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Young, single women turning to sperm donors to conceive

A file photo of a baby sleeping.
A file photo of a baby sleeping. Getty Images

When she was 31 years old, Montrealer Geneviève Roy decided she was tired of waiting around for Mr. Right to come by — and she knew she didn’t want to be in her 40s when she had her first child.

“I knew that it would not be easy every day, but I also knew that I was able to handle it,” the now 38-year-old told Global News.

“I’ve never stopped myself from doing anything in life, so that was kind of natural for me to have kids alone.”

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Roy, a government worker, spent six to 12 months looking up everything she needed to know to have children via a sperm donor.

READ MORE: Single parent by choice: Women turn to sperm donors to conceive

Since she was still young, Roy was told she had a 25 per cent chance of the treatment would work, and that most people conceive within four to six months.

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After six rounds of insemination using an anonymous sperm donor, Roy welcomed her daughter, Flavie, into the world.

“When you do fertility treatments, you live on a roller coaster: two weeks of hoping, one week down, one week to try again,” she said.

“So, the emotions are also on a roller coaster.”

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A few years later, just months before her 36th birthday, little Justine was born, using the same donor.

READ MORE: Single Momtreal: An online resource for single mothers across Montreal

“It was really important for me to use the same donor, so the kids can be 100 per cent related,” Roy told Global News.

File photo of a pregnant woman.
File photo of a pregnant woman. Henrik Sorensen

Dr. Neal Mahutte, medical director of the Montreal Fertility Centre, explains the first instinct of many young women is to inquire about freezing their eggs.

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Nevertheless, there are some who walk through the clinic’s doors, set on having a child as soon as possible with a sperm donor.

“I think there may be more awareness, which is a good thing,” he told Global News.

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“Women are more aware than they have been in years past about the fact that their age affects their fertility and they have some limits as to when they may or may not be able to have children in terms of their own eggs.”

He explained that, while in the 70s, women were having children in their 20s, nowadays, the inclination is to wait.

“For a whole variety of societal reasons, people are delaying having kids,” he said.

Single mother by choice

Roy’s girls are now five and a half and three years old; she said if she had to do it all over again, she’d only change one thing.

“I should have done it earlier — two or three years earlier,” she told Global News.

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She explained the experience has been an empowering one.

READ MORE: Looking for an egg or sperm donor? Here’s what you need to know

“I have friends saying that they are alone with the kids for 48 hours and do not know how they will handle it,” she said.

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“[I wanted to be able to] spend some quality time with the kids while still in shape and have the energy to play.”

READ MORE: Assisted reproduction rules to be revamped by Health Canada

She added that she’s always been very open with her children about where they came from.

“They always knew. It’s very important for me. For now, it’s still in kid terms, but they know,” Roy told Global News.

“They know I went to a clinic to see the doctor who had baby seeds.”

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What happens if Mr. Right stumbles along?

“If he really likes me, he will like my kids as well,” Roy declared.

Thinking about the future

Susanna Josef, 31, says she’s been mulling over the idea of having a child via sperm donor for quite some time.

“I have never found a man that I can love yet. I went through many many relationships and not one of them had what it takes to be called a strong one,” she told Global News.

“And yet, I’ve always wanted to be a mother of more than one child.”

READ MORE: Everything men and women should know about fertility testing

Josef had her first daughter, Myra, at the age of 29 and has been a single mother ever since.

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“[I had to decide between] wanting a perfect family of a mother and a father for my children or doing it the way I always wanted to do it — as just me, one single loving parent providing a healthy environment with no stress, hate or fights,” she told Global News.
Susanna Josef with her daughter, Myra.
Susanna Josef with her daughter, Myra. Susanna Josef

The Montrealer said she doesn’t want her daughter to grow up without a sibling.

“Having to be in this spot with my daughter taught me a lot and made me sure I am able to do it with another child,” Josef said.

“Going through the hardships of being a single mom taught me a lot and I don’t want my marital status to have any effect on my vision of having a loving family that I have made.”

READ MORE: 7 fertility myths and misconceptions Canadian women need to know

Josef said if she decides not to conceive via a sperm donor, she will start looking into adoption.

rachel.lau@globalnews.ca

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