Single and thinking

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2004
Single and thinking
6
Sat, 12-09-2006 - 10:28pm
I am almost 36 years old and have wanted to have a child since I was little and raising my brother. But, I've never been married and feel like it's getting too late. I would like to go ahead with donor insemination, but not sure about doing that as a single. Any advice would be appreciated.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-12-2005
Sun, 12-24-2006 - 7:49am

I'm not sure what advice you're looking for because advice isn't really what you need. Maybe guidance on how to start or support thru the difficult choice and challenges you'll face.

Here's my story if it helps you think things thru.

I'm currently 34 weeks (gosh I can't believe it's almost here) pregnant with my first child. I am 30 years old. I made the decision about 5 years ago. I began looking into adoption and donor insemination. I went to several adoption seminars, filled out a lot of papers only to learn that you had to be 30 to do single adoption in most cases. I also looked at DI. I decided to wait a couple years and continue looking for "him". When I turned 29, I pulled out all my research since it was now time and I was still as single as I was before. I found that it was more cost effective for me to go this route, plus I wanted to be PG and experience that. The child will also be half mine. So in August, 2005, I made my first appointment. My first cycle was November, which failed. Tried again in December and that also failed. I took a couple rest cycles to do some elective tests to try and rule out any infertility issues. I had two failed cycles in the month of March and one in April. I finally got pregnant on my 6th try in May 2006. With the help of an RE, I chose medication (clomid for two cycles and four FSH injectable cycles) to help, rather than monitoring on my own to try and maximize my chances.

I know people will criticize me for my "young" age, but they can say all they want. I'm very successful, own my own home and can support myself and a child. I've been this way since 22. I'm no different than a 35-40 year old woman. In most cases, I'm proud to say, I'm better off because of my career determination.

I know there were will be challenges, but I have the tremendous support of my parents and brother/sister-in-law. I have just been extremely unlucky in the dating/relationship department. I've not met "Mr. Right" or "Mr. He'll Do". I'm tired of throwing away dollar after dollar on Internet dating which doesn't work. Last summer I decided that I've supported myself and have what I have without the help of a man, so why do I need one to do this. If I meet someone in the future, I do, but I don't need to rely on a man to do anything. My child will have everything it wants in my home, just as it would have if there was a father here. No better male role model than my father & brother will help this child grow.

I'm very happy with my choice. I'm open and am not hiding this from anyone. Although the only people that do know right now is my immediate family and a few close friends. You have to have some emotional support going through all this. I also only told a few I was trying because I didn't need the pressure of "did it work yet?", "are you pregnant yet?", or "when do you try again?" It's stressful enough. I also decided after I announced my pregnancy, if someone asked, I'd tell them, but I wasn't going to volunteer it.

If you'd like to know about the choice of picking a donor, I can elaborate. I chose artificial donor insemination b/c I'm single. I haven't met Mr. Right so I didn't have a husband to match with. I could pick anyone I choose. Much like in life, right. So first I was told the donor had to be either A+ or O+ b/c of my blood type. That way I could always donate blood, if necessary. So, after I narrowed down the donors with the blood type, I decided that it was important to me that the donor be an "identity release donor" meaning that once the child is 18, the donor is open to being contacted. I felt I didn't have the right to take that choice away from my child if it existed. It would be different if the option wasn't there, but since it was, how could I make the choice for my child. I'm not sure how I would answer why I didn't pick an IR donor. So that narrowed it down a bit more. An obvious choice for me was the donor had to be Caucasian. So, anyway, I had this height thing (as I do in real life) and I wanted the donor to be tall so if I had a son he wouldn't be short (hopefully). Men in my family are all very tall. I also tried to look at height/weight proportion, not that it was that big of a deal. So with those basic facts I weeded thru the pamphlet of donors, got a list together and then went and printed out the short profiles. I didn't really care too much about hair, eyes and complexion. I've always been interested in a wide variety of types men, so I don't have a type. On the short profile, it didn't say too much, but I took their allergies (yes or no) into account with their personal statement, what they did for a living, how much they drink/smoke (legal and illegal) a week and narrowed it down to a few I wanted to buy long profiles for. Then with the long profiles I went straight to the health history and patterns of death in the family. I eventually chose a donor who had a perfect health history in the family, no pet allergies (I have cats) and a PG in his life. He didn't have a PG through frozen/thaw process, but since he noted one in life, I thought it would be ok. Well, whether or not it is his fault or not, after 2 tries I didn't get PG. So, while on my last rest cycle I did some thinking. Maybe I should go back and find a donor who had successful PGs through the frozen/thaw process. That shows that he has some "power" to work through those circumstances. Yes, I had two vials left ($800) of the first donor, but it was important for me to maximize my trying so I put those two on the shelf and purchased four of a new donor. I used the same qualifications, but actually lowered my height standard about 2 inches. Not much, I know, but it was enough. I then sent the list of donors to the bank for a list of how many are left and whether or not they've had successful PGs. The one I got is just as perfect (and even a lot of the same physical characteristics) as donor #1, but he's had successful PGs reported to the bank. I was also told when I called into order that I picked a "good one." So, I'm optimistic. I didn't think physical characteristics were important, being single. I didn't need to fight off why my kid doesn't look anything like my DH since he doesn't exist.

