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On the Mumsnet Donor Conception forum, you can discuss sperm and egg donation with people in the same situation.

Donor conception

Anyone else over 40 and single considering becoming a single mum by choice?

57 replies

Onetwothree456 · 06/12/2020 12:13

Hello, I've found myself single at 41 and thinking about finally going ahead with IVF to become a single mum by choice.
It would be great to be in touch with any other women in the same boat so we can support each other along the way?
A bit more about me: My last relationship ended a couple of years ago and I've been seriously thinking about this for a few years. I'm potentially thinking about kickstarting this early next year using sperm donor (for IVF and PGS) and possibly using a more affordable clinic in Europe (pandemic-depending).
It would be great to hear from anyone else in the same boat.
And for anyone who has just gone through this, it would be great to hear how you're coping with life as an older single mum? Including potentially how you're juggling finances of going it alone too (for those without family support close by)? I would possibly only be able to have a short time off work so I'd be interested to hear how others manage this - as well as conception plans. :)
But it would be great to have some fellow buddies in the same boat so we can support each other along the way.

OP posts:
Onetwothree456 · 06/12/2020 12:22

I'd also be interested to hear experiences about becoming pregnant through IVF at 41 (or there abouts). And whether the PGS was necessary (to pre-select embryos that are less likely to miscarry). It's so expensive but a bit more affordable in Europe and would potentially save some of the heartbreak of multiple miscarriages along the way. Any success stories of using just plain old IVF vs adding the PGS option at our grand old age? ;)

OP posts:
Waiting2BAMummy · 06/12/2020 15:37

Hi @Onetwothree456 I’m 39 and am TTC as a single mother by choice. I have found a donor locally (there are several websites) who donates fresh ‘goods’ each month around my fertile window. I have been trying now for 2 years but think much of the time I was trying around the wrong time. I was also very overweight but have since lost 6 stone. I had a chemical pregnancy back in March but since then not a hint of a BFP.

I’ve found a new donor who I used last month but don’t think I actually ovulated. If I’m not successful by March, by which time things will hopefully be getting back to some semblance of normality, then I’m also going to be looking to go abroad. Have looked briefly at a couple of clinics in Spain and Denmark but not done much more than that at this stage.

In terms of the financial aspects, I’ve bought all the expensive stuff, nursery furniture set, pram, car seat, crib etc already so that during my pregnancy I can save to support us while I’m on maternity leave. I don’t have any family to support me but I, luckily, do have a friend who is kind of a mother figure who has said she will look after baby when I go back to work.

There is a lot to think about but there is no question in my mind that I want this so if you’re the same I say go for it. Plenty of women end up as single mothers and make it work and they didn’t have the luxury of the planning that we have. If they can make it work so can you.

Good luck

Olddog7 · 06/12/2020 16:54

I started trying to be a solo Mum shortly after turning 40 and unfortunately am not there yet 4 years later, although there are many out there who have been successful post 40. My advice would be to be realistic about your chances and consider all options. Feel free to message if you want to.

Onetwothree456 · 06/12/2020 19:24

Hi both of you, thanks for getting back to me.

@Waiting2BAMummy, I thought about using one of those websites too but in the end I wasn't sure what the motivations of the men using it would be - although presumably similar to men donating at sperm banks. With the "fresh deliveries" to they drop you off the 'goods' in a package or is there an awkward encounter with the donor coming to your home to produce a sample. The first option seems less daunting.

I really like the idea of finding a coparent so the child has an extra family and more people on its side through life. But I imagine it would be difficult doing that with someone you don't know.

I've also been to talks at LWC and apparently there's only a very slim chance of getting pregnant through IUI (which I imagine would be the same chance as using a donor at home). They advised moving straight onto IVF and if using your own eggs after 40, the PGS option to minimise miscarriage and repeated attempts.

With a non-anonymous sperm donor from a bank, there's the possibility of getting to know other families who used the same donor (at least in the US I think). I could probably only afford one child, so it would be lovely to have some half siblings floating around that we could visit on holiday. (I realise I'm probably being naive in thinking this will be the case).

