Why I Decided To Become A Single Mom

One woman shares why she elected to use a sperm donor to become a mother, on her own

I had just turned 30 years old. I had a boyfriend who I adored and a mother who was the absolute best. I worked at a not-for-profit and was proud of the work that we were doing there. It seemed like life was going to plan.

Fast forward two years. My mother had passed away after a nine-month fight with cancer. My boyfriend, now fiancé, who had supported me wonderfully through her illness had turned into a jackass and at 32, I was motherless and single. The plan had come off the rails.

At 38, I was still single. I had a creative job with an entertainment company and my dad had remarried. One night at dinner, the pair of them asked me when I was going to have a baby. I laughed it off as completely impossible. They were firm in their belief that I could do it myself and pledged to support me financially and emotionally to make it happen.

That summer, after a particularly disastrous girl’s weekend away, I questioned the direction that my life was heading. I started wondering if my dad and his wife were right. Did I have to write off the possibility of having kids just because I couldn’t figure out the whole relationship part of my life?

It solidified quickly in my brain that I could—that, in fact, I wanted this really badly. But how? Adopt? Get pregnant? I went to an adoption seminar to consider my options and quickly realized that adoption would take a ton of time and I was already approaching forty. I also felt that I owed it to people wanting families but who couldn’t get pregnant to first try to get pregnant.

And so I decided. I was going to try to have my own baby.

So now what?

Well. There were fertility doctor appointments. There were counselling appointments and there was a donor to be chosen. The first part was easy, yet a bit discouraging. I was told at my age, the chance of me conceiving was about 33%. Not so great right? But I knew that my sisters had gotten pregnant very easily and my dad told me, “I used to call your mom from a business trip and she’d get pregnant,” so I was willing to play the odds. The counselling appointment was a huge success. By the end of it, the counsellor was in tears, hugging me and telling me that I was 100% ready and that she wanted this baby for me so much. Okay. Good to know.

So what was left was to choose a donor. Hmm. What should I look for? My criteria was fairly simple.

  1. No cancer in his family.
  2. Someone whose sperm had already been used for a successful, healthy pregnancy.
  3. Someone good looking.
  4. Someone that my gut told me was ‘the one’.
  5. Someone who was an open donor.

Looking for a donor is not unlike shopping online. You go to a website, browse the pictures, see who grabs your eye and then click for more information. It was a crazy process and one that I included my friends and family in. I did feel odd choosing based on looks but as my counsellor said, I’d be doing that if I was going into a bar and hunting for the one.

Choosing an open donor was a no-brainer for me. This would give my future child the option to contact the donor after their 18th birthday. I would have no control over that and neither would the donor. I liked the idea of choice. Maybe my kid would have no interest in meeting the donor but I didn’t want to make that choice for him.

So I started poring over profiles and chose my top ten donors. It was an interesting list. There was a father of six; a drummer; a doctor; and a glass-blower. Then I had a cocktail party with my closest friends where they all took turns reading about my choices and making their decisions. Then my dad and his wife had their say.

Everyone was unanimous. They wanted the drummer. Me? I wanted the glass blower. But my bad taste in men had landed me in this predicament, so I went with their pick. When I called to place my order, I was told that the drummer was sold out. Yes. Sold out. I knew then that my choice was who was meant to be my donor.

Two-months later, I was ready. Every day I’d head to the fertility clinic to have blood work and ultrasounds and monitor where my eggs were at. Then the call came. “Tomorrow is the day Sara.”

The next morning I went to my fertility clinic and met my doctor, who was smiling. “Let’s make a baby today,” he said. The nurse had me sign papers to say that the tiny little vial of sperm that was on the counter was the donor who I had a chosen. And away we went. We repeated it all the next day, a practice my doctor believed would boost my chance for success.

I remember lying on the table after the first insemination, staring at the ceiling thinking, “What the hell am I doing here.” Every emotion that I could have went through me in that hour and when I got off the table and went to work, I was ready. I wanted this. I wanted to be a mom.

Six days later, I found out that I was going to be one. The easy part was over.

[Cover image from Bare Bone Photo]

Sara Lanthier is a single mom by choice to an over the top second grader, Will. She’s chronicling their ups and downs together and what she’s learning about herself at the same time on her blog DIY.

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