Finding Out Your Story
Finding out as a child
Research shows the earlier a child is told the story of how they were conceived, the more straightforward and stress-free this is for both the parents and the child.
Telling a child early allows them to incorporate their embryo donation story as they develop their identity. It also allows recipient parents to gain confidence in explaining to their child as they can tell the child their story gradually, in an age appropriate way. In this way, being embryo donor conceived can be normal for the child as they grow, rather than a sudden revelation.
You may not remember being 'told' and have always known you were embryo donor-conceived. As time goes on, you may have more questions. You may be quite open about being donor-conceived or you may prefer to share this with only those who are very close to you.
Finding out as a teenager
This news can come as a shock. You may feel angry, upset and question why your parents did not tell you earlier. You may also be going through a lot of changes in your life, questioning who you are and who you want to be.
Some people who find out they are donor-conceived as teenagers describe needing time to come to terms with this new information. If the donation was anonymous, they may question where they get their features from and wonder about the people who helped make them. If you have brothers and sisters, they may react differently from you.
It is important that you have someone to talk to about this. You can contact Embryo Donation Network or VARTA for advice and support.
Finding out as an adult
Finding out at this time can lead to feelings of disbelief, confusion, hurt, betrayal and anger. Some people who find out that they are donor-conceived as adults describe feeling shock - although some may have wondered whether they may have been adopted or the child of an affair. You may need time to process this new information and what it means for you. It may be difficult to understand why you were not informed. Finding out at a time of conflict, from genetic testing, or from someone other than your parents – might make this discovery particularly difficult.
This new information may cause you to question all that you thought you knew about yourself and your identity. Learning something like this takes time to process and can be emotionally challenging. You may also question your family relationships. Who else knows? Who should you talk to?
If you are thinking about seeking contact with your donors, there is no need to rush decisions. Allow yourself to time to think through this information first.
It is important you have support and understanding at this time and not everyone may understand the impact this information can have on someone. You may find it helpful to contact Embryo Donation Network or VARTA and seek out support from other donor-conceived people.
If you would like to share your story (anonymously if preferred) to help others in a similar situation, please contact Embryo Donation Network.
This information was modified utilising content from the VARTA website www.varta.org.au