How can I talk to my parents about my conception?

I asked a question a few months ago, asking about how to come to terms with being conceived through IVF Thanks for your reply!

Recently, I’ve been wondering how to bring the subject up with my parents. They are both Catholic, although only my mother is practising. I’ve rarely spoken to my parents about my feelings, as I’m unsure how to do so without upsetting them. But I think it’s something that needs to be discussed, especially as my parents (from the little they’ve said on the matter) seem unrepentant. I remember once asking my mother if the IVF process meant I had brothers and sisters, to which she told me that they were just embryos who “might have become brothers and sisters”. I feel like I owe it to my siblings to make my parents acknowledge their existence. How can I do this without hurting them?

Also, do you have any ideas as to how I can honour my siblings’ memories? Should I pray to them? Should I name them? Is it disrespectful for me to refer to myself as an only child if strangers ask me?

Thank you in advance,


Dear Julie,

Your mother needs to own the fact that your siblings were not ‘just embryos. They ARE your brothers and sisters. Such acknowledgement will not be an easy thing for her to think about. But it has not been easy for you either. THIS is how you can best honor your siblings—by having their parents acknowledge their existence. We will be praying for you and your parents.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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