Single mother by choice smiles as her toddler daughter removes her sun glasses

Telling friends, colleagues and strangers that you had a baby on your own – 6 tips for solo mums

You might already know how to talk to your child about being donor-conceived (if not, then check out our previous blog post), but how do you approach the topic with adults around you? Psychologist Henriette Cranil gives you her best advice for the many conversations to come.

A single mother by choice smiles as her toddler girl removes her sun glasses from her face.

Having a baby on your own is a decision that usually comes with a range of questions from the people around you. 

Some questions have answers. In other cases, you might still be looking for the right response. That’s why opening up to a broader circle of people can be overwhelming, Henriette Cranil says. Cranil is a psychologist specialized in counselling women and couples on donor-assisted conception – and the mother of a pair of donor-conceived twins herself. 

“Many single mothers by choice fear that they’ll be met with prejudice or presumptions when going public with their decision. The majority of these women still dream about a two-parent family, but they haven’t found the right partner and their biological clock is ticking. I still haven’t met a single mother by choice that felt like the decision was purely positive.”  

Fortunately, with some preparation, you can ensure that your child’s unconventional family story is a non-issue.

1. Be as open as possible – to as many as possible

When telling others about your decision, try being as straightforward as possible. Tell the person that you’ve used a sperm donor to have a child and explain the positive as well as negative sides of your story. Secrecy only makes it more difficult for you, your child and the next generation of donor-conceived children, Henriette Cranil advises. 

“I advocate openness all around. I know that some people are more private than others but try to be as honest as possible to the people around you. Share your knowledge and your feelings to make sure that no one passes something on to your child that you’re not OK with.”

This honesty applies to strangers as well as people close to your child like teachers and caretakers. Parents to your child’s friends might need to explain it to their children, so include them too. “It might also be useful to tell your colleagues as you’ll need some flexibility in your work schedule as an only parent,” Cranil adds. 

2. Accept – and allow – critical questions

How can you let your child grow up without a father? Isn’t having a child on your own a selfish decision?

When opening up about your situation, you also invite potential scrutiny. The outside world can be quick to judge single women who choose to have a donor-conceived child. Some people will likely voice their views on the matter without you having asked for their opinion. That’s a challenging situation, but we need to find a way to co-exist with people who possess different beliefs than ourselves. That goes for all matters of life, and this case is no different, Henriette Cranil says.

Try to rehearse your answers in advance and find someone to test your arguments on. Also, consider the fact that complete honesty can be a good defence against critics. 

”Try articulating the positive and negative aspects when talking to someone with critical views. Then see if that prompts a more nuanced discussion. Tell them that you don’t know if your child will need a father, but that you’ll talk to him or her about it and explain your decision. Most critics will be impressed if you show that you’ve thought about your child’s well-being in every way – including the negative ones.” 

3. Think about what’s best for your child in the long run

Ultimately, telling people about your choice to be a solo mum is all about taking care of your child. Donor-conceived children will encounter situations throughout their lives where people will question their heritage. By preparing people and doing your bit towards breaking the taboo, you’re making things easier for your child.

For that reason, whenever you want to keep your family situation a secret, think about why. Is it because of your insecurities or for the sake of your child? 

Start with your family and close friends. Help them understand and equip them with the story and arguments that you want your child to grow up hearing. Keep them updated along the way. That way, you reduce the risk of your child feeling misunderstood or wrong. If a child grows up thinking that parts of his or her background are not to be talked about, they can internalise that sense of wrongness or shame. So it’s important to make sure that your child feels that it’s OK to discuss everything.

“If you opt for openness, your child will be able to seek guidance from other people than you when he or she is old enough to question their heritage. That way, you leave room for another person to fill in as an important figurre in your child’s life,” Henriette Cranil says. 

4. Turn the level of honesty up and down 

Random people that you meet on holiday, business partners or the cashier at your local supermarket. As much as you should be open to people around you, not everyone needs to know everything. 

Turn down the information level in situations where you don’t want it to be the narrative that defines you or when you’re simply not interested in talking about your personal life choices, Henriette Cranil advises. 

