IVF Babies: Do You Tell Them How They Were Conceived?

SpermElizabeth Carr, the world's first baby conceived by IVF, gave birth to her own baby this month at 29 years of age.

She talks about how she became a journalist because of all the attention she got growing up as the world's first test tube baby. As IVF and fertility treatments are much more common today, I wonder how many parents are as open with their children about their conception as Carr's obviously were with her.

When it comes to adoption, some parents from the earliest days begin reading their children books about adoption, include their birth mother at events, and tell them stories about how they chose them. But when it comes to IVF, should parents do the same? Does it matter that their children know?

Here's what some mothers had to say.


Candice, the mother of 29-month-old twins, says she will absolutely tell her children when they're older for health reasons.

"Due to medical issues, my husband and I had to go through IVF in order to conceive them," she said. "Since one of the issues that we had is hereditary, we need to let our kids know so that they can be tested to see if they have the same issue. I don't know when I'm going to break the news to them ... But, I have nothing to hide. I am happy to tell them the truth when they ask." 

"Jake" says her 13-year-old daughter has always known she was an IVF baby and even goes by the nickname "Lab Rat" because of it.

"Obviously, we're a quirky family, but I really wanted her to have the sense that there was always joy and humor involved in her creation, because too many times, it's all business and serious," she said.

"Jake" says it's nearly impossible to keep IVF a secret and that doing so isn't helpful.

"There is too much work involved and too many people know the history of what's led there," she said. "I believe, very strongly, that when we keep these things hidden from our friends and family that we deny ourselves of the support and understanding most loving people want to offer."

Nancy, 53, is the mother of a 5-year-old boy conceived through IVF with a donor egg. While she hasn't told him yet about his conception, she plans to.

"I have no problem telling him about the in vitro," she says. "Were it not for the process, he wouldn't be here. I am still sitting on the fence regarding telling him about the donor egg.  It may become a necessity should medical problems arise."

Would you tell your child if he or she was conceived through IVF? Have you?

Image via SantaRosa OLD SKOOL/Flickr

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