Going it alone – fertility treatment for single women
We know that more and more women are making the decision to have a child without a partner if they aren’t in a relationship. Awareness of the ticking of the biological clock means that women may not want to risk leaving it too late, and if you are in this situation you may find that it’s an option you want to consider.
It is sometimes assumed that single women who opt for treatment only do this because they’ve been wedded to their careers and have been spending all their time at work leaving little space for their personal lives.
While this may sometimes be the case, it is far more common for women to find themselves alone having spent a long time in a relationship with someone who didn’t want children, or perhaps simply not having ever met anyone they’d want to start a family with.
Making the decision
Women don’t decide to have a child alone on a whim, and for most this is a very carefully thought through decision. If it’s something you’re looking into, you will want to be certain that you can afford to pay for the treatment that you may need and will want to think about how things will work financially when you take maternity leave. You will also want to look further ahead to be sure that you feel confident that you would be able to support a child financially.
Most women who have treatment alone have spent some time pondering these issues, and will also have considered their own support network. Being a new mother is never easy and can be a daunting prospect for anyone whatever their circumstances. If you are going to be a lone parent you will have want to have thought about who you will turn to if the going gets tough, whether that’s family members or close friends.
Telling other people
It is important to prepare yourself in advance for the fact that not everyone will understand your decision to have a child by yourself. You may choose not to tell all your friends and family about it if you are concerned about how they will react. Although it is true that some may be critical, others may just be worried about how you will cope with a baby alone. Don’t assume that everyone will respond the same way though – you may find that some friends or family members are absolutely delighted at your decision and want to do all that they can to help and support you.
Is being a lone parent second best?
One thing women who are thinking about having a child without a partner often worry about is whether bringing up a child in a one-parent family is a responsible decision. You may wonder whether you’re being selfish and thinking about your own wants and needs rather than those of a future child. We tend to have an idea that having two parents is inevitably always better than having one. In fact, what matters to a child more than anything else is being brought up in a happy, stable and loving environment and there is no reason at all that one parent can’t provide this.
Making the decision to have a child by yourself is certainly no longer an unusual choice, and it’s something that more and more women are actively pursuing. There may be challenges to being a sole parent to a child, and it may not be the way you expected to have a family, but there will undoubtedly be many rewards too.
Writer and journalist
Kate Brian is a journalist, writer and author of four books on motherhood and fertility, including The Complete Guide to IVF. Kate started writing about the patient perspective on infertility after having IVF herself.
Currently, she contributes to various types of media as an expert on fertility and writes her own blog, where she gives all the latest news and views on fertility issues, as well as useful advice and links for anyone trying to have a baby.
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