You’ve had that incredible moment — the zing of excitement that comes when you realize the child (or children!) you’ve wanted can still be yours, even if you are single. But how do you know that single motherhood is right for you? And what path to motherhood should you take? There are a lot of things to consider before you decide to begin your journey. Here are some to get you started:
What are my options for becoming a mom? How much does each option cost? What options are financially feasible for me?
If you have good health insurance, doing donor insemination via IUI or IVF could be very inexpensive; if not, it can get pretty expensive. Adoption can be very pricey depending on the route you take. If you are open to DCFS adoption, it’s much less expensive, but private adoption generally runs $30K – $40K; international adoption can be more than that. Egg donation costs vary depending on whether you do a private donation or via a doctor or agency; but embryo donation can be much easier on the wallet. Surrogacy by a hired surrogate has hefty costs; surrogacy via a friend will be less, although you may have to pay for expensive medical insurance for the friend, even if she has her own insurance.
How are my finances overall? Can I afford daycare and the addition of a child to my life? What other expenses might I run into? What are my financial limitations? Do I have support—other single moms, family, friends? How important is that to me if I decide to become a single mom? Can I afford to pay for additional support — babysitters and other services that will make life easier for me once I become a single mom?
How is my fertility? What tests do I need to do in order to have a clear picture of my ovarian reserve, the health of my uterus, my ability to get and stay pg? If your tests come back with not-so-great results, just knowing that may help you make your decision about what option for becoming a mom is best for you.
How important is it for me to have biological kids? If it’s very important, then the fertility questions are that much more important.
How does my family feel about this issue and how important are their feelings in making my decision? Are there certain people I want to talk to first — close friends or family — before making my decision? Or should I just make my decision and let people know once I’ve made it and feel clear about it?
How long am I willing to wait for Mr. Right? How will waiting impact my ability to either get pregnant or adopt? If I wait for Mr. Right, and he doesn’t come along, and then it’s too late to have biological kids, how will I feel? Adoption can take a few months — or a few years — how will my age impact my likelihood of being selected by a birth mom if I choose private adoption? Will I be too old to do international adoption (some countries have age limits)? Will egg donation or surrogacy be options for me? Will I feel like I’m too old to be a parent? What are the overall pros and cons of pursuing single motherhood vs waiting for Mr. Right?
How long is each option for becoming a mom likely to take? How many kids do I envision having? Is that realistic as a single mom — financially, emotionally, physically, and given my age and timeline for becoming a mom? How comfortable am I becoming a mom at an older age? Is it important for me to be a young mom? What are the pros and cons of younger mom vs. older mom?
How will becoming a single mom affect my career? What will the challenges be as a working single mom?
How will single motherhood affect my lifestyle? Am I ready to potentially give up (at least temporarily) frequent nights out with my friends, doing things spontaneously, regular travel, and hobbies that I will no longer have time for?
All of these questions take time to answer thoroughly. You might need to make doctor appointments, research adoption, egg donation or surrogacy, check your fertility coverage with your insurance company, look into daycare costs in your area, talk to family and friends about the support they are willing to offer and do some soul searching. There are several books that offer insight into becoming a single mother by choice. But the online members’ Forum on the SMC website is an excellent place to start to get the answers to many of your questions.