With my 5th cycle I went back to using my original donor. The two tries with the new donor failed, as well. I decided that I'd try only one more FSH cycle and then my 7th and last try would be IVF. I purchased a new donor, from a new bank of choice and I got pregnant. Getting frustrated I did more research on banks. I heard bad things about the bank I originally chose. So I moved on. I can't say if it was the sperm, bank or me as to why it didn't happen I'm not sure why it did not work as quickly as I thought it would have in the beginning. But I was determined to make it happen. It's what is good for me. Some may think it is selfish. It's not selfish. Just b/c I'm single doesn't mean I can't have a child.

Kimberly
EDD 2/5/07

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2004
Sun, 12-17-2006 - 7:37pm
If you can afford to do it, then why not. That's my opinion. The only reason I decided against being a single mom, was due to finances.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-03-2005
Sun, 12-17-2006 - 2:46pm

i love the idea and fully support the two single friends i have who are

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-2006
Sat, 12-16-2006 - 9:37pm

Hi there.

I'm also thinking about it. I am 29.

I've talked with my parents about it and they are pretty supportive. I graduate in June so I want to begin my research and prep now - talking to my doctor, acupuncturist, etc. I'm aiming at starting in about one year.

Have you talked with anyone, like a doctor or other singles interested in DI?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-04-2006
Mon, 12-11-2006 - 7:09pm

Hi,

I would not say that you're too old - a lot of women have children older than 36. There are some additional risks of genetic defects, but they are still less than 1% at 36, I think. And you CERTAINLY don't want to wait for the right man to come along, only to find out that you've run out of fertile years; or to settle for the wrong man just so you can be married when you have a child. As long as this is something you are reasonably certain you want to do (and it sounds like you are), I'd say go for it.

For myself, I am single, 35 years old and 8 months pregnant with my first child. I had been seriously considering having a child for a couple of years before, but put it off until I was a little more financially secure. Once my finances were in order, I began looking into donor insemination. The previous poster mentioned the "Single Mothers by Choice" book by Jane Mattes; I read that and found it very useful as well. After reading up on donor insemination, the first thing I did was go to my gynecologist for a checkup and blood tests to verify that I was reasonably fertile (there is a history of fertility problems in my family, so this was more than a formality for me). She found no problems, so after thinking about it some more, I decided to start off fairly low-tech. I decided to do at-home inseminations. As far as I know, there is only one bank that will do this; they are very reasonably priced, and I never found any complaints about them when I was doing my research:
www.nwcryobank.com/
In my case, it took me 5 cycles to become pregnant - I did 2 inseminations per cycle at approximately 12 and 36 hours. So far, everything has gone very well - baby looks fine, all tests have been good, and I haven't had any problems beyond the usual minor annoyances of pregnancy.

Anyway, good luck on your decision!
Heather

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2006
Sun, 12-10-2006 - 7:36pm

hello,

what kind of advice do you want?

where are you - if you are in the UK you could contact the Donor Conception Network. http://www.donor-conception-network.org/ Also look at their website, as there are books and message boards for single people thinking about using donor gametes to build a family. There is a network of single women who are either thinking/trying/pregnant/with children. Also in the US the single mothers by choice network http://mattes.home.pipeline.com/is probably worth looking into so you can talk to other women in a similar situation.

As for practical steps. Sperm banks - you need to decide whether you want an open donor (willing to be contacted by child when child reaches 18) or an anonymous donor (I strongly believe it is in the better interests of the child to have an open donor). Are you going to ask a friend/colleague/look for someone to impregnant you - or buy sperm? You can search all sperm banks if you are in the US at www.spermcenter.com and until mid February you can import US sperm to the UK (if you are in the UK). My advice is to choose a donor that has proven fertility (that is has already produced children) as some sperm doesn't work even though it has high motility and mobility. One way to double check if your sperm donor has produced other children (and also to see if your child might have half siblings) is to look at the Donor Sibling Registry on-line http://www.donorsiblingregistry.com/.
Sperm comes as either IUI ready or ICI ready. Basically ICI ready means you can put it in your vagina at home after you detect the LH surge on little ovulation pee sticks that indicate that you are about to ovulate. IUI ready means it is put directly into your uterus in a simple medical procedure (feels like a cervical smear) 36 hours after ovulation .... that costs around US250 dollars (again, depending on where you are, you could try and find out about clinics that will do this). Look for reccomendations from other single women - and remember, not all clinics will deal with single women. if you try to conceive for a while in this low tech way and it doesn't work you might decide to be more agressive and use drugs like clomid and injectables (which increase the number of eggs you release each month - so raise the chance of a sperm hitting them) before moving on to IVF (very expensive, but higher success rates). You do have time, as you are fairly young, so don't have to rush into IVF.... but nonetheless success rates are not high with frozen sperm. It's not a given you will get pregnant.
Any reputable fertility clinic should check you FSH/LH levels before you start (tests your ovarian reserve and whether or not you are in early menopause/have a chance of conceiving). and maybe do an ultrasound to make sure you don't have any obvious problems (like Polycystic ovaries).
here are some books to look at 'single mothers by choice' by jane mattes. Or also look at this website http://www.choosingsinglemotherhood.com/. Other books about issues sorrounding donor conception are Experiences of Donor Conception: Parents, Offspring and Donors Through the Years (Paperback)
by Caroline Lorbach and the recently released http://www.voicesofdonorconception.com/.
OK that's enough for now. hope this is useful.
Cats, 22 weeks pregnant with twins
(and forty years old).