But there are so many options, it's confusing to know which is the best.

It's great you have someone to help with childcare! I don't have that so I'm looking at the cost of childcare and it's all so expensive but hopefully worth it!

Well done on the weight loss! :)

@Olddog7 Thanks for getting back to me. Four years is a long time but fingers crossed you'll be successful soon! I think if I don't have any luck after a couple of attempts, I'll possibly look into using a donor egg. I know someone who got pregnant naturally at 45, so anything is possible!

OP posts:
IamnotwhouthinkIam · 07/12/2020 20:51

Hi @Onetwothree456 . I always say this, but if you are in the UK I'd recommend joining the Donor Conception Network charity ( www.dcnetwork.org/ ) - they can put you in touch with other single mothers by choice in your area/ local/zoom meetups and can sometimes even offer advice on the donor conception process itself (ie. things like the positives/negatives to known donors or clinics abroad).

At over 40, I'd personally go straight to IVF as the IUI statistics are so low. IVF is hard enough at our age, as only a smaller amount of eggs are genetically normal - so the chances of IUI working are minimal I think. Hopefully someone can give you advice on PGS testing (I've read it might not be worth it unless you have a lot of embryo's to choose from, which might not be the case for many of us).

Other things to consider - if you go for donor sperm from UK sperm banks, there is a limit of 10 UK families (so usually 10-20 max donor siblings, often less - although check they don't export abroad). But if you choose an international donor there are often no limits, so your child could have 40, 50 or more siblings worldwide (and this can sometimes be a difficult concept for a child to cope with).

Also, it is now generally accepted that children benefit from being able to find out information about their donor (the UK allows this at 18, via the HFEA database for UK sperm banks/clinics). But many European countries/clinics allow anonymous sperm donors only (eg. Spain, Greece). I know Denmark allow ID release at 18 donors, but I don't know if there is a proper database for clinics like the UK, so you need to check how other countries differ.

Hope this helps, Good luck!

Howdy2177 · 07/12/2020 21:27

Hiya, I’m 43 and have a 6 week old baby by IVF and donor sperm from European sperm bank, Danish sperm they tell me. I decided not to choose myself and so the donor was selected by the clinic, only choice was to have same eye and hair colour as me. I was living in the Netherlands at the time and they cover 3 rounds of IVF on health insurance, yes even for single women. I paid for the sperm, the monthly insurance payments, 180 per month and the excess 385. I did 4 attempts ICSI before trying one round of IVF. I opted for that because I had til 43rd birthday for it to be covered on insurance. It worked first time, they got 6 eggs, 2 embryos, one still in the freezer at the NL clinic. I have until age 45 if I’d like to use the embryo in NL but would now have to pay privately.

The statistics go against this having worked, but they are statistics and I always figured it was worth trying. I hadn’t met anyone good enough and I felt I would regret not trying more than anything. I had quite a sickly pregnancy at the beginning and struggled to work as looking at computer knocked me out. Then I had to have a c section which I’m still recovering from. I mention both of these because I absolutely underestimated how much help I would need. I moved closer to family and it’s really the best decision I made. I always imagined I’d be fine on my own but having little visits and meals dropped off has kept me sane and fed. If I was on my own back in Netherlands I would’ve hired someone by now to cook and clean for me. No doubt. Having a c section obviously made the early days a lot more difficult, just lifting baby to feed, up and down stairs. My sister set up a snack and tea table in my bedroom so I could make myself toast and snacks without leaving the bedroom. Invaluable.

I say all of this just because it’s not something I thought about when I was trying ICSI and IVF. I’ve always been fiercely independent but this is the one time I gave in to accepting help.

If you’re thinking of doing it and can afford it, I say go for it, I have weak moments when I wonder why I chose to go it alone but they are brought on by fatigue and lack of sleep and hormones I think. They go away again when baby is being lovely and smiley.

I’ve blathered on a bit, this is first time posting on here. I don’t know if you can private message but if you can and you’d like to ask more questions please go ahead. Oh and also, I’ve since realised through many chats just how many women are doing this alone even after they chose to have children with a partner. As someone else said, at least you’re going into it knowing you’ll be a single parent. Accept help however it comes.

