When it comes to having a family, most of us are familiar with the traditional story: boy meets girl, they fall in love, start a family, and live happily ever after.
But an increasing number of women are choosing to rewrite the narrative – opting to become a mother solo with the help of sperm donations.
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“The very first step is finding out a bit about the process, and the legalities of the process,” said Genea Fertility Specialist Dr Rachael Rodgers.
“There are two options: known donors, in which a friend might agree to donate sperm, and anonymous donors, largely sourced through a sperm bank. There are different legalities surrounding those.
“Once someone has made the decision to proceed, they should see a fertility specialist, to have an assessment of their own fertility and make sure there are no issues – and then we can put them in contact with our counsellors, who will go into more detail about how to obtain the sperm.”
Choosing a donor
“There are a few different groups of women who are accessing donor sperm,” Rodgers said.
“Heterosexual couples – where the male partner can’t provide the sperm that we need for medical reasons – are choosing donors who look most like the father.
“The other two groups are single women and women in same-sex relationships.
“They’re not going for the looks – they’re going for things like educational qualifications of the donors.
“The anonymous donors in particular often provide a lot of information about themselves – medical histories, educational histories, family histories – a lot of them have been through genetic testing. Some even provide essays about why they’ve chosen to be sperm donors.”
Shortage of donors
In Australia, there’s a shortage of sperm donors, as demand has outstripped supply.
“In Australia, you’re not allowed to pay for eggs or sperm – so it all has to be altruistic,” Rodgers said.
“There’s also a requirement that a child at the age of 18 that’s conceived using donated eggs or sperm can legally find out their biological origins.
“So every donor is put on a registry, and children have the right to access that identifying information.”
This article originally appeared on 7News