In the future: Should the child be told how it was conceived? When and how is the best way to do this?

Spanish law does not provide for any obligation with regard to whether parents have a duty to communicate to their children that they were conceived by gamete donation. It thus gives total freedom to the parents to decide at their discretion, whether to do so or not and / or how and when. Regarding this issue, there are two schools of thought, one in favor and the other against as to telling the child about his/her origin.

  • IN FAVOUR: It is argued that hiding it would be to accept gamete donation as a stigma associated with infertility and that this secret could be potentially damaging to the mother/father-child relationship.
  • AGAINST: The child has a right to know their origin, without giving preference to the parents’ desire for privacy over the needs of the child.

If the parents have decided that the best thing to do is to tell the child, the eternal doubt is when is the best time to let the boy or girl know. What is important is that it should be done by the parents themselves.

  • Communication can start from when the child is small. An ideal time might be in early childhood (between 3-5 years) when the child starts to ask questions about his or her origins, trying to introduce it gradually and adapting the explanations to the child’s cognitive level by subsequently adding details and developing them as the child grows up.
  • Another approach would be to wait until there is an established maternal/paternal-child bond in order to communicate it (around 10-12 years of age). There are several strategies to provide the parents with support and there is even explanatory material to help, such as specific tales, which are extremely helpful when it comes to approaching this subject naturally.
  • Giving this information at the start of adolescence (from 12-14 on) should be avoided since it could affect the development of identity and as a result, break the mother/father-child relationship.

From the opposite perspective, some authors argue that it has been observed that children will not feel any different if they have been brought up lovingly. But what is important is that the parents have fully assimilated their maternity / paternity and if they choose not to tell the child, they must do it consciously to avoid complications or suffering by the child and not out of fear of not being accepted by him. In these cases, what we do recommend is not to inform other family members, because if more people are aware of the process, the situation might arise whereby the child found out through someone else at some point, which should be avoided under all circumstances. Even though a parallel can sometimes be drawn between this and adoption, there are important differences, making it quite different, since in the case of a child born from donated gametes there is no history of neglect, in fact, quite the contrary, because from the very beginning, the boy or girl has been born into a family with a strong desire to have children.

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