Third-Party Family Building and Donor Conception

How We Came to Be a Family

All families are built on love, trust, openness and connection regardless of genetic link. Parents may want to talk openly with their children about their donor origins but don’t know what to say or when to best share this information. It may be helpful to consult with a therapist to process complex feelings around this path to parenthood, and to increase confidence around telling donor conceived children about your family story and possible genetic siblings.

Feelings around sharing this information evolve as you move from donor selection and embryo transfer through pregnancy, and especially when there is an actual child and your family of two becomes a family of three. Single mothers and same-sex parents report more confidence around disclosure, however heterosexual couples may find this meaningful interaction to be anxiety provoking. It is not just a one time conversation, but a lifetime of being open, curious and connected with your child.

Donor conceived offspring have been around for 30+ years. Through current research, we know that many parents have a strong desire for their child to have positive feelings around donor origins. We also know that children who have integrated the story of how their family came to be into their identity at a young age have a secure sense of self and positive relationships with parents. I can support you in creating your family story and sharing this information with your child.


Resources

Donor Conception Network: www.dcnetwork.org

The Donor Sibling Registry: www.donorsiblingregistry.com

Books for Parents:

Mommies, Daddies, Donors, Surrogates: Answering Questions & Building Strong Families, Diane Ehrensaft
Finding Our Families, Wendy Kramer and Naomi Cahn
Modern Families: Parents and Children in New Family Forms, Susan Golombok
Building a Family with the Assistance of Donor Insemination, Ken Daniels
Mixed Blessings: Building a Family With and Without Donor Help, Olivia Montuschi
Telling and Talking Booklets from Donor Conception Network

Books for Children:

Mommy, Did I Grow in Your Tummy?, Elaine Gordon
One More Giraffe, Kim Noble
Birds of a Different Feather, Kelly Wendel
Phoebe's Family: A Story About Egg Donation, Linda Stamm and Joan Clipp
The Very Special Ducklings: A Very Simple Story About Egg Donation, Wava Cirisan
Training Wheels: How Did I Get Here?, Chris Barrett and Sally Hunter (embryo donation)
Hope and Will Have a Baby, Irene Celcer (egg, sperm, embryo donation and surrogacy versions)
What Makes a Baby, Cory Silverberg
The Family Book, Todd Parr