Single moms: “The more I found out about it, the righter it felt.”

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Many women decide to have children on their own. When Mika Bishop’s relationship ended, she decided to have a baby with the help from a sperm donor.

​Mika Bishop (41) contacted a fertility clinic and participated in seminars about donor conception. “Throughout the process, I was realistic and prepared for it not working, but I knew I had to at least try, otherwise I would regret it”, she says.


How to choose the sperm donor?
For her, it was important to choose an open donor, so her children would someday have the option to meet their biological father. Browsing through the sperm bank’s catalogue of sperm donors, she found a donor, who had said in his handwritten note that he would love to meet the person, he would help create.

Mika was inseminated with donor sperm from the sperm bank at a fertility clinic in the UK. It took three tries and 18 months from the time, she started out until she became pregnant with twin boys.

​Being a single parent is hard work
Having twins was tough in the beginning, and Mika sometimes whished that she’d had a partner to share the work with. But she took things day by day and focused on the wonderful babies she was blessed with, and soon she got on top of the situation.
And as for the fact that the boys are conceived with the help of a sperm donor, Mika explains: “I will normalise my boys’ beginnings and our family set-up from as early as possible. I will explain my decision to have a donor conception when they are ready”.

‘She has been open to her family and friends, and everyone is supportive of her decision to be a single mom. Surprisingly, many of her friends and peers know someone who has done the same.
Source: Stylist.co.uk

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

Can you please give me a baby?

PictureRikke and her son (photo: Carsten Bundgaard)

Many women have babies on their own. Rikke Mønster from Copenhagen is one of them, and she shares her journey from getting the idea to giving birth with us right here.

“My name is Rikke. I am 42 and live in Copenhagen, Denmark.
It all started at a friend’s birthday party 6 years ago, when one of the other guests, whom I had known since the 5th grade suddenly said that she’d chosen to be a single mother and have a baby with the help of a sperm donor.
Without thinking, I heard myself say: “Me too!” This was in August of 2010 and by September 2011, I gave birth to my wonderful boy.


Can you please give me a baby?
I had no idea where to start, so I called my doctor and asked him if he could please give me a baby. The line went quiet – I could almost see my poor doctor desperately trying to make sense of what I had just said. Quickly, I explained to him what I meant, and we talked about how to approach this. He had never before had a patient who wished to be inseminated, but a week later he asked me to come by for a few tests. After that, he referred me to the fertility unit at a Herlev hospital near Copenhagen, where they performed more tests, which were not all that comfortable.  

What to choose?
During the process, I talked a lot with my friend, who initially planted the idea in my head. We discussed how to choose a sperm donor: What criteria to look for? Whether he should be an open or non-contact donor?
My friend chose an open donor, but I was not sure. I did not know when I was supposed to tell my child that he or she could get in touch with the donor: If I waited, would I be lying? If I told her or him from the start, would he or she spend too much time thinking and worrying about it? And if my child wanted to meet the donor, what if he was dead? Or lived too close by? 
I did not know how to answer all those questions and I did not know how I would handle these situations. And I believe that you have to make the decision that is right for you – so I chose a non-contact donor. 

At the clinic, I was asked if I had any preferences regarding e.g. height, hair colour, so they could order an appropriate sperm donor from the sperm bank
I chose a sperm donor with very regular features, but with darker hair and eyes, hoping that he would level out my very pale skin, hoping that my child would not be as sensible to sunlight as me – I cannot even look at the weather report without getting a sun burn. 

Fingers crossed
Before my first insemination in September, the clinic had asked me to give myself hormone injections, which I had done. But when the day came, my eggs were gone, and all I could do was go home and start over. I made a new appointment in late November without the hormone injections and I crossed fingers and toes that it would work this time, so I would not have go home and wait again.
This time, my eggs were fine and the insemination went well. The doctor told me, that if the insemination did not take, we would try again with hormones in January. I told him not to worry about it, because I was already pregnant. I just knew it!

And I was!! I had my wonderful and very pale skinned baby boy the following September, and I could not be happier!”

