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Egg Donation Disclosure

egg donation disclosure.jpg

a blog by Donor Diva, June 30, 2011

To read more Donor Diva: Let's Talk Egg Donation blogs, CLICK HERE.

Disclosure is a hot topic in the donor egg community on a similar level to breast milk vs. formula. Everyone has their opinion, and you aren’t necessarily going to change someone’s mind. Disclosure is a personal decision that is made between you and your partner.

Disclosing Egg Donation

Obviously, I am 100 percent in the tell camp. This choice was made early on when I started blogging about our donor egg journey. But I will admit there was a time I hesitated in telling people. I wondered, “Would people understand? Would my child be treated differently? Would he reject me later in life? Would he decide the egg donor was his ‘true mother’?” After I answered these questions truthfully to myself, I knew my decision.

A few days ago I posed this question to a Donor Egg group I participate in. The answers covered everything — from definitely tell that your child was conceived with a donor egg to definitely tell NO ONE. One recurring theme was be careful who you tell because you can’t untell.

Reasons for No Disclosure

It seems the main reasons for “not telling” are religious/family/cultural reasons. There are religions that don’t accept reproductive technology as an option for building your family. I think if I lived in this situation, I would feel differently about telling. One of the members in my group said:

    “We think the world is too confusing as it is. We have talked and counseled about this and have decided that there is no reason to know. This world is crazy enough without my kid wondering why the donor didn't want her eggs, why the donor would give strangers her eggs and never want to see her child.”

If you do decide not to tell your child, then you shouldn’t tell ANYONE. You should destroy everything: blood work, donor profile, anything that might give it away. Also, make sure to match your blood type with your donor. This way if blood types ever come up, then you don’t have to worry.

Reasons to Disclose

However, I find most mothers via egg donation tell their children or plan to tell their children. After that point, it can vary quite a bit. Several people have told me that they plan on telling their child first and then letting them share however much of their story that they feel comfortable sharing. From there it varies from telling a few people to everyone (that’s me).

Here are a few responses from parents who plan on telling:

    “I think that's fairer on the child & it's healthy to have an honest relationship. I think the worst case scenario would be for the child to find out as an adult, what a shock that would be!”

    “I'm in the tell camp ... want my child to grow up thinking it’s a normal happy thing...not a dirty little secret.”

The decision of disclosure is a very important one. I became convinced that telling our child was the best option. I didn’t want to feel like I was lying to my child his whole life (also, I’m terrible with secrets!) An abstract I read recently stated that there was no noticeable difference in the relationships of mothers with their donor children and mothers with their naturally conceived children.

No matter what you decide, be confident in your decision. Do you plan to tell or not to tell? Please share your comments below!

Comments (9)

I think a child has the right to know his or her origins. I feel strongly that this is a basic right of the child. One of PVED's goals for those who are going to have honest conversations with their children (I don't like the word disclosure) is for those children to learn about their story from a very early age. The earlier the better. It's something that should always be a part of who they are.

However, there are going to be those families who can't or won't tell. Disclosure is a very personal decision. Many parents tell me daily "It's my child's story to tell, so I am not going to tell my child his or her story until I think they are ready to handle and process the information and then they can tell who they want.

What parents don't realize is that this is their story as well. They were just as much a part of this as their child. The purposely brought this child into the world with the intent of loving, caring for and raising their child. And so that needs to be taken into consideration as well when sharing information with your child.

You can teach a child the difference between what is private and what is secret. We know from experience that secrets are toxic and they always end up hurting someone.

The last piece to all of this is if you choose not to disclose you really can't tell anyone. Only you, your partner (if you have one) and yourself are going to be the holders of that information. You are going to have to burn, destroy and decimate every piece of information you have connecting yourself with your egg donation cycle. Because one day you are going to die and your child is going to be left to go through your things and when he or she finds the paper work or any shred of evidence about how they came to be they are going to feel betrayed and lied to and wonder what else you lied to them throughout their lives. And that's when the real damage is done.

Last but not least -- you can pick of a DNA kit now at Walgreens, Riteaide, Walmart etc... They talk about DNA in biology at school. Your kid will find out -- it's inevitable.

I couldn't agree more with the DNA comment. We don't know what the future holds in terms of accessibility to DNA information as well as what the schools teach/assign.
When I was in middle school, we had to research our parents' blood types and learn how to determine the blood types of ourselves and our siblings and how they correlated to the percent chance of having that blood type. One of my classmates found out he was adopted because of this assignment. What a shock to a 14 year old who never had an inking that he was not the biological product of his parents.
Ten years from now our children may be assigned the task of researching other genetically inherited traits via DNA analysis. I can't imagine my child finding out his origins in life just because of a school assignment.

RE:Egg Donation

Eggs have been traded almost since the fertility industry started 30 years ago. But now, new technologies involving the Internet have turned the business into a global bazaar of egg merchants, with little oversight.

Sadly you are correct. I remember when I first embarked upon my path of family creation through egg donation I honestly didn't think that far in advance. All I was focused on was becoming a mother and loving a child. I didn't think about what might happen ten years from my child's birth.

If I were doing it all over again I'd make sure I had a known donor, and someone who would be open to meeting my child and knowing my child. I don't think egg donors sign up to be mothers. But I do think our children regardless how much they love their mothers are naturally curious about who they look like and where they came from.

We are also firmly in the tell camp although to be honest it wasn't always that way. When we first started to consider using donor eggs our first thought was that we would keep it a secret as the child would be happier believing that it was fully biologically ours. However, when we thought about it properly and did some research we realised that we would really be keeping it private to protect us. I fully agree with the quote in your post about it being it being an awful shock to find out later in life and can't imagine what that would do to a person.

Although there's not much research into donor children (especially egg donor children) and their feelings, there's lots of research into adoption which invariably says that it's right to disclose.

Great post.

For those parents looking for a way to tell their kids about donor eggs, check out "Mommy, Was Your Tummy Big?" at
The book has been praised by many mental health professionals who work with fertility clinics and is on the American Society for Reproductive Medicine(ASRM) list of recommended books.

We are definitely in the tell camp as well. As stated in a previous comment we did not tell everyone as we believe it is something our children should understand and know about before everyone around them. All of those that do know also know our wishes and that basically they know so that when our children do understand and start talking that it's not treated as something wrong or dirty but as a unique part of their make-up. Even though they are infants we talk to them about it now. We also think it's important for our children to later understand the idea of privacy and that they can tell who they chose and yet maybe shouldn't tell everyone they know. We are not embarrassed by their beginning but like many things in the world realize there is a lot of judgement and opinion that may not support it.

Thank you so much for your comment. I think that is wonderful that you are disclosing. I agree it is important for the child to understand the unique part of their make-up.

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