When to tell: ages and stages

"We started saying it out loud to kind of see how it would sound, to see what words we would use. We got to experiment, give it a go before it really begins to sink in. So that by the time they got to three and a half, four -  we felt much more confident doing it."  Sarah

Research shows that many parents lack confidence in telling their family story. Rather than deciding not to tell, they just keep putting it off. It is never too early or too late to start explaining how you became a family; however, research shows the earlier you begin telling a child the story of how they were conceived, the more straightforward and stress-free it is for you and your child. It is helpful to view it as an ongoing conversation rather than a one-off talk. There are also many creative ways to tell your family story and let it evolve as your child develops. It is important to find your own words to explain your unique story. These are discussed in how to tell, together with examples of what you might say.

While you cannot anticipate your child's reaction, generally, younger children process this information more easily than older children.

Ages and stages

Family perspectives - talking to children about how you became a family

If you have any concerns please contact us for more information.


Consider why you may be delaying. Ideally you should begin talking to your child by three years of age. If you are putting this off, this may be a sign that you are not quite at ease with having used a donor or surrogate. Frequently, many people find that their desire to have a baby was so strong they didn't give themselves the time or space needed to process what this meant for them emotionally and then the issues tend to arise further down the track. This can interfere with their relationship with their child. If this is the case for you, support is available from VARTA.