Nancy van der Stock of Gravenzande has known for sure all her life: she wants to be a mother. “When people asked me when I was a kid what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was always: Mommy.”
At first, Nancy did not think to go alone. “I would be lying if I said I never imagined starting a family with a guy. I’ve been dating myself, but I’ve been living alone for years.”
Anyone who thinks she suffers from this problem is mistaken. “I can take care of myself, I have my life in order and I’m very happy being single. I noticed this after a while when I was dating too. I wondered: Why would I do this to myself? I’m so happy on my own.”
I wish for children
But yes: the desire to have children remained. “After a while this partner did not come along, I thought: I can do it just fine without a man. I did not doubt for a moment whether I could do it, so it was not a difficult decision at all. I felt very good from the start.”
“I can’t be the only one, can I?”
“When I wanted to start this process, I didn’t find much about women my age who had already decided to become single mothers. When I came across stories of experience, usually from women in their late thirties or early forties, it was time anyway. He plays a role Bigger in their decision,” she says.
“But I can’t be the only one doing this,” Nancy thought. That’s why she decided to share her experiences with the BAM process on Instagram. Very sexy: “I know how social media works, and I also expected negative reactions.”
They didn’t come, but she got a lot of questions. “Women who play with the same idea, but fear not being able to do it on their own, mentally and financially. Also, some women have trouble letting go of the ideal image of a family with two parents.”
She also had a lot of questions about how she handled the matter. “Once I made my decision, I discussed it with my parents and close friends, who all responded very positively and thought the move really suited me.” The first step after that was to call her GP and tell her what she intended to do. “Well, Nance,” he said, “I have to understand that because I don’t get that request every day.”
However, Nancy certainly isn’t the only woman who has become a conscious single mother (BAM). Last year, more than 8 percent of children were born into a single-parent family, according to figures from CBS. It is not known in the number of cases in which this was a conscious choice.
At Bam-mam, an association for conscientiously single mothers, they don’t have exact numbers on how many women in the Netherlands start a BAM programme. However, the number of its members is increasing, which gives them the impression that more and more women are choosing single motherhood.
They also see that the age at which women start doing this is decreasing.
Finally, the GP called Nancy again and got a referral to a gynecologist, but since there were long waiting lists there to start the program, she eventually knocked on the door of the area fertility clinic.
“I signed up there. I received all kinds of questionnaires I had to fill out, both about my medical but also about my mental state. They do some research, they want to know how you feel and whether you once had psychiatric complaints. That was not the case with me, So I passed whistling.”
After filling out the forms, Nancy ended up in the queue. “It would take 16-20 weeks, but in the end it was my turn before that.” At the end of November last year I was able to come over to eat. There she met with a gynecologist, blood was drawn. “They also did an internal exam to see how well the uterus and eggs were flowing.”
Finding a sperm donor
She says it went quickly after that. “I had to wait a month for my blood test results, but in December I really started looking for a sperm donor. This was the hardest part of the whole process, and it wasn’t just my concern. In the Netherlands there was a change in the law where women may not You can only get pregnant from a sperm donor with an ‘open profile’, which means the baby can contact the donor later if there is a need.”
I finally decided to look at a Danish sperm bank. “You can enter what you prefer, for example blonde hair and blue eyes, and you can also indicate how good the semen is. If it is difficult to get pregnant, the semen should be of higher quality.”
You can drive yourself crazy
So many options, so many options, for Nancy it was a “headache file”. “You can drive yourself crazy. Sperm banks are commercial. The more you want to know about the donor, the more you have to pay. For example, you have basic profiles in which you receive brief information, for example hair color and eye color. But there is Also profiles with a handwritten message, voice memos, or information about the donor’s sisters and brothers.”
Finally took the reins. “I just went for a basic profile. The child will grow up with me soon, and he will receive my standards and values. After I gave up my preferences, there were two options left. I chose one.”
In January of this year, she returned to the fertility center for an interview, after which she submitted the application. “That’s a crazy idea; three tubes with semen in it came from Denmark to Holland,” she says.
Nancy had to start tracking her cycle in the meantime. “When did ovulation occur? I have no idea. I started using ovulation tests, and we made our first attempt in March.”
Getting pregnant from a sperm donor, how does that work?
“Reprocessed sperm” is used for IVF with donor sperm. That is, the frozen donor sperm is thawed and then washed with culture fluid. The treated sperm cells can thus be inserted high into the uterus (fertilized), giving a greater chance of pregnancy.
The vaccination itself is generally painless. The woman sits in a chair, after which the doctor or nurse uses a speculum (duckbill) to visualize the opening of the uterus. A small amount of sperm cells in the culture fluid is inserted into the uterus using a thin tube (catheter). After insemination, the woman remains in bed for a while.
chance of success
On average, the pregnancy rate per cycle is between ten and fifteen percent. In theory, this should make 70 percent of women pregnant after a year, but in practice the number is closer to 50 percent.
Nancy’s first attempt failed. “I was a little vigilant about that: If it was going to work the first time, it would really be a ‘blow of luck’.”
But this was followed by a second attempt in April. And it succeeded. “It was very exciting, because you can’t take a pregnancy test until two weeks after the insemination. I survived that first week, but then you get very curious.”
Tears of joy
Finally, she took a test the day before. “I was camping with my good friends and their kids. I had a feeling I should have my period, and I thought: If I test it now, at least I know. When I saw the result, I immediately called my girlfriend that she had to come. Because it was just a big positive test To get fat too fast!”
“I was very happy and happy,” Nancy says. “I had tears of happiness. But, this is so crazy, I was a little anxious right away. Because pregnancy is a miracle, and you are immediately aware of what could happen.”
Everything is going well so far, says Nancy, who is now 22 weeks pregnant. “I started the nursery yesterday and I feel so happy every time I go in there. There’s nothing there yet, except for a closet. But it’s what I’ve always wanted. I really look forward to my son’s arrival. I’m so excited to give him all the love and build our lives together.” We’ll soon be a family of two. Just thinking about it makes my heart skip a beat; I’m so happy.”
How will she deal with all this once her baby is born? “Now I work 32 hours a week, and I will work less. I have babysitting at the daycare center one day a week and use my net the other two days. If you start this process, you know I have to play nights by myself and that it will be difficult sometimes, But it will always be tomorrow. You know this when you start.”
Furthermore, Nancy also sees the benefits of raising a child on her own. “You don’t have any discussions about bringing up with your partner, I’ll pick the name myself and decide for myself what the baby’s room will look like,” she says.
“And I get my friends and family involved a lot in it, and I can squabble with them about anything and everything. It’s also good to see how involved they are in my pregnancy. It might be less if you have a partner and then you do it a little bit more with just both of you.”
Don’t let that stop you
She has important tips for other women who are also considering becoming a single mother.
“Think about it carefully, it’s not like buying a new car. But if you feel every fiber in your body: I want this and I can do it, then do it. Don’t let minor things hold you back. Maybe the track is a different family form than you ever imagined, but it’s It will work. Even as a single mother you have a lot more to offer your child than you think.”