Clarification about “secret-keeping”

I hope no one  read the title of my last post and assumed that we do not plan on telling children born of egg donation about the donor, or telling anyone else. We definitely will tell our friends and family and our kids (if this works) about the donor—we’re just not sure yet at what age. Some of the literature says you can introduce the idea as early as 3 years old; friends of mine waited until their kids were 7. DH wants to wait to tell all friends and family until we tell the kids themselves—so maybe we’d do it as soon as 3 years after birth, or maybe we’d feel it out and decide to do it a little later, depending on the child’s development. Until then, we’ve told select friends and family that we’re trying DE IVF, but not absolutely everyone we know. That’s why I won’t be sharing with my friend who’s coming in town this weekend—not because we plan on keeping this private forever. Yes, if it were up to me, I wouldn’t wait, but I think DH might have a good point about respect and privacy, and my friend who waited a while said she thought it worked out better, in their case, to share with their kids and “the world” at the same time. All of this is unchartered territory, of course, and any plans or feelings we have now might change as things progress, one way or another. But I just wanted it to be clear that we’re going to be honest with our children, and our friends and family, about the donor as soon as the time is right. We do not want our kids to feel ashamed in any way and will not create situations that make them feel ashamed about their biological origins.

 

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9 Comments

  1. MGB

     /  August 11, 2013

    We too are using a donor eggs and we will one say share this with our child and afterwards we will tell our family and friends. We feel is you tell one person (100’s of people will soon know – no one keeps a good secret ). We want to be the first to tell our child at the time we feel he or she is ready. Not because my mom told aunt Sally and sally told her daughter and her daughter told her husband and their kids over heard and told MY child. ( another aunt adopted a baby and every constantly whispers and compares him to the family gene pool and I believe this happens in every family)

    Good luck with your ” story” and it is very difficult not telling anyone!!! I sometimes wish I had a little more support but it is trade off .

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment! Yes, I hear you: I told my parents already, which was a given, but I had to be sure my mom didn’t talk to my aunt about it, because, well, then there might be a billboard erected on some highway in Ohio shortly thereafter (I say this with love—she’s my favorite aunt).

      Reply
  2. I didn’t get a sense of shame or non-disclosure from your previous post at all. I hear a thoughtful consideration of how to best navigate the unconventional waters of third-party reproduction with compassion and respect for your unborn child.

    Reply
    • Oh, thank you for that. Wow. Yes, that’s what I’d hoped. I think one reader’s comment about creating a sense of shame in our children through secret-keeping freaked me out a little—I thought I had written unclearly and created some sort of misconception. But I think she had simply misunderstood what I wrote (and meant no offense at all).

      Reply
  3. I agree with A. Plus, this is so personal. To use a weird analogy, your period is not a shameful thing, but you don’t go around telling everyone when you have it. I think you have to do what’s right for you AND what’s right for your husband AND what’s right for your future baby–if the two of you who wholly exist right now aren’t on the same page with disclosure across the board, then it needs to be honored because once you share, you can’t UNshare. I went the other way and decided to share utterly and completely, but I had my husband’s backing and I have a letter for my future baby explaining why I told his/her story of origin before she/he had a chance to, not because I don’t respect privacy but because for me the feeling that the more open DE is, the less people will feel the need to hide it and make the rest of us feel so alone in the process. I want DE to be as open as adoption is. It also took me months to come to this decision and a lot of pen to paper and therapy discussion and late-night talks with my husband. But, at the same time, my view is not everyone’s view, and that’s ok. I think you have to do what’s right for you, when it’s right for you, and you have EVERY RIGHT to do this in your own way and not feel guilty about it. Easier said than done, I have guilt attacks sometimes (again, because I can’t UNshare), but I don’t regret my decision. (Guilt and regret are separate in my mind.) Do what’s right for you–I guess that’s my upshot. :)

    Reply
    • Ha–yes, that upshot is comforting! I think I would go the route you’re going, if it weren’t for DH (and I sometimes wonder if he will start to feel more like I do about it) but I don’t feel so strongly that I can’t join him on that page right now. I want to normalize all of this not just inside our family but in our culture. I love that you put so much thought and effort into your decision—that is a huge act of respect! xoxo

      Reply
  4. Yup. I won’t repeat what I said on your last post. It still applies here. You guys are doing just fine with whatever you decide to do. The important thing is the consideration you’ve clearly given it!

    Reply
  5. I have struggled with this issue at great length as well. In fact, being pregnant has made it even harder. On Saturday morning, I cried in bed after we’d just had a sweet talk about my being pregnant. It just hits me every now and then that this isn’t going to be easy, no matter what we choose. I still believe 100% it was the right choice for us, but that doesn’t erase my fears of the child being 13 and yelling that I’m not his or her real mom, or the child feeling closer to my husband and his family, or some other such business. My husband is really good at reassuring me that you become a parent through love and being there day in and day out, and there will be no lack of love and no lack of ever feeling strongly wanted by our children. Some difficulties will always be there, but there are so many challenges in parenting and this will just be one more. I hope.

    But to get back on the topic of disclosure, we have settled on a similar plan. We have told only a few selected people, and mainly those who have reason to know. Just a few friends outside of my fertility support group, and my parents. Most of our friends and the few coworkers I’ve told that I am pregnant think it is from yet another IVF, with a new, better doctor and protocol. I see no reason they need to know otherwise. Many people don’t even understand what donor egg is, and the way I see it, it doesn’t add anything to their lives to know the exact genetic chromosomal makeup of our kid. On some level, it’s a good story, but nothing more than gossip for them later.

    I have carefully saved all the info about my donor, and when the child is the right age (which I have NO idea what that is but I think we’ll know it when we get there), we will share. They can decide whose business it is.

    As a pregnant lady, this pregnancy is MINE, no matter how it came to be. I do feel bad that others may struggle with failed IVFs and not know that I did donor egg and it worked, but I have told other fertility-challenged women and I feel comfortable with that. I just don’t see how random friends who don’t even understand what IVF is really doing are enriched by knowing our intimate business.

    Reply
    • You know what I like about you? You are strong. You know where you are coming from, and you make no apologies. I think all that you have written is so empowering, clear, and inspiring. It’s true that for some—those who, when you say “IVF,” think you are talking about using a surrogate, for example—giving a reproductive endocrinology course to them about DE by the water cooler just isn’t called for. Or the like. I teared up to hear about your talks with your husband, and your fears. I am not there yet, but I can only imagine how much more intense some of those concerns are going to feel once I actually am pregnant. But he sounds *amazing*—what great support he is giving you, and I agree with what he is saying. No one in the world is going to be that child’s mama but you—you will be the first person he or she locks eyes with, the first body he or she feels comfortable with, your soft voice will be the first he or she recognizes. Even if the child goes through crazy times as a teen, that early bonding is cellular, indelible; if they rebel, it won’t be any more (nor less) than if he/she were your biological child (I kind of hate using that phrase–because really, there’s a baby inside you right now—it is your biological child). Thanks as ever for your thoughtful comment. xoxoxo

      Reply

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