MotherExtraordinaire · 07/12/2020 22:34

Hi,
I did this.
Best decision of my life!
My lo is now in infants school, so baby years are sadly behind me and I do have moments where I wish I'd tried again or started sooner.
My word of warning about "fresh donations" are that they're legally recognised as the father and have the same rights as the father and are not viewed as a donor. Plus obviously, every month you risk your own health re stds and the genetic element is an absolute unknown, whereas with banks, the samples are tested.
Financially, I was lucky and didn't return to work until my lo started school. Managing childcare, ft work and a young child alone isn't impossible, but it really hard. I now work pt and am lucky it's in school hours, but even still some weeks I'm cream crackered! And to me, I'd want to still have quality time with my child. If possible, I'd look at ways to reduce having to work so many days and reduce costs if possible. I know a few choice mums and all are either sahms or pt workers, so I don't think I'm the outlier in this thinking.
Do you have family @Onetwothree456 who you will have for support and know your plans?

Persipan · 09/12/2020 12:06

I did it! Started trying at 38ish, eventually had my baby this year at 43 (using donor eggs as well as sperm, in the end).

This has been a somewhat awkward year to have a baby on one's own, as I couldn't get the help from friends I'd anticipated - in the end my dad actually came to stay for about 10 weeks at the beginning (although the later part of that was more because we'd both have been bored in lockdown if he'd gone home, to be honest). Echoing a pp, I was really worried about the idea of a c section (I live in an upstairs flat!) and was pleased to be able to avoid one.

Financially, I'm not yet back at work so thus far not having to pay for childcare, which will be the expensive bit - but it should just about be doable. For me, it's actually better financially to have the full year of maternity leave, including the unpaid bit, than go back sooner and have to start paying for nursery - so definitely do your sums on that bit.

Fertility treatment was very, very, very expensive, bit I did opt to stick with UK treatment because I wanted to ensure any child would have the option of having their donor's details at age 18 - something that isn't the case in all countries. Also, tbh, I don't much like travel and it would have stressed me out.

Best of luck, and feel free to ask any questions I can help with!

user1471604848 · 23/12/2020 00:02

Yes, at age 40 and single, I started fertility treatment.
After 7 years, 5 IUIs and 5 IVFs, with two miscarriages, and moving to donor eggs, I finally gave birth to beautiful twins (boy/girl) in Feb.

I had a c-section and didn't have any issues with recovery - was back to normal after 2 or 3 days and pushing the pram and running up and down stairs with the babies. Had a completely uneventful pregnancy too (hid it in work till about 23 weeks).

I'm back to work now, and it's a challenge to fit everything in, but so worth it!
Financially it's expensive, with 2 lots of crèche/childminder fees, but that's only for a few years till they're in school.
It's amazing, I recommend you go for it!

user1471604848 · 23/12/2020 00:03

Also, I went to a clinic in Greece for the successful cycle. Clinic called "Ovum". I'd highly recommend them.

Ttc42nearly43 · 27/01/2021 22:46

Hi is there a clinic you would recommend for this am considering IVF with sperm donor maybe potentially egg donor too. Am going to get some blood test done first my FSH and AMH tests will decide where to go from there any advice would be appreciated

Waiting2BAMummy · 12/02/2021 12:54

Can I ask how much your treatment at ovum cost @user1471604848? (Including meds, scans etc) I’ve just been looking on their website but can’t see any prices.

Thanks 😊

pandaweryikmll · 13/02/2021 23:44

Hi I turn 39 in April and unfortunately I haven't met anyone that I wanted to have a baby with so after much deliberation I ve decided to go it alone as a single mum. At times I think what am I doing but then don't want to not have a child.
I ve been having tests since November and my clinic have recommended IUI 3 times and then IVF but I'm worried this won't work as I ve read and heard so many unsuccessful stories with IUI. Anyone going through the same thing and been successful with IUI? X

LewishamMum · 21/02/2021 15:44

I'm 37 and an SMC. My DD is now 10 weeks and 1 day. I did IVF and bought sperm from a clinic in California, and got pregnant with my first blastocyst.

