pregnancy

3 women on precisely how much it cost them to have a baby on their own.

Natalie Imbruglia’s done it, and so have thousands of other women across Australia. More and more single women are choosing to have babies with the help of a sperm donor.

Professor Fiona Kelly from La Trobe University’s law school says Australia doesn’t keep data on how many women are doing this, but the information they have points to a “pretty dramatic increase”.

“Victoria does keep statistics on who uses donor sperm in the state, and at the moment, more than half of the sperm used in Victoria is used by single women,” Professor Kelly tells Mamamia. “So that’s more than heterosexual couples, more than lesbian couples.”

For women who do decide to get pregnant without a partner in the picture, how much does the whole process cost – before all the usual expenses of a baby kick in? Three Australian women reveal all to Mamamia.

Sarah Mill, 39

“I’d lived a pretty great life. I’d travelled a lot. I’d dated on and off, but I’d never found that one person to settle down with. Unfortunately, I had a history of choosing boys with accents that lived overseas and boys that were in the armed forces that got sent away.

“I got to that point where I didn’t want to miss out on having a baby. My sisters had children and I saw the relationship they had with them and I wanted that as well.

“When I turned 38 I started looking into it. I saw the fertility specialist. You’ve got two choices: IUI [intrauterine insemination], which is just the insemination of the sperm, or IVF [in vitro fertilisation], making an embryo and then doing the transfer. I’ve always had trouble with my periods, so I was deemed medically infertile and I went straight to IVF.

“You have to have two counselling sessions, you have to have a police check and a child protection check, so that all takes time.

“They give you a list of sperm donors. I preferred that my child would look similar to me so I went for blond hair, blue eyes. Then the biggest thing was obviously the medical history, so I chose a donor who had pretty much nothing wrong with him or his parents.

“I had eight eggs removed, and I had six embryos make it to day five. Often they will do a transfer straightaway but I reacted to the medicine – I guess it’s quite traumatic going through all the injections – so they said, “We’re going to freeze your embryos and then next month we’re going to unfreeze one embryo and we’ll transfer it then.” That’s what they did. Then two weeks later I found out I was pregnant. Holy crap! You just don’t think it’s going to work straight up. I was very lucky.

“Ollie is nearly six months old now.

“I had said to myself I’d give myself maybe two or three rounds – it would have been all the savings that I had – and if it didn’t work, I’d look into other options. I think you don’t realise the cost of everything adding up.

“I got the Medicare rebate because I was diagnosed medically infertile, so it would have been more if I didn’t have that. But it’s worth it.

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“It’s definitely a lot to pay and I do think it should be cheaper, as most people don’t get lucky first go, so it’s heartbreaking. You want something so badly, you do what you have to do.”

 

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THATS YOUR OPINION⁣ ⁣ Yesterday I posted a story about a guy who found me on Facebook after reading my news articles and sent me a private message. His question was ‘Don’t you think children need a father?’⁣ ⁣ I debated responding but also knew that this is exactly what he wanted, a confrontation. That’s not my style. I also feel sad for anyone that feels they need to troll someone. I will never let someone’s opinion upset me. ⁣ ⁣ You can’t please everyone and I am aware of what some people’s opinions on solo mums by choice are and that’s ok. ⁣ ⁣ It doesn’t affect my life and how lucky I am to have such a beautiful little boy. It’s been the best decision I ever made and I will continue to talk about it, in the hope it helps someone else.⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ I mean how can you not love this little face, and my answer to his question will always be…all you need is LOVE ????⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ #melbourneblogger #ivfbaby #discoverunder20k #ivfcommunity #ivfjourney #ivfmiracle #solomum #singlemum #donorconceived #newmum #ourlifeinmelbourne ⁣#mummyblogger #melbournemums #mumsofmelbourne #ivfpregnancy #mybaby #ivf #ivfsuccess #solomum #ivfpregnancy #smbc⁣⁣ #mumandbub #oliverlyndon #solomumbychoice

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Sarah Mill is on Instagram @ourlifeinmelbourne

Costs:

Fertility specialist consultation x 4: $940

Medication x 3: $395

Ultrasound x 2: $1040

Counselling x 2: $470

Injections: $184

IVF: $12,130

Hospital: $900

Anaesthesiologist: $300

Blood test x 2: $270

[Minus Medicare rebate: $5515]

Total: $11,114

Nicky Lavigne, 52

“The only thing I wanted was to be a mum. I got to 40 and didn’t have a partner at the time who wanted to have a baby with me. There was no way I could go through the rest of my life not being a mum. I would never be fully happy.

“I’d been married and I’d been in other relationships but I’d never been pregnant. By the time I got to 40, I had old eggs and it was really difficult.

