How do I talk about my son without explaining he is a sperm donor baby?

Q: My son was conceived with a sperm donor. It's awkward when acquaintances chat about whom he looks like. What can I say?

A: I’m sure they mean no harm, and they don’t know the specifics of your family tree, but it’s understandable that you’re sensitive about the topic.  And considering how many ways you can now bring a child into a family, what used to be white-noise chatter over the crib is now a bit presumptuous.  Humor is one way around it, says Judy Burnett, Ph.D., a psychologist specializing in reproductive health.

“You could say, ‘When you mix it all up, who knows what might happen?’ or, ‘For now, he looks like himself!’ ” You could also guide the convo away from your son’s eye color and toward personality traits: “His pout is just like his grandpa’s!” Or pick an uncle who has your son’s red hair and give that lucky guy all the credit. “It’s an honest question, and you’re smart to be discerning about whom you share this info with,” Dr. Burnett says. “Once you put it out there, you can’t take it back. You wouldn’t want your son to hear about the sperm donor from anyone other than you.”

(Question and answer featured in the September 2012 issue of American Baby.)

1 Comment

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