I'm a single woman looking for honest, legal, and (unlike adoption) quick ways of having a baby.
May 24, 2007 2:05 PM   Subscribe

I'm a single woman and have decided it's time to think about having a baby. What are my options?

So I successfully used suggestions from my previous question and managed to solve that problem ;-) But I'm still single and need to start thinking about what I want to do if I don't meet someone that I could see myself in a lasting relationship with.

I definitely want to think seriously about having a child on my own. It's not something one does lightly, I realize that. However, my main concern would be how to get myself knocked up.

I'm not into tricking someone into fatherhood, so I think we can forget that option right now. I've looked into adoption, which I would LOVE to do, but in my country it's almost impossible. So what would be the simplest and easiest (honest, legal) options? I have no idea where to begin. All help appreciated.
posted by ask me please to Human Relations (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have any gay male friends who you admire, both physically and mentally? And a good lawyer?
posted by saladin at 2:19 PM on May 24, 2007

I have a friend who is going through this too. The options seem to have come down to:

1. Sperm Bank. Not just anyone but her doctor recommended a specific one.

2. Male friends. In particular she is considering having a "talk" with a male friend of hers who is an incurable playboy, unable to commit but also has repeatedly expressed the desire to father children...
posted by vacapinta at 2:26 PM on May 24, 2007

Seconding saladin's suggestion for gay male friend + legal help combo.

Also, do you know any lesbian couples who have conceived through a sperm donor? They might be a good resource for ideas, and might even be able to give you some leads on potential donors.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:28 PM on May 24, 2007

If you were 32 in 2005, you're now 33 or 34. Fertility begins declining in the late 20's and continues to decline until menopause. It may or may not be a problem with you, but the clock is ticking.

1) You can adopt. Adoption is difficult in almost any country with a functioning legal system, but it is a path available to you.

2) Anonymous sperm donor. This can be quite easy and cheap (one vial of sperm + one turkey baster = baby), or turn out to be difficult if you have impaired fertility.

3) Known sperm donor, aka the old-fashioned way. The problem here is that court systems have a rather strong tendency to hold men financially responsible for their offspring, regardless of documents signed disclaiming that, so bright men will be wary of assisting you. There is also risk for you, in that the man may decide to claim the child in some fashion.

4) If you turn out to have impaired fertility: egg donor, where you obtain both the sperm and the egg from outside sources.

5) If you can't carry a child: egg donor AND surrogate pregnancy. It's getting pretty expensive by this point.

Have you tried 2)? Google up a local sperm bank and give them a call. They'll counsel you on the options.
posted by jellicle at 2:30 PM on May 24, 2007

I conceived both my kids using donor sperm through a sperm bank (I have a partner but he doesn't produce sperm). A reproductive endocrinologist can help you; some sperm banks won't deal with people directly but only through doctors (but others will, for home insemination). I preferred the RE route because I wanted intra-uterine insemination, where a catheter is threaded through the cervix and the sperm sample is placed directly in the uterus. I have no fertility issues (except Mr. No-Sperm) and in both cases I got pregnant in one try, but YMMV of course.

We didn't do any fancy ultrasounds to confirm ovulation or anything like that (those things get pricey). We assumed, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that I was ovulating like normal. I used over-the-counter ovulation prediction kids to time the inseminations. Some women (and their doctors) inseminate twice per cycle, but we didn't.

I was 35 and 38 when my kids were born. The clock does tick--my cycles went all wonky not long after #2 was born, and we had no luck when we tried for #3 and are now pursuing adoption (I'm 41). But we chose not to pursue fertility treatments; those docs really can work wonders these days. I have a friend who was 50 when her twins were born!

I chose anonymous donor sperm because I didn't want to take the risks associated with known donors. I've had friends use known donors and end up in the awkward situation of deciding to change donors after multiple attempts didn't result in a pregnancy; I've had friends use known donors who ended up wanting more of a parenting role than had earlier been agreed to; I've had one friend use a known donor who was unavailable when she wanted a second kid, so her kids aren't full siblings (sperm banks will store sperm for subsequent pregnancies; my kids are full biological sibs).

On a glance back, I see you said "in my country," so let me append the caveat that all of this was in the U.S. I have no idea how things might be different in other places.
posted by not that girl at 4:41 PM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

What country are you in? The legality of sperm donation, insemination, etc. and what responsibility known and anonymous donors would have for the resultant child varies widely among European countries.
posted by decathecting at 5:13 PM on May 24, 2007

If you want to do some reading I can recommend a recently published book, Everything Conceivable. I just recommended it in another thread here.

My partner and I used sperm from an anonymous donor to have our child. It was relatively easy and relatively inexpensive. We live in Canada.

Other information can be found here at the (non profit) Sperm Bank of California. It may help answer some questions even if you are in Northern Europe.
posted by Cuke at 6:20 PM on May 24, 2007

I don't know where in Northern Europe you are, but if there is any way to get around it, please do try to adopt. You might spend the same amount of time and trouble going through artifical insemination/fertility processes as you would going through adoption red tape. More importantly, we're sort of running out of room and resources here [that is, on this planet], and my morals don't allow me to say we can take away life once it is here, but you can make a huge difference by adopting an orphan or an unwanted child.
posted by liverbisque at 7:34 PM on May 24, 2007

I recommend against an untested random partner. In the US, for legal reasons, I think you're best off working with a doctor or clinic to get a referral to a sperm bank. In Europe, I recommend checking the laws of your country. You could visit a sperm bank in another country, while ovulating, if your country is too restrictive.

If you plan to be a single parent, you should make sure you have as much financial stability as possible. It's not easy, and money troubles make single parenting more difficult.
posted by theora55 at 8:49 PM on May 24, 2007

Great idea, HotPatatta.... absolutely no risk of STDs with that approach! Are ya' trying to get someone kilt, or what? Jeez.

There are tradeoffs with known and unknown donors, and a lot of things to consider. There is more to it than getting pregnant. The idea is to make a healthy baby that you can keep. There is a large, legal gray area in North America right now, and things here are bound to be different than Europe, but they are complicated here for sure.

I have some friends who went through this recently, and will share some relevant info if you'd care to email (in profile).

Regardless, good luck.
posted by FauxScot at 9:04 PM on May 24, 2007

Have you looked at adopting kids from a foreign country? Other than that, do the anonymous sperm donor thing. If you go with a known sperm donor you have a lot of issues that can crop up involving child custody, or the donor having to pay child support. Best to avoid a known donor.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:29 AM on May 25, 2007

My mom used an anonymous sperm donor. I`m emphatically not a fan of that, though YMMV.
posted by xanthippe at 8:16 AM on May 25, 2007

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