If Truth Be Told . . .

Same-sex couples raising singletons or twins face the predicament of eventually talking about donor eggs or sperm. While some couples may choose not to divulge any information, others are convinced that providing an honest explanation when developmentally appropriate is the healthiest way to handle their children’s questions about their birth and biological heritage.

While travelling home from Asia a few weeks ago, I met a gay couple who are bringing up three children—a pair of boy-girl twins and a younger daughter. All three children were carried by the same surrogate. Both the twins and the younger daughter are biologically related to their fathers: the twins are the product of one gentleman, and the daughter is genetically related to his partner.

Both men talked about their plans to explain their children’s origins when the kids begin to ask. The twins are approaching four years of age—and the questions have not yet surfaced. One of the dads related an interesting story that happened when he was out shopping with the twins. A shopkeeper was handing out gift samples and told the girl twin to take one for her mom and one for her dad. She replied that she had two dads. Without skipping a beat, the shopkeeper told her to please take one for her other dad.

The father was keenly aware of the situation and eager to learn how his child would respond. He laughed and told me that it’s not yet time to talk to his children about their family’s special situation. I admired these dads’ sensitivity and willingness to explain the facts of life when it seems appropriate. Articulating a truthful reality when a child is ready to hear it can help alleviate future shame and fear about not fitting into conventional social norms.

Image courtesy of Kurt Löwenstein Educational Center International Team (CC BY 2.0)

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