Starting a Family As a Single Woman

In January 2010, when I turned thirty-six, my biological o’clock hit me finally. Prior to that, I was very content being single for a solid eight years. Friends, work, travel and living life stopped being my only focus. I started thinking about having a family. On my own. To me, meeting a life partner and having a baby could be separated. I didn’t need a husband to have a child. I wanted to take care of and teach a little person to love this world. There was a limited timeline for giving birth and not for meeting men. If I wanted a baby on my own, now would be my last chance. I was healthy and biologically able and safe to do this still. Looking ahead ten years, I thought this was the life I wanted.

I talked to my primary care doctor to get her advice. I always liked playing and babysitting kids of my friends. This was the first time I wanted my own. I was still thinking about it and wanted to find out what was involved. 

“I am thinking about starting a family on my own. I want to try to get pregnant.” I said.  

“Okay. There is an organization called Single Mother by Choice (SMBC). They have helpful information for single women deciding to have children. They should have a local chapter. Take a look!” My PCP said helpfully.  

“Okay. I will. I am still thinking through this.” I said. I had more questions. My doctor knew what else was on my mind.  

“Also look into the New England Cryogenic Center (NECC),” she said. I really appreciated her straight-forwardness. It was easy to talk to her about it and understand what I needed to do. 

“Okay. Thank you! I will let you know if anything happens.”  

Single Mothers by Choice describes someone like me and others as:  “A single mother by choice is a woman who decided to have or adopt a child, knowing she would be her child’s sole parent, at least at the outset. Typically, we are career women in our thirties and forties. The ticking of our biological clocks has made us face the fact that we could no longer wait for marriage before starting our families.  Some of us went to a doctor for donor insemination or adopted in the United States or abroad. Others accidentally became pregnant and discovered we were thrilled. Most of us would have preferred to bring a child into the world with two loving parents, but although we have a lifetime to marry or find a partner, nature is not as generous in allotting child-bearing years.” I signed up for a membership immediately and read through all their articles. It seemed that there were many women deciding to do what I wanted to do. There were many success stories. 

The next person I talked to was Dr. Han, my psychiatrist. I told him the same thing, that I wanted to get pregnant on my own. 

“Okay. That should be fine,” he said. 

“What about my medication? Is that going to be a problem?” I asked. I was taking Zyprexa for my schizophrenia. I read online that any medication I took would be passed on to the baby through my bloodstream. It seemed wrong to do that. I didn’t know if it was risky for the baby’s health. 

“You can stop taking your medication. And if something happens and you need it, you can start taking it again.”  Sounded like Dr. Han didn’t think there was any problem. 

“Okay.” Now that I had an official approval from my doctor to stop taking my medication, I felt better. Nothing would be passed on undesirably. 

Then I called NECC as my primary care doctor suggested. 

“Hi!” A woman answered the phone cheerfully. 

“Hi.” It took me a second to continue feeling slightly embarrassed. “I am looking to start a family on my own. I am interested in finding someone. A donor.” I talked around so I didn’t have to say sperm. 

“Great. We can definitely help you. You can create an account online and review the profiles of our donors. Then when you have made your selection, call us back and we can help you with your order!”

“Okay.” Sounded like it was a straight-forward process. I thought that I could do this. No problem.

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