This personal story was written by Sophy in 2018.
Compared to many of those who decide to embark on motherhood alone I've come to it quite early. Having been advised in June 2017 that my egg reserve was so low that I would shortly find it difficult to find an IVF clinic to treat me I decided, at 31, take the plunge. In reality though I'd been considering it and preparing for years before being given the shocker of a much earlier deadline than I'd anticipated.
Having read all the DCN literature and research on outcomes for children of single mothers, I felt that I was very able to give my child a wonderful, if small, family and that we could be really happy. I'm actually now pregnant with twins so not as small a family as I'd imagined!
I started IVF treatment with the Zita West clinic in September having bust a gut to come up with the fairly spectacular sum of money required for a private IVF cycle. I used Airbnb to rent out one spare room and had a lodger in the other spare room which contributed significantly to my fund. The rest came about via extreme frugality with my short deadline spurring me on to greater abstemiousness. To be honest, a longed for family is a fantastic incentive to cancel that gym membership/cleaner/coffee habit!
I was put on a micro flare protocol by the clinic which means that I didn't do the down-regulation portion of the normal IVF cycle but took the pill for a month instead. This was because of my fairly knackered ovaries and a desire to avoid giving them an excuse to peg it completely. My five follicles did really well to produce 4 eggs, all of which fertilized but only 2 of which were usable. I took the difficult decision to put both of them back on day 3 and am thrilled that both of those little 8 cell embryos are 4 months into their journey to becoming babies.
I'm aware that *touch wood* I'm incredibly lucky to have got pregnant first time and have seen the strain that several rounds of IVF put on a person, or a couple. I didn't find the drugs had a significant impact on me aside from slightly increasing my emotional response to things I'd previously have dealt with on a much more straightforward level. Particularly at work. But the absolute astonishment among my colleagues that I'm now pregnant is proof enough that I didn't give the game away!
At the moment I am very happy to tell those who ask what the story is. I've been single for (a million) years so it's logical for acquaintances and colleagues to ask about what they presume must have been a long relationship I'd just never mentioned. I've had no negative reactions and in some cases people have been so happy for me they've got all emotional. So far so good! Even family members I'd assumed would be pretty conservative have been 100% in favour which has meant a lot.
On the other side of the family tree I've chosen an open donor from the European Sperm Bank whom my babies will be able to meet when they're 18. I picked someone tall and blond like me but other than that I was looking for a healthy person who had created a nice interview and letter, so that my children feel good about him. The children will always know about their donor and I hope feel as comfortable with it as I do. I'm sure we'll have hurdles to overcome but I intend to make sure they never feel lesser because they have a donor parent. I certainly don’t feel lesser as a single mother - anything but.
I'm very excited for the summer ahead and my family can’t wait to meet the babies, so they'll certainly have a warm welcome. My imminent projects include buying an estate car, finding two of everything via second hand sites, and getting used to being sick every day. I have a horrible feeling I'm paying the price for an easy IVF with a pregnancy that I'm so far making pretty heavy weather of. Luckily I've met a fantastic (totally essential) gang of single mums by choice via the DCN who are the most incredibly supportive group of people I've met in all my days. I totally recommending making a significant effort to meet people just like you. Not so that you can hang out with them exclusively for ever more like a cult. But so that at least some of your circle know exactly how you feel.
Wish me luck!