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What to Tell the World... and When


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Deciding to have a child though donor insemination is a private journey made somewhat public by scientific necessity. Yet what you decide to share with friend, family, co-workers and the rest of the world remains in your hands.

There is little argument that your child should know about his origins. Keeping the biological part of your child's birth story from him will damage trust and cause identity issues, just as adopted children in previous generations experienced when finding out about their own history.

However, if you are a single woman and beginning to show, your options present themselves pretty early. A married couple will not face the same scrutiny, and lesbian couples expecting a baby will only face questions regarding details about the sperm donor such as was he known or anonymously chosen from a sperm bank.

Telling Your Family

You know your family, the good, bad and ugly. Most likely there is a relative who you have confided in from the beginning. Maybe not. But knowing how much you want to divulge and when can still be tricky. First, make sure you know where your supports are. Have them firmly in place prior to telling anyone who may cause friction.

You can help yourself by not asking permission. Don't have an apologetic or pleading tone. Let them know what is happening and why, if you feel like making your case. Let family members know what you'd like from them. Sometimes relatives just aren't sure what you want from them, so be up front and specific.

  • "I was hoping you could help plan the baby shower this spring."
  • "I need a birth partner. Would you be willing to be there when I welcome the baby into the world?"
  • "I'm nervous about getting through my job schedule and having morning sickness."
  • "I know you went through this. Can you give me some advice, and maybe come by to help me out with some household chores?"

If someone in your family doesn't come around and is actually infectious with negativity you must make some tough choices. You need positive people around you right now. Set boundaries and live with them.

Telling Your Friends

Friends are often easier to tell than some family members. After all, these people have chosen to be in your life for a reason. Let them know just as you did your relatives what is happening with you, what you are dealing with and how you wish them to be involved. Let them know who is in the loop concerning the DI process and to what extent. If you absolutely don't want certain people to know about the donor insemination, consider why and what will happen if they do find out. How will you deal with that? Let your friends run interference for you if necessary, coming up with good replies to rude questions and such.

Telling The World

It isn't that odd for a single woman to be expecting a baby these days, but some people may act like you have three heads anyway. Upon noticing no ring, they may boldly inquire in the checkout lane, "Is the father out of the picture?" or something similarly intrusive. Prepare a calm, none too detailed response. You don't owe strangers honesty, candor or gossip. However, consider this a practice run for when your child is old enough to hear such rude questions. You don't want a brusque brush off to seem like shame to your son or daughter.

Growing Considerations

While most literature involving talking to your children about DI deals with secrecy, honesty and how much to tell and when, another factor comes into play as your child grows. What does she want you to say to others? After all, as your child conceived through donor insemination gets older that DI story is more hers than yours. As your children get older, ask them how they wish for you to answer questions about their origins and be respectful of their feelings.



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