A sad story of not quite being able to jump…

Over my many years as a founder of DC Network I have had the pleasure of talking with a large number of single women – childless by circumstance – who have chosen donor conception as a way of founding their family.  They are, by and large, an enormously thoughtful group of women, mostly well educated, financially secure and emotionally mature.  They are likely to have researched their options for conceiving very carefully as well as planned ahead with regard to job, finances, home and even future guardianship for any child they might have.  It might take a couple of years before they finally go ahead.

So I started reading with interest the article titled, “Sometimes, I imagine a little boy…” in the Guardian Family section at the weekend.  Louise Bridge (a pseudonym) has donor sperm from a Danish sperm bank stored at a London fertility clinic, but cannot bring herself to make the decision to go ahead.  This is not the first time she has thought about this.  Previously, she left the treatment room of a clinic unable to go through with the insemination.  The clinic then declined to continue to treat her because of her ambivalence.

There is thinking and there is over-thinking.  At some point action has to be taken.  Either to do it or decide that life can be good without children.  She quotes a dear friend, age 93, who tells her that all life is decisions, the big ones and the little ones.  He says she needs to make this one and have the courage to stick with it but doesn’t think she will.  He thinks she will keep peeling back the plaster, peering at destiny, until, little by little, she arrives at a fait accompli.

What we only learn towards the end of the piece is that Louise is almost 48.  She acknowledges that with every passing month her chances of conceiving are less, but does she know that actually her chances of conceiving are minuscule, unless she takes on board needing donor eggs as well.  I could only feel enormously sad.



About oliviasview

Co-founder and now Practice Consultant at Donor Conception Network. Mother to two donor conceived adults and a son conceived without help in my first marriage.
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6 Responses to A sad story of not quite being able to jump…

  1. gsmwc02 says:

    So sad. I can’t imagine what it feels like to be in her position. For all the stories about couples who are unable to conceive we forget that there are a lot of people out there just like this woman who are single. As a society we need to better support these people and their grief rather than try to put a positive spin on it and tell them that there lives are wonderful w/out children. Recognition of their grief and better supporting them would do everyone a great benefit.

    • Lorrraine says:

      I so agree with this. There is a grief and I personally feel that it’s something that can’t end peacefully if parenthood is what you truly desire. Life without children will simply get easier to handle but I can’t say the regret will cease.

  2. Silver says:

    I don’t know whether it is my own situation – where there was an enormous desire to be a mother, alongside a long-lasting inability to achieve that desire, which meant that I had to work very hard to have my son – but I feel that anyone who is that ambivalent may not really *want* a child. Maybe it is the social pressures on her that make her feel she “should” be a mother? I agree that single people should be considered more in discussions about conception. I know many women (I am sure this also applies to men too) who just never met the right person but would have loved to have had children. I was heartened at our last local DCN meeting that probably the largest represented group was single women using DS to conceive – they also have a thriving local group of their own.

  3. My parent's donor is my father says:

    I have enormous respect for this woman. Obviously her conscience is getting in the way of her wants and desires. I would love to hear more about why “Somehow a feeling of guilt clings to it”. She doesn’t speak much to this sense of “guilt” but if this was rewritten to address it, I think it would add much needed balance and healing for her. I fully support her choice.

  4. Liz says:

    “There is thinking and there is over-thinking. At some point action has to be taken. Either to do it or decide that life can be good without children.”

    She sounds sad — as if she’s stuck in a limbo. It’s a shame she couldn’t decide positively one way or another.

    Refusing to make a decision is a decision. It’s a decision to stay with the status quo. Every time I have to make a hard decision, I remind myself of that fact.

    But decisions are hard. Even small decisions cost us brain space.

  5. Lorraine says:

    Based on her continued hesitation, I’d say it’s best she not go through with it. When I made this decision, I thought about the negatives but I knew that not going forward was far worse than any negative consequences I imagined or experienced. Having children is quite serious and one should do it only if they are sure it’s what they want. That’s true whether you use a donor or go the traditional route.

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