29 January 2018

Is it difficult to be a single mother?

woman mother by herself
By the Editorial Comitee IVI Blog

It was for a long time unthinkable for a woman to raise a child on her own and continue to live her life without being judged, shunned or made to feel ashamed of her life choices. As recently as the 60s and 70s it was still common for unmarried young women to give up their babies for adoption. Thankfully this sort of attitude has been left firmly in the past, and in the 21st century the decision to become a single mother is seen for what it is: a perfectly valid choice which gives both parent and child every chance of being happy and healthy.


Choosing single parenthood

There are many reasons why a woman may choose to become a mother by herself. With the increasing importance placed on careers, a woman may have a fulfilling occupation that takes priority. Encouraged to work long hours in her early twenties as she climbs the career ladder, it may be that she does not give much thought to her fertility until the urge to have a child strikes. Alternatively, she may play the dating game and hold out for the right partner until realising that no-one out there is going to meet her standards.

Of course, there are many other reasons why a woman may decide to start trying for a baby by herself. They do not change the simple fact that with regard to fertility women are under much greater time pressure than men are. After the age of 35 fertility begins to drop, with a sharp decline after the age of 38. Should a woman put off motherhood until this time, it is not uncommon for her biological clock to suddenly start ticking loudly and insistently.

The decision to try for a baby is not one that women take lightly, especially where there is a need to involve extra medical professionals. However, it is a fantastic step forward for society that women are able to look in the mirror, declare themselves capable and ready to have a child, and then take steps to make that happen on their own.


How to become a single mother

IVI are experts in the field and very experienced when it comes to listening to our patients and determining the right course of action for each individual. Some of our female patients may have previously undergone fertility preservation techniques, such as freezing eggs. This is something we encourage women to do from their early adulthood, if they know that they are likely to begin trying for a child later in life. Having access to the female patient’s own eggs, taken and frozen at the peak of her fertility, is often the most straightforward way to undertake In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF). Women may still have a high rate of success without their own frozen eggs, however, especially if they are willing to undertake IVF at one of our fertility clinics in Spain. Travelling abroad for treatment is often the best choice for hopeful patients. Many of them find that our expertise, coupled with easy access to treatment, gets the IVF cycle started much sooner than in their home country. This is especially true in cases where donor eggs are needed.

Egg donation, or oocyte donation, is one of the reasons why women may opt to travel to Spain for treatment. In many countries in Europe and worldwide, anonymity laws and other strict regulations can mean that it is more difficult to be selected as the recipient of donated eggs. Laws in Spain mean that there is a plethora of individuals who choose to donate eggs altruistically, so that women may more easily see their dream of becoming a mother come true. These same laws also apply to sperm donors, which means that in Spain women can be sure that there will be plenty of genetic material ready for them. In some countries, sperm can be donated by a male friend or volunteer who is known to the patient. This may cause problems later on in life, especially if the child is in contact with the source of their genetic material. Luckily, this is not the case in Spain, where strict anonymity laws bar patients from sourcing their own donors. This ensures that the act of donation is one hundred per cent anonymous, with no strings attached. The donor cannot ask or be asked to step into the role of father later in life, no matter what.


Not doing it alone

For women choosing to have a baby by themselves, there is still the possibility of having a helping hand. While fertility specialists and medical professionals will be available to assist and answer questions during treatment, it can be helpful to have a friend or relative on hand for emotional support. Patients who are able to call on a friend who has gone through IVF previously may find that they are better equipped to deal with any emotional turmoil. The important thing is to have at least one person to lean on for support. Women who choose to have a baby by themselves are likely to be the intrepid type. Even so, having someone accompany you on the journey is priceless, even if their role is just to make tea and be a sounding board. Becoming a single mother is a fantastic choice if it is right for the individual, and in today’s world there are plenty of ways in which lone parents can be supported that do not involve a partner or co-parent.


IVI are delighted to assist in the creation of any family, regardless of the patient’s marital status, age or sexual orientation. The most important thing for us is helping our patients become parents, even if they are single when they choose to do so. Though IVF experiences vary across the board, IVI does its utmost to make the process run as smoothly as possible.

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