How Safe is Your Secret?

What are the two primary ways people think about conception secrecy?

1. How does secrecy help or hurt your child’s development as a person?

2. Everyone believes their secret will always remain a secret – but it doesn’t!

Today, let’s focus on the likelihood of your secret’s security. The internet has made it possible to access information in ways rarely imagined in the past. It is becoming increasingly difficult to keep private information private. The most common area of concern are identity theft through unauthorized use of a credit card or absconding with your social security number. We often forget about other types of information we wish to hold tightly. What about information about your child’s donor conception? While you may be holding this secret with the utmost of good intentions, it is no less safe to keep than any other secret.

Consider the following tools that now exist that would allow your child to discover this secret…

23andMe: 23andMe kits allow you to learn about your health, traits, and ancestry. For example, you can learn about what risks you could have for certain diseases based on your genetics. These kits are becoming widely popular and can be found in stores such as Target and Walmart. Suppose your child picks up one of these kits during their lifetime, spits in the tube, and suddenly they have health results that do not compare to yours. The secret has come out, despite your efforts. 

AncestryDNA: AncestryDNA is another company that has become well-known and requires a simple saliva sample to receive information about your background. In this case, you have the opportunity to learn about your origins and even be connected with relatives. Suppose your child completes an AncestryDNA kit for fun, and then six to eight weeks later has an email in their inbox that AncestryDNA has found their relative (a relative that does not happen to be in your family tree). The secret has come out, despite your efforts.

The Donor Sibling Registry: Once your child obtains their donor information, or as much as they are able to gather, they could connect with the donor or other half-siblings on the DSR. The DSR advocates for children born through embryo adoption, clinics, egg donation agencies, and cryo-banks. They believe these individuals have the social acceptance and legal rights to their biological origins and identities. To date, the DSR has connected more than 16,600 individuals with their half siblings and/or donors.

There truly is no way to guarantee your child’s donor conception story will not be exposed. With this in mind, it is important you and your partner consider the risks involved with attempting to keep your child’s story a secret. Will the secret be worth it when your child figures it out on their own? Wouldn’t it be better for your child to learn about their story through your own words, experience, and emotions?

To learn more about how secrecy affects donor children, watch our educational webinar here. To learn more about embryo donation and adoption, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.