Today, many women choose to become a single mother with help from a sperm donor. In fact, about 50% of the women ordering donor sperm from Cryos are single mothers to be. These women are often referred to as Single Mothers by Choice, as they choose to have one or more children on their own. They may or may not wish to have a partner, but when they choose to have a baby, it is with the prospect of becoming the sole parent of the child. In other words, for these women, single motherhood is an active choice.
Why consider donor sperm as a single woman?
There can be different reasons for becoming a single mother by choce. It may be that you have not found the right partner to have children with, that you are confident and happy about being single but still wish to have a child, or that you prefer to be the only parent responsible for your child’s upbringing.
Whether the time is right for you to consider single motherhood through sperm donation, or whether it is the right option for you at all, depends on different factors such as your age, health, and dreams. If you dream of finding a partner to have children with, you might consider becoming a Single Mother by Choice as a last resort. Many women think about this for a long time before making the final decision of going at it alone, and that is perfectly understandable. However, if you postpone the decision too long, you may at some point need to consider whether having a child on your own is better than not having a child at all. If you wait too long, it will reduce your chances of becoming a Single Mom by Choice, as a woman’s fertility starts to decline significantly during her 30’s. If you have any health issues such as endometriosis, PCOS, or similar that might reduce your chances of getting pregnant or require fertility treatment, you should take this into account as well. In other words, you should not wait too long to start your journey towards parenthood.
Using donor sperm to become a Single Mother by Choice
There are different ways to have a child as a single woman. One of them is using a sperm donor, which is a popular choice for several reasons. All donors at a sperm bank like Cryos are thoroughly tested for infectious and genetic diseases, which makes use of donor sperm a safe choice. You get to carry the child yourself and be genetically related, and finally, by using a sperm donor, you have full parental rights of your child.
In the following, you can learn more about becoming a single mom with help from a sperm donor. This will hopefully give you an idea of what to expect.
The first step towards becoming a single mother
If you have decided to become a single mother with the help of sperm donation, the first step is to find a fertility clinic or doctor who can perform the treatment. There are a lot of clinics offering their services, and we understand that it might seem like a bit of a jungle at first. If you would like assistance in finding a clinic, our Customer Care Team will be happy to help you. At Cryos we have a wide network of high-performing clinics around the world that offer fertility treatment with donor sperm from Cryos.
Planning your treatment
Donor sperm can be used in different types of fertility treatment. Your doctor or fertility clinic will help determine which type is ideal for you. Usually, the first step will be insemination with donor sperm, also called IUI treatment. This is a simple treatment, in which the donor sperm is injected into the woman’s uterus at the time of ovulation. It takes a few minutes, is usually pain-free, but requires a little planning, and perhaps a hormone treatment, to make sure that the insemination happens at the exact time of ovulation. Another option is IVF treatment or ICSI treatment, in which eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and fertilized in a petri dish before the fertilized egg is transferred back into the uterus.
Learn more about getting pregnant with donor sperm here.
Deciding on a sperm donor
Once you know which treatment you are having and where, it is time to decide on a sperm donor. Many Single Mothers by Choice choose a donor with similar physical or personality traits as themselves. Others look for a donor that they could see themselves dating or be friends with, and yet others again have completely different reasons for their choice of a donor. Before making your choice, it is a good idea to consider whether you want to make the decision on your own, or if you prefer to involve friends or family, to have someone to discuss your thoughts and choice with. Just remember that the final decision is yours, and it is important that it is something you are comfortable with.
Learn more about how to choose a sperm donor.
Preparing for future siblings
If you dream of becoming a Single Mother by CHoice to more than one child, you may benefit from reserving donor sperm for future children as soon as you get pregnant with your first child. By making a reservation of donor sperm for later use, you can use the same sperm donor for future treatments, and your children will then be genetic siblings. You will also spare the energy and avoid having to once again decide on which donor to use.
Talking to your child about being donor-conceived
When having a baby as a Single Mother by Choice, your child will probably realize at some point, that some families look different than yours, and that some children have a father. There are different ways to explain donor conception to children, but a general recommendation is to be honest from the start.
