Single mom by choice… as I scrolled down the list of choices for types of patient on the donor sperm bank website and selected those 4 words, “Single Mom By Choice”, I could not help but internally scream BUT IT’S NOT MY CHOICE!
I did NOT choose to be single… I did NOT choose to not find the man I want to build a family with… I did NOT choose to be told “it’s now or potentially never” when it comes to conceiving a child… I did NOT choose for my 39 year old body to be biologically older than it should…
However, I still checked the box. Why? Well, in the past, I DID choose my career over relationships. I DID choose to move provinces 3 times in 5 years and to work weird schedules for 12 years in order to have a dream job. I DID choose not to compromise and date someone “just because”. Furthermore, I DID choose that I was going to jump on the NOW rather than the POTENTIALLY NEVER bandwagon… So yes… I checked the “Single Mom By Choice” box on the website.
I won’t lie. There were tears. There was mourning the idea that I would not be building a family the way I grew up thinking I would. Tears over the knowledge of how difficult it is going to be and over the feeling that I will be taking away something every child wants; a father… tears that my life is about to change BUT in the sweetest and most glorious of ways. Tears of nervousness. Tears of happiness. Tears of excitement and of fear. Holy moly… I am going to be a mother. The one job I have always wanted.
Flashback admission: I used to want 5 kids. Three of my own, 2 adopted. As I grew older, the number diminished but I opened my mind to men with kids in order to still satisfy my desire of a bigger family. Flashforward to 6 months into the fertility process: I’d be happy with one child. Please, oh please, let me have at least one child of my own…
OMG, I AM DOING THIS!
I had said several times “if I am single at 35, I am getting artificially inseminated”. I never believed I’d get there though so, when I turned 35 and I was offered a great radio opportunity back in my hometown of Montreal, I chose to take it. Despite it meaning leaving a relationship behind. “Clean slate. New life. I’ll meet someone”. That’s what I sincerely thought. “I can postpone motherhood, I’ll meet someone great soon”… but more than 4 years later, after tons of dates that lead nowhere and tons of dates with men who already had children but didn’t want more (“if only you already had some, I’d be ok. I just don’t want to father more”), I was still single. Single and really starting to see that “happy perfect dad+mom family” window close. I previously had had cysts and doctors had commented that having kids might not be easy, so just shy of my 39th birthday, I booked an appointment at the Montreal Fertility Clinic.
First appointment… Several tests… Second appointment…. and then the verdict: “now or potentially never”. My FHS levels where closer to menopause than they should be for my age. My follicule count was low… even if I chose to freeze my eggs, my body might not be viable in a couple years to carry out a pregnancy. I was in shock. I expected “it’s going to be hard, you’re 39 years old” but I did not expect the “it’s going to be harder than a normal 39 year old”. However, the doctor said that I was otherwise healthy and nothing indicated that I could not have a successful pregnancy now.
In Quebec, 9 insemination attempts (IUI) are covered by the gouvernment. It can take, on average, 4 to 6 trials for it to work. In vitro (IVF) is no longer covered in Canada and would cost between 6000-9000$. However, there is a tax break in Quebec depending on your salary – which in my case would only be about 35% (15% federal + 20% provincial).
I calculated that I could afford 1 in vitro OR 5 insemination trials (the procedure is free but I would still have to pay for donor sperm, which can cost between 700-850$ a sample). So since I was otherwise healthy and wanted to put all chances on my side (plus having a baby will be expensive as a single mom), I chose to start with the cheaper insemination. I’d get pregnant on the first try! Or so I believed.
WHERE TO START?
I was so overwhelmed with emotions that I did not know where to start. Do I pick an anonymous donor? Do I ask a guy I know to donate? For sure, the idea of using a friend of mine — someone who could be there to answer my child’s future questions — was absolutely attractive. But who? There was someone. Lucky for me, that someone was willing to donate sperm. We had a past and I cared deeply for this person, so it did seem quite fitting. Why not? He was happy to be involved with the future child, but that did make me worry about future ramifications… will he have his name on the birth certificate? No. That would be complicated for travel. Will he have a say on the child’s education? I’d rather not. Will the future child meet his/her siblings (he has kids)? Why not. Will the child be told this friend is the father? Why not. But how will he be introduced? Mmmm mommy’s friend? The cool uncle?! Ok… I had time to think about that one… What are the parental rights of a donor in Canada?! Good question. I called my lawyer friend and she looked into it. Due to a previous situation that had to go to court, it is strongly suggested that the donor signs a release of parental rights within 48h of the birth of the child. However, he has a year come back on his decision. Ok… Good to know. I finally felt like I had all the info I needed before meeting the psychologist!
