One service we offer at PNWF is family building for single parents. We support every person’s right to become a parent, regardless of marital status, gender, or sexuality. The American Society For Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) also advocates for equal access to fertility treatment. Studies have shown that having a single parent has no impact on a child’s health and well-being, and the most important thing is a strong parent-child relationship. With that in mind, here are some tips for navigating family building as a single parent so you can feel prepared and supported on your journey to parenthood.
Overview of Fertility Options For Single Parents
Single parents have several options for biological family building, depending on the parent’s available gametes (eggs, sperm, or neither). Broadly, the overall options include:
Fertility Options For Single Mothers/Parent With Eggs and a Uterus
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI) with donor sperm
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) with donor sperm
- IVF with donor sperm and donor egg
- IVF with donor embryo
Fertility Options For Single Fathers/Parent With Sperm
- Gestational carrier (aka surrogate) with donor egg
- Gestational carrier with donor egg and donor sperm
- Gestational carrier with donor embryo
Tip #1: Get Fertility Screening to Find the Best Option For You
The first step in fertility treatment is to go through basic screening to evaluate your fertility options. For instance, if you have healthy eggs and ovaries, then IUI can be a great option that is less involved and less expensive than IVF. However, if you have lower quality eggs or a condition that makes getting pregnant challenging (such as endometriosis or blocked fallopian tubes), IVF may be the better path. Some people also opt for IVF as a first step for family planning since embryos can be frozen to be used to add to your family later (embryo banking). Similarly, testing can evaluate your sperm quality to make sure it’s viable. By going through an initial fertility screening, you can save time, money, and energy in finding the best path to parenthood for you.
Tip #2: Join A Support or Resource Group for Single Parents
Navigating family building as a single parent comes with its own unique challenges. Fortunately, there are plenty of online and in person resources for single parents at every step of the way. By joining a support group, you can meet other people going through the same experience and share information, challenges, and victories with going through fertility treatments as a single parent. If you are considering becoming a single parent but haven’t started the process yet, resource groups are a great way to explore your options and talk with single parents about their experiences to better prepare you for what to expect. Two resources groups are Single Mothers By Choice and Single Dad.
Tip #3: Create a Strong Support System
Being a single parent doesn’t mean you are all alone, or have to do everything yourself! It’s important to have emotional and logistical support along the way. Talk with your family and friends about what assistance you might need and how they’re willing to help. During fertility treatment and pregnancy, this could mean driving you to appointments or bringing meals after a procedure. It can also mean providing a compassionate ear for you when you need to talk about how you feel. A therapist or counselor can also be part of a healthy support system.
Tip #4: Trust Yourself
Your wish to become a single parent is valid and wonderful. As you go through fertility treatments, pregnancy, and the joy and chaos of being a new parent, remember that you have everything you need to be a great, loving parent to your child. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or reach out to others, take care of your own mental, emotional, and physical needs, and trust your instincts. You’ve got this!
If you have questions or are ready to start family building as a single parent, reach out to us today.