Single moms: ‘Sod it, I’m going to have a baby on my own.’


We’ve heard stories from Mika and Catherine. Now Vanessa Gray shares her story about being a single mom with a donor baby.

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.’”

How did you choose the donor?
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!”

Facts about insemination with the help of a sperm donor:
What does the process involve?
What is IUI and ICI?
How much does it cost?
How does sperm donation work?

Want more? Read more stories from other women

//posted by Michael, Communications Specialist at European Sperm Bank

A très bientôt à Paris?


In collaboration, European Sperm Bank and Vitanova Fertility Clinic are hosting an information seminar in Paris next week,  on March 1st 2017.

This seminar is for all of you who want to know a little bit more about fertility treatment and the use of donor sperm.

You will have the opportunity to learn more about the different options in regards to fertility treatment (e.g. IUI and IVF), and we will talk about the different types of donor sperm, and what the label open and non-contact donor entails.

The meeting will be held in both French and English and there will be plenty of time for questions. Lilian, our donor coordinator and nurse at European Sperm Bank will participate on our behalf, and she will be ready to answer all questions you might have.

To participate in the seminar, please contact Vitanova using this link.

Single Moms: “The donor will be spoken about”


In the last part of the Single Moms article, single mom Mika shared her story of having children on her own.
Today, single mom Catherine explains how she deals with having to wonderful donor children. 

Catherine found out that she had limited eggs and because her relationships were not working out, she decided to go it alone. 

After running some blood tests, Catherine Gaywood (37) found out that she only had a limited amount of eggs left. Time was short and after realizing that the expected “happy ever after” was not going to happen anytime soon, she decided to give IVF treatment a single try…

She didn’t what to look back and regret not trying, but if she wouldn’t get pregnant, she would get on with her life.
Through a private fertility clinic, she came in touch with the sperm bank. They were very supportive and helpful and made all the arrangement with the clinic.

How to choose a sperm donor?
“To choose a sperm donor is like internet dating…”, Catherine says. “You can filter results by employment status, education attainment, height, hair colour, eye colour, body type and so on.” Eventually, she did find a suitable sperm donor and after just one treatment, Catherine was pregnant with twin girls.

Being a single mom
As many single mothers, being alone with the full parental responsibility, especially with two babies, was hard work. ”I am jealous of other mums,  as they seem to have more time to spend just enjoying their child, whereas I always seem to be fulfilling some task and I never have time to myself”, Catherine explains. Luckily, her parents were and are a great help and daily support to her, so things work out beautifully.

Before having the twins, Catherine would tend to rush her romantic relationships because she wanted to get to the family-part as soon as possible. This resulted in pushing way the guy and starting over. But now that she has her family of three, she has a bright look on her future love life: “Going forward, my hope is that when I meet someone new, I will be able to appreciate that person in their own right rather than assessing them on what they can offer”, Catherine concludes.

When she first revealed her plans to her parents, they were shocked and worried if she were capable of taking care of a child on her own. It did not take long, however, before her mum and dad were painting the nursery and looking forward to be grandparents.

“The donor will be spoken about”
Catherine was never concerned that the girls would not have a father. “I actually feel that my choice is healthy, and one I can hold my head up and be proud of”, she says. “As a role model for them, I have not settled or compromised and the environment that I will bring them up will hopefully remain stable. I have been very open about the fact I used donor sperm. I will make sure the girls are aware of this right from the start –  “the donor” will be spoken about.”

Even though some friends have fallen out of touch, because they did not comprehend Catherine’s decision, she has a strong, supportive network of friends, which to her is vital for a single parent: “Accept all offers of help and support and make sure you have a support network for every step of the way”, Catherine ends.


Facts about insemination with the help of a sperm donor:
What does the process involve?
What is IUI and ICI?
How much does it cost?
How does sperm donation work?

Want more? Read more stories from other women

//posted by Michael, Communications Specialist at European Sperm Bank

Donor Children in School – Honesty and Openness


How do you explain to the school and the other parents that your child was conceived with the help of a sperm donor? And how does your child deal with questions from classmates?

In collaboration with the Danish fertility clinic Stork Klinik, European Sperm Bank has published a pair of booklets with information on how the school, the class and the other parents may better understand and support donor children: One booklet for parents and one for teachers and others who work with children.

More and more donor children are starting kindergarten and preschool, and because we at European Sperm Bank are thinking about the future and the well-being of these children, we try our best to support them in any way we can.

Children born with help of a sperm donor might experience some difficult issues growing up – just like any other child. In Denmark more than 20.000 children have been conceive with the help of a sperm donor since the 1980’s. There is absolutely no reason this should be a secret – or that these children feel weird or different from any other children.
A recent published article in “Folkeskolen”, a magazine for teachers in Danish primary and lower secondary school, argue that openness and honesty is the key to understanding, which we at European Sperm Bank fully agree with.

Say it like it is
Ludvig, a child born with the help of a sperm donor, started preschool in 2015. He lives with his mother Iben Harder Nemensen and older sister Mikkeline – born with help from the same sperm donor. Iben explained to both her children at a young age, that even though their family might be different from others, they are still a normal family. The children have a father; they just don’t know him.

Anette Bejstrup, who is the teacher in Ludvig’s preschool, states in the article that she does not spend any extra time understanding a childlike Ludvig as she does with any other of the twenty-five 6-year olds in the same class room.
In preschool especially, we talk a lot about family and family ties; who you live with and about mom and dad. That’s how the children learn about each other. It is important for me to know, if there is anything particular, that the student needs my help with in regards to the other children”, says Anette Bejstrup.

Ludvig’s mother Iben adds: “After the introduction round I told (the other parents) that Ludvig is a donor child and therefor doesn’t know his father. I also mentioned, that we are very open and honest about this fact at home, so that the other parents were more than welcome to ask if they had any questions in regards to this. I explained it very simple and afterwards I occasionally was asked about it”.

Iben continues to stress the importance that the other children in the class know that Ludvig is a donor child – and that these children then might come home and ask their parents about it. This brings up an opportunity for both children and parents to talk about it in a simple a non-dramatic way.

Need more information?
November, we also wrote about the importance of telling your children about their origin. Inspired by The Donor Conception Network, we mentioned a few points, which can be helpfull, if you are in doubt about how to explain the insemination to your surroundings and how to tell your child.

The Danish pdf-versions of the booklets are available for download here:
Donorbarn i klassen (til lærer og pædagoger)
Donorbarn i skole (forældre)

If you are curious about our booklet or would like further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us

//posted by Stinne, Client Service Manager at European Sperm Bank