Going it alone
The Woman’s Hour podcast on parenting on 1st May 2019 featured two fertility treatment patients who had opted to start a family as solo mothers. Genevieve Roberts had treatment with donor sperm and now has a daughter, Astrid, and gave birth to a baby boy in early May; and Beth who had treatment using donor eggs through the London Egg Bank and donor sperm. They both shared their stories with Jenni Murray.
Genevieve Roberts was 37 years old when she went to have a fertility test. She expected her results to be good but unfortunately, they came back as disappointingly low and was told she would need to make a decision about having a baby as soon as possible. “I did have this absolute longing to become a parent” says Genevieve “and I felt that if I got to the end of my life that would be the one thing I would look back on with regret”.
She decided to have treatment alone and went to a sperm bank in the USA to find her donor. Genevieve based her search on finding a donor that was healthy and passionate about life. She had her daughter Astrid following Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) treatment and her new baby son from IVF both using donor sperm. She has found being a parent “more wonderful than ever anticipated”.
Genevieve was due to speak at the Fertility Fest’s “What comes first: the career or the egg” day sponsored by the LWC, but she had just given birth to her baby son a few weeks early! Genevieve had planned to read from her new book Going Solo – My choice to become a single mother using donor sperm which was released in April.
Beth’s life was in limbo and she was in her thirties, largely single and wanted to have a baby. “I suddenly had this release and almost an epiphany for me that I wanted to do this on my own” says Beth. Her sister and grandmother both had children later in life, so she didn’t expect to find any problems in conceiving. She spent two years trying to conceive using donor sperm unsuccessfully after finding out that her fertility test results were very low. She chose a Danish sperm donor due to her Danish heritage and picked a donor based on physical attributes.
After two and a half years of trying with her own eggs, Beth hit a point both financially and emotionally where she needed to consider other options. She spent time speaking to a counsellor and Beth says she “got to the point over my last year of trying with three more IVF cycles on my own and came to the conclusion that donor eggs were a positive move for me”.
Beth used donor eggs from the London Egg Bank. She wanted to have an English donor so that both her sperm donor and egg donor reflected her own background. Beth chose a donor that had a good career and was artistic. Once she had made her selection the London Egg Bank gave her a touching letter from her donor. Beth is now 11 weeks pregnant following her treatment.
Going it alone
The London Women’s Clinic is one of the largest providers of treatment for single women in the UK. Around a third of our patients in our London clinics are single and looking to find out more about their treatment options whether that be freezing their eggs or considering treatment using donor sperm either with their own or with donor eggs.
We are proud of our counselling service and are always available to help patients understand the implications of having treatment using a donor and to support patients in making decisions about moving forward with a different treatment path or other options to parenthood.
If you are considering becoming a solo mother by choice, you can find out more about your fertility treatment options at our regular open days specifically for single women. Our fertility coach Cindy Charles also runs a monthly single women social event to meet like-minded people and to provide peer to peer support.