“There’s nothing wrong with sharing very little information or giving vague answers sometimes. It doesn’t mean that your child’s heritage is a secret”, she says.

5. Work on your insecurities

For some women, the choice of having a child on their own balances between deep desire and last-call, so some mothers feel ambivalent and perhaps a bit embarrassed about their decision. That’s perfectly okay. But as a mother, think carefully about addressing your insecurities in order to never pass them on to your child, Henriette Cranil says. 

For that reason, Cranil advises that you examine your motives if you’re not honest in some situations. Make sure that embarrassment is never the reason not to be open. 

“When discussing the topic, try to offer nuanced opinions instead of defending your decision with everything you’ve got. Take responsibility for your choice and remember that it’s okay if your decision comes with both good and bad sides.”

If you need support, you can join networks with other single mothers by choice where you can share your thoughts and test your arguments. 

6. Start the conversation and assume the best

As a single mother by choice, you’ll face questions that two-parent families never encounter. But more often than not, you may get no questions at all. Or you’ll find people awkwardly skirting the topic or fumbling mid-sentence.

Take responsibility for the situation and don’t be afraid to start the conversation. In many cases, people stay quiet because they’re scared of putting you or themselves in an awkward position. They might lack vocabulary – for instance, do you say donor child, donor-conceived or something completely different – and they don’t want to seem rude.

Starting the conversation puts you in control of where the dialogue is moving. And by talking openly about your family, you provide people with the language that they might be lacking. You’re also signalling to them that it’s okay to ask questions. Ultimately, your courage and openness pave the way for an easier life for your child and children to come.


Looking for help and community from other SMBC women? Look no further. 

International resources

  • Single Mothers by Choice (SMC)
  • Facebook group: Single Mothers by Choice
  • ”Motherhood Reimagined” podcast
  • ”Single Mothers by Choice: A Guidebook for Single Women Who Are Considering or Have Chosen Motherhood” by Jane Mattes

Danish resources

Telling your child that he/she is donor-conceived: the full guide to parents

A mother sitting cheek to cheek with her child who is donor-conceived.

Do you wonder when and how to tell your child that it is donor-conceived? Then read on. We spoke with psychologist Henriette Cranil who specialises in counselling women and couples considering donor-assisted conception. Henriette used a sperm donor herself to have her twins. In this blog post, Henriette provides advice on how to tell your child and what to say at which age. 

When should I tell my child that he or she is donor-conceived?

The operative word here is when, not if you should tell your child. Henriette Cranil advises that you always tell your child about his or her biological heritage.

According to Henriette Cranil, it’s a good idea to start telling your child about its background from the very beginning. Most children can sense the mood in their mother’s or father’s voice before they develop language of their own. For that reason, your child will associate the topic of donor-assisted conception with something positive when you explain it to them in a relaxed and open manner.

“There are no guarantees that conversations with your child will always be easy”, Henriette says. But if you start telling your child at an early age that it is donor-conceived, you’re paving the way for a general openness around the topic. This will make it a more natural thing to talk about as your child grows older. Start by explaining in very simple terms how children come into this world. Then, explain how this is done with donor sperm or donor eggs. Keep your language simple and consider making your story more concrete by drawing it or using a picture book.”

The earlier you start having this conversation, the better. Sharing the truth has a huge impact on the connection and trust between yourself and your child. Knowing our biological heritage is incredibly important to our sense of self and the development of our identity. For that reason, a child should learn about being a donor child early on. Having said that, Henriette Cranil stresses that it’s never too late to tell your child about their biological background.

What should I say to my child when I tell him/her that they’re donor-conceived?

It might be difficult to start a conversation about being donor-conceived with your child. But Henriette Cranil reminds us that the relationship between child and parent won’t suffer from having conversations about difficult topics. On the contrary, it can strengthen the bond between yourself and your child.

According to Henriette Cranil, we should be careful not to transfer any apprehension we might have about the topic to our children. Often, children have a much more simple and straightforward outlook on the world. That goes for this topic as well.

