'I chose to have a baby on my own using a donor. I just holidayed with 24 women who did the same.'

When my father passed away suddenly just before my 38th birthday, I had a lightbulb moment. 

I realised the only thing that mattered for me in my future was that I needed to be a mum

I had tried the traditional path to motherhood in the past, but six years after my marriage ended, I still hadn't found anything close to a relationship with a future. 

I knew I had what it took to be a mother, but I needed to let go of the fairytale. So I decided to try for a child on my own using a sperm donor.

I had heard of other women having children this way, but I didn't know anyone in my extended social circles who had actually done it. 

The fertility treatment side of the journey didn't concern me after going through years of infertility with my ex-husband. But I did worry I would be lonely. 

Could I really do it on my own? Financially, mentally... 

I wasn't sure my coupled friends, who had families of their own or were having children, would understand the unique challenges I would face. 

I was also worried that I'd likely be forgotten about without a partner for casual catch-ups and coupled social events.

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So I started an Instagram account documenting my journey and gradually found a virtual village of other women at similar stages. 

We openly shared our experiences and our struggles. 

And that virtual village came in very handy when my daughter was born seven weeks into Melbourne's first COVID lockdown. (Yep, as if the isolation of motherhood wasn't bad enough...)

But after adjusting to 'mum life', I kept thinking about what an opportunity there was to support other women considering the same path. 

Unlike me, most women considering having a child on their own have never undergone any fertility treatment, and it can be incredibly overwhelming. 

There are also fears of how they will survive financially, mentally, and physically.

So I created a private Facebook group (Solo Mum Society) and started sharing Australian women's stories on my podcast, No Need For Prince Charming. 

Once lockdowns were over, local in-person meetups resumed and I started to meet some of the incredible women I had met online or through the podcast in real life. 

The solo mum by choice village is one of the unexpected benefits I never expected from this journey. 

Every woman I have met has (thankfully) been incredible! 

We have all been through so much to have children on our own that we are generally very empathetic, supportive, resilient, kind and non-judgemental. 

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Slowly, I started going on camping trips with some of the other families, and I realised how important it was for my daughter to have relationships with other donor-conceived children and see other families just like hers.


I wanted her to know it was completely normal! 

Having always loved to travel and wanting to share that love with my daughter, I decided to branch out and organise the first Solo Mum Society overseas holiday. 

I thought it would be a great success if I got 10 mums and their children. 

Instead, 24 mums and 29 children have just returned from an amazing week away in a five-star resort in Bali!

Image: Supplied.


It was so moving to see how easily the mums connected and how quickly the kids made friendships. 

We had families from across Australia and the kids ranged from eight weeks old to 15 years old. 

There were even two sets of donor siblings, where the mums used the same sperm donor — including my daughter and her eight-week-old donor sister! 

I organised it so that families could participate as much or as little as they liked. 

There were in-room massages, access to kids' club and nannies for the mums to get some relaxation time. And we started a tradition where the families would meet in the swim-up bar for a virgin pina colada, cocktail or coconut at 4pm with all the kids swimming and playing around us.

One thing about being a solo mum is that our camera rolls are full of baby pictures, but none with us actually in them, so I also organised a photographer to take portraits. 

My daughter with her donor sibling. Image: Supplied.


My favourite part of the whole thing was meeting mums in real life who I have known for years virtually and seeing how easily the other mums helped each other out. And getting to see my daughter spend time with her donor sister. 

I'm already planning the next trip as so many other solo mums have reached out wanting to join us next year.

 My village might look different to some people's, but I've now built a community of amazing women who were all so determined to have children of their own. 

That has been the biggest and most unexpected blessing of becoming a mum. 

Alisha Burns is the founder of Solo Mums Society.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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