USC Fertility


Donor eggs, donor sperm: Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?

The decision to discuss the use of donor eggs and donor sperm with friends and family is a personal one, and there is no right answer. However, the decision must be made with consideration of both the couple and the children that were conceived from the donor eggs or sperm.

More important is the question of when and how to discuss the issue with the children. Most psychological and medical experts advise parents to tell the child. It is important for the child to be aware of their genetic background, given the number of genetically transmitted diseases that exist.

From a psychological prospective, not telling the child may lead to dysfunctional family relationships, and cause the child to not trust their parents if they were to find out. When to tell the child may depend on family dynamics, but early is the current opinion by child development experts, keeping in mind the development of the child and what they can comprehend. Starting with basics at an early age can set the stage for an easy transition.

Other people to consider are family physicians who need to be told in order to provide the best medical care for the child. It may also be wise to tell teachers if the topic is likely to arise in the classroom. Consultation with a mental health professional may be very helpful to figure out when and how is the best way to discuss the issue.

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