“As a single mum you’ll discover inner strengths and capabilities you never knew you had.”Emma-Louise Smith
Sarah always imagined that she’d have children. When she was a little girl, she had daydreams about finding the love of her life, getting married, and having dozens of cute bouncy babies. Naturally, as Sarah got older, she became more realistic about her goals. She entered her late twenties with a solid career, 401k, and stock options, but something was missing: a family. Sarah had a few serious relationships, but none of her past partners were husband or father material. At 29, she decided to freeze her eggs at the suggestion of her physician. In her early thirties, Sarah was tired of waiting for the “right” person to come into her life; she wanted children, and time was ticking away. Using a sperm donor, Sarah became pregnant at 32, giving birth to a little girl, making her an SMC, a single mother by choice.
Who Wants To Become A Single Mother By Choice?
Throughout history, the term “single mother” was synonymous with heartbreak, stress, struggle, and shame. Today, women worldwide are reclaiming the title and wearing it like a badge of honor, instead of a scarlet letter. Because divorce and having children out of wedlock are no longer stigmatized, seeing a single mother (or father) is commonplace. According to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau, there were about 11 million single-parent families in the US. Though most people arrive at single parenthood unintentionally, many women take a one-way road there and never look back. Becoming a single mother by choice is a unique path to parenthood, but one that is the best choice for some. There are many reasons why a woman might choose to parent solo including:
- They haven’t met the right partner yet but don’t want to wait to have children
- Their biological “clock” is ticking and they don’t want to wait until it’s too late to get pregnant
- They want children but do not want a partner
- They want to give their parents grandchildren
- They have the financial means to afford IVF, IUI, adoption, or surrogacy
- They want to
Although traditional single parents are more likely than coupled parents to live in poverty, single mothers by choice buck this trend. In fact, most women that opt to independently parent are well established in their careers and financially stable. Additionally, SMCs often have an excellent support network of family and friends to help them with their bundle of joy.
How Do You Become A Single Mother By Choice?
There are several ways for a woman to become a single mother by choice including IVF, IUI, surrogacy, and adoption. Keep reading to learn more about each option, the process, and the costs involved.
In vitro fertilization or IVF treatment as it’s more commonly called, is a method of assisted reproduction in which a woman’s eggs are fertilized by a donor’s sperm outside of the body in a medical laboratory. After an embryo or embryos form, a physician places it in the uterus, and (hopefully) pregnancy occurs. On average, IVF costs around $12,000; however, there are often additional costs to improve the chances of a healthy pregnancy or to receive donor material.
Gestational surrogacy is a popular option for SMCs that do not want to or cannot get pregnant on their own. Gestational surrogacy involves taking eggs from the intended mother and fertilizing them with donor sperm to create an embryo that can be placed inside the gestational surrogate. Some women opt to find a surrogate on their own, i.e., an independent surrogacy, and employ a surrogacy attorney to handle all of the paperwork. However, most intended women choose to work with a full-service surrogacy agency to help them find a gestational carrier. The cost of surrogacy is anywhere between $25,000 to nearly $60,000.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) involves donor sperm being placed directly into a woman’s uterus around the time her ovary releases one or more eggs to be fertilized. IUI and Clomid services can range from $500 to $3,500.
Single Mother By Choice Via Adoption
Lastly, women can become mothers through the adoption of a child. In the US, a woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy may choose adoption for her baby. To become an adoptive parent, a hopeful SMC would work with an adoption agency to create an adoption profile and complete other requirements. Pofiles are then shown to prospective birth mothers, who choose the right couple or individual to adopt their baby. In the US, the price of private adoption varies, but usually ranges from $20,000 to $45,000. Costs include legal fees, court documentation fees, home studies, counseling and medical expenses for birth parents, training for adoptive parents, and interim childcare.
If you are considering being a single parent by choice, do your research, explore your options, and decide what’s right for you. Remember that everyone will have an opinion, but this is YOUR life and you deserve to live it the way that you want to.
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