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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Weighs When To Tell Her Son How He Came To Be

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I very much wanted a child and used an egg donor to become parents. We are eternally grateful to the semi-anonymous donor (we have limited information on her) and love our 11-year-old son more than anything. We have told him that I needed help (for example, lots of shots) to become pregnant, but have not given him more information than that.

Now, I'm wrestling with how much to tell him and when. Part of me says he's our son -- period -- and that's all he needs to know. The other part of me says it's not something I'm ashamed of.

Truly I am grateful, yet with today's inexpensive DNA tests, I worry that a stranger will knock on our door one day and want contact with him. He has a family who loves him. What do we do? We are very private people. What's the best way to handle this? I love my son and want to be honest, yet protect him and allow him to focus on his/our family. -- MIDWEST MOM

DEAR MOM: Secrets like the one you are tempted to keep have a way of taking on a life of their own. Your son will eventually need to know his biological mother's and maternal grandparents' medical information.

If he has been learning anything about biology in school, he should already be aware that birds, bees and babies come from fertilized eggs. Not knowing his level of emotional maturity, I can't put a number on when he should be told. However, the longer you withhold the information, the greater the chances are that he will feel you weren't truthful with him.

If you want him to focus on "his/your" family, you must level with him, and when you do, let him know how much you wanted him and that you love him with all your heart.

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