IVF for Single Women: the choice of motherhood as a single parent
In my practice at Women’s Health Melbourne, I have supported many women to become mothers. Having a family is not just an achievement among others – for many women, it has been a dream for their lifetime. It’s a dream that can come to be in many ways. For some women, becoming a mother as a single parent is ultimately the right choice.
Conceiving without a partner
There is a lot of judgement and stigma that still, even in this modern era, casts a shadow on women seeking to become mothers when they don’t have a partner. It is a very brave woman who makes this decision, a woman with love to give and a heartfelt dedication to become a parent.
There are not many women for whom single parenthood was a first choice option. Many of my patients who I have helped to conceive in this way come from a background of having separated from a partner, or having been unable to find a soul mate connection with another person who is stable, reliable and committed to parenthood.
Age barriers to fertility
There comes an age where every woman has to consider her fertility as a significant barrier to parenthood, whether we are thinking about becoming a parent for the first time or extending our families. There is an age limit where becoming a mother and using our own eggs naturally is no longer a viable option.
Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing for any individual where that ultimate line in the sand lies. Some women struggle with age-related infertility (egg metabolic fatigue) at a younger age than others – but it affects all women significantly from the mid 30’s onwards. By a woman’s late 30’s, we really must seriously consider the following question in regards to having a baby “if not now, when?”.
It may not be a woman’s ideal situation to have a baby as a single mum, but for some capable, loving independent women, “perfect” can become the enemy of “good”. There comes an age where waiting for a dream partner to come along for co-parenthood may permanently shut the door on having a baby.
IVF treatments available
There are exceptions to every rule. For example, if younger women freeze a really good number of their eggs as a backup plan, they may well be able to carry a baby conceived with their own younger egg at a later age. Women can also likewise conceive a baby with a donor egg later in life (given in generosity from a different younger woman).
However, if a woman is ready to have a baby now, with every ingredient for successful parenthood except for a partner, in this day and age, there is no reason why she shouldn’t. At Women’s Health Melbourne, we believe that happy families can come in all shapes and sizes.
We can help women to conceive with donor sperm in several different contexts. If you have a known sperm donor (for example, a friend), we can facilitate professional counselling and safe, professional medical management to support the process of conception. Our patients can alternatively access donor sperm from our Melbourne IVF Clinic recruited sperm donor program. Our program has no waitlist and access to donor sperm is immediately available after medical and Victorian state regulatory requirements for treatment have been completed.
We help some women to conceive with donor sperm through artificial intrauterine insemination (known as IUI), a more modern, gentle, dignified form of what is known in Hollywood as “the turkey baster method” of conception. Rest assured no turkey basters are involved! What is involved is giving a gentle hormonal boost to improve a woman’s chance of getting pregnant, carefully monitoring the events around ovulation and introducing laboratory optimised sperm into the uterus at the ideal time to achieve a pregnancy.
IVF at Women’s Health Melbourne
For some women, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is the more appropriate treatment option. At Women’s Health Melbourne, we thoroughly investigate a woman’s fertility potential and make a treatment recommendation based on what is most likely to achieve pregnancy quickly and effectively for them. A woman’s preference is also an important part of the decision-making process, as is the underlying quality of the sperm being used for treatment.
If you think you may be ready to become a mother and would like to understand more about your options, contact us for a personalised consultation.