Some countries still have very strict rules about assisted pregnancies and who may receive treatments. In some places, only married, heterosexual couples can receive fertility treatments, and single women and lesbians couples are denied help.
What do people do then? Many choose to have the treatment at a private fertility clinic in a country, where the treatment is legal…
“Sandra” (42) is one of those people. She lives in Sweden with her two children, a 4-year-old boy and a girl of almost 2 years of age. Both children were conceived with the help of donor sperm at a fertility clinic in Copenhagen, Denmark.
“When I turned 37, I started to wonder about insemination. I hadn’t found a partner to have a child with and I was beginning to worry about the age perspective. To meet someone new and start a family takes time, and I was running out of time”, Sandra says.
She had no desire to go out to a bar and get pregnant by a stranger, or force someone she had just met to be a parent. Instead she chose a sperm donor, because she knew that when you become a sperm donor, you make a conscious choice to help women have children. “And why not? The solution was right there”, she adds.
Where to go?
Until recently, it was not possible for single women to be inseminated in Sweden, so Sandra looked south of the border and chose a private fertility clinic in Copenhagen.
“I was worried that it would be strange and confusing to have such an important and intimate procedure in a different place, and I was scared that I would feel lost. But from the first contact with the clinic, it was clear that they had many women coming for treatment from all over the world”, Sandra explains.
“They had all the information about the procedure, they were kind and competent and I felt very safe”.
She made appointments with the clinic and went online to find her sperm donor at European Sperm Bank.
Finding the donor
“There were many sperm donors to choose from, and the selection process was quite easy. I found a handful that I liked based on the physical descriptions, and then I chose my favourite after looking at the extended profiles and reading about their hobbies, views on life, family history and all the other information.”
Sandra explains that she used the same donor for both children.
For her, being open and honest about how her children were made is important, so there are no surprises or confusion: “…and sometimes they ask about why they don’t have a father or something like that, and we sit down and I tell them about what a sperm donor is and how mummy chose the very best one. I guess, as they get older, they may have more questions, so I have all the donor information on my computer for them to read. Also, I chose an open donor, in case they want to say hi to him when they grow up.”
Sandra went through three cycles for her first child and two for the second. This meant a lot of traveling and time off work, which was exhausting at times. But for Sandra it was worth it: “You must make sacrifices to get what you want, so the going back and forth was just something that would have to work out. And it did. I still have my job and I got to fall in love with Copenhagen through all my stays there.”
Sandra’s advice to anyone traveling abroad for fertility treatment is:
- Contact more than one clinic and pick the one you like best. Feeling safe and in good hands is more important than a few bucks.
- Most clinics are open during weekends and some holidays, so you don’t have to take that many days off work.
- Plan your trips as best you can – and take advantage of your “mini-vacation”. Book at nice hotel room, go and explore the city, have nice meals. Some fertility clinics can even help you with the practical details.
- And make sure that you get to choose the donor yourself with as much information about the donor as you can have.
Looking for a clinic?
If you need help finding a fertility clinic, we are happy to guide you as best we can. Please contact us for more information.