Niece doesn’t know her true genetic lineage

"Alienation, secrets, adolescence, alcohol — it could be the setup for a “What could possibly go wrong?” joke if it weren’t so achingly real."



August 27, 2020 - 9:09 AM

Dear Carolyn: Both my brother and his wife were unable to have children, so they conceived in vitro using both a donated sperm and egg, though my sister-in-law carried my niece and gave birth to her. She is now a young teenager.

Carolyn HaxCourtesy photo

My niece has no idea she is not biologically related to any of us. They had originally planned to tell her when she was 8, but through the years my brother and sister-in-law have had serious problems, including alcohol abuse and medical issues, so the issue of telling my niece was left alone.

There are many people who know, including friends, family, co-workers, etc. My best estimate is 50. I know it’s not my place to tell her, but I am afraid she will find out and become distraught or develop horrible feelings of betrayal. She already has fought serious emotional issues because of her parents’ actions, and I’m not sure how well she will handle it, even coming from her parents.

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