I have nearly 4-year-old twins who were conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF) and an egg donor. What do you think is an appropriate age to begin to discuss this with them? They have been talking about differences in school and come home with questions about our differences, like why Mommy has freckles and they don't. My husband and I believe it’s important for them to be told the truth about this issue.
Dear Blessed Mommy,
I admire your desire to be truthful with your kids, but I’d go easy on the details until you think they’re mature enough to handle them. They’re barely at an age where they can understand the concept of time, never mind human conception in a laboratory.
You could start the conversation with as much info as you think they’re truly ready to handle. For example, when they ask about freckles that Mommy has but they don’t, you could say that some kids look like their parents and some don’t. When they’re a bit older, maybe 6 or 7, you could slowly broach the topic by telling them that Mommy and Daddy really wanted them and needed some help from doctors to put them in Mommy’s belly for them to grow (this could be accompanied by photos of you pregnant). You could say that a nice lady assisted by helping you make them before they went inside Mommy. Those unadorned facts are probably all they’d need until they’re ready to understand more complex matters.
Remember, we’re talking about asking a kid to be able to mentally wrap his hands around the concept of IVF conception, a donor egg mom and a birth mom. Many adults’ heads spin at the thought.