I picked up masses of baby stuff on Freecycle for free, obv, and bought lots of other things second hand too. I'm hoping Covid will mean home working becomes much more of a thing so as to save on child care, but who knows.

I think no-one has kids to get rich, but no-one regrets it either. I love my DD so much and can't even imagine life without her at all. I've already been in touch with my clinic about how soon I can try doing it again!

If you get a DC you'll never regret it; if you don't try you'll regret that I'm sure. Good luck x

Waiting2BAMummy · 21/02/2021 16:00

what clinic did you use @LewishamMum? and can I ask how much your IVF cost (including meds and sperm)?

I have been using a known donor but am into my third year of trying now and turn 40 later this year so am pulling out the big guns.

LewishamMum · 21/02/2021 18:53

@ Waiting2BAMummy: I used CRGH. My eggs were frozen years ago (on the NHS) and so I was "only" paying for everything else, but it was still about £8,000 in total.

I bought 2 vials of sperm, both £1,000 each, and there were import duties and admin costs as well, so it's a bit. Also, I was determined to have blastocyst transfer which adds up. That said, next time it will be £2,800 + meds, so should not be more than £3,500 or so in total for each subsequent attempt with a full sibling for DD.

CRGH are not cheap, and their admin is maddening, but they do get very good results. The majority of blastocyst transfers result in a baby, and they don't just pick good blasts (some of mine were quite poor quality but they still wanted to freeze them, even though I've read on Mumsnet that other clinics would have chucked them because of the gradings). I always liked all the drs and nurses that I saw, but their organisation/system could do with some improvement. Despite my irritation and the cost, I would recommend them and will be using them again. My first transfer (okay quality) resulted in DD,.

Waiting2BAMummy · 21/02/2021 19:01

Thank you for the information @LewishamMum.

I’m seriously looking at going abroad due to the costs here.

Cally70 · 28/02/2021 16:20

I'm a SMC with 2 children aged 10 & 8. I was 40 & 42 when I had them. Feel free to ask me anything Smile

Waiting2BAMummy · 28/02/2021 16:43

Oh wow @Cally70 that fills me with hope. I turn 40 later this year and have been trying, unsuccessfully, with a known donor for years very two years now. I think timing has been a massive issue as I can only ‘try’ a couple of times a month. I had a chemical pregnancy in March last year but other than that nothing.

Did you have IUI or IVF?

Cally70 · 28/02/2021 17:00

I had 7 failed IVFs with my own eggs, and then conceived on my 2nd attempt with donor eggs. DS2 was conceived on 3 attempt with donor eggs.

pandaweryikmll · 28/02/2021 17:06

@Cally70 hope you don’t mind me joining in and asking it’s just that In April I’m going to have iui treatment to become a single mum by choice just didn’t meet the right bloke and don’t want to not have kids. I will be 39 next month. Can I ask how comes you ended up having so many rounds?just thinking what I should prepare myself for x

Cally70 · 28/02/2021 17:40

I had high FSH & low AMH. The stats for over 35s are pretty low. Nothing stuck for me until I moved onto donor egg. I have never regretted my decision for a second.

Fluffyowl00 · 10/04/2021 22:27

Did you get anything sorted in the end? I’m 41 and currently 21 weeks pregnant with an IVF baby (and my AMH was 4.1!). I was also looking at going abroad but actually some of the clinics in the UK are pretty reasonable. I paid £13k for three rounds of IVF and sperm from a sperm bank. You can also pay it on 12 months interest free credit! If I’d known I would have done it earlier.

Create and Care are both clinics that are really reasonable ...and a lot easier than getting abroad.

Wishing you the best of luck.

Fluffyowl00 · 10/04/2021 22:29

PS I was also trying with a known donor for a couple of years.

Waiting2BAMummy · 11/04/2021 18:13

That’s great to know @Fluffyowl00, thank you

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