Psychologist? Yep! You have to be approved by a psychologist to go through with fertility treatments. I guess it makes sense… So, in order to show this psychologist how responsible and knowledgeable I was, I took it one step further and decided to also research and find a potential donor. “Take that psychologist!! I’ll show you”. Or so I thought…
(TO BE CONTINUED)
*** I videoblogged my journey – you can watch here (sorry for all the tears)
I click on the link from twitter by chance (litterally a mistake) but i’m so sooo glad i did! I’m looking into this too now, at close to 35 and you had some good information here! It’s super helpful. I’ve been close to menopause since 32 (yayy 😒)
But, Thanks !! 🙂 best of luck ! I’ll be following.
Ahhh thanks Isabella_rosa! There was so much I did not know and loved when people shared so I intend of sharing as much info as I can
Are you closer to a decision?
Hi marguerite! Writing my 2nd blog now about my decision! 6 months in and so many decisions!!
Best of Luck! You will be a Fantastic mother.
If you need a babysitter, I’m here for you. j’ai beaucoup d’expérience avec les couches et les tout petits 🙃Je suis une matante gâteau qui n’a jamais osé, you go girl!!!!xx
Hi, I have no ideas what your decisions are but let me just tell you about my experience. I have been a surrogate mother to a gay couple……twice. the girls call me mom, and my daughter and son is their sister and brother. Simple, nothing hidden, all questions answered and everyone in my family think there is nothing weird with how our family has been built.
Love this! Thank you for sharing!
Kim – you are amazing and I am so excited for you. I was a surrogate mother many moons ago and always hoped I would be able to help a single mother after my first journey but alas it did not come to be 😦 cannot wait to read all about your journey!!
Wow that’s quite the adventure too. Bravo on doing that and I am sorry t did not work. It definitely isn’t easy…
(no need to post this if you choose to keep it private.)
Personally, I love your authenticity and vulnerability. It is extremely courageous to be openly sharing your story.
However, I am overwhelmed by alarms screaming “the internet is forever”. I completely, without the slightest doubt, believe that you are committed to make decisions in the best interests of your future child, and on that note, I wonder if they would be happy that you are sharing the private details of their conception with the world.
I think this is but one example of how complex and complicated the process you are in, is. I honestly have no idea because I never went through it.
Continued courage and strength, Kim. You have always inspired me.
I truly appreciate your note and believe me, I’ve thought about it too. Hence me taking 6 months before posting that blog! A lot as happened since and I weighted the pros and cons I think. No decision is the right one but I think this is what I needed to do to stay mentally strong through this.
Woaw! I was in your situation 1 1/2 year ago. I wasnt meeting (although i went on several dates) the right men for me. Today im with Someone and pregnant at 38! I must Say : I had the same thoughts that you have about giving a father to my child! I admire your courage and determination. Good luck on your journey🤞
Thank you 🧡
That’s awesome!! I too was in your exact position, if not for Dr. Mahutte and his incredible, compassionate and wonderful staff I wouldn’t have my miracle princess Sophie who will be 9 months next week!! Good luck, and remember no matter how low you get at times, it’s All well worth the end result!!!
I’m so happy to have read you because I’m in the same situation as you. I am 39 years old and I will do my first insemination with donor within 20 days. Your text joined me so much and it did me good because I realize that we are not alone who lives this situation. I am like you I am sad about the situation but so excited and happy about what is coming! Hoping that everything is going well for you! I will continue to read you and follow your story !!
I hope it works for you Carolina, my fingers are crossed!!
been there 12 years ago,. I now have a beautiful 10 years old girl and we have a great life together. I can only encourage you to enjoy this time thinking things over and over, the answer will come and you will be ok with whatever it is.
Great advice! Thank you so much 🙂