Depending on the situation and the age of the child, you can start the conversation in many ways. Regardless of circumstance, Henriette Cranil advises that you, the adult, initiate the conversation. Don’t wait for the child to start asking questions. You need to take responsibility and make sure that the dialogue about the topic is positive and natural.

Henriette adds: “There are no details or considerations about the process that you should omit when speaking to the child. But make sure you match the level of complexity with your child’s age and comprehension level.”

At which age do I say what?

Donor children aged 0-2

At this age, it’s a good idea to tell your child about the situation gradually. Tell him or her in small snippets while your child is playing or while you’re spending some downtime together. 

“You can draw the situation or read one of the many good children’s books on the topic. Picture books showing how children come into the world are also a good option. At this age, your child won’t fully comprehend what you’re telling them, but fragments of your story will settle into their minds and over time, form the basis of their understanding.

Donor children aged 2-5

During this time, your child will develop enough language and cognitive skills for you to tell them more about the donor. You can also start to explain to them why you decided to get help to have children.

“Books, images and puzzles will enable the child to start asking questions and think aloud, so you can have an open conversation. Typically, children this age won’t maintain conversation for long, so it’s a good idea to return to the subject once in a while. Again, you should initiate the conversation and not wait for your child to bring it up.”

At this age, children will also start getting questions about their family from their friends. Questions or statements about how you can have two mothers or that the child doesn’t have a father will pop up. It’s natural for children this age to be curious about each other and wonder about things that are different from themselves.

Henriette explains: “It’s normal for kids this age to start making sense of what they experience. For instance, by saying that ‘Hannah’s dad is dead.’ This makes sense to a small child because he or she distinguishes between something being present or something being absent. If it’s absent, it must be because it’s dead.”

Henriette recommends that you explain to your child that his or her dad isn’t dead. Instead, tell your child that he’s a sperm donor (“a man who has provided sperm”). That way, your child has answers at the ready when friends ask questions. It gives the child a sense of security that he can answer the question himself: “I don’t have a daddy. My mum used a donor who gave her some sperm cells, so she could have me”.

Donor children aged 5-9

When children reach this age level, their way of thinking starts to mature. The child will start asking questions of her own and connect pieces of information provided to her.

It’s common that children from the age of 6 or 7 are interested in matters relating to life and death. For instance, the origin of life on earth, where we come from and perhaps the history of the family. That means lots of openings for new conversations about the topic of being donor-conceived. Including themes like what does mum know about my donor?, can I meet my donor?, do I have half-siblings? and so on. Again, Henriette Cranil recommends that you, the adult, initiate the conversation. But most likely, a lot of the questions will come from the child – provided that the topic of donor-assisted conception has been openly discussed in the past.

Children this age pick up impressions from all over: television, social media and so on. These sources of information will provide ample opportunity for conversation. Perhaps it’s an interview with a donor explaining his thought process before deciding to donate or an adult donor child telling her story. You’ll be able to gradually tell your child more and more about the topic. And in turn, this will lead to more questions from your child.

Pre-teen donor children (9-13 years of age)

Most pre-teens have a well-developed capability of abstract thinking. This means that they’re able to ask nuanced questions, draw logical conclusions and imagine situations that are not based on personal experience.

At the beginning of this age level, children go from asking “what questions” – what are egg and sperm cells? What is a donor? What does it mean to be donor-conceived? – to an interest in correlations. That means, questions starting with “why” or “how”. Why did mum choose to use a sperm donor? Why don’t I have a dad? How does a medical professional perform inseminations?

“As a parent, you need to welcome these new types of questions. Also, know that your child will reflect more deeply on the topic: how do I feel about being donor-conceived? How do I feel about being compared to a traditional family?”, Henriette says.

The role of the adult continues to be that of supporting the child in all reflections. You need to be open and curious about positive as well as potentially critical thoughts that the child is having. This openness and willingness to listen to the full breadth of what your child is thinking should be sustained through adolescence.

Henriette summarises: an adult donor child should possess all information about their biological heritage and the considerations driving the choices to have him or her.

Can I get help to tell my child that it is donor-conceived?

Some professionals have specialised in counselling parents on donor children-related topics, among them Henriette herself.

