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May 30, 2011



While using donor gametes is a realatively new thing, it seems to me that there would be a good number of people interested in genealogy who adopted or was adopted. How is this indicated in a family tree? And do adopted people who find out about their genetic/first parents do genealogies of both their families? Seems like there has to be a way represent all these lines somehow and that would be a start in how to incorporate that in a family tree for those of us who use donor gametes.

As for DD and how she will view her family tree, well, I would like to think that if you are tell, she will integrate that into her view of who she is and I would think that it would be hard to choose one over the other.


Thanks for this post, and glad to see you back! My older son, who is 6--IVF+DE (anonymous)--does not yet know of his origins, and I'm not sure when it will happen. I really thought he'd know by now. In fact, I remember when we were preparing for the DE with our obligatory counselor visit, I spouted all kinds of utopian things about how great it would be to tell our child about all the people who helped us to have him. And I really did, and still do, feel this way. Our DE isn't even a secret to those who knew us before kids. However, I've shared this fact carefully and sparingly with those I've come to know AFTER his birth, feeling that at that point it became more his story than mine.

So why doesn't he know? I guess it's because he isn't very curious about pregnancy and birth, not even when his younger brother entered the picture (FET, so same genetic material). He knows that doctors helped us to have him, since that has come up while we were reading a book about the nine months of pregnancy that an aunt gave him when I was pregnant. I keep waiting for a "natural" way for DE to enter the conversation, but it never happens. This may also have to do with the fact that he doesn't see my side of the family that much, so there aren't the ongoing conversations about family resemblance or lack thereof.

So we keep going from month to month, and year to year, and I keep waiting for some question or topic that will allow me to bring it up in a way that's not overloading him with information that he's not interested in yet. Yet I worry that if it doesn't come up until we get into more technical aspects of conception, which could be several years from now, he'll later feel that he was lied to or that secrets were kept from him.

Obviously, then, I don't have any wise words to offer on this, but I hope you'll keep posting on the topic as you think through it more.


My uncle recently had our tree done by a professional genealogist and it filled in a lot of the missing bits here and there. I am sure that soon the professionals will offer dna routinely - we were given the chance but decided we had so much cross-referencing that it didn't really add anything.

I hate to say it, but I think you'd better get a game plan in place. Your daughter seems to be somewhat like mine, and when she found out I'd "lied" about Santa Claus she was furious. She actually said "I know it has to be true because YOU wouldn't lie to me." (But she had basically figured it out and was just desperately trying to cling to the story.) I think she was six or seven at the time.

I'm sure it will be fine in the long run - it's a joyous part of your life and she is at the center of that joy. Genealogy has had to deal with illegitimacy all along, this should be easier since (hopefully) nobody is covering it up. And I can see how she might eventually want to do two trees, just to have that information.

Lonnnng run-on comment now, but my husband was adopted by his stepfather even though his father was still alive (that was how it was done at the time) and his name changed. Now my daughter has a last name of a family she isn't genetically connected to, but my husband felt really strongly that she have his name. It was about being part of the family he has, not a scientific relationship with unknown people from a shared bloodline. He was very convincing, so that's how it is. A genealogist would probably link her to the birth father's family, since all that information is known, but that's just not at all how it played out in our life.

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