Sperm Donation: Dealing with the Child's Desire to Know Their Genetic Father

Sperm donation may be, in your case, the most effective--or in some cases, only--method through which you can conceive a child, but a likely result of this decision is that your child may feel compelled to form a connection with his biological father at some point in the future. Approaching this subject with sensitivity and preparation is essential for the well-being of your child.

Prepare before the Child Is Born

While you won't have to do much to prepare for your child's inquiry about his biological roots before your child is old enough to understand, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by preparing as much as possible as soon as you decide to make sperm donation a part of your fertility treatment. What this mostly entails is setting and understanding the boundaries.

If, for example, the donor is a friend or family member of your partner, you should have a frank discussion with the donor about his wishes and the extent to which he would like to be involved in your child's life before you agree to accept his donation. Make sure he understands that the child may want to pursue some relationship, and make sure you understand and accept it if your donor wishes to keep the relationship minimal or completely unknown to the child. Draw up a contract highlighting your agreement.

If you choose to get an anonymous sperm donation through a certified agency, review the agency's policies with an administrator before you proceed. You may be told that the donor will have absolutely no relationship or contact with your child, and you need to prepare yourself to accept this.

Explain How the Donation Was a Gift

When you choose to approach your child with the subject of the sperm donation--the age at which you decide to do this is largely up to you, but be sure to speak in age-appropriate terms and concepts--you need to emphasize that the donation was just a part of the process necessary to bring your child into the world and does not define who his family is. Explain that you could not have had your child without this helpful donor who wanted to give you and your child's other parent (if applicable) the greatest gift of all, one that you could not have had without the donation.

Emphasize the Child's True Family

If you have a husband or partner with whom you're raising the child, stress how your child's non-biological parent is no less a parent than his biological mother, and that family is more than just blood ties. If you're a single mother, emphasize that your child is not incomplete because he doesn't have a relationship with his father and that you have enough love for two parents.

Reiterating to your child that sperm donation doesn't mean that his other parent (if applicable) is any less of a parent or that your child is somehow "incomplete" without a connection to his biological father is the key to handling your child's desire to know his genetic father. A certified child counselor can also help you and your child work through this issue.

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