Increasing numbers of women pursue parenthood as single mothers through the use of sperm from either anonymous or directed donors. Most single men starting a family turn to adoption rather than assisted reproduction because the medical option of using egg donation in conjunction with gestational surrogacy is associated with high cost. However, men wishing to pursue a family using their own sperm with egg donor eggs and surrogacy can expect a very high success rate.
Single Mothers Jan’s Story
Single women most commonly pursue pregnancy through the IUI procedure (What is an intra-uterine artificial insemination?) using either sperm of an anonymous sperm donor from a sperm bank (Selecting Donor Sperm) or semen from a directed/known sperm donor. A directed/known sperm donor generally is not an Intended Parent but the exact boundaries of mutual rights and responsibilities under such circumstances are best spelled out in a legally binding contract drafted by an attorney specializing in third-party parenting.
A directed/known sperm donor undergoes donor eligibility determination in accordance with the FDA regulations and policies of the Alta Bates IVF Program within 7 days of semen collection and freezing. Depending on whether risk factors are identified, the recipient/Intended Parent determines the duration of quarantine in consultation with the treating physician.
Anonymous sperm donors are never considered Intended Parents, so no direct legal contract is necessary between such a donor and the recipients. Sperm banks release sperm from anonymous donors only after a 180-day period of quarantine with retesting. Single women may have particular interest in using a sperm donor willing to have his identity released when the offspring reach maturity (I.D. release). Whereas most commercial sperm banks do not currently offer this option, I.D. release sperm donors are available through The Sperm Bank of California (www.thespermbankofca.org) and Pacific Reproductive Services.
Single men pursuing family building have essentially only one medical option: pregnancy initiation with egg donation (Donor Egg Program) with a gestational surrogate carrying the pregnancy (What is Surrogacy?). This technique allows for fertilization of the eggs with the Intended Father’s sperm thus providing a genetic link to the child(ren). The main drawback of family building with egg donation and a gestational surrogate is its high cost. That’s why many single men, including those with male infertility, pursue adoption as a more affordable alternative.
Our single-parent patients come to us from the Bay Area, Berkeley, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco and adjacent areas.