Our Prime Minister announced her pregnancy last month and it has created all sorts of conversations – positive and negative. When it comes to fertility there is a lot of taboo, there is a lot of fear of saying the wrong thing and for those of us who want children but remain childless there is fear of feeling the wrong thing, and when it comes to fertility almost everyone has an opinion whether sought or not, –
you’re too young / oh now you’re too old;
you don’t really mean you don’t want them, you’d make a good mum/dad so you should have one;
haven’t you heard the world is overpopulated why would you even consider having one;
you can’t afford it / you’re have a good job now so why don’t you have kids yet;
why don’t you have kids yet? / you’re single you should not even think about having a child on your own / why don’t you just go and meet someone?;
you shouldn’t tell people your plans / why didn’t you tell me;
And one of my favourites (insert sarcasm! and eye rolling because this is the worst).. maybe you weren’t meant to be a parent if it didn’t happen naturally and if you can’t find a husband.. GRRRR
This week The Project NZ has started each of their nightly shows with a discussion about fertility issues. The segment has made me cry, it has made me laugh, it has made me feel less alone in my desire to have a child but struggling to do so. To all the cast and crew of the Project NZ thank you for doing your bit to make fertility part of normal conversation and raising awareness of what many people go through #mybabystory.
After a failed marriage that didn’t survive a raft of problems including fertility issues, numerous relationship and dating bumbles since, I’m am proud to say that for me the decision is one of timing and one of choice. I’ve realised if I’m going to be a mum it’s going to be as a single mother by choice (SMC), and you know what.. I’m proud of that decision and it’s not one that I made without considering the facts and the emotive.
When I told my friends what my plans were there were mixed responses with some opinions that I shouldn’t do it because it will be too hard as a single parent, others kindly suggested I should try harder to meet someone (if only they knew my full dating history they would probably reconsider that statement), one even suggested it’s not fair on the child never knowing it’s father and others looked at me and said you are strong enough to do that alone and you’ll make a great mum and we are here every step of the way with you when you need help or encouragement. I appreciate all of my friends and their stance on the subject and I know that no matter their opinion they love me and as I go through this journey they are there with me and for that I love them more than words could ever express.
For my baby story I want to share with you information about trying to become a parent as a single mother. This is an issue in NZ as there aren’t the sperm donors available in our little country, meaning there is a 2 year wait for any sperm to become available, this is reduced to around 12 months if you choose IVF with a sperm donor. As a single person there is no government support for covering the cost of fertility treatment including IVF so it is all out of pocket. As a single person it is almost impossible to be considered to become a parent via adoption, and in NZ the number of adoptions outside of family has drastically reduced which means that the option is off the table as while my bother has 5 kiddies i’m pretty sure he doesn’t plan on giving any of them up (they are way to cute, funny and kind). So come on men of NZ, consider donating your stuff because you might just be able to make a families dream come true.
The sperm shortage could be reduced if there was legislation change to allow the importing of sperm from Australia/USA etc. But as the legislation stands this is not allowed and it won’t be changing any time soon, this legislation in NZ also affects surrogacy which as the law is written the surrogate is legally the parent and the biological parents need to formally adopt the child after a period of time following the childs birth – crazy right!
So what does this mean for me? well because of my age, which by fertility standards is damn old, my best chances are via fertility with a sperm donor – by the time that sperm becomes available my chances of getting pregnant per attempt is around 22%. If I tried straight artifical insemenation via a sperm donor (a.k.a the Turkey Baster option) my chances based on Fertility Associate NZ stats say they are about 9%. I am currently trying to save the $15k I need for one round of IVF and I went on the waitlist for sperm 5 months ago. If I need to wait 2 years it means I basically have one shot for it to work as at that time I’ll be almost 41 at time of giving birth. This is obviously not ideal and if I had fallen pregnant at a much younger age I would have been over the moon but back then I didn’t know all of the facts especially regarding wait times and I simply didn’t have the income to support the financial outlay of IVF and back then in my 20’s I was only fortunate enough to fall pregnant once but sadly that ended in miscarriage. If by some miracle I can come up with $30-35k before I get to the top of the list for donor sperm in NZ I could fly to the States and do it over there but I’m on an average kiwi wage and I need to on top of IVF also save enough to cover maternity leave as there is no second income from a partner to support me if I am successful in carrying and delivering a child into this world.
This life thing is a crazy journey and I hope one day in the not so distant future I will get to share my life, my learnings, my heart and my home with my own little family.
To everyone that has taken the time to read this post no matter your journey you are not alone, lets keep talking and lets keep educating our communities on fertility issues and fertility decisions.
“Hope is the little voice you hear whisper ‘maybe’ when it seems the world is shouting ‘no.’”