Today, more women are choosing to have a child on their own and become a Single Mother by Choice. About 50 percent of Cryos’ families are single mothers to be, and this number has been increasing in the past few years.
There are many reasons why women choose to become single mothers. Many are confident and happy about being single, but still wish to have a child. Others have been unable to find the right partner to have children with or find that they want to be the only parent responsible for their child’s upbringing.
Becoming a Single Mother by Choice – what to consider
There are several considerations to think about when choosing to become a single mother. In the following information, we have gathered some discussion points you may want to think about when making the decision to have a child on your own.
What are the options?
Many women make the choice to use a sperm donor on their journey to motherhood. You have the option to choose a donor who has the same characteristics as you and your family, including similar hobbies and interests or completely different characteristics. Sperm donors are tested for many genetic and infectious diseases which makes this a very safe and popular option for many women. Most importantly, using a sperm donor will give you the full parental rights of your child.
How will you involve family and friends?
As a single mother, it is within your best interest to build a support network that includes the most important people in your life. Speaking with family and friends will help determine how they might support you. Some people may be able to help you on a practical level, while others may just be there for you to support you on this emotional journey.
How will you deal with people’s reactions?
Most people in your network will support you on your exciting journey towards motherhood. However, other people who are unfamiliar with the changes in society may question your choice.
It might be wise to prepare some answers to deal with people’s curious questions. It can be helpful to know in advance how to explain and stand by your choice. This can also help you prepare for how you will answer your child’s question about your family dynamic later in their life. Remember, that this is your life and only you know what is right for you.
Who to discuss big decisions with?
Throughout your pregnancy, and as you raise your child, there will be big decisions to make. Sometimes considering the perspective of outside influences may help you to make the best decisions for your child. It is a good idea to choose some people you feel comfortable with to discuss these important decisions. It could be your own parents, an aunt, your sibling, or a close friend who has children of her own.
How to tell your child?
Discussing how your donor child came into the world is often the best way to tell them very early in their life. Gradually, the child will understand it more and it will become an integrated and normal part of the child’s identity. Understanding that they have a donor father early on, will help normalize the idea of your unique family. Here donor-conceived Emma tells how her parents handled this issue through early childhood memories.
There are many ways to tell the story, but we have gathered some advice on here about how to talk to your child about being a donor child.
Do you want siblings for your child?
You should consider if you would like your child to have full genetic siblings through using the same donor. When the child grows older, it can be comforting for the child to know that they have siblings they are 100% genetically related to. Here you can read more about when and how much donor sperm to reserve for genetic siblings.
Accept that you cannot do everything perfectly
Being a parent will always be a mix of fantastic, exciting, challenging and frustrating moments. It is important that you tell yourself that you are doing the best you can. You are just as capable of raising a happy and healthy child as families with two parents. The idea of doing everything perfectly or giving the child everything they wish is a false narrative for any parent. This is completely normal and something we must all accept as parents.
Books about becoming a single mother by choice
To help you in the decision-making process, it can be great to read books that talk about the aspects of being a solo mom. Below we have gathered a list of useful books to read when making this decision.
- Solo Mom to a Donor Child, Signe Fjord & Anne Patricia Rehlsdorph
- Choosing Single Motherhood: The Thinking Women's Guide by Mikki Morrissette
- Single Mothers by Choice by Jane Mattes
Single mother by choice mother-child relationships
When you have decided to become a single mother, it is normal to think about your future relationship with your child. Some of your thoughts may be: Will one parent be good enough for my child? Can I provide all that he/she needs during his/her upbringing?
In the video below, you can watch an interview with Susan Golombok, a researcher at the Center for Family Research at the University of Cambridge. She has studied families created by SMC. In this video, she shares some of the study findings.
Learn and connect with other single mothers like you
The decision to become a single mother is a big step that entails many thoughts and considerations. In this process, it might be helpful for you to read personal stories by other women who have also made this decision. We recommend that you visit our blog, where you can read stories by other single mothers. For example, you can read this blog post where Signe Fjord tells us about solo motherhood and “real” families or this post where 38 year-old Marije explains her journey towards becoming a Single Mother by Choice.
We also encourage you to join our Facebook group Family Dreams Cryos USA where you can get in touch with other women who are also on their way to motherhood. You will also find other moms who have already had a child with the help of a sperm donor. You can also search Facebook for other communities to join, which have been created by single mothers.