real life

GUEST POST: ‘I’m single and trying to have a baby with donor sperm’

I asked a close friend of mine to write this post to share with you because I think what she’s doing is inspiring and courageous. I have written about her decision to have a baby on her own before but she’s much further down the road now and I wanted to give her the opportunity to tell her own story because I believe it’s worth sharing……

Sally* Nicky writes……

I started this journey in March 2008, whilst living in the US, although I’m not sure whether “journey” is the right word to use, ”ordeal” may be more appropriate. One minute I was thirty, just married and thinking we’d start a family any day and the next I was 41, childless and divorced. The lack of relationship I could deal with, but not having a baby was something I’d never expected.

All my friends have kids and I am the only one without them. My clock is tick, tick, ticking and I don’t really want to adopt, I want to be pregnant and go through the whole process. As I wasn’t in a relationship and fed up with waiting for Mr Right, I made the decision to explore the donor sperm route. I spoke to women who had done it and were successfully now Mothers themselves and did more online research.

Please don’t for one second think that I made my decision overnight. I spent a couple of agonizing months, going back and forth about the fact I wouldn’t know the baby’s daddy, nor his family background, whether he had a sense of humor, did he respect women, was he ambitious…..

These questions would be the same had I wanted to go out to the pub, get drunk and get laid by some guy I’d never met, nor would ever see again. Many people have suggested I do just that.

But you see, I’m one of the only people I know who has NEVER had a one night stand, EVER. I think I’m too germophobic to kiss a strange man, let alone have unprotected sex with him, because, folks, THAT’S what would have to happen…ick.

Then there’s the question of what to tell my child about him/her not having a father. I have a very close family and there would be no shortage of male role models. Also, kids grow up in one-parent homes quite often nowadays and sometimes they have to go through the agony of divorce and even one parent not wanting to spend time with them any longer. I will therefore let my child know how wanted he/she was and a relationship wasn’t necessary to bring him/her into the world.

A few of my friends asked whether I would consider adoption. It’s a fair question. I guess I want to experience BEING pregnant and giving birth and while I still have the chance and the resources, fertility treatment is my first option. Also, the fact that I’m not in a relationship hinders the adoption process…they like giving kids with NO parents to a family with TWO. Very few countries allow single women to adopt.

About 18 months ago, I finally came to terms with my unanswered questions and talked to my family about it who were all very supportive. So I found a fertility clinic, where I liked the Doctor and his staff and began as soon as I could. They sent me home with lots of reading material and the website for a sperm bank.

The US doesn’t have restrictions on sperm donors like Australia does. Donors in Australia cannot be anonymous, which means that when the child turns 18, he/she is legally able to find the biological father. Personally, I think this is ludicrous. It’s not like the birth mother ever had any kind of relationship with the donor, they NEVER EVEN MET!!! So it’s hardly surprising that so few men are prepared to risk that kind of disruption in their lives, 18 years after spending a few minutes providing a sperm sample in a clinic.

I spent a lot of time online looking for a Baby Daddy on US donor websites like this one. I could choose pretty much everything including height, weight, hair color, hair texture, eye color, and religion. At first the number of donors, was daunting, but once I whittled it down with my choices, it became manageable. I had a specific religion and eye colour, so there were maybe 15 or 20 to pour through. It was like Internet dating, without having to go on the date, or put out, but hopefully, I end up with a baby…go figure.

I spent the best part of last year doing IUI, which is usually the option taken before IVF because it’s less invasive and less expensive. You still have to take the drugs but it’s more the turkey baster method. I was at the clinic at least once a week from the first day of my period until the day of insemination, having blood tests and ultra sounds. Then, there’s the anxiety ridden two week wait, where I had to go back for the pregnancy blood test…unless, my period came first, which, unfortunately, it did, every time.

I tried interuterine insemination (IUI) 7 times and was about to start IVF when I decided, after being away for eleven years, to move back to Australia. What I was doing was never a secret and I’d started a blog from day one. This meant all the guys in my life were told including my Dad and brothers, and while they’re gunning for me, they have absolutely zero interest in knowing how it’s all done and pretty much either walk out of the room when I’m asked about it, or stick their fingers in their ears and go “lalalalalalalalalala”.

I told my ex husband over brunch. He confessed that he felt guilty about us not having kids and offered his wares. All I wanted to do was laugh, but I kept my composure, this wasn’t about redeeming himself, it’s all about me so I said thanks but no thanks. I had other offers from guys including an ex neighbor and a friend. I’m not sure what that was about. A competitive thing maybe?

Fast forward to me living back home. My Doctor here is wonderful and I have subsequently found, via Twitter and Facebook, other women who have had success with him. He’s also able to get donor sperm from one of the cryobanks in the US, so I chose a new Baby Daddy and have had one IVF cycle, which, unfortunately was unsuccessful. I start again on day one of my next period.

My life is a roller coaster of emotions….mainly anxiety and breathing sighs of relief, more anxiety, and bits of deep breathing ensue and unfortunately until now, at the end there has only been disappointment.

Whilst most days all I hear is tick tock, tick tock, I’m not giving up…

You can check out Nicky’s blog here


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