery room.

    In the years since I first set eyes on each of my kids, they've all come into much more detailed focus. Page's coloring may be George's, but as she grows, I see that the shape of her face is exactly my own. Margaret wrinkles her nose just like her dad. And all three girls' hair, whatever the color, is my own limp, baby-fine texture.

    Mostly, the ways they take after us are richer than skin-deep. Henry sometimes appears to have had a personality graft directly from me. Margaret has her dad's wit. Eleanor loves to read, like both of us. Not one of my four kids is the imaginary child I once dreamed of. That's because my future-baby had been a one-dimensional image, with the sound turned down. Each of my amazing flesh-and-blood-and-vocal-cords children has turned out to be his or her own person — inside and out.

    I wouldn't have wished for anything different.

    Contributing editor Paula Spencer is the coauthor of Bright From the Start.

  13. we are very very open. i've been infertile since i was 12 so i always knew i'd walk this path.

    my entire family knows about DE and most of my friends and colleagues know what we're going through. everyone is very supportive.

    i just don't have any sort of fear or shame associated with my IF. i sort of feel its my calling to put a face of "matter of fact" normality on IF and IVF and DE.

    you'd be surprised how many people are having trouble conceiving and who are using ART. anytime it comes up people are like "oh yes, such and such friend or relative did IVF or IUI".. maybe because i live in big east coast cities but i find that everyone is very accepting and supportive. they are also very curious as to how it all works.

  14. It's so sad that there is still for many of us stigma and shame attached to this amazing option for making a family. I like to "normalize" the whole thing, too, and am pretty open about it.
    My extended family will know, since a family member on my father's side is donating. I am so happy about it that I'm proud to share the story with close friends as well. And I think it will be great for the child to know the "aunt" who gave us an egg!
    My relative and I have similar body types, though she's taller than I am, and our voices are very much alike. I'm not sure how much the child will resemble me in terms of facial features. As far as fielding comments about resemblance goes... I can always truthfully say she or he takes after my dad's side of the family!
    Good luck to us all!!!

  15. Happy New Years Everyone -

    This is a very interesting topic that comes up quite a bit. I love to hear different opinions because I just started researching DE and I am unsure whether or not I will tell or not. I am sure my Mom will understand, but DH's family will not. My in-laws (the entire family -- MIL, SILs, FILs -- the entire family) are very small-minded. They know absolutely nothing about IVF. They maliciously gossip excessively about any and everyone because they have absolutely nothing else better to do (dontcha just love people like this?). If I have a DE child, I do not want my child to be treated like an outcast by DH's family. I cannot bear the thought of them talking and whispering about my child due to their ignorance. I would probably have to slap the **** out of them - lol!

    So I don't know what I will do. **sigh**

    Thanks for all of your advice. You all are wonderful!

  16. I agree.

    I'm really proud of our decision to move on to donor eggs, but DH has some concerns that led us to keep this decision to ourselves, our medical providers, and eventually our child(ren).

    Our main concern is his mother (and family.) She already ignores me, and it's incredibly uncomfortable situation. He doesn't want this used as leverage against me in some way - meaning, he doesn't want her to ever be able to say, "well, it isn't even really your child." Isn't that sad that we all have to consider these things?

    Anyway, since we aren't telling his family, we aren't telling mine. Mine woud of course not care. My immediate family is a hodge podge of step-siblings and half-siblings and there's nothing but love (and maybe the occasional family irritation).

    I feel no "stigma or shame", but the reality is there are others out there that do. And that is why we're leaving it to our child to tell their story, if they so choose.

    Good luck!

  17. I'm in the telling close friends, family and child vote tally.

    My close friends and family have been aware of my struggles and attempts the whole way along. They know that I had the report that I cant use my own eggs (none to use). If I were to get pregnant (and I really hope to) they will know that there was intervening help. I may not share the very specific details (about the donor, the process etc) with all of them.

    To me, the child needs to know bit by bit with age appropriate information. I really couldnt image the betrayal if s/he found out any other way. For example a blood donation or organ was needed by one of us and s/he was told - sorry no - you're not a blood relative. I cant take the risk. S/he has a right to know also because of health history. How many of us have filled out forms asking for family history of heart disease, diabietes etc. How useful would it be for the offspring of DE to put down what they believe to be true when its not. How helpful would it be to a doctor trying to diagnose a patient with incorrect medical history to go on. How legal is it to apply for life insurance with fraudulent information. These are the questions that make me feel for me its necessary for a child to know. That said, I cant find a known donor so I'm using an anon one and know I could be faced with tough questions later on. Tough questions are part of being a parent. I'll face them.

    Just my 2.5 cents on the subject.

  18. We are embarking on our first DE cycle this summer. Our family members and a few close friends know, but they know b/c they've seen us through this whole crazy genetic/IF journey. They already know that, if we BD, we're taking some pretty steep chances and that my eggs don't fertilize in IVF. But, on the upside, all are supportive and most are 110% supportive.

    We will tell the child from the beginning. One of these close friends was conceived via DI. (She told us after we shared w/her that we'll be doing DE.) Her parents didn't tell her until she was a teenager, which, in her eyes, was a terrible time to tell. So, ours will know up front that it took some great doctors and a very special lady to help us have him/her.

  19. I talked about the option with a few family members when we first learned that my eggs may never produce a child. But now that it is a very likely scenario, I am only telling a few close friends - 4 to be exact and my SIL because she offered to donate, even though we are not using her. My mom knows it is an option, but does not know how close we are to doing it. So, if "Close Friends, child, and maybe family if they are good" was an option, I would choose it. My DH and I do not currently plan on telling his side of the family, but that could change as the child becomes aware - assuming we are fortunate enough for this to work...

