I was thrilled when he called and said we were on for tomorrow. I jumped on a plane and headed to Queensland’s sunny Gold Coast. My Latin lover was already there waiting and I couldn’t get there fast enough.
He’d scattered crimson rose petals all over the crisp white tiles and silky satin sheets. They sparkled like diamonds on the freshly made bed. The curtains swayed slowly as the warm, salty, sea breeze wafted through the window on that balmy afternoon.
I barely had a moment to breathe it all in before his head was between my legs.
Very softly, he told me to relax, as he propped me up a little.
Then he inserted a clamp.
In that very instant, with a ripping sound effect as loud as a thunderclap, my charming Latin Lover vanished. I was left face taut and legs spread waiting for my 60-year-old IVF doctor.
I was rudely shocked back to reality. At least he was armed with the sperm of a dark-haired, green-eyed, 26-year-old Hungarian hottie, that was about to be squirted deep inside my cervix.
I was 40 years old, single and classed as socially infertile. How did I get myself here?
My thirties were the years of racking up lots of travel-mileage points, Facebook friends, happy hours and hangovers. While these were easy to accrue, marriage proposals were not.
At 37 I found myself in a relationship that I’d hoped would last forever. It was the one that I had all my chips on the table for. It was in the most promising, best of my last ‘fertile window’ days. While I had pinned my hopes on this being the relationship that would take me out of singledom for good, it unravelled over the following two years.
As the big 4-0 approached I completely came undone, spending each night blubbering into my pillow, agonising over how on earth I could create a family. I was in deep cacca with that ticking biological clock.
Months off the heels of that window-waster relationship, I jumped into online dating in a gallant quest to meet ‘The One’. All this did was waste more valuable time and keep me from pressing forward with my own plan. Not only did I have to dance around my true desire, dating was slow. It required squeezing into an LBD for an entire night of discomfort as well as my dates’ weekends – the ones without their kids.
If only I could make my own baby…
With a little further investigation I realised I actually might be able to. So, off I tottered to an IVF clinic.
Unfortunately, the results weren't surprising. I was disappointed by a few failed artificial insemination attempts. The Hungarian Hottie didn't stick, nor did the Cute Chiropractor the month before. I now either had to pull out the IVF big guns and harvest my eggs or get creative and find another solution.
I decided on the latter and threw myself at Dr. Google for alternatives. When I first landed on a site for known sperm donors I thought I had stumbled onto the IVF underbelly. I was too fearful to take a really good peek around in case I found myself in some weird porn or body parts trafficking ring. Knowing my luck, I'd have a SWAT team parachuting out of the skies and smashing down my doors within minutes.
Hang on... Courageous, bulked-up men in uniform landing on my doorstep in just a few minutes? Maybe the SWAT team's not such a bad idea.
After sitting on the fence about this decision for nearly a year and a half, I was still very curious. So I decided to take the plunge and see what it was all about.
With a tap on my keypad, white light began beaming out of my monitor and Beethoven's fourth movement from his fifth Symphony rang out. Low and behold, before my eyes were dozens of men from all over the world happily offering their free baby batter to wannabe mamas.
Having deliberated over this back-alley channel for so long, the idea of heading in this direction had now penetrated me deeply and it didn't seem so aberrant. In fact, using semen from someone that required no relationship labour made insanely good sense.
I took to a couple of sites sharing my woes, hoping to catch a fella.
Listen: Megan Malkiewicz speaks on IVF, miscarriage, and embryo donation. (Post continues below...)
"Single, 40-year-old, adrenal-fatigued, career-focused woman who missed the 'memo for motherhood' seeks a strapping young lad's fertile tadpoles. Must be a tall, intellectual type, no chromosomal abnormalities, have top-notch winning swimmers and be within close travel distance."
After a couple of months and a few discarded swimmers (due to not meeting the legal requirements), I got an agile one on the hook that fit my criteria. He was actually a middle-aged man whose uberous sperm could impregnate a nation.
A week later, he handed me a bucket full of fresh swimmers that I launched as far into my uterus as I could. The race upstream had begun. I relaxed with my feet up on the wall hoping that one was limber enough to navigate my tightly knotted body's 'non-yoga-ish' innards.
Then it was an agonising two-week wait for the results to see if there was one lucky winner from the 'great anti-gravity' swim. When Aunty Flo didn't show up to her monthly meeting, it was apparent that the following day it was time to perform a home pregnancy test.
Another five nail-biting minutes later, it was finally revealed that one speedy tadpole had indeed been the victor.
So now I'm a middle-aged, single-mother-to-be and I couldn't be happier. When I think to myself how did I get myself here? Well, I stayed on my imperfect life path, that's how.
Hayley is a TV producer, health coach, author and mum to be. She wanted to share her unconventional journey to inspire other healthy middle-aged women who are held captive by the vociferous ticking of their biological clocks and believe IVF is their only option.
This post originally appeared on Huffington Post and has been republished with full permission.