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Tuesday, October 26, 2010; 12:00 AM

DEAR AMY: I know I've seen discussions about whether and/or how to discuss a child's adoption with the child, but what about a child conceived with a sperm donor?

My wife and I wanted children, and it turns out that I had fertility issues that prevented us from having a child.

We opted for a sperm donor and recently welcomed a beautiful baby boy. We're just wondering if, when and how to broach the subject with our son.

Do we even need to?

Any suggestions would be welcome. -- Mark

DEAR MARK: I believe in honesty and disclosure, but I also believe in telling children the facts of their own lives in a way that's developmentally appropriate for them.

A child's sexual education starts in toddlerhood (when he first learns to name the parts of his body) and continues to the end of adolescence. Somewhere around age 7, you'll explain how boys and girls are different and tell him the basics of human reproduction.

Kids love to hear their own unique birth story, and you can tell your son that you and his mom needed extra help to have a baby and so another man's sperm was used with mom's eggs to make a baby -- and that baby turned out to be him!

If you and your wife have another baby during your son's childhood, you can explain the process to your son as your family experiences it.

Your son may have questions about this through his childhood. Make sure he can ask you anything and know he'll receive an honest and thoughtful response.

The clinic that coordinated your sperm donation should have recommendations for how to handle this increasingly common issue. You should inquire.

DEAR AMY: I am the mother of a happy and healthy 1-year-old bundle of joy.


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