Learn more and find advice on how to talk to your child about donor conception.
The mother-child relationship in Single Mother by Choice families
Some of the concerns that many women have when considering single motherhood through the use of sperm donation is about the well-being of the child. Will one parent be enough for my child? Will I be able to provide everything that my child needs during the upbringing? In the video below, you can watch an interview with Susan Golombok who is a researcher at Center for Family Research at the University of Cambridge. She has studied families created by solo mums by choice and in this video, she shares some of the findings from her study.
Things to consider before becoming a single mom
Becoming a parent is amazing – but also hard work, and even more so if you are doing it on your own. Before embarking on this amazing journey, it is a good idea to consider it carefully. Here we list some important things to consider before becoming a Single Mother by Choice.
- 1. If single motherhood is not your plan A
If you would prefer to find a partner to have children with, you should carefully consider whether you are ready to give up on that dream. Becoming a single mom by choice does not mean that you must give up on finding Mr. or Mrs. Right, but it does make you the sole parent of your child, and you cannot expect a future partner to be as involved with your child, as if you were a couple deciding to become parents together. Nevertheless, if your biological clock is ticking (a woman’s fertility drops drastically after turning 35), it is worth considering whether becoming a Single Mother by Choice is better than the risk of not having a baby at all.
Read the personal thoughts and advice from Tanja, a single mom of twin girls
- 2. Other people’s reactions
Most people in your network will probably be there to support you on your exciting journey towards motherhood. But some may also question your choice of becoming a Single Mother by Choice – perhaps because they are not aware of the many different family forms we see today. Some people still think of a family as a mom, dad, and children, and for your own sake, it may be a good idea to consider how you wish to deal with people’s curious questions. It can be helpful to know in advance how to stand by your choice of becoming a single mom. Remember that it is your life and only you know what is right for you.
Read solo mum Mel’s advice for how to accept and take pride in the decision to become a single mother.
- 3. Financial aspects
When becoming a Single Mother by Choice, you are the only one providing for yourself and your children. This may be a challenge for some. To avoid constantly stressing about your finances, it is a good idea to follow a budget and put some money aside every month, as this will help you prepare for any unexpected events or expenses. There is also a lot to gain by buying secondhand baby gear, clothes, etc., and not being too proud to accept gifts and help from others.
- 4. Involving family and friends
As a single parent by choice, you will be the only person responsible for your child, but that does not mean that you must be alone or do everything by yourself. On the contrary, it can be an asset to have people around you who can support you on your journey. We recommend that you speak early on with friends and family members that you would like to involve and talk to them about how they can support you. Some people may wish and be able to help you on a practical level while others may be there for you with emotional support. It is also a good idea to find someone that you feel comfortable about involving in big decisions, such as which donor to use and later which daycare or school to choose, etc. This could be your own parents, your sister or brother or a close friend.
A survey among single women who used Cryos donor sperm, shows that 50% considers a good support system as the main factor for making it work as a single mom. Learn more about this and other facts about single mothers by choice in this blog post.
5 tips for future Single Mothers by Choice
- Involve others and build a support system
- Accept that you cannot do everything perfectly
- Prepare as much as possible before your baby arrives
- Take time to be you - without your baby
- Learn from other single mums
Resources for solo moms
If you are considering or in the process of becoming a single mom through sperm donation, it might be helpful for you to read personal stories from other women who have made the decision to go at it alone. In Cryos’ blog you will find several personal stories from Single Mothers by Choice, including the blog post about Marije, who became a single mum by choice at the age of 38 years old. You can also find a list of books for Single Mothers by Choice.
We also encourage you to join our Facebook group Family Dreams where you can get in touch with other women who are on their way to motherhood or who have already had a child with the help of donor sperm. On Facebook, you can also find many other communities which are created by single mothers.
Future Single Mothers by Choice – help and personal guidance
If you have any questions or would like advice on how to become a single mom with help from a sperm donor, you can contact us or book a free call with our Customer Care Team. We are here to help you every step of the way.