Talking To Babies About Sperm

Seems like a weird idea, right? However, research shows that children conceived by donor sperm (or eggs) benefit greatly from hearing about how they were conceived early in life – specifically before the age of 4. While this may be a bit hard from some of us to get our heads around, the facts of life (har) these days are that genetic issues arise eventually for all of us. It will come up. Doctors ask about risk factors for disease, teachers discuss heredity, each of us may have a disease that requires genetic typing of some sort. When children of donor parents learn about their genetic origins after the age of 18, studies show that they more often react with anger and confusion. The authors found that children of single parents or same-sex parents are told more often, and more commonly at an early age, while children of heterosexual couples are often not told until they are older – if at all. One study subject (now 30) stated, “Learning of my biological identity at 17 years of age was a traumatic event.” The authors also warn that all donor children who learn the circumstances of their birth may become curious about their biologic donor. So how the heck do you discuss sperm with a baby? While there is no specific advice given, the authors of the study state that telling a child early and often benefits the parents by letting them practice telling the story while children are young. This is an approach Doc Gurley swears by – she was pretty much counting on the fact that her children wouldn’t remember anything until the age of 2 (particularly that ugly diaper explosion in Macy’s), so she could have some time to work out the kinks of her new role as mom. Sigh, if only parenting was so simple. Bottom line: tell your baby young, even if it feels awkward – because soon it won’t. Check out the BBC article for more info on this interesting topic.

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