"Donor embryo children 'not told'
By Caroline Ryan
BBC News Online health staff in Berlin
Only a third of couples who conceived their children using donor embryos plan to tell them, research suggests.
Researchers at City University, London, found many of the families they asked feared revealing the information could cause distress within the family.
In contrast, 90% of 30 IVF families and 100% of 28 adoptive families surveyed said they would tell their children about their origins."
There is no rational reason to lie to children about their genetic origins. It can only hurt them when they inevitably find out later. They will already know in their heart that something is wrong in their family. The averted eyes when the child asks a relative "why don't I look like you". The scramble to explain away why a blood type is incompatible. Kids can add, and will eventually wonder how their mother conceived them at age 45 or after a bout with chemotherapy.
We live in an age of genetic testing. It is needlessly traumatic for adoptees or children who came from donor embryos to find out they are not genetically related to their parents on the day they or a relative is diagnosed with a hereditary disease.
What is worse is when the children do not find this out. My ex has a cousin who was adopted at birth. She was never told about the adoption. Growing up a tall, pale, voluptuous woman with straight red hair in a family of short, olive-skinned people with curly black hair she didn't really need to be told she was adopted. It was glaringly obvious to everyone who met her. Yet every time she raised the subject she was told not to be ridiculous, of course she wasn't adopted. This is insanity.
When this woman's mother was hospitalized, and later died, from a serious inherited illness, any parent with an ounce of compassion would have told this girl she would never contract the same disease. But the lies continued.
Not telling the children they were conceived with donor egg or sperm is meant to spare the feelings of one person: the infertile parent. Any child who is the result of a gift of embryos will be proud to know the lengths to which their parents went to bring a baby into their lives. But adults are needlessly ashamed to have fertility problems and want to simply for get about it. They lie to their children because they are too insecure to tell the healing truth.
Prospective parents too ashamed and insecure to raise a child in a home where communication is open and family matters more than genes should rethink becoming parents. Lying to children about something as essential as their genetics serves no one and will ultimately destroy any trust the child has placed in the parent.