“I find it really positive when parents seek professional help to make sure that they do the right thing for their child and the family as a whole”, Henriette says. “That said, a lot of the work can be done by parents on their own if they shed their insecurities and apprehension about the topic. Start talking to your child today – if you are open to and non-judgmental towards their reactions, you’re already well on your way.”

Optimise your chances of a healthy baby

GeneXmatch is a service offered to you as a natural step on your fertility journey. Our donors are selected based on thorough genetic testing to optimise the chances for healthy babies. But as the prospective mother, your genes also have a role to play. GeneXmatch is a way for you to minimise the risk of disease-causing combinations from yours and your donor’s genes.

What we do

We test your recessive genes and match them against the same genes of your chosen donor to identify the risk of more than 390 autosomal recessive serious diseases. If you are a carrier of one or more mutations in the recessive genes investigated, we will only match you with a donor who is not a carrier of a mutation in the same gene(s) as you. This reduces the risk of recessive diseases in your child.
The second test concerns 12 genes located on your X chromosome. If you are a carrier of a mutation in any of these X-linked genes, you have a risk of having an affected child, regardless of the donor. In this case, we will offer you genetic counselling to determine your options and how to proceed on your fertility journey.

It’s easy

The only thing we need from you is a saliva sample. You will receive a test kit from us with full instructions on how to provide and return your sample. You will get your result approximately four weeks after the lab has received your sample.

I decided to use a sperm donor

Our newest blogger, Henriette Cranil, is a psychologist and mother of two 7 year-old twins conceived with help from a sperm donor. As a psychologist, Henriette has made it one of her specialities to advise singles and couples in having children with a sperm donor. She helps find solutions to the many questions and dilemmas that rise when they consider conceiving with the help from a donor. 

This is Henriette’s story.

WHEN I was in my early 30’s I began to imagine how it would be to become a mother. The pictures in my head became more and more defined and I started to see images of myself as a mother. I also began to stop and look at children’s clothes and teddy bears. I knew a lesbian couple who were pregnant at the time with help from a sperm donor. They were flying on cloud nine, completely consumed with bliss and happiness. To me it was amazing to witness, and I was wildly inspired.

During that time, I was single, happy and in a really good place in my career as a psychologist. Summer came, I was 34 years old and I asked myself what I was really waiting for in regards to becoming a mother? The answer was, of course, a boyfriend in a “the love of my life”-way but that kind of love doesn’t necessarily appear exactly when you want it. Therefore, I decided to change the order and instead become a mother on my own and subsequently bet on – hopefully sometime – meeting a lovely boyfriend.

Becoming pregnant, becoming a mother

From here on things moved quickly and a few months later I was pregnant. When I reached 5-6 weeks of pregnancy, I went to have the first scan at the Hospital. This was the moment I got one of my life’s greatest and best surprises: there were two beating hearts. I was expecting twins! Today I am the mother of a boy and a girl of 7½ years. 7½ intense, wild, enriching, changing, different, fun, loving and sometimes exhausting, years.

The decision to become a mother on my own was easy for me, but I also went through a lot of considerations during the process. Should I choose an anonymous or open donor? What if it turns out I cannot get pregnant? What is it like growing up without a father? How will the outside world react? How do you talk to the children about it? How do we get by every day? How would it be for a future boyfriend to be involved in this little family?

Let’s share knowledge

I will regularly be discussing questions like these and many others on the blog. Today, I have made it one of my specialties as a psychologist to advise singles and couples in becoming parents through a donor – throughout the journey from the reflection phase to the many phases of questions and dilemmas you meet as parents.

I look forward to sharing thoughts, questions and suggestions for answers and hopefully inspire you to lots of courage, ideas and good decisions!

Twins or triplets from fertility treatment? When one at a time is enough


In our daily contact with clients, we hear their concerns about all aspects of their process.
No surprise – to most, this is their first time taking this journey.

One concern we often hear, is what if they get twins or triplets from fertility treatment.

Most clients imagine one baby, and even though twins are a blessing, to some, the responsibility seems overwhelming. 

