Why openness about donor conception is good for children and the whole family
Telling young children about their origins by donor conception –
- Puts honesty at the heart of family relationships.
- Is respectful of donor conceived children/people as individuals in their own right.
- Allows donor conceived people to make choices about their lives.
- Means that significant differences between a child and parent (in looks, talents etc.) can be easily explained.
- Allows donor conceived children to learn about aspects of their history, integrate the knowledge as they grow up and accept their story without shock or distress.
- Means that a true medical history (or lack of it) can be given to doctors, making diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions more accurate. It also removes anxiety about the inheritance of disorders from the non-genetic parent.
- Does not mean that children will reject their non-genetic parent. Like any child or teenager they may say hateful things when angry, but DC children love their parent or parents in the same way as any other children.
- Can feel uncomfortable at first for adults but with practice becomes very natural. Starting when your child is a baby helps this process.
- Is possible in both urban and small communities. Many DCN members who live in villages or well away from large towns have discovered that sharing information with confidence and in a matter of fact way removes the stimulus for gossip and that many people simply forget after a while. Those who ask others to ‘keep their secret’ are much more likely to find themselves the object of school-gate chatter.
- Avoids the risk of the information coming out at times of crisis later. Modern genetic testing also means that the chances of keeping this information secret forever are very low. Finding out by accident that you are donor conceived can be very unsettling.
- Is now Government policy and is supported by counsellors, psychologists and all those concerned with the welfare of families.