pregnancy

'It took five seconds.' One woman's story of becoming pregnant via the artificial insemination black market.

Hayley Hendrix found herself heading towards 40 and desperately wanting a baby.

But her partner at the time wasn’t on the same page and it forced her to make a difficult choice.

“I had assumed that [having a baby] was the natural progression for us, and I think when I realised my window was leaving and we were far from having a child, I had to draw a line in the sand – I had to walk away,” she told Mamamia’s new podcast The Quicky. 

You can listen to The Quicky’s full interview with Hayley here. Post continues after audio.

In her own words, Hayley found herself “coming undone”.

“I thought ‘crap how am I going to do this?'” she told host Claire Murphy.

Like many singles in this day-and-age, she turned to internet dating.

But how do you find someone who also wants a baby in such a small window of time?

“Every guy I came into contact with was a walking sperm specimen to me,” Hayley admitted.

She considered getting back with her ex, and she even looked around her friendship groups for men to ask to be a donor.

Eventually, she found herself at an IVF clinic handing over $600 for the initial appointment.

“You’re socially infertile,” the doctor announced.

Basically, she was fertile, but didn’t have a man.

But Hayley already knew that.

Once she paid to access the ‘sperm library’ Hayley found herself with 20-30 different specimens to choose from, and all but five were from overseas.

When Mamamia spoke to Professor Beverly Vollenhoven from Monash IVF earlier this month, she explained there’s no monetary incentive for men in this country to donate, they do it purely to help. It naturally means there aren’t that many donors so clinics are forced to turn to, mainly America, to top up supplies.

The donor Hayley chose thankfully had a lot of information alongside his donation; 10 pages, along with two small photos – one from his childhood and one from now.

Often, you have to pay more to see pictures, or hear audio of the person speaking. Basically, you are ‘upsold’ in an effort to learn more about your potential future baby.

“The whole thing felt really yuck to me. I struggled with it,” Hayley admitted.

Unfortunately Hayley’s chosen specimens failed to make her pregnant.

Two years passed and she decided to go down a different route, turning to the artificial insemination underworld.

Fertility First’s lab director Julie Zieschang told Mamamia she suspects black market sperm banks are more popular because donors can actually stay anonymous if they want to.

By law in Australia, a child born of an anonymous sperm donor are able to know the identity of their ‘father’ once they turn 18.

The father also has to have counselling before they donate (so does the recipient). It’s a lot to ask of someone.

“There has to be a reason they aren’t coming through clinics,” said Ms Zieschang.

ADVERTISEMENT

For Hayley, the reason for turning to the online donors was quite simple.

“It was so refreshing to talk to an actual human being,” she said of the differences between the two systems.

Hayley met some lovely guys, a family man who just wanted to help others have what he had, and a gay man who had reached 40 and didn’t have children and saw this as his path.

She’d already had the medical tests herself, she’d done the counselling, she knew what she had to do – if she did it alone.

So after paying for the man she’d chosen to have his sperm tested, she popped to the pharmacy and bought a specimen cup and a syringe and inseminated herself. It was that easy.

It took five seconds.

And she was successful, on the first go. 

Hayley found herself pregnant.

“I was cautious. I had been told I was old. It was quite possible something would go wrong. But none of that happened. It was perfect,” she told The Quicky.

Hayley son
Hayley and her son, who was conceived with a donor sperm.

So what does Hayley's relationship look like with the sperm donor she found on the internet?

"We are friends, we communicate often. He has helped three other women.

"My baby will know who he is, and that they have siblings. When the time calls we'll catch up for a BBQ every now and then. But ultimately I am a single woman.

"But we are a modern family, a family of today," Hayley explained.

Hayley wants it to be known that donors aren't just creepy men like Joe Donor on 60 Minutes who claims to have fathered 100 children.

"They're normal guys, they aren't creepy," she promised.

So, would she do it again?

"In a heartbeat," she gushed.

"I love being a mum. I can't imagine my life without my son."

FROM OUR NETWORK
00:00 / ???