Contrary to 'nuclear family' ideals, in 2022 becoming a single parent by choice is now more accessible than ever before. Many single women and men desire to have their own families, though they hesitate due to traditional family constructs. However, with advancements in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) more single women and men are choosing to become single moms and single dads without a partner or significant other.
The goal of single parenthood by choice can be achieved with the assistance of fertility treatment options. If a woman would like to become a single parent, she may pursue pregnancy through intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) using donor sperm. If a man would like to become a single parent, he must use donated eggs (egg donor) and a gestational carrier (surrogate).
We understand becoming a single parent is not an easy decision, but it is an empowering fertility option to grow your family. In this article, we cover seven things to know for prospecting single parents by choice.
1. Your Choice May Generate Unwarranted Reactions
For those with more 'nuclear family' views on what makes a family, the idea of single parenting by choice may be a challenging concept to understand. The idea may even seem impossible to some, despite the advancements made in reproductive endocrinology. Some people still look at the nuclear family concept and assume that two healthy adults are necessary to raise a family. This is simply untrue.
Despite people's awareness and acceptance of various family-building options, don't be surprised if your choice makes some people uncomfortable. It's important to understand that most people's reactions to the choice of becoming a single parent, don't mean to harm you. Critics may react based on insecurities or biases, so take their reactions with a grain of salt.
2. Assisted Reproductive Technology Has Never Been Better
Creating a family is not always a straight path for everyone. Now in 2022, we have an array of fertility options available that can help pave various paths on the journey to parenthood. Your ability to be a single parent has better odds than ever before. Finding a doctor who has your best interest, experience, great success rates, and reviews will help eliminate the major challenges of a fertility journey.
3. Financial Preparedness Is Essential
Financial challenges are some of the first to present themselves when getting started with fertility treatment. Confusion and uncertainty about finances and other unknowns of a fertility journey can often prevent intended parents from moving forward with building the family of their dreams.
It is important when weighing the cost of treatment that intended parents are guided closely throughout the financial and insurance process with a financial coordinator at their chosen fertility clinic. There are now a variety of financing options available, here at PFCLA, we work with Future Family to support all of your family-building needs, from fertility drugs to gestational surrogacy, combining all treatment costs into one simple monthly payment.
4. Understanding the Single Parent Fertility Options
Single Mothers by Choice Fertility Options
Single motherhood by choice provides an empowering option for family building. You have full control over your reproduction and family-building plans.
Choosing a Sperm Donor
Most commonly, women select donor sperm from a sperm bank, or may also find a sperm donor elsewhere too. Sperm banks are helpful because women can choose donors based on genetic conditions, physical appearance, ethnicity, educational background, family history, personality profiles, and hobbies.
Choosing a sperm donor is a very personal decision. The primary goal is to have a healthy baby, so genetic compatibility with a donor to avoid potentially major issues is essential. A genetic carrier screening for both you and the potential sperm donor is needed to ensure that you do not carry any of the same recessive genetic conditions that could lead to disease in your offspring.
Once you have chosen the sperm source it is important to consider which fertility treatment is right for you. To better understand which treatment path is best for you, you should talk to your IVF physician about your age and ideal family size.
The two primary treatment options are intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). In IUI, the donor sperm is placed directly into your uterus by your IVF physician around ovulation time when chances for conception are highest.
In IVF, hormonal injections are administered in order to stimulate multiple eggs to maturity, then they are retrieved from your ovaries through a vaginal procedure. The eggs will then be fertilized with the sperm samples at a laboratory, where the fertilized embryos are then grown in specialized incubators. After about 5-7 days the higher-quality embryos can be biopsied and tested for chromosomal abnormalities; transferring normal/healthy embryo(s) often leads to the best chance of success for implantation and healthy live birth.
If You Need an Egg Donor
There are many reasons that an egg donor may be needed, common reasons including age-related infertility, low ovarian reserves, and premature ovarian failure. Although these issues may add additional challenges, they will not prevent a woman from becoming a parent. You can choose to use an egg donor. Using an egg donor for an IVF cycle yields a higher rate of success. By finding a healthy egg donor with good egg quality, we frequently see better results for birth rates. Finding the right egg donor takes time and careful consideration.
If You Also Need a Surrogate
If you are medically unable to carry a pregnancy, using a surrogate will help you achieve the dream of parenthood. A surrogate will go through a comprehensive medical screening at your IVF physician’s office in order to be medically cleared to proceed to surrogacy. If you choose to work with our partner, Hatch Fertility on a surrogacy journey, they will also connect you with an attorney that specializes in reproductive law to initiate the legal contract. At Hatch, there is extensive and exceptional history with the success of matches between surrogates and intended parents.
Single Fathers by Choice Fertility Options
Single men can also achieve their dreams of becoming a parent with the help of an egg donor and a surrogate.
Egg Donor and Surrogacy
If you want to become a single father without adopting, you will first need to find an egg donor. When selecting an egg donor, you will learn about the egg donor’s medical history, and physical appearance including photos, personality traits, educational achievements, and hobbies. The egg donor and you will both go through comprehensive genetic carrier screening to make sure that you are genetically compatible.
Using a surrogate gives you a chance to be a parent of your own biological child, a surrogate carries an embryo created from donor eggs and your own sperm. Donor eggs that are obtained through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) are fertilized with your sperm samples. The fertilized embryos will go through preimplantation genetic screening (PGT-A) when they reach the blastocyst embryo stage. An embryo with a normal chromosome count is then transferred into the surrogate’s uterus through the frozen embryo transfer procedure.
5. Patience Is a Necessary Ingredient When It Comes to Family Building
Depending on your chosen path of using donor specimens, pursuing IUI, gestational surrogacy, or IVF, one thing is certain, this journey will not happen overnight. Matching wait times for intended parents with donors and surrogates vary per agency. In addition, most fertility treatments are scheduled with biological calendars, so patience is a must.
At PFCLA, we work with a variety of agencies. When working with our partner agency, Hatch, the surrogate matching process takes an average of 8-9 months whereas other agencies typically take 12-14 months.
6. Cultivate a Support System
Having a support system is an essential part of single parenting. For someone who doesn't have a partner to support childcare or even emotional support, cultivating community becomes even more important.
Get started early, especially if you need to re-invigorate relationships that will help support you. This also gives you more time to prepare them for what you need when the baby comes.
7. Do Your Research
Ultimately the decision is yours, and if you are going to be a single parent by choice, you need to do your research and discover what is the best course of family building for you. Make sure to consider the ways in which building your own family will impact your life. Remember, this is your decision and your future family — and most importantly, you've got this!
The Bottom Line
Are you considering becoming a single parent by choice? Fertility treatment can help you achieve your dream of parenthood. At PFCLA, we have contributed to the birth of over 13,500 babies to families around the world through assisted reproductive technology like IVF. Contact us today to find out more.
If you are going to need an egg donor or surrogate, it is best to begin this process right away.
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