After a relationship meltdown at 39, I found myself single, middle-aged and struggling to find the perfect partner to fall in love and have a family with.
But I knew I wanted a baby, so I went on a two-year ‘get pregnant’ quest.
This included a failed plan to get back with my ex, a year on the IVF train and three failed IUI (intrauterine insemination) attempts, as well as a bunch of disastrous Tinder dates.
I got to a point where I had to either pull out the IVF big guns and harvest my eggs, or find another solution.
I took the latter path, and threw myself at Dr Google. Not long after, I was in the deep vortex of known sperm-donor land.
With further investigation, I realised I had landed upon my very own Willy Wonka cyber factory where there was a bevvy of real-life men, happily giving away their sperm to women on various platforms all around the globe.
So I hung up my hope of trying to find the fantasy husband and father through online dating, and threw myself out there looking for men who were readily available and on the same page — literally!
I couldn’t believe there were a bunch of worthy men, happy to skip all the relationship nonsense, and hand over the key ingredient I needed to make a baby within my shrinking biological clock time frame.
I signed up to a few sperm-donor websites, began perusing Facebook Groups and then sat back and observed the post and forum interactions for a few months.
But in the process, I had stumbled onto some seedy sites which required me to weed out illegitimate profiles, which made me hesitant about going down this path.
It wasn’t until Adam Hooper, the Facebook Group admin for Sperm Donation Australia, connected with me and answered all my questions, that I finally felt at ease and brave enough to communicate with a few potential donors on the FB group and one other site.
Finding ‘The One’
After conversing with a few fellas, I opted for one I felt was compatible with my needs.
Not only was he over six feet tall, with great physical features, he also understood the donor process intimately because he had successfully assisted other women.
He was also available to work with my cycles, had his own family, would sign legal documents outlining intention, wanted to be known to the future child, had undertaken genetic testing and counselling, and could provide a recent bona fide sperm analysis proving he was highly fertile.
We engaged in many Messenger and Facetime chats as well as phone calls and photo sharing.
Once I felt ready and my fertile window aligned, I flew interstate to meet him in the flesh and proceeded with the insemination.
Two weeks later, and to my absolute shock, a pregnancy test confirmed I was pregnant after just one attempt.
Don’t just ‘swipe right’
I am glad I went rogue and carved out my own path — it was one that aligned with me physically, spiritually and financially.
While I am an advocate for this route, and can honestly say I had a superb experience using the internet to secure a viable donor, I wholeheartedly believe this pathway needs to be thoroughly considered beforehand.
I believe it’s imperative to take the time to find the right donor and not ‘swipe right’ on just anybody.
Not all sites, apps, solo donors and groups are created equal or perhaps have your and your future child’s best interests at heart.
This route is primarily based on basic human trust and intention and to navigate it safely and successfully, a little time-investment pays off.
Ultimately, I believe this is about conceiving a healthy child first and foremost — not just landing any random man’s sperm to conceive.
I’m now 42 and despite being only halfway through my pregnancy, I felt it was timely to share this avenue publicly with those perhaps considering going down this path or are presently breaking under the extreme stress and pain associated with their IVF treatment, no matter my pregnancy outcome.
I learnt so much and felt compelled to write a book and blog to share what I now know, so other single women and lesbian couples in my predicament could consider an alternative path and dispel the belief IVF is the best and only option available to them.
The moment I opted to seek a known sperm donor on what could be deemed as the “wild west” of the internet, a mental shift occurred.
I felt unequivocally empowered. No longer was it just a hope for me to be a mother, it was more than probable I would be.
It is the best decision I’ve ever have made.