When Lucie Weber was in her 20’s she knew exactly what she wanted– to be married with two kids by the age of 30.
As the years went by, however, her thirtieth birthday came and went without a marriage or children. The waiting game wasn’t working for her, and after taking an anti-mullerian hormone test to learn her ovarian reserves were very low for her age, Weber realised she needed to take a leap of faith and try for a baby on her own.
“It wasn’t a decision I made lightly but it was also always in the back of my mind I guess,” Weber tells Tarla Lambert on our podcast series Fertility Unfiltered, in partnership with Genea Fertility.
“I thought I’d be married with two children by the time I was thirty so the fact that I found myself single at 30 with no particularly decent dating prospects– it was quite, at first, stressful,” she says.
“All of my dating that I did sort of had a theme– I’ve got to meet someone, I got to fall in love because I do want to have a child. But I always had it in the back of my mind: solo is an option if you really want to be a mum.”
Around the time that Covid hit, Weber decided to take a blood test to find out her AMH level– a hormone level which suggests your ovarian reserve.
Unfortunately, at age 36, her ovarian reserve was “drastically low” and “on par with a woman in her mid-40s”. Weber says this was “a huge wake up call” and made her realise she didn’t have time to waste in the fertility process.
“I’d had some friends who waited until they were 40 and had come out of their journey with no child to show for it,” she says, noting it was at that point that Weber reached out to Genea Fertility and began the process of IVF.
Fortunately for Weber, the IVF was successful and her son is now approaching his second birthday. She says becoming a single parent has been the best decision she’s ever made.
If, like Weber, you’ve been contemplating becoming a single parent, the good news is that science and technology can help with conception. Whether you’re single, dealing with infertility or identify as LGBTQ, there are options out there to ensure no one misses out on becoming a parent.
IVF, a sperm or egg donor, and surrogacy are all viable fertility options, depending on your unique situation. And anonymous donor programs are offered at fertility clinics.
Genea, for example, works with Fairfax Cryobank, a trusted donor sperm bank that has rigorous screening processes and is LGBT friendly.
When going solo, Genea specialist Dr Tween Low says there are some key decisions to make, such as who will donate the egg or sperm to help you make a baby.
“The first thing that we should consider is that there has to be trust between the donor and recipient,” says Dr Low.
“So you need to be confident that the person that is donating – her or his or their gametes are doing this out of altruistic intention, there must not be any – financial reward for the donation.”
Other considerations Dr Low recommends making are that the gamete donor is a healthy person and that the age of the donor isn’t too old for the sperm to have a low pregnancy rate but also not too young that the donor doesn’t understand the significance of the donation.
As a single parent, the support that you surround yourself with is also crucial, as Dr Low says “it takes a village to raise a child”.
“You need to think about the support that you might require,” she says.
If you’re a single woman, Dr Low says you should ask yourself, “Who’s going to help me? Who’s going to be the male role model as well? And then research the clinics that you are going to approach”.
“Plan in advance and don’t leave it till you are too old because the older you start the treatment the harder it is to conceive. The longer it takes, the more expensive it’s going to be.”
To learn about more reproductive health topics from health experts, check out the rest of the podcast series, “Fertility Unfiltered”, as new episodes are released each week. We’re creating a safe space for conversations around fertility, ranging from the possibility of parenthood, seeking guidance on reproductive health and even the science behind conception.
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