Being a parent is not a walk in the park, to begin with. But when it comes to the question of how to explain surrogacy to children it becomes quite difficult. Telling how they arrived into this world, the task appears nothing short of overwhelming and is being dreaded by many parents.
On the other hand, you cannot postpone this fundamental conversation indefinitely, it will take place in one way or the other and you better be prepared for it. In this blog post, we have outlined various reasons why parents should explain surrogacy to children. Moreover, we will explain why you should not avoid that difficult conversation and how to frame the message to a child. Learn, how to tell your child about his or her surrogate birth in the most thoughtful and delicate way possible.
Should I Explain Surrogacy to Children and Tell about Their Birth through Egg Donation?
No matter what is your individual philosophy on revealing a child’s birth story, the practice shows it pays off to be straightforward and honest with your child from early on. There are strong arguments why hiding the truth from your child could be a recipe for disaster.
1. Withholding the truth is a challenging game
Creating intricate stories, or asking numerous friends and family to partake in some pretense requires a lot of time and effort as compared to just telling the truth.
2. If your child finds out the truth from alternative sources, they may develop mistrust to you
You might have heard stories about a family friend let slip out, inadvertently, some details about surrogacy, and the child involved feeling traumatized. Your child may also feel that way – as if the whole world is not what they believed it to be.
3. A confusion with self-identity
Children may grow up aspiring to identify themselves, especially if they have different genetic features or traits (such as an Asian surrogacy baby being born to a gay couple with both parents being white). The longer you will cover up or postpone the truth, the more suspicious the child may become about who they are and their place in the family and in the broader world.
4. The threat of inaccurate medical records
Children who are not aware of their origin may run into medical problems down the road due to not fully understanding their medical history.
How Exactly Should I Explain Surrogacy to Children?
A very frequently asked question, and for a good reason. From our practice, here are the steps we recommend taking before your first conversations about surrogacy and egg donation.
Find the right place and right time
An important part of preparing the conversation is establishing the right setting. Try to pick a time when little or no distractions are expected. Weekend morning or after school is perfect timing because this is when your child is most perceptive. You should better make sure they listen to you carefully and take you seriously.
Get ready for your conversation
Abstain from spontaneous commentary or dialogue about the surrogacy. Take your time to think about the exact phrases you will use deploying the most delicate, easy-to-understand language, depending on your child’s age and their grasp of the world.
If they are very young, try to utilize familiar short words and even a children’s book to deliver your message. Explain that some moms are just made in a different way and they cannot have a baby like other women. Nevertheless, these women are still moms through what they do for their babies.
Use simple tools
Just remember that your child cannot have a cognitive apparatus as developed as yours. Avoid complicated terminology: it`s not smart to get into the causes of infertility or the details of In-Vitro Fertilization. Just explain the overall process using broader terms such as “baby,” and “mommy.” Again, utilize the stories from children’s books to formulate a comprehensible message.
Pay attention to their questions
It is normal if your child does not understand the concept of surrogacy at first, and asks whether they are your “real” child or what a surrogate means. Listen to their question, think through your response and then answer as succinctly as you can. Constantly reassure them that they are still your real child, and that you are their parent, and that your love for them is just the same. Confirm to them that they are just like any other child in their kindergarten or school.
Having a Line of Communication Open
That first conversation is just the beginning of an ongoing dialogue. This dialogue will continue through the years. You can anticipate more questions from your child about pregnancies, surrogacy, and growing up in general. Do not close this line of communication with your child, so they develop a greater sense of identity and self-confidence and a clear understanding of surrogacy.