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Single Moms by Choice

Many women want to become mothers but don't have the partner planned to co-parent. Dr. Michael Homer discusses how to become a single mother by choice.
Single Moms by Choice
Michael Homer, MD, REI
Michael Homer, MD, REI earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He attended medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, completed his reproductive medicine residency at The University of California, San Diego and fellowship in reproductive endocrinology,

Learn more about Michael Homer, MD, REI

Bill Klaproth (Host): Many women are ready to have a baby but aren’t in a relationship or their current partner just isn’t on the same page or let’s face it, you want the baby, but not the partner that comes with it, so becoming a single mom by choice is an option. So, let’s talk more about this with Dr. Michael Homer, a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist at Reproductive Science Center of San Francisco Bay. This is Fertile Edge, a podcast by Reproductive Science Center of San Francisco Bay. I’m Bill Klaproth. So, Dr. Homer, single moms by choice. How common is this?

Michael Homer, MD, REI (Guest): It is becoming much more popular, more and more popular actually. It’s a hard number to actually get to the bottom of, but I would say it’s likely in the tens of thousands of women. Definitely, if you are talking about worldwide, but just even in the United States, there’s a lot of women as because of that, there’s a lot of support and organizations available. and are two specific organizations that are dedicated to helping single mothers by choice. And if you go on there, by their membership groups and some other studies published by the New York Times that are reported on, you see that this is a trend that’s been growing more and more with either the technology for fertility or just general awareness that this is becoming a much more viable and more popular idea.

Host: Yeah, I could see that. I could see where technology and just awareness of this would certainly be driving this. So, who should consider this?

Dr. Homer: Every woman has their choice. I would say though that the most common situation that women find themselves in is either after potentially a recent divorce or a breakup of a long-term relationship or with a long-term partner. Or even women who have been actively dating but ultimately did not find a suitable partner for them. I think the average age for women coming in is usually somewhere between 37 to 40 years old. But it’s also someone who has been sort of as one gets older and in their 30s, women who are educated and sort of about fertility and learning how the age affects this.

And shakeups or kind of finding themselves in the late 30s without a partner; then they tend to learn their priorities and their priorities tend to lend themselves to someone who wants to start a family with or without a partner. And I think it definitely takes just tremendous courage to think about it, to try and then to succeed in becoming a single mother by choice.

Host: So, for a woman who is considering this, what are the first steps?

Dr. Homer: Yeah, I think the first thing is coming for a consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist. Anyone that would be in your area or you heard from friends would be an appropriate person to start with. And that would come into the office, to the clinic, going and reviewing a comprehensive history, and then doing an ultrasound to assess the ovaries and the uterus and ovarian reserve and then doing some blood tests. And these would help us identify certain paths that would be available.

In most cases such as this, what we would do also is help you coordinate getting donor sperm, which is actually very easy. There are a couple of very well-established popular national sperm banks that are available where with really, really good and great information about the donor, so you know everything about them. And in the end, ultimately, it’s just down to selecting the donor or having your friends help you select that donor or family. And then having that sperm shipped over which can take as fast as a week or so.

Host: So, first step then, for any woman considering this is go in and get that consultation. So, let me ask you this Dr. Homer. How successful is this?

Dr. Homer: You know, the success depends upon a couple of different factors. I guess the first thing to start with is that the success would be probably as good or maybe just a little bit better than it would be at home with a partner because the sperm is now shall we say optimized. So, it’s a donor sperm, we are doing an intrauterine insemination and so the chances would theoretically be just a little bit better than they would at home.

So, your chance of success just depends upon – it is mostly biologically dependent upon the female’s age. And so, what the rate is or the success rate is going to be per try is tied into the person’s age when they come into the clinic. But ultimately, you are going to have usually greater than 50% chance of success over doing say three to five cycles of say intrauterine insemination. If you are talking about IVF; then in general, you are going to have a higher chance of success with that as well. Donor egg is going to be something that is going to be somewhere along the lines of 95% successful or even more than that.

So, it does depend a little bit upon the clinical factors that we identify and find, but in the end, it is just a little bit better than it would be maybe at home with a partner.

Host: Well, knowing those success rates and eventual positive outcome is really important. So, let me ask you this. What is the main question any woman considering this should ask themselves?

Dr. Homer: I think for the general theme and one of the most important questions to ask I think of yourself is what is that priority for you. And I feel that in society, everyone sort of has that feeling or that pressure however taught is to say two parents and having a child and we know from studies over and over again in multiple different types of social situations that you don’t need two parents to have a happy and healthy child. Okay.

So, I think for women who are at that point in their lives where they really want to start growing their family, but they are concerned about potentially their age or their life situation or what their future is going to hold; I think identifying that what would they like to do. Would they rather wait and risk the chance of maybe not being able to conceive with their partner or would they say that really having this child is the priority and that is the key question I think for most women.

Because obviously, it’s extremely scary thing to sort of decide and so, once I think that that’s the core question that women can ask themselves and if they are leaning towards more saying no, I don’t want to miss this opportunity or I at least want to find out more about where I stand on this; that is where speaking to someone like myself or a colleague or someone who is an REI doctor, would really help delineate all those choices that you might have and checking out some of those support sites as well. Again, or and when you see all these women’s stories, it’s really going to open your eyes for some of the questions and some of the other insights that these women have had that’s going to resonate with you and make you say oh, I hadn’t thought about that. That’s a really good point. Or oh, yeah, there’s my four sort of questions to ask myself and where do I lie on that. Where do I stand on that?

Host: So, really understand your priority. That’s really good advice. And it can really offer you clarity when making a decision like this. So, final advice Dr. Homer for a woman who is considering becoming a single mom by choice. Wrap it up for us.

Dr. Homer: Just learn more but to a point before you drive yourself crazy. So, we know that there’s going to be tons and tons of information, stories, everyone’s going to have maybe even like a relative or a friend and it’s good to find that peer support and to do your own research. All patients coming in here are pretty well educated in terms of fertility and online. But at a certain point, if you are really moving towards past just thinking about but thinking I kind of want to do something; make the appointment. Because the longer that one waits, then theoretically the worse the chance might be.

But the worst case scenario is that you go and see a doctor like myself, you learn about yourself information, what the process is and you say, no, that’s okay, I learned about it and I just want to move on or we’ll track along and maybe consider next year. But I think the problem is that time only goes in one direction. So, finding that information out as early or as soon as possible once it kind of settles in your brain I think is the biggest hurdle and the best thing to overcome as quickly as possible.

Host: That makes a lot of sense. So, make that appointment if you are considering this. Better to get in there and check it out sooner than later. Dr. Homer, thank you for your time and to get connected with Dr. Homer or another physician, please visit, that’s And if you found this podcast helpful, please share it on your social channels and check out our entire podcast library of topics of interest to you. This is The Fertile Edge by Reproductive Science Center of San Francisco Bay. I’m Bill Klaproth. Thanks for listening.