Want more?
 If you want, you can read more articles about Rikke (in Danish) in Mama.dk and Eurowoman.dk

Remember:
At European Sperm Bank we are thinking about the future – the future of you and your child. If, like Rikke, you have doubts about any decision along the way, you can always call ur or send an e-mail. We are right here!

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

Should you give up on your dream of a child?

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The answer is no. Not when we’re here to help you. 
​​All over, more and more people seek help to conceive children. Some of these people are in relationships, but many are not.
They are defined as the so-called solo moms, single moms, DIY moms etc. To us they are merely: moms!

If you google the differnt terms, you will get a million results, but most commonly solo/single/DIY mom is a woman, who decides to have a child on her own.

There are several blogs and fora online where it is possible to share knowledge and experience with other solo moms – communities like 
ChoiceMoms.org or SingleMothersByChoice.org 


Right here, you can read other mom’s stories or maybe you’re interested in knowing how the donor children are doing?

For many women, deciding to have a child on your own is overwhelming and complex. You say yes to a child, but many women feel that they are essentially giving up on a finding a partner to have a child with. Because of this complex situation, it can be very giving to have like-minded to talk to, and at European Sperm Bank we are also more than happy to listen and help as much as we can – in more than 7 different languages. We are only a phone call away.

We aim to break down barriers and our customers service managers will go a long way to ensure that you are as prepared and well informed as you can possibly be. And if you feel that talking about ordering donor sperm is “too much”, you can always send us an email (info@europeanspermbank.com) and we will reply within 24 hours.

If you have already made up your mind and are ready to become a parent, take a look at our step-by-step guide on how the process works.

And remember: We are right here.

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

Should you tell your children about their origin?

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The short answer? Yes! At European Sperm Bank our motto is “We give life to your choice”. That choice is a child: A child, we hope will grow up and have a beautiful life. 
 
We are aware that sperm banks around the world vary in their way of handling the donors, mothers and the children. We think a lot about the future, and to us it is highly important that we treat people right and with respect. For us, a part of that respect is not to keep anyone in the dark.

Children born with the help of a sperm donor might experience some difficult issues growing up, just like any other child. We discuss many of these challenges in our other posts on donor children, but right here are a few good reasons why you should tell your child about his or her origin:

  • It puts honesty at the heart of family relationships.
  • It allows donor children to learn about aspects of their history, integrate the knowledge as they grow up and accept their story without shock or distress.
  • It allows donor conceived people to make choices about their lives.
  • It means that significant differences between a child and parent (in looks, talents etc.) can be easily explained.  It also removes suspicion about for example whether the child could be adopted.
  • It means that a true medical history (or lack thereof) can be given to doctors, making diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions more accurate. It also removes anxiety about the inheritance of disorders from the non-genetic parent.
  • It does not mean that donor children will reject their non-genetic parent.

Choosing a donor from a sperm bank that provides you with extended information about the donor, e.g. personality, life goals and interests, may also make it easier to answer some of the question that your child may have.
  
//posted by Stinne, Client Service Manager at European Sperm Bank

Lucy: “I Am a Sperm Donor Baby”

PictureLucy and her twin brother (photo owned by Lucy McDonald)

How does a child cope with having a sperm donor as her biological father? This is a concern with many parents of donor-conceived children.

In a very honest article “I Am a Sperm Donor Baby and I Don’t Care Who My Dad Is”, Lucy explains how biology has nothing to do with how she feels about the people, who brought her up: Her real parents!


​Lucy McDonald (22) from the UK was a donor baby. Obviously, her twin brother was, too. They were conceived through a sperm bank by an anonymous sperm donation in 1992, so they do not know who the donor is. 

“I refer to this man as my “biological father,” not my “dad,” because he is not my dad. I have half his genes, but he has had absolutely no role in my life whatsoever. He donated his sperm on the condition that he could remain anonymous; it was an altruistic gesture to help someone somewhere in the U.K. who couldn’t conceive naturally. He didn’t want to be my dad; he just wanted to do a good thing. Yes, I am grateful to him for this act, but I feel no emotional connection to him”, Lucy says.

