When it comes to starting a family, many people envision a traditional path of falling in love, getting married, and having children. However, this is not always the case and sometimes single men and women find themselves with a desire to become parents. Fortunately, modern fertility treatments have made it possible for individuals to pursue parenthood on their own terms. In this blog post, we will explore the various fertility treatment options available for single men and women, including artificial insemination, in vitro fertilisation, and surrogacy. We will discuss the benefits and considerations of each option to help individuals make informed decisions about their family-building journey.
Fertility Treatments for Single Women
There are a few options that you have as a single woman to start a family of your own; IUI, IVF, surrogacy, for instance. In all circumstances male sperm is needed which can either be arranged by yourself using a chosen sperm donor, or a sperm bank. We work with several sperm banks that are reputable and have had good success should you require them. If you are choosing to opt for your own donor, we recommend doing so with careful consideration.
While the rights to parenthood are just the same for single women in the UK, using a sperm donor has the potential to complicate matters. We recommend seeking legal advice for this reason to help protect yourself against any legal implications later down the line.
IUI (Intrauterine Insemination)
IUI is a fairly straightforward procedure. It starts with preparing the semen and selecting sperm that’s of the highest quality. It is then introduced to the womb via a catheter just before ovulation. If not around your normal cycle, ovulation may be induced with follicle stimulating hormones. The process itself takes around 10 minutes and is painless, although some women experience mild cramping.
IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation)
Although the process is more invasive than IUI, IVF produces greater success for those with underlying fertility problems. There are more steps to the process however as it involves fertilising the eggs in a lab setting until they develop into embryos. Eggs are collected after a course of hormone therapy and the resultant embryos created are transferred into the womb via the vagina.
If you’ve not yet found the right partner to start a family, egg freezing is an option that you may choose to consider. It can help preserve your chances as it sets aside eggs to be used at a later date.
If you have a condition that makes it dangerous for you to give birth, surrogacy is an option. This is where another woman will carry and give birth to a child. There are again legal implications that you will need to consider as well as the surrogate’s ability to get pregnant.
Fertility Treatments for Single Men
If you are a male on the other hand, your options are a little different. You will need to find a surrogate to carry and give birth to your child. This can pose a challenge as it’s illegal to advertise for a surrogate in the UK. “Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy”, or COTS, operates a triangle scheme which can help make introductions. Within the surrogacy itself you will have a few options, like whether to use the surrogates’ eggs or those donated. Again, we highly recommend seeking legal advice as surrogacy offers limited rights to single men. Parenthood can be transferred, and you will need to come to an arrangement with one another to secure your rights.
If you’re undergoing treatment that may affect your fertility later in life, or issues with sperm count/quality, sperm freezing is an option that can give you the flexibility to have children later down the line. It is a non-invasive procedure with no risks associated, although there may be a small drop in sperm quality.
If you’re interested in any of the treatments we’ve discussed here or would like to learn more about your fertility, book a consultation with our expert team.