​In the past, the chances of having twins through in vitro fertility treatment were much higher than with a conventionally conceived pregnancy. It used to be common procedure to place three or four embryos in the uterus to increase the odds of pregnancy.

Decrease twin pregnancies
One of Denmark’s top biologists, Karin Erb, who is director of the fertility clinic at Odense University Hospital, has done much research on this exact topic: In 2016, her results were published in collaboration with The Danish Health Data Board.

The research shows that back in 2006, 25 % of pregnancies through IVF and ICSI resulted in twins. This number was down to 8,4 % in 2015. Clearly, there is a significant decline in twin pregnancies!

“It’s so amazing. We have achieved the same high chances of pregnancy, but at the same time managed to decrease the high number of twins” Karin Erb in an article.

A major reason for the decrease is that in 1997, The Danish fertility society (Dansk Fertilitetsselskab) set a limit of maximum 2 eggs at a time, and in 2005 they recommended that only one embryo is placed in the uterus, if the woman is under 35 and has no medical issues – the so-called single embryo transfer (SET). 

Risks when you carry more than one 
Many people, doctors included, talk about the risk of having twins, not the possibility, which may sound like there is something wrong with having twins. This is not the case. The reason is simply that a twin pregnancy has much higher health risk than a 1-child-pregnancy:

The risk of premature delivery is ten times higher with a twin pregnancy compared to a pregnancy with one fetus. Premature births can cause death to the baby, as well as neurological damages, hearing problems, poor eyesight and lower IQ.

But as the recent study shows, there is no reason to worry too much about a surprise twin-pregnancy, just because you are having fertility treatment.

Need our help?
We are always ready to help, so if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.
If you are curious about what to expect when starting fertility treatment with the use of donor sperm, we highly recommend that you begin your journey by reading our 8-step guide.

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

Ready to have a child? Come to Fertilitets-messen in Copenhagen!


Fertilitets-messen, the first ever fertility expo in Scandinavia, takes place at Bella Center Copenhagen 22-23 April 2017.

If you are thinking about starting a family, already trying, or if you are receiving fertility treatment, Fertilitets-messen is the place for you!

​Here, you and everybody in search of knowledge, facts, explanations and dialogue regarding all aspects of infertility and fertility treatment.

For the first time ever in Scandinavia, Fertility Link hosts a large expo in Bella Center Copenhagen with numerous expositions and seminars.

One of the reasons to have a fair about fertility is to share knowledge and bring it into focus. Today, most people are probably familiar with friends or family, who have needed assistance in trying to conceive. We all need to speak up and openly about it – let’s help each other and spread the word!

9 percent of children born in Denmark every year come in to the world with the help from fertility treatments. Most of the people seeking help at a fertility clinic are couples, who have trouble conceiving; some are suffering from PCOS, some need donor eggs, some need special procedures such as ICSI or IVF. Others are single women and lesbians, who need donor sperm.

Fertilitets-messen aims to break the taboos so often associated with infertility by providing unbiased information, and heightened levels of information, enabling you to make an informed choice.

We at European Sperm Bank are participating and we hope that you will come and meet us at booth number 09. We are ready to discuss and answer any and all questions you might have about e.g. donor sperm, how to choose a donor, differences between open and anonymous donors etc.

Would you like a free ticket?
We have 10 day passes to give away, so hurry up and email us, if you would like a free ticket.

We look forward to seeing you!

Time and Place
22 and 23 April 2017 from 10:00 to 17:00 at Bella Center Copenhagen. Show on map
More info at


Keep an eye out for the bike and the balloons!

Adult donor children share their thoughts


When do I tell my child about the donor? Do I? And how will my child react?

At European Sperm Bank, we recommend being open and honest with your child, and to tell them about how they were created, so that it becomes a natural part of who they are.

But the final decision is yours. 

Here you can read short quotes from adult donor children, who were conceived 20 to 40 years ago. ​They are from a time where having children with the help of a sperm dono was less usual than today. Recieveing infertility treatment were more of a taboo, and therefore many parents had a difficulties explaning the facts to their children.