Her mother was always open about how the twins were conceived, and it has never been a problem for Lucy: “When I tell people about my origins, I am nearly always asked: “Don’t you want to know who your dad is?” My answer, without hesitation, is always no.”

In the UK, the law on sperm donation changed in 2004, prohibiting the use of anonymous sperm donors from 2006. It is now possible for the donor’s identity to be released to the child once it reaches 18. Before the age of 18, parents and child can access non-identifying information about them, like physical description, age, and ethnicity. 

Lucy’s brother is very keen to learn more about the donor, and after the law has changed, it has been possible for him to gain a bit of information about the sperm donor
Lucy realizes that not all donor-conceived children are as happy as she is, and there may be many reasons why. But she has a message for them: “I want to tell them this: Think of the effort someone went through to have you. You were extremely wanted.”

She believes that a parent is someone who loves you unconditionally and does their absolute best to raise you as well as they can. Their genes are irrelevant.     

Read the entire article here. You can also learn more about Lucy McDonald here

//posted by Michael, Communications Specialist at European Sperm 

Are the kids all right? 

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It’s on our minds and it’s probably on yours, too. How are the kids doing? Is it more challenging to be a family with donor children? Not really. Psychological studies have shown that families with donor children are doing well.

A recent study out of the University of Cambridge in the UK among 103 mothers (51 single women with donor children and 52 women partnered with the child’s biological father) shows no difference in the children’s adjustment or any significant difference in parenting quality or maternal well-being.


Another Cambridge University study of 145 families with adolescent children conceived under different circumstances (through a sperm donor, an egg donor, surrogacy or natural conception) shows no difference in family strains or the psychological adjustment among adolescent donor children, compared to both naturally conceived children or children from collaborative reproduction methods.
Consequently, according to the studies, there are no indication that donor children or their families should be any less all right than any other family.

The studies were presented at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) in Baltimore, and the president of the ASRM, Rebecca Z. Sokol, MD, MPH, stated that “it is reassuring to know that families, who rely upon medical assistance to have children, do not appear to suffer psychologically. It appears families are families.”

You can read more about the studies here.

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

From Chemotherapy to Baby Joy

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Lise is a client at European Sperm Bank. Her decision to use a sperm donor was caused by tragic incidents in her personal life. These are her words.

As husband and wife, it was natural for us to have children. Our first daughter was born in 2010 and soon after, we started trying for our second baby.

This was immediately put on a hold when my husband was diagnosed with both testicular cancer and pelvic cancer. It felt like the sky had fallen down on us.


My husband started treatment – they removed one of his testicles, and he received chemotherapy. Our doctors were very optimistic and had no doubt my husband would survive, and that we would have no problems making a baby with just the one testicle.
 
We tried for a long time but nothing happened. We went back the doctors, who referred us to a fertility clinic, where they began a number of tests on my husband.
 
The results were clear and devastating: There were no surviving sperm cells. Not even a single sperm to make an ICSI. I cannot explain how devastating this was to hear. We were marked infertile and sterile, and the pain of knowing that we could not have any more children was close to unbearable. Months passed and the pain just got worse.
 
In the end, I decided to contact European Sperm Bank – just to have a chat. I must admit that even thinking about using another man’s sperm seemed wrong. – The chat changed that.
 
I began to feel that we actually did have some options, and I introduced the idea of using a sperm donor to my husband. Let’s just say he didn’t jump through the roof with excitement.

Again, time passed and one day I said to my husband “I’m going to do this. I’m going to use a donor.” I chose a sperm donor that came close to looking like my husband, but after several inseminations, nothing happened.
In the meantime, European Sperm Bank had found a new sperm donor, who looked even more like my husband – I decided to change sperm donor and the clinic recommend IVF.

​FINALLY, I was pregnant!
 
It was a tough pregnancy. My husband was sceptical, maybe even distant to the pregnancy. I had to be incredible strong and convinced that when the baby would eventually come, he would fall in love with her.
And he did! Our second child, our baby girl was born in November 2015. We absolutely adore her! There is no doubt we would repeat the process again!

/​/posted by Stinne, Client Service Manager at European Sperm Bank (on behalf of Lise)