Fertility Care for Single Parents by Choice
The desire and ability to become a parent is not something that is unique to couples alone. Today, many single individuals choose to pursue their family-building goals without a partner. While every person’s path to parenthood is different, many single individuals rely on fertility care and third-party reproduction to have a child.
Fertility Care for Single Women: Sperm Donation, IUI, and IVF
To become a mother through fertility care, single women need the help of a known or anonymous sperm donor. Once the donor sperm has been obtained, single women can become pregnant one of two ways: through intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Sperm Donation for Single Mothers By Choice
A known or directed sperm donor is typically a close family member or friend. An anonymous sperm donor is someone who is found through a sperm bank. Sperm banks have databases of donor profiles available for intended parents to browse. These profiles contain information about the donor’s characteristics without revealing their identity, including educational background, career, medical history, and physical description.
The choice of whether to work with a known or anonymous donor is a highly personal decision. Some people prefer the idea of working with a known sperm donor, but it’s worth noting that directed sperm donation typically makes the process longer and more expensive.
All sperm donors, regardless of whether they are known or anonymous, must go through an extensive screening process. Part of this screening process includes quarantining the sperm for six months to ensure that it doesn’t have infectious diseases, such as HIV. This stringent screening process is regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration and cannot be skipped, even if the known donor tests negative for these diseases. This is because many communicable diseases, including HIV, may not be detectable until a significant period of time following exposure.
When working with a known donor, the intended parent becomes responsible for the costs associated with the screening, freezing, and storage processes, which can add up to a significant amount. However, when working with an anonymous sperm donor, all the screening measures have already been taken care of, and the only cost the intended parent is responsible for is the semen sample. Furthermore, any semen sample purchased from the sperm bank will be ready for immediate use.
IUI and IVF for Single Mothers By Choice
IUI, also known as artificial insemination, involves placing the sperm directly into the uterus. This is typically performed in conjunction with ovulation induction, which is the process of using fertility medications to stimulate ovulation.
In some cases, patients may need IVF to get pregnant. In IVF, the patient is given fertility medications to stimulate multiple egg follicles at once. Once the eggs have matured, they are retrieved from the ovaries and fertilized with the donated sperm. After incubating for a few days, the embryos are transferred into the intended mother’s uterus or frozen for later use.
Fertility Care for Single Men: Egg Donation and Surrogacy
The fertility journey for single men requires a few different areas of advanced fertility care, most notably gestational surrogacy.
Egg Donation for Single Fathers By Choice
Much like sperm donation, single men have the option of working with a known egg donor, such as a friend or family member. However, because of the emotional and legal complications that can arise from using a known egg donor, single men often work with an egg donor found through an egg donor agency. Like sperm banks, egg donor agencies have databases of profiles, each of which contain information about the egg donor’s physical attributes, education, career, personality, and more.
Gestational Surrogacy for Single Fathers By Choice
Single men must also work with a gestational surrogate in order to have a child. A gestational surrogate is someone who will carry the pregnancy and give birth to the baby. Again, single fathers have the option of working with someone they know, but many find their surrogates with the help of a surrogacy agency.
Gestational surrogates become pregnant through IVF; the egg donor’s eggs are fertilized using the intended father’s sperm, and the resulting embryo is transferred to the surrogate’s womb. The surrogate does not share a genetic connection with the child.
Become a Single Parent in Houston
Aspire Houston Fertility Institute believes that families come in all shapes and sizes and we are proud to help single individuals in Houston become parents through advanced fertility care. With a little help from donors and surrogates in the Houston area and beyond, we have helped many single women and men build beautiful families. To get started on your journey to becoming a single parent by choice in Houston, please contact Aspire Houston Fertility Institute today.