Vanessa Gray had an artificial insemination and gave birth to her son Theo at age 42.
She had been single for a long time. She wanted a husband and children, but after turning 40, she realized that meeting someone in order to have a child wasn’t necessary: “I’d been single for five years. I had kind of given up on meeting anyone. I just decided, ‘Sod it, I’m going to have a baby on my own.’”
In Vanessa’s case, she was only provided with very little information about the donors by the fertility clinic and found it very difficult to choose the right sperm donor. She only had physical features and personality descriptions to go on. Luckily, now there are a lot more options to choose from at the sperm bank.
Vanessa eventually picked a donor and got started. The insemination process was an amazing and very fast experience for her. She contacted the clinic in April, took hormone injections in June and was inseminated in July. And she conceived on the first try.
Being a single mom
When the baby finally came, she realized that she had been in a bit of denial. Having a baby was much scarier, much harder and much more tiring than she’d expected. She had worked almost all the way up to the birth, and for the first five months, she moved in with her mother. “My mother’s help made all the difference: she made sure I was eating and resting and that Theo’s clothes were laundered.
In general, Vanessa doesn’t rely on others for help or do things outside her limit. Now, she finds herself challenged with balancing her everyday life and being a mother, but when she’s forced to prioritize between doing the dishes and playing with her son, as she says “Theo wins hands down”.
Vanessa hasn’t dated for a long time, but she would like to meet someone and have a relationship. She doesn’t really consider Theo not having a father as an issue: “At some point, I know Theo will ask me about why he doesn’t have a Daddy, but as there has never been a predominant male in his life I think he will be OK with it”, she says.
Her family, friends and co-workers have all been very supportive. Some have had some considerations about her starting a “non-conventional family”, which wasn’t really something she’d planned to have. But she is happy with her choice, and even though she doesn’t go out as much with her friends as before, she is very content: “I prefer to go out with Theo”, she replies.
Vanessa stresses that if you’re thinking about conceiving via a donor, you should just do it: “I did it at the right time for me and I have absolutely no regrets. It’s the hardest thing you will ever do and you don’t find that out until you’re doing it!”
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