In these quotes some of them have always known that they were conceived with the help from a sperm donor. Others were told as adults. Here is how the reflect on what knowing or not knowing has influenced them:

“It’s a little weird because when you tell your middle school friends your dad was a sperm donor they all look at you like you were made in a lab.”
—Aria, 22

“Sperm donation is such a niche thing to do that I wonder what my biological Dad is really like. Sperm isn’t rare and difficult to extract like eggs so it makes me wonder why he thought he should donate sperm in the first place. Like, was he an egomaniac or was he broke or what?”
—David, 19

“The main thing I’ve wondered is how many half brothers and sisters I might have. As an only child I wondered this a lot when I was in middle school and I still wonder about it now. One? Twenty? More than the idea of meeting my biological father I’d love to meet any half siblings I might have. What has their life been like? Do they look like me? Would we recognize ourselves in one another? These are things I very much still think about.”
—Mary, 35

“My mother waited until last year when my father died of a heart attack to tell me that my biological dad was a sperm donor. I’ve only spoken to her once since then it made me so mad. I know that I will at some point but I’m just not there yet.”
—Daria, 29

“I’ve worked out my feelings about it now, but my parents made the terrible decision to not tell me that I was the result of sperm donation until I was nearly 17. It really, really messed me up emotionally and I didn’t come to grips with it until I was nearly out of college. I spent several years truly resenting my dad who loves me and was a wonderful father to me.”
—Mark, 26

“One thing that bothered me growing up and I don’t think she did it on purpose was that my mother always referred to my biological father as a ‘donor’ rather than as a person. It was unconscious but that made me feel like half of me wasn’t real somehow and I think a lot of depression I had during my teen years was because of this feeling.”
—Cynthia, 24

“Most people just assume that all sperm donors are anonymous and most are but you can choose to be an open donor or an anonymous donor. My biological dad chose to be an open donor. It wasn’t until I was nearly thirty that I actually decided to try to contact him and I’m glad that I did. I waited until I was married and had a family of my own before I did it though because I didn’t want meeting him to destabilize me emotionally any more than it had too. Turns out that he’s a great guy. My parents were a little worried about me meeting him at first but now I feel like I just have more family and meeting him did explain some things about my own life that I’d previously struggled with.”
—Michael, 40


Then and Now – What has changed?
The thoughts you have just read come from adult donor children, who were conceived 20 to 40 years ago.
Since then, many things have changed and many taboos about infertility and donor children have been broken down.

Remember – today many more than 100,000 donor children have been born around the world.

So not only is having children through insemination more and more common and usual now than just 20 years ago: Today, there are many more options for people seeking sperm donors. Much more information is available.

At European Sperm Bank you can get extended profiles for every donor with background story, hobbies and interests, family history, baby pictures, staff impression and both a handwritten letter and an audio interview.

This way, you as a parent have much more knowledge about the donor to share with your child, and you are equipped to answer more questions about who this person is and why you chose him.

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

Double donation with donor egg and donor sperm


In Denmark today, it is not legal to be inseminated with both donor egg and donor sperm at the same time.

​However, The Danish Council on Ethics has recommended that the law should be changed to make it possible for people to have a child from both donor egg and donor sperm.

A main reason for the recommendation is, according to the council, that the family structures that exist today are numerous and varied, and that children grow up in many alternative types of families – not only the traditional nuclear family. This is why the council supports a more liberal legislation on the area, and that the prohibition should not be based merely on the lack of genetic association.

However, there are still many questions left unanswered: Should it then be legal for the one part of a lesbian couple to be impregnated with her partner’s egg and donor sperm? Should double donation only be allowed for infertile women or when there is a significant risk of hereditary deceases? Should this include all women seeking reproductive assistance or only couples?

Also, the importance of the child knowing about its genetic background is seen as twice as important with double donation, as the child will have no genetic association with its legal parents. Therefore, the amount of information available on the donors is being discussed. Potentially, a change in this legislation could affect the very strict law on surrogacy in Denmark as well.


At European Sperm Bank, our goal is to help as many people as possible to fulfill their dream of having children, and to do our part to give these children have the best possible conditions and foundation to become happy human beings.

We follow this development closely, and are eager to advice and discuss the effects of a potential change.

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

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

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