HOLLY McDonald was 39, single, and wanted to become a mother.
Rather than risk missing out on having a child while waiting to meet a suitable partner, the Caves Beach resident went through IVF and had her beautiful brown-eyed daughter, Eilish, six months ago.
“I had to make a choice – a relationship or a baby,” Ms McDonald said.
“A relationship can always come later.”
Ms McDonald is one of a growing number of Hunter women choosing to have a baby independently – whether that be via IVF or intrauterine insemination.
“It is the best thing I ever did,” Ms McDonald said.
“She has been a wonderful gift. She is healthy and happy, and I have a lot of support.”
Ms McDonald had already decided to go through IVF when testing revealed she had a low egg count for her age, and that she would likely go into early menopause.
She also had a blocked fallopian tube, which would have halved her chances of falling pregnant naturally.
“I was getting older. I was financially secure. Most couples have a few years together before a baby comes along, and I think you have to know how your relationship is going to handle the normal ups and downs before you then bring a child into the world,” she said.
“If you have a sick child, or a child that cries all night, that puts more pressure on a relationship that isn’t already solid.
“I didn’t want to rush into anything with anyone. There are never any guarantees anyway. This way I don’t have to worry about her being around people I don’t know if I separated from her father.”
Ms McDonald went through the Genea fertility clinic at Lingard Private Hospital, choosing a sperm donor from a detailed database.
Genea clinic manager Penny O’Donnell said the demand for single women requesting procedures such as IVF and freezing eggs had been increasing over time.
“We do have a lot of people getting to a point where Mr Right hasn’t come along and the clock is ticking quickly,” Ms O’Donnell said.
“It is a choice, and it’s nice to have a choice. This way, they are doing it responsibly and with integrity. They are not going and choosing a partner for a short time frame without taking the pill.
“It is all above board.”
Ms O’Donnell said some single women were opting to freeze their eggs for when they did find a suitable partner, as the quality and quantity of a female’s eggs decreased with age.
“It is a bit like an insurance policy,” Ms O’Donnell said. “It can take the pressure off, and give people options for the future.
“We can’t modify the ingredients we are given, and there are no guarantees with IVF... But there is also the option of using a donor egg.”