I’ve wanted children for as long as I can remember but unfortunately have never had much luck in relationships. I talked with my friends about doing it alone and gave myself a deadline of 35 years old. A friend of a friend put me in touch with someone who’d had a child on their own and meeting someone who had done it made a huge difference. I quickly progressed from an idealistic “I’ll start putting things in place…” to “Yes, I can do this.”
I started off having privately funded treatment at a hospital-based clinic where they advised I move from IUI to IVF, but only offered conventional IVF. I feared that the down-regulation protocol with conventional IVF would shut my body down and it wouldn’t start producing eggs again. When I talked to them about Mild IVF, they just dismissed it. I wanted somewhere that would give me more options and I knew CREATE were pioneers of Mild IVF. When I came in for my first consultation the difference from the last clinic was incredible. During the scan and consultation I had total belief in the doctor, which was particularly important, having been let down and misinformed at my previous clinic. I was looked at as a whole person and the suggested treatment tailored to me and my body.
I have PCOS and following an investigative procedure it was unclear whether my fallopian tubes were clear and functioning properly so I was advised to pursue Mild IVF. The low level of drugs I took with Mild IVF did not affect me emotionally at all, but I found mixing the drug to stop you ovulating rather stressful. The first day I had to take this I phoned the on-call doctor at CREATE. He calmly talked me through the procedure, and even phoned me back an hour later, completely unprompted, to check that I had managed to do it all okay. It was little things like this that really helped.
There’s a constant mixture of real excitement, fear that treatment won’t work and disappointment when things change. IVF is very tricky when you’re someone who likes to be in control!
Following my egg collection, the eggs were mixed with sperm that I’d had imported from a bank in Denmark. Just before my egg collection I was told that my uterus lining was too thick for optimal implantation so any embryos created would have to be frozen. At the time I was devastated that things were going to be put on hold again, but in hindsight I realise it was for the best. I had two embryos and one of these was implanted on my next cycle, resulting in my son.
To other women taking the solo motherhood route I would advise them to ask for help – both during treatment and once the baby arrives. Build a support network around yourself. A lot of women who are having treatment alone are independent women; they’re used to doing things alone and looking after themselves, which makes it quite hard for them to ask for help. The first time I did it, it was difficult but now I find it a lot easier. I’ll send a message to a group of people and simply say, “I’m really struggling at the moment; can someone take him for a walk for an hour or come round and hang out.” That way there’s not so much pressure on one person and I usually get lots of offers. It’s also worth joining local and virtual support groups. The ones I’m part of are really helpful as there are so many people in different situations. You get a real perspective of what everyone else is going through and realise that there are so many other people who are in the same position as you, experiencing the same joys and challenges.
If you are a single woman & want to start a family, download our detailed guide to understand your options - https://www.createhealth.org/fertility-treatments-services/fertility-treatments/options-for-single-women