If you’re a single woman in your 30s still searching for Mr or Ms Right, you’ve probably been asked “when are you going to settle down and have kids!?” from nosy friends or family, more times than you care to remember.
We know that trying to find your match can be stressful, time-consuming and emotionally draining, particularly if you’re holding out for someone special to start a family with. And unfortunately, it doesn’t help that time isn’t on your side.
As a woman, your chance of having a baby decreases with age. Your most fertile years are when you’re in your early to mid twenties, after which, your fertility begins to decline.
This decline accelerates after you turn 35.
But what if we told you that you don’t need to wait for Mr or Ms Right?
These days, being single or in a same sex relationship is no longer a barrier to becoming a parent. In fact, less than half of Australian families fit the traditional model of mum, dad and the kids.
In the past decade, the number of women who have chosen to become single parents in Australia has grown rapidly. It’s all thanks to greater economic independence and the removal of some legal barriers, believes Professor Fiona Kelly, who specialises in laws governing assisted reproduction at Latrobe University.
“If a woman gets to 35 years old and doesn’t have a partner, they realise that financially they’re probably in a position to raise a child on their own,” she told the ABC.
And while solo parenting can be tough, her research also showed that children aren’t missing out by only having one parent.
“There’s not a lot of them who are yet adults, but research shows quite conclusively that they have the same psychological educational outcomes as children raised by two parents.”
While you might be choosing to become a single parent, you’ll never be alone throughout your fertility journey at Fertility SA.
This is how we can help you become pregnant when you haven’t found Mr or Ms Right.
How to fall pregnant as a single person
It’s more common than you might think for women without male partners to access fertility services. In Australia, same sex and single women have access to the same range of fertility treatment as other families seeking to create a baby. As a single woman, you have two options when it comes to getting pregnant: fertility preservation (freezing your eggs) and using a sperm donor.
If you’re not quite ready to have a family, or you’d like to keep searching for a partner for a bit longer, you might like to consider freezing your eggs for future use.
“Most single women choose to freeze eggs not because they hope to solo parent, but to create a family when they do meet someone they want to parent with. They then have a better chance of having a child with their own eggs, especially if that’s in their early 40’s,” said Dr Sally Reid, Fertility Specialist at Fertility SA.
At Fertility SA, we currently offer egg freezing with vitrification. This is a state-of-the-art freezing technique that minimises damage to the eggs and gives the best opportunity for a successful pregnancy.
“Current research shows that children born from this technology are as healthy as their peers and that success rates are highest when women freeze their eggs as early as they can – ideally before 38 years of age.”
Think you’re ready for children now? Then it’s time to find a sperm donor.
At Fertility SA, we offer three options – using a known donor, selecting a donor from an international sperm bank, or selecting a donor from our Fertility SA locally recruited donors.
In Australia, no matter which option you choose, all sperm donors undergo the same screening process. This includes screening for infectious disease such as HIV, as well as genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis.
When it comes to selecting donor sperm from a sperm bank, Fertility SA will be able to provide you with access to a select group of de-identified (privacy protected) donors.
‘De-identified’ means that you won’t know the identity of your donor at the time of treatment, but your child will be able to access identifying information once they turn 18.
For each donor, you’ll be able to review information about them like their blood group, ethnicity, education, and interests. Plus you can check their motivation for donating, if they have any other children and a description of their personality and life philosophy.
In preparation for your donor treatment cycle there are a number of medical appointments and counselling appointments that need to be undertaken.
You’ll never be alone
There’s no denying that deciding to parent on your own or without a partner is difficult.
There are many complex decisions to be made – from conception, to pregnancy, to supporting a baby when they arrive and throughout life – and as liberating as it is, every decision you make is still challenging.
While preparing to become a single parent and undergoing treatment, your support networks – family, friends and other single parents – will be vital.
You might like to share your plans with your friends and family, and ask them if and how they might like to be part of your baby’s life.
As well as your personal support networks, Fertility SA’s counsellors, Brooke Calo and Julie Potts, are also available to support you as you work toward your goal of having a baby.
Brooke and Julie are available, free of charge and in total confidence, throughout your journey with Fertility SA. They help you weather the emotional storms associated with treatment, to help with pre-treatment planning, or to talk to you about any other concerns you might have.
For many single women, realising that you’re willing, and ready, to become a solo parent is the hardest decision to make.
While you might be choosing to become a single parent, it’s important to remember that you’ll never be alone with the support of Fertility SA’s doctors and staff.
Contact us today to make an appointment with one of our Fertility Specialists.