If you’re considering becoming an SMC, it’s time to explore all of the different pathways to building a family without a partner
TYPES OF DONORS
A known donor is a person that the woman knows and chooses to donate sperm. This option is much cheaper than a donor from a sperm bank since the sperm does not need to be purchased. However, there can be many legal risks with this option (I suggest watching “Nuclear Family” on HBO if you are considering this route).
This is your typical sperm bank route. Sperm donors can’t claim legal rights to the children born through donation so you don’t have to worry about custody issues in the future. You also get a ton of information regarding the donor’s physical traits, medical history, career, etc. Honestly, it’s more information than you would probably k know about a partner!
Some women have difficulty becoming pregnant due to the quality of their eggs or age, and thus end up using an egg donor. You can choose a donor who is anonymous, semi-known, or known. All egg donors are required to go through an evaluation or screening similar to sperm donors.
WAYS TO GET PREGNANT
You can use an easy conception device that looks like a teeny tampon. This option is great if you are looking for a more relaxed environment than a clinic is a fraction of the cost. A kit is roughly $99 and comes with 2 syringes. My clinic quoted me at $500 for 1 unmonitored IUI and $2,000 for a monitored IUI! This is in addition to the cost of sperm which is around $1,000 per vial. It is best to still have a fertility checkup to make sure you don’t have any fertility issues before choosing this path.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is when sperm is placed in a woman’s uterus when she is ovulating. It can be done with or without fertility drugs. A doctor places the semen directly into the uterus through her cervix with a soft catheter and syringe. It’s a quick procedure, but if you are in your late 30’s to 40’s, the success rates are not very high. At 37, I was given a 7% chance of it working.
During IVF, a woman injects medications into her stomach for 8-12 days to stimulate her ovaries. Throughout this time she goes to her clinic every few days for bloodwork and ultrasounds to monitor her progress. A quick 15 minute surgery collects those eggs from the ovaries and then they are fertilized. One full cycle takes about 3 weeks. IVF is the most effective form of reproductive technology there is, and because of that, it can be expensive.
Sometimes women who go through fertility treatment have frozen embryos leftover. They can choose to destroy them, donate them to research, or to people looking to build a family. Single women use embryo donations when they are unable to use their own eggs. There are both known (open) and anonymous donations. Donors are not compensated for their donation, so this path can be a lower-cost alternative and easier option for some.
Another way to build your family is through adoption. It can be a lengthy process with lots of heartache but is also very rewarding. Click here for more information on adoption.
And if you’re not quite sure if you are ready to become a mom, seriously consider testing your fertility (easy to do with an at-home blood test kit or by a doctor) and look into egg freezing.
I wish this resource existed when I was in my late 20’s or early 30’s. Then I would have known to be more proactive about my fertility preservation, and in the end, save myself thousands of dollars on treatments. You’ll get fertility levels for 6 different indicators, including AMH and FSH, which are the primary fertility identifiers. Plus, they explain what everything means (something I spent hours researching on the internet trying to figure out if my levels were “normal”).
If a woman is not ready to start building her family yet, she may choose to freeze her eggs to help preserve her fertility. The quality of a woman’s eggs diminishes with age and egg freezing allows for the safe and successful storing, and thawing of eggs that can be used in the future.
Nicole from Once Upon a Bebe