Single Women and Assisted Reproduction
Wednesday September 13th, 2017
For women who have decided to take the plunge and try for a child independently, there are a range of different techniques and procedures that should be considered. Intra uterine insemination (IUI treatment) using sperm for a donor is most commonly the first port of call, while In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) with donated sperm and sometimes eggs is an alternative option. Single women may also find that other patients have donated pre-embryos, which could be offered. IVI’s medical professionals know that the journey to become a single parent is not a simple one, and we are here to make sure that the you are informed and supported in your journey at every step of the way. Whether you are fertile, but in need of assistance via donated sperm, or going through unexplained infertility, there are options to make parenthood a possibility.
All patients at IVI receive the same care in the first instance. After making an appointment to speak to a specialist, the patient will be given access to the patient portal and smart phone app. The process of detailing medical history and any other tests is straightforward, and as the patient is able to fill in the information at her leisure, she can relax and make sure she is in a pleasant environment. The app is an excellent resource for keeping on top of the information available and up to date with the progress of the procedures employed.
During the first appointment, the specialist will discuss patient history and options, and then may require an ultrasound. This can be extremely helpful in assessing the uterus and ovarian function, giving the specialist the opportunity to investigate the relevant physical characteristics. This is important for determining whether IUI treatment may be best, or whether an IVF is a more suitable option. The specialist can also start to investigate unexplained infertility, if that is an issue in the patient’s unique case.
Once the treatment has been selected the patient must attend a Nurse Planning Appointment. This is the time to consent to undergo fertility treatment, and the medical professional will discuss the success rates, risks, potential side effects, and possible legal matters pertaining to the chosen treatment. This is also an excellent opportunity to ask any questions in mind. Results from hormone tests, pap smears, and rubella tests will be available, making it easier for the medical professional consulting to address any outstanding points.
Assisted Reproduction Choices
IUI treatment is the most common choice of assisted reproduction treatment for single women. In the majority of cases there is no issue with unexplained infertility, and the patient is merely in need of the other material required for reproducing: the sperm. IUI treatment is straightforward: the sperm is prepared in the laboratory and then placed directly into the patient’s uterus. This increases the chances of conception. For women who have an abnormality in the cervix or have problems with ovulation, IUI treatment is an excellent choice.
In cases where IUI treatment fails, or is not suitable in the first instance, IVF may be the preferred option. In this case the sperm will still come from a donor, and either the patient’s own eggs or those of a donor may be employed. The patient may opt for IVF when there is damage to the fallopian tubes, when suffering from endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or even when there is risk of genetic disorder. In the instance of a single woman opting to conceive via assisted reproduction, there is one less factor to worry about: the sperm chosen will be from a healthy donor, not from a pre-existing partner. This means the donor won’t have any medical or fertility issues, making the process that much smoother.
Whether you’re opting to undergo fertility treatments at home in the UK or travelling abroad, perhaps to one of our 27 clinics in Spain, there are guidelines surrounding sperm and egg donation. The clinic can provide non-identifiable information about donors including ethnicity and some physical characteristics such as eye and hair colour. This is true for both male and female donors, sperm and egg.
Donors have been examined and their donated material is passed through rigorous testing to ensure it is of the highest quality and most likely to result in a successful procedure. Their medical history and genetic traits have been checked thoroughly to prevent the risk of inherited disease being passed to the babies. Sperm donations are also kept in quarantine for six months to ensure the donor is not in the early stages of an infection.
In some countries it is possible to have a male friend donate sperm, but in Spain the donation must be anonymous and altruistic. This means that the donor will not have contact with any offspring that result from his selfless act. While the child may want to get in touch with their biological father the clinic will only disclose a certain amount of information in extremely exceptional circumstances, and never any details that could be used to identify the donor. Single women choosing to use a sperm or even egg donor should know that full and complete responsibility for the child remains with her; there is no option for their offspring to request more information about the kind person or persons who made their existence possible.
Becoming a parent is never an easy decision, and for a woman choosing to go it alone it may be even more complex. At IVI, our team of professionals will be with you, providing medical and emotional support when you need it most.