"Becoming a Single-mum-by-choice is the best thing I've ever done!"
A few days ago we were delighted to meet up with our HSFC family member Jade and her daughter, Baby A. Jade is a Single-Mum-By-Choice (S-M-B-C) and we caught up with her to hear about her journey to parenthood.
Jade is an inspiration and we’re sure her story will resonate with many of you. Perhaps you are a single mum by choice already or maybe you are considering becoming one? Find out how Jade made the decision to become a single mum by choice and how she embarked on her journey.
The decision to become a single mum by choice
“It’s funny the journey life takes you on”, Jade starts off by saying. “This was never my plan. I always thought I would follow a more traditional route”. I’m sure this sentiment is one that is echoed by most single mums by choice. However, like many other women, Jade tells us that time was passing her by. She had got into her late 30s and realised that she had been prioritising work and still didn’t have a partner that she wanted to make a family with.
Jade tells us, “I came across a single-mum-by-choice colleague at work, who had a son. I had never thought about doing it on my own before, it definitely set some wheels in motion about maybe this could be something that I do too.”
Jade set about researching a little more and tell how suddenly she had entered this, “whole new world about using sperm donors”, and being part of a single-mum-by-choice community.
The process of selecting a sperm donor
Jade recalls that selecting her sperm donor was one of the “weirdest things I’ve ever done! Especially when doing it solo.” Jade tells us that she came up with a list of “must haves” but that it was still “incredibly hard to choose.” In the end, Jade settled on a profile in which their personal statement really stood out. She said, “I tried to put myself in my baby’s shoes for the future. I tried to think about how they would feel when they read it. I really wanted my child to have a connection with the donor who helped her ‘become’.”
Do you know if Baby A has any ‘Didlings’?
Didlings is a term used to describe donor-conceived siblings. Jade tells us that she knows the donor had children before donating their sperm but wasn’t sure if any other people had selected them. “When pregnant I came across lots of different ways that you can find out about ‘didlings’, says Jade, “but it is such a difficult and sensitive situation. The other didlings might not know they are donor conceived, or maybe don’t want to be found. I decided that in the end, it wasn’t my choice to make. I would let that be some Baby A decides to explore if she wants to when she is older.”
How did you choose HSFC?
“I had done lots of research, I had joined a single-mum-by-choice Facebook group where they had clinic recommendations and I also researched through donor conception networks”, Jade says. Jade shortlisted some clinics and looked at different clinic websites. She tells us that, “HSFC just stood out to me, the website was brilliant and had a very different feel to all others I had looked at.”
Jade had her initial fertility check-up with Dr Venkat and recalls that, “I just loved her approach. She was so reassuring. She said to me ‘Let’s get you pregnant’, and that really stuck with me.”
The experience with the staff at HSCF
Jade tells us that she first met Dr Venkat for her initial fertility consultation but moving forward she was under the care of senior consultant, Dr Lieve Verstraete.
“All of the staff made me feel fantastic. They were so welcoming. Walking into a clinic can be a really daunting thing, but everyone puts you at ease straight away. With Dr Lieve Verstraete, she made me feel like we were in this together. Her personal desire to see me pregnant was really obvious. It was just such a lovely set-up of staff at the clinic.”
Becoming a single-mum-by-choice
Jade recalls that from when she understood it as a concept to going into HSFC, it was around 3 years. “As I reached 40 I felt more certain that time was of the essence and I didn’t want to ever regret not trying”, she said.
A big part for any single-mum-by-choice parent is telling their family that this is what they intend to do and fortunately for Jade, her family thought it was an amazing idea and were incredibly supportive. From telling her family to having her first consultation, was around 18 months.
“I did have counselling”, Jade tells us. “It was through the clinic as part of the package HSFC offer. The person I spoke to was so kind and informative and it helped that I was already so sure in my mind that this was something I was going to do. The service being available for people is invaluable and having a neutral party help to guide and inform your decision is so important.”
Jade said that the biggest change in her life has been moving from London, to Devon. “It does get incredibly hard sometimes and so for me, being near me my sister in Devon was essential to form a support network. Being a single-mum-by-choice means that I have to bear the weight of all of the decision and that in itself brings out its own challenges.” Jade tells us that as well as the family support, she has also found the mother and baby groups have been crucial for support. “Finding other people going through the same sleepless nights, or breastfeeding battles is invaluable. It makes such a difference to share stories with someone who is going through it too.”
Telling baby A that she is donor conceived?
Many parents will worry about the “if”, “when” and “how” to tell their children they have been conceived through fertility treatment. But Jade knew straight away that she wanted Baby A’s story to feel normal. “I don’t want a big unveiling, or it to be this secret”, says Jade, “I just want it to be normal, a fact of her life. Being donor conceived is nothing to be ashamed of.” Jade adds that she has met other mums of donor conceived children and the children “talk about it completely normally, this is what I want for Baby A”.
If you are a parent of a donor conceived child, or indeed a child conceived through fertility treatment, and are wondering how to share this with your child, there are lots of children’s books that show children how different families are made.
Harley Street Fertility Clinic is proud to also have their very own children’s book written by Delia Corol, the Head of Marketing at HSFC. ‘The Wonderful You: An IVF Story’ is available to buy or download on Amazon – but it’s mostly gifted to IVF-conceived children,
A message to other mums
“If your heart and gut is telling you to do it, go for it!” She also adds, “It’s the most wonderful things I’ve ever done. Don’t be afraid of the “what ifs”, just give it a go!”
If you are considering becoming a single-mum-by-choice, then don’t hesitate in contacting us today. Our caring and dedicated team of expert professionals are waiting to hear from you.