  20. I'm telling everyone about it and am happy that I can use a DE. I think this is such a miraculous procedure that I could have a baby whether or not it is genetically related to me. I think my enthusiasm will transfer over to the baby and they'll think it's a special thing. And if in the future they want to meet the DE, it's entirely up to them. I'm just happy to be able to afford this procedure, that I can choose who my DE is (happy, smart, and pretty), and that this technology exists when I need it.
    I plan to squash any negative vibes from my family and friends. Everyone I have told to has been supportive so far, and hell hath no fury like mine if they try to cross me. Nobody messes with me, my husband, or my (future) kids.
    People will be as nice or be unpleasant about it. All I can control is my reaction.

  21. This is such an interesting thread. I am going to tell one of my sisters. I have asked her to donate, but she is afraid that something may go wrong and she may not be able to have a child of her own in the future. I have already told her that we may use an unknown donor. Maybe I'll tell my other sister, too. I'll also tell a friend whose sister had a DE daughter at 46 and is expecting another DE baby at 50. I will not tell the rest of my family and DH will not tell his family. His family is not a big part of his life anyway.
    We won't tell anybody else. The reason is that I don't want people making stupid comments and treating the child as a freak.
    As far as strangers commenting that the baby doesn't look like me, there are a lot of children who don't look like their mothers. We plan on using DH's sperm so hopefully the baby will resemble him. On the other side, there are children looking like their mother/father although they are not their biological child. I have two friends with adopted children who look a lot like their adoptive mothers.
    As far as telling the child that they were conceived by DE, I am not sure what to do. One part of me doesn't want to tell. I would like the secret to stay with us. On the other side, I agree with the post that brought up the problem with medical history, donating organs etc. My family's medical history would be gone and the baby would have a stranger's medical history.
    By the way, this is the part that is stressful for me. I fear that the donor may not be honest about her medical history. I mean, if the donor knows that she has a mental disease in her family history, she may not reveal that out of fear of not getting picked by anyone.

  22. I'm telling everyone about it and am happy that I can use a DE. I think this is such a miraculous procedure that I could have a baby whether or not it is genetically related to me. I think my enthusiasm will transfer over to the baby and they'll think it's a special thing. And if in the future they want to meet the DE, it's entirely up to them. I'm just happy to be able to afford this procedure, that I can choose who my DE is (happy, smart, and pretty), and that this technology exists when I need it. I plan to squash any negative vibes from my family and friends. Everyone I have told to has been supportive so far, and hell hath no fury like mine if they try to cross me. Nobody messes with me, my husband, or my (future) kids.People will be as nice or be unpleasant about it. All I can control is my reaction.

    You think just like I do about using a DE. I plan on telling everyone and most of my side of the family already know! The only thing that I could add to this is: I am 46 year old and until about 6 months ago, I had no Ideal how this IVF worked and as a result I wasted about 3 years of time not doing IVF. When I finally figure it all out and realized I could have a baby, I was almost mad that I had never really knew or understood and know one talks about this in the real world to people because.... I'm not sure why?. So.... when everyone wants to know how I had a baby at 46 years old and in menopause I will tell them everything!!! My thinking is if I could help one person that is were I am understand IVF and then in turn help someone that didn't understand it at all before, I will feel happy that my words made a difference. I also think it is very Important for our baby to hear this all the time from early age so it is not shocking, say at age 13 you tell them and it totally rocks their world. It is just Important to me that they know allways!! I have always been the kind of person that puts my life out there for all without caring what people think, so for me to talk about this would not surprise most!! It is just me!!

  23. Wow, mhdixon and ClearwaterFL, I want to be more like you where I don't care and I tell everyone about using DE. If only I weren't so freakishly secretive about this whole process...I feel truly vulnerable regarding my fertility (or lack thereof), and like Rana_L mentioned happened to her, I astoundingly wasted so much time NOT knowing about IVF or IVF with DE (duh! I just wasn't even aware of that option being right for me until a few months ago!). And now I'm so glad it exists, and I really hope it works out for me. While I have every intention of telling the kid about DE, I don't know if I can tell others, not even my best friends, not even MY SISTER. Yes, I feel like scum holding out on my dear sister (who had no fertility issues, and has 3 kids, and is - of all things- a pediatrician -- and also perhaps because I know she thinks I got married late, waited too long to get pregnant, and was too into my career, blah, blah).

    Well, maybe I'll tell her and others after I get pregnant because the thought of telling people about this and it not happening would be devastating for secretive moi. I do feel really happy reading responses like yours, because I do admire it, even if I'm not there yet in my own head. Power to you women!!

  24. Hello Ladies- well I'm glad I finally found this thread as I'm chosing NOT to tell my mom about this or her side of the family. My ils know which I'd rather they don't but i left it up to dh. Some friends and aquiantences know, ones we feel trusted to know, my dad knows. The reason for NOT telling my mom because she's against it right from the start and while i was doing my fresh ivf wity my own eggs and it wasn't going so well, she was pushing me to consiter "childlessness" I had a donar I was planning on using but my mother felt it "wasn't a good idea" then that person never woeked out as I have a gutt feeling she'd back out on us last minute. Then I asked another friend as I do't have any family memebers who could help us. So since my mom's opposed and she's also opposed to "adoption" we've chosen not to tell her or anyome on her side of the famiy. I hate lying but I feel I have no choice. Imight tell them later onw down the road but for now, to keep the stress down, I"m not. My dad has been so supportative fright from the start. Dh's famiy, not so much but they're "old school' and my not totally understand. I do lknow that mil and fil will welcome the child with open arems because my bil married a woman who already has kids and they're aewsome with them. so I have NO worries when it comes to them.

  25. I've told most people I know. My life is an open book. I'm with Lacy, and think my enthusiasm for having this opportunity will impact others.

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