More and more Australian women are choosing to become solo mothers, with Melbourne fertility clinic Monash IVF revealing a 65% increase in single women seeking fertility since 2019.
On today’s episode of The Briefing, hosts Tom Tilley and Katrina Blowers speak to solo mums by choice, Aoife Cooke and Liz Cashen, about their fertility journeys.
Hear solo mothers Aoife and Liz speak about their journey onThe Briefing
Aoife opted to start her in vitro fertilisation (IVF) journey in her late 30s and is currently 26 weeks pregnant. The short window for women to have children, she claimed, was one of the elements influencing her choice.
“I just suddenly said to myself, ‘Look, I can meet a partner anytime for the rest of my life, but I have a really limited window to have kids.’ So, I just shifted my priorities. “And that was how I made my decision,” she says.
Aoife spent more than $50,000 in the process, and as she wants the child to have a relationship with the donor, she approached a friend who lives abroad to be the donor. Her donor was unable to travel abroad due to the COVID pandemic and border restrictions, which made the situation more expensive and difficult.
Another single mother, Liz, gave birth to her son at the age of 40 and her daughter, who is now three and a half years old, at the age of 38. She claims that managing sleep deprivation, the complexities of child custody disputes, legalities, and donor rights are some of the challenges of being a single mother.
However, she claims that having more time to prepare for childbirth was one of the advantages of her journey.
“I think because I was so sort of nervous about not being able to manage, I had a lot of things lined up with the maternal health service with people in my community. “I’d say that to anyone; there are a lot of resources out there, but it’s good to line them up before you have the baby,” she told The Briefing.
And, while it can be difficult for single mothers to explain their situation to their children, Liz has already done so.
“I already talked about that they have a donor and that they don’t have a dad, and I think being part of some solo mom communities, all the research points out, to be honest, that from day one, even if they’re a little baby, you can still start the narrative going, and you don’t know at what point they’ll start to really take it on…But, no, my daughter does not have a father. I’m all up for the challenge if or when that becomes an issue for my kids. “It’s their right to have feelings about that.”