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What are your options if you’re single and want a baby?

Every time you see a baby, your ovaries do somersaults, and your heart melts. More than anything in the world, you want a child of your own. There’s just one problem: There’s no Mr. Right in your life.

mom kissing baby

What are your options when you’re desperate for a baby and single?

The sperm bank

Pros

  • It’s like online shopping. No need to beg or grovel to your male friends; it’s as simple as browsing an online catalogue by statistics, such as hair and eye colour, height and occupation.
  • Health screening. Sperm bank donors are screened for a range of diseases and infections, including HIV, HTLV-1 and HTLV-2, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, cytomegalovirus (CMV) and cystic fibrosis.

Learn 10 surprising perks of being pregnant >>

Cons

  • The expense. Sperm banks can be expensive to use. While it may be free to browse the basic online catalogue, it can cost you from $65 up to $195 to view the complete profiles of the donors. Add to that the cost of the sperm, which generally starts at about $498, and that’s for a vial of unwashed sperm. (Washing it can be done in a doctor’s office or in the comfort of your own home.) Prewashed sperm, which is inserted directly into the uterus, costs more. Then there are the extra costs of same-day shipping, thawing and storage. Plus, some patients might have to undergo several cycles before conceiving.
  • Anonymous donors. Donors remain anonymous, although the details may be made available to the child once he or she turns 18, depending on the privacy policy at the sperm bank.

Adoption

Pros

  • No need to go through pregnancy. No morning sickness, no swollen ankles, no trying to get your pre-baby body back. This is an obvious advantage for those who are unable to become pregnant easily or if pregnancy runs health risks.

Cons

  • The waiting time. It could take months or even years, and it can hinge on how fussy you are, the type of child you want to adopt, your financial resources — it can even come down to just plain luck or lack thereof. The number of newborns up for adoption is generally low, and this also plays a role in holding up the procedure.
  • The costs. Fees for a private adoption can easily total a minimum of $10,000. The majority of the money is for administrative and legal fees, travelling and accommodation expenses if the birth mother is not local. You are also responsible for the birth mother’s and father’s counselling fees, whether or not the adoption goes ahead.

Read about Charlize Theron’s adoption of a baby boy >>

Known sperm donor

Pros

  • More affordable. Using a friend or an acquaintance as a donor is a cheaper option. If your chosen donor is willing and able, you have as much sperm as you need on tap. Unsuccessful the first time? Then try, try again — without a single expense.
  • You know your donor. You have a better idea of the donor’s personality, family background and medical history, so you don’t need to do too much digging.

Cons

  • An awkward conversation. Broaching the subject of sperm donation, not to mention the finer details of when, where and how, can be embarrassing.
  • No guarantees of disease free. While your chosen donor might be free of sexually transmitted infections, you don’t have the same guarantee that his sperm is free of genetic diseases as you would if you use a sperm bank.
  • The relationship can get confusing. He might not want any parenting input now, but what happens if he changes his mind down the line? What if he has other children? Will you let your child get to know his or her siblings? What are your rights if your friend decides he wants shared custody? Sometimes it’s simpler if the donor is anonymous.

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