Telling Your Family About Using Third-Party Reproduction: What to Consider

When it comes to telling your family and friends that you are infertile and you are going through the trials of IVF, most people are fairly open about the process and the struggles. However, there are many people that still pause on sharing this information, even for something that has become more commonplace.

So, why is it so hard to share this information? What are the pros and cons of third party reproduction? Should we share this information? These questions directly address conceiving a child through egg donation, sperm donation and embryo donation. Full disclosure, a lot of it has to do with how sensitive your receiving audience is and how open-minded and accepting they are. Even still, for many, sharing this information is not an easy task. But good news: it’s really only your business anyways.

People withhold this information due to the fear that ultimately stems from a sense of shame. Whether it was your only option to conceive or it was merely a choice there’s no shame in bring a precious child into the world. With a few inevitable and clear third party traits or not, the child is still your child at the end of the day. Even though it’s similar to adoption in some ways, many people are still hesitant. Totally understandable.

There are many reasons why people shy away from telling their family and friends about their use of an egg, sperm or embryo donor. The hesitation to tell them that their child was conceived with egg, sperm or embryo donation often stems from some of the following reasons:

  1. They fear that their family and friends will treat their child differently than if their child were 100% genetically related.
  2. They fear that the grandparents or other relatives will not view their child as a “real” child.
  3. They fear that someone will say something to their child that makes them feel less about their value.
  4. They fear that it will lead to an unhealthy family dynamic, such as a feud between siblings.
  5. Sometimes inheritance comes into play here because they fear their child won’t be treated as a “real” child/person.
  6. There’s an assumption that their family and friends will not accept the high-tech nature of the conception.
  7. They fear having to deal with religious objections.
  8. Other scenarios of not being accepted.

As with anything, there are pros and cons to sharing any delicate information. Here are some potential reasons to consider sharing this information with family and/or friends:

  1. First and foremost, whether you share with family and/or friends, many believe that the child has the right to know. Plain and simple.
  2. If you share this information, a large weight is lifted off of your shoulders as far as keeping secrets goes. You won’t have to tiptoe around the facts. Inevitably, there will be questions.
  3. Sharing the information right off the bat relieves the possibility of hurting feelings later on when questions arise and you are forced to spill the truth.
  4. Being open with the information right away alleviates any notion that you are ashamed of using a donor or of your child in general.

At the end of the day, it’s no one else’s business other than you and your husband, wife or partner’s. Ultimately, it is in your control and your desires whether or not to share this delicate and personal information with family and friends. So it begs to question: even when you do not have to, should you tell?

Ivy Norton is a mother of 3 and founder of She’s a passionate mommy blogger and focuses on providing parenting news, tips and advice.