5 Questions To Ask Yourself If You're Thinking Of Having A Baby Alone

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Should You Become A Single Mother By Choice & Have A Baby Without A Man?
Self

Tired of waiting to find true love first?

If you’re anything like me, you grew up believing you’d eventually fall in love with Prince Charming, start a family together, and live happily ever after.

But if your Prince Charming is taking his sweet time, there are some key questions to ask yourself that will help you decide if having a baby alone and becoming a single mom is the right choice for you.

Of course, it’s an impossible question because no one can ever predict when you might meet the partner of your dreams. But it’s also largely dependent on your own priorities. 

RELATED: I Knocked Myself Up: Pregnancy On My Own

These 5 questions to ask yourself can help you decide if choosing to be a single mom and having a baby alone is right for you — even if you're still hoping to fall in love with the right man down the road: 

1. Do you want your children to be genetically yours?

This is the biggie. Your answer to this question will largely determine your next steps.

What are your reasons for wanting a child? Do you long to be pregnant? Are you excited about creating an entirely new person from scratch? Or is it more about watching someone discover the world and helping them to find their place in it?

If your motivations center around dreams of raising a child and passing on your values, ask yourself if you really need a biological connection. Or do you feel the need to carry a child, give birth, or pass on your genes?

Perhaps you would prefer a child that's genetically yours, but you're open to other possibilities, like adoption or donor eggs. Some people have always envisioned adoption or otherwise don’t balk at the idea of using donor eggs.

If you’re less concerned about the biological side of things, there are a few of options that might buy you more time — adoption, egg donation, and embryo adoption. If you’d be happy with any of these options, there’s less of a need to rush. 

You can use donor eggs and embryos until the age of 50 in most places. And while in the US, birth parents get to decide who gets to parent their child, there isn’t an official upper age limit for most adoption agencies.

For others, if they can’t have a genetic child, they aren’t interested in motherhood. And, if this is you, the earlier you can start trying, the better your chances are. You may want to give up on dating until after you're pregnant or have a child. 

Regardless, you can’t predict how easily you will get pregnant until you start trying. It’s so tempting to keep putting it off, but from a fertility standpoint, time is of the essence.

Even if you feel wedded to a genetic child, try to stay open to all the possibilities. It will serve you, in the long run, to remain flexible and open, since there is more than one way to become a mother.

2. How old are you?

If a biologically-related child is a must for you, your age will determine what you do next. There are two “fertility cliffs” at 35 and 40 when your fertility will drop sharply. By the time you're 30, your chances of getting pregnant drop to around 20 percent, and by the time you're 40, that number drops down to 5 percent.

The harsh truth is, it’s hard to get pregnant in your 40s, even with fertility treatments. 

If you’re 35 or under and you’re not sure you’re ready to have a baby just yet, consider freezing your eggs or embryos to use later on. The earlier you do this, the better. The younger you are, the more eggs you’re likely to get, which should increase your chances of a live birth. 

You could then try dating to find a partner, get your finances into a good state, and enjoy your freedom for a little longer before actually having a baby!

RELATED: 6 MAJOR Mistakes You Must Avoid If Your Biological Clock Is Ticking

Unfortunately, if you’re over 37, freezing your eggs may not be worth it — though you need to talk to a doctor to assess your own fertility. Instead, you should get a fertility check so you have a baseline idea of how your fertility is doing.

You can also ask your OB/GYN to give you an overview of your fertility by running some basic tests to find out the state of your reproductive health.

Your results should give you an idea of where your body’s at. Yet, the numbers from these tests only reveal an indication of what’s going on. They are not predictive. Remember that fertility can change overnight, but it’s better to have some sense of how fertile you are at this point in time. 

3. Do you have any known health issues?

If you have fertility issues, such as endometriosis, where your uterine lining grows incorrectly, or PCOS, which can cause cysts on your ovaries, then trying to have a child that's genetically yours can be a bit more difficult to manage because of hormonal issues and related problems, though it's not impossible.

However, because of these issues, there is a benefit in trying to conceive as early as you can, or choosing to freeze your eggs in case you're not in a great position to try at the moment. Fertility issues usually only get worse with age. 

4. How old do you want to be when you have your first child?

Another factor to take into account is the age you’ll be when you have your child. If you have strong feelings about this, work backward from that age and make plans accordingly.

It’s also worth thinking about your age further down the road. How old do you want to be when your kid graduates? What about when (if!) they get married or have kids themselves?

As someone who had a baby at without on her own at 42, I don’t want you to get deterred by your age, but if it’s something you personally feel strongly about, then it’s better to think about your options sooner rather than later.

5. Do you want more than one child?

Starting early enough to have a baby is one thing, but if you want your child to have siblings, you’ll need even more time. A 2015 study showed that for a 90 percent chance of having two children, you should start trying to conceive by age 27. If you don’t start until you're 38, your chances drop to 50 percent.

If you’re over 35 and want two kids, your doctor may suggest doing IVF or freezing some embryos for future. Having embryos produced at your current age will ensure fewer issues later on, especially if you want to have one child, wait a year or two, and have another child. As you get older, there's always the possibility of complications or thing that could go wrong, so you'll want to make sure first and foremost that you are healthy so that your baby's health isn't affected.

If you definitely want more than one child, start sooner rather than later — or freeze your eggs while you’re still young. 

While it's great to have an idea of what you should do if you want to have a child on your own, it's also important to remember that there’s no correct answer. The important thing is that you know the reality about fertility and explore what’s important to you so you can weigh the options and decide what to do while you wait for the right relationship to come around or choose to take on being a single mother without a long-term partner.

I’ve personally found that being a single mom is incredible. Certainly, there are ways it’s more difficult, but there are also many ways that it’s simpler and more streamlined. I’ll never risk a custody battle, and there’s no one to disagree with my parenting choices.

Honestly, the only thing I regret is waiting so long to make the choice. Choosing an unconventional path feels incredibly daunting, but from my own experience and my conversations with hundreds of single moms by choice, women rarely regret becoming moms on their own — though many say they wish they had started sooner

RELATED: Before You Give Up On Marriage & Have A Baby Alone, Ask These 5 Qs

Sarah Kowalski is a fertility doula, family building coach, single mom, and an expert in guiding women along the spiritual, emotional and logistical road to motherhood. After conceiving her own son via both egg and sperm donor, she started Motherhood Reimagined to help others realize their dream of parenthood no matter what it takes and authored the book, Motherhood Reimagined: When Becoming A Mother Doesn't Go As Planned. You can follow her on Facebook @motherhoodreimagined or join her support group page on Facebook.

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