My daughter is 33 years old. She has grown up in a normal loving family and knows me as both a family friend and godparent. Her parents had fertility issues so I helped them have a child.

All parents know. I believe she has a right to know the truth and personally want her to know, but her family parents do not want her to know the truth. Well, the mother is 50:50 but her father is definite that she should not know. He is an alcoholic and they have just separated.

With life turned upside down it is my belief that now is a good time to be honest and have a fresh start to changing family dynamics. Also my daughter has 2 sons and alcoholism runs through her 'fathers' family, causing deaths, and she is naturally concerned for her children. But they do not have his genes.

Do I have the right to tell her against the others wishes? Should she know the truth of her biological background?

  • 8
    What was the agreement when you originally made the arrangement?
    – Warren Dew
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 21:02
  • 1
    I just want to add here, that alcohol isn't genetic. You can have genetic differences in how much you can drink before you are drunk and how you behave if you are drunk, but there is no "alcoholic gene" that makes you more or less likely to become an alcoholic. It is a social question, if children grow up in an environment, where many people drink, and alcohol is always around, they get more likely to drink. The alcohol part is not really relevant to the question. (Which doesn't mean you shouldn't be worried about alcoholism with these two children, living in such an environment.)
    – Etaila
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 11:53
  • 3
    @Etaila Alcoholism is absolutely genetically influenced. niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/…
    – bjb568
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 19:51
  • Both of them raised her; I cannot see any advantage to crushing either of them. If they both pre-decease you then maybe its okay. If even one of them will be hurt, it is one too many Commented Aug 24, 2018 at 14:24

4 Answers 4


Well, I am always for honesty. But is there a way to do it so a person that is so miserable that he turned to daily drinking won't get completely devalued?

He already might feel like a total failure. The revelation will make him a liar, will make him appear impotent and makes him lose his daughter.

Try to feel what he feels and then find a solution that doesn't crush him completely.

  • +2 if I could, but since I can't it's +1
    – Aaron
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 1:00

Western society values motive, often even over action. It is difficult to have insight into our own motives. If your motive is simply and truly to help your biological daughter, then you have legitimate cause. You might consider some form of therapy to help process where you're at.

However, this is a time of drama and strife in her life. Consider such a confession may cause more drama and stress, not to mention a state of animosity between the fraternal parent and you. This could have detrimental long-term effects on your relationship with everybody involved. It seems to me you'd be forcing yourself into an already tense situation.

If you feel you must share this knowledge, I would wait for her custodial parents to divorce. Even so, revelation will create a messed-up situation for the grandchildren who will not have the wisdom to appreciate the subtleties of who is who and why.


This situation does seem complex with matters that have changed since the original agreement. Any life situation that involves complexity and shades of gray warrant careful consideration, so I applaud you for doing so. Change is not easy, and it occurs in ways that are unpredictable.

Was anything established legally when this person was conceived? Are you named as a party in the action of serving as a donor to make possible the conception of this person?

Your question and description of the situation make me wonder about your intentions for establishing yourself as a biological parent. I also wonder if this has been on your mind currently in light of the father's alcohol problems or if you have contemplated this for years.

Seems like the bottom line may be what impact such revelation of biological contribution to this person's life is of primary concern. Is such knowledge likely to enhance her life or be felt as intrusive by her? I ask that with awareness that sometimes intrusive acts can lead to positive outcomes.

So, I wonder what the exact outcome is you hope for? Are you trying to move a particular outcome forward? In your question, it seems as if you want to be linked more closely to her children who are actually your own grandchildren. That's not a judgment or a bad thing, but I am wondering about it. Also, it seems as if you are hoping to shed some light on the genetic links to health-related information such as alcoholism, and such knowledge could be valuable to your biological child.

My suggestion is to wait, simply to allow a bit more time to pass while you reflect on your own motivations. I don't think you have any particular "rights" here that would increase your value to the current parent and your daughter, and yet you pose legitimate concerns and suggest you're exercising caution in moving forward. No harm can be done by waiting a while more and getting clear on what ideal outcomes might be and how you and the current parents, at least the mother, can approach this matter with good communication and a strategy that will enhance the life of your daughter.


Personally, I would bring up these reasons to the mom and try to fully convince her. Once she gives you the go-ahead, sit down with her and your daughter and tell her together. I agree that your daughter has a right to know and that it would help alleviate some of he worries, but telling her without at least one parent's firm approval is not going to be good for the family dynamic you want to build.

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