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After surrogacy: How to speak to your child about their origins

 

If your child was born through surrogacy it is important that you think about the best way to tell them how they were born. This can help your child grow up feeling secure about their origins and their relationship with you.

 

When should you tell your child

 

It is usually better to tell your children when they are still young. Many parents like to be open with their child from as early an age as possible. 

This prevents any risk of them finding out by mistake, or doubting their genetic connections as they grow older. The Donor Conception Network suggests the goal of early ‘telling’ is that a child should grow up ‘never knowing a time when they didn’t know’.

Ultimately however, when to tell your child is up to you. Remember that telling your child is not a one-off conversation and children are likely to have more questions as they grow older.

 

How to explain what surrogacy means

 

Different children will respond differently to news of their origins. It is up to you and your partner to decide how much they should know at different stages growing up.

Many parents find that celebrating their unique family circumstances can make their child feel special and proud of who they are.

You should try to prepare for any questions your child may have, helping you to answer them confidently.  This can prevent your child from feeling that surrogacy in anyway changes their relationship with you.

Family storybooks can be a great way of telling your unique family story and making sure your child is secure with their origins and their identity. They can take many forms, such as a scrapbook or a memory box. You might want to consider a digital format, which could include a video diary.

You might want to include information about the treatment, images or mementos from the surrogate and her family, or stories of your child’s development. Sharing this with your child as they grow older can help: 

    • explain their origins

    • give them a strong sense of identity

  • bring you closer together.

 

How will my child react?

 

All children will react differently. However there is no reason to think that your child will be upset by news of their origins, particularly if you are honest with them from an early age.

How you act when you tell them can have a big impact on their reaction. If you wait until your child is older, there is more chance that they will be confused or angry that you have not told them sooner. They are also more likely to understand that this means they may not have a genetic connection with one of you.

However your child reacts, it is important that you try and understand how they might be feeling and answer any questions they have. Remember, what matters most to your child is having a loving and secure relationship, not their genetic connections.

 

Further support

 

You can find more information about speaking to your child about their origins in our factsheet After the Surrogacy Process.

The Donor Conception Network has a range of guides and resources that may help you talk to your children.

Stonewall provides some general advice for same-sex couples about surrogacy on their website and through their Guide for Gay Dads.  

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