Pre-Conception Plans and Decisions

How Single Women Do It

Adoption or conception. Both are great options, and each appealed to me, for different reasons. Since I can’t have a baby without a little help myself, adoption seemed like a wonderful opportunity to in turn help a woman who needed a loving family for her child. Unfortunately, not all adoption agencies consider a family of one adequate, and even those that do were unaffordable to this single chick without taking out a serious loan, something I’d rather not do if I have another option. Luckily, I’ve always wanted to experience pregnancy. I’ve already got big feet and cankles, so I might as well have something miraculous accompany them, right?


It never even occurred to me that single women had options for this question. I just assumed if Mr. Right wasn’t doing the job that Dr. Somebody ought to be. Actually, though, there are other choices. Frankly, when I first heard the term “turkey-baster method,” I chuckled, and when I saw there were instructional YouTube videos, I ran. But for some women who want to save money and try conceiving at home, it’s a viable option. (And I was relieved to learn it usually involves a sterile syringe rather an actual turkey baster.) Others, who seek the comfort of home but the knowledge of a pro, hire a mid-wife to do the insemination. I suppose this might be the best of both worlds, but for me, if I can’t have an expert in the art of lovemaking, I want an expert in the field of reproduction. Enter the RE, or reproductive endocrinologist.

There are no shortages of fertility clinics these days, and at least in Massachusetts, where I live, all are welcoming to and experienced with the needs of single women. With so many choices, I picked a clinic with satellite offices close to my home and work, and one that a couple close to me recommended. With these choices made, only one big play was left to call.

Who’s Your Daddy?

With Prince Charming absent, an unknown donor was the only option I considered here. Some women have male friends whom they feel comfortable enough asking for a ‘free sample.’ I don’t. And even if I did, I’d think long and hard about this one. Unless you’re trying the at-home methods, you’re not actually saving money, as the sperm will still need to be tested and frozen for a time by the clinic to assure it’s safe and viable.

More importantly, you could be opening yourself up to future challenges that would not only destroy your friendship, but could also affect your future child. According to Single Mothers by Choice, no matter what legal documents are drawn up ahead of time, once the child is a reality, courts will almost always rule on the side of providing the child with access to both biological parents. So if your friend later decides he wants to be a dad, not just a donor, you could lose sole custody. Those are muddy waters I’d rather not ever have to wade through. I’m accepting the fact I don’t have a suitable dad for my future child (yet) and will need the help of an unknown, but much appreciated stranger. Choosing that perfect stranger is another challenge for another day.

There are dozens more decisions to be made, some of which I’ll gladly write about at a later date, but I’ve learned from my past not to cling too tightly to pre-laid plans. Our choices change as life changes. That’s okay. Sometimes the best plays are the audibles called on the line of scrimmage.

Book referenced: Mattes, Jane. Single Mothers by Choice: A Guidebook for Single Women Who Are Considering or Have Chosen Motherhood. New York: Times, 1994.


6 thoughts on “Pre-Conception Plans and Decisions”

  1. Thank you for this post, this is exactly where I am at in my thinking process and its nice to know I am not the only one out there!

  2. Thanks for your post. I recently had some fertility testing done, the results of which have put me on a faster track to IUI then I originally planned. THERE IS SO MUCH TO THINK ABOUT! Its overwhelming, especially when I feel like my biological clock and my financial security are not aligned lol.
    I started thinking about becoming a single mother through sperm donor about a year ago when I realized my relationship at the time was not going to work out. Now I’m 34 and considering such a drastic change in my life, but its still hard to overcome all the fears internal (from my own mind) and external (from friends and family).

    1. It is an enormous undertaking/decision. If you haven’t already, I recommend joining SMC. About half of our members are Thinkers, and there’s great support and information available.

        1. Hi Jeanine, Great to hear that you’ve joined us! The process isn’t automated – it has to be manually processed, and that will happen next week when we reopen after the weekend.

    2. It happened fast for me too, but I’m glad I didn’t wait – there will never be a perfect time. And it’s worth the debt, the anxiety, the stress- all of it. Very little of what I worried about prior to having my son mattered once he arrived. Good luck! And thanks for commenting. ☺️

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