“I was living in the States at the time. I started with IUI, which is much less invasive than IVF, but still as many drugs. It was costing me a fortune, even though the nurses took me under their wing and gave me a lot of sample drugs so I didn’t have to pay for them. I did that eight times, then I decided to come home to Australia.

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“I started IVF here. My fertility doctor said, ‘This probably also won’t work.’ But I tried, nonetheless. I was hellbent on using my own eggs. I had seven tries of IVF and it just wasn’t working. My doctor kept saying, ‘You might need to use donor eggs.’ One of the nurses called me aside one day and said, ‘Look, you’ll still grow the baby.’

Mamamia’s Before the Bump hosts discuss what to do when a natural pregnancy is not an option. Post continues below.

“So that’s what I did. I went to an amazing clinic in Greece. It was all co-ordinated from Australia. They organised all my ultrasounds and blood tests here and once my body was ready, I left for Athens. The embryos, with donor eggs and donor sperm, were already done. I’d sent them a photo of me, but all I’d been allowed to ask for was her height and his height.

“I was in Greece for 10 days. I came back and I thought I had jetlag the first few days but it kept going on and on. After I got the news that I was pregnant I did the pee stick tests every day for two weeks because I didn’t believe it.

“The doctor said to me, ‘There’s more than one baby in there.’ It was incredible, surreal.

“I have two boys, Asher and Milo. They’re six.

“It cost me a tonne of money. The prize at the end was more important than the money to me. When you’re in the midst of it all, you think, ‘One more cycle. Just do one more cycle, that’ll work.’

“Thankfully I had the resources to do that. I can make the money back. I can look at the cost, and I can look at my boys, and one totally cancels out the other.”

Costs:

IUI in the US x 8: $80,000

IVF x 7: $35,000 (once Medicare rebates and private health insurance benefits are taken into account)

Australian co-ordination of IVF in Greece: $6000

IVF in Greece: $5000

Return flight to Greece: $2000

Accommodation in Greece: $3000

Total: $131,000

Hayley Hendrix, 44

“I wanted to fall madly in love. To me, that was how you made children. I thought that I would just naturally meet the guy and we would progress down the ‘happily ever after’ path.

“At 39, I was in a relationship. Even though it wasn’t a great relationship, I just thought, ‘Well, I’m in it, so this is the guy.’

“I was living in Los Angeles at the time and we decided on a break. I didn’t realise it was a one-way ticket back to Australia. I had no money, I had no partner, and all I could hear was this biological clock ticking.

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“I started Tinder dating, even though I wasn’t ready and I didn’t want to. Total time-wasting. I followed up with my ex, even to just have him be the donor. That didn’t work.

“I did three IUIs, but I didn’t do the drugs. They all failed. I was told I was medically infertile, and that I should try IVF. But I didn’t want the drugs. I’m very health-conscious.

“I had a chat with a couple of friends, but I knew that potentially, legally and emotionally, that could have some ramifications that I wasn’t prepared for.

“I started talking to sperm donors on websites and Facebook groups. The main thing was they had to have really, really high sperm numbers and really great semen analysis. They had to have a clean record when it came to mental illness, because I know what’s in my family tree and I wanted to counteract that.

“A guy contacted me through a Facebook group. We got along so well. We talked the same language, very medical terminology. He knew that he had a very high sperm count, and he was like, ‘I know I can help people.’

“I flew from Brisbane to Melbourne, where he lived, and I organised a hotel. It’s illegal to pay for sperm in Australia, but the etiquette is, with a known donor, you pick up any out-of-pocket expenses.

“He had the containers with him, all ready to go. It was really normal. In five minutes he’d done his thing and I was legs up in the air, ordering us dinner.

“I didn’t believe that it was going to work. But boom, I was pregnant.

“Remy is 19 months now.

“I get women coming to me and they don’t think that they can have a baby, financially. They think IVF is the only way to go. You can walk into a clinic and they’ll tell you what you need to do at what time, or you can choose to do it my way. You just have to just be really well informed.

“Honestly, it is a really great path for a lot of people, but you have to do your homework.”

Hayley Hendrix is the author of Desperately Seeking Semen: My Rogue Route To Solo Motherhood.

Costs:

Fertility specialist consultation and blood tests: $550

IUI (with internstational sperm donor) X 3: $7500

Naturopath: $400

Herbalist visit x 6: $660

Acupuncture x 20: $1000

Vitamins for 18 months: $3600

Return flight to known sperm donor’s home city: $150

Accommodation: $200

Dinner with donor: $60

Taxi for donor: $30

Total cost: $14,150

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