In my latest podcast episode, I had a chance to chat with Mel Thompson, a solo motherhood coach who had her three-year-old daughter Daisy via donor sperm. She now shares her journey as a solo mom and empowers other women as a coach with information, resources, and support who are considering following the same path. Below are the top questions we asked with her answers. For the full episode on solo motherhood, be sure to give it a listen here!
Please note that this blog post is not a substitution for medical or mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition.
How did you know solo motherhood was right for you?
Mel: I was 36 or 37, living in Budapest in Hungary. I was living an amazing life. I had a big group of friends. I was going out and having an amazing time. But I was thinking to myself that I'm not getting any closer to achieving my dream of being a mom. When I was 37, I decided that unless I took action and took matters into my own hands, I might miss out.
I held out to hope that I would meet someone for me. That just didn't happen, and I didn't want to miss out.
Did you know anybody who had done solo motherhood?
Mel: I didn't know a single person and that's what made my decision so hard. There was no one really in the media or the public, no one in my friendship group. I wanted to start coaching people because I wanted to raise visibility and show that it is a route to parenthood that you can take, and it can be equally positive as doing it in a partnership.
How did you pick your daughter's father?
Mel: One thing that surprised me was how quick it all was. I went for a consultation, then booked in for the treatment. I was quite surprised by how quickly it all happened. I was really lucky because it was quite straightforward. I had one round of IVF. I got three embryos. On the second transfer, it was my daughter.
I also found the sperm of my child’s father relatively straightforward. The clinic I used had a sperm bank as part of the clinic. I didn't have to go to another sperm bank and they asked me to fill out a questionnaire: the main choices with physical characteristics.
Then they presented me with two choices. Both met the criteria I had asked for in the questionnaire, both had written a beautiful letter to explain why. My take was to try to let go of the control a little bit, so I'll just choose the one that sounds the best to me.
How did you prepare for it?
Mel: Through this whole thing, I've never really been by myself; I've had loads of people around me. My mom was probably my main support. She came with me, she came to transfer with me, and she was my first partner in the end.
Another thing is that I'm used to doing stuff on my own. I think people always say, “I can't imagine doing it without my partner,” which I can totally understand. But if you've never had that partner and you've always been doing it on your own, I think it is a lot easier. Certainly for me, because I went into it knowing that this is what I was signing up for.
As far as support goes, it almost depends on your circumstances and how your friendship group is set up. I've got friends who are like family who would help in the same way, but other people, if you've maybe not got that same level of friendship, I think, cause I've lived abroad for a long time. I've got quite a lot of friends who I treat in this, you know, we're like family.
Ultimately, I moved five minutes around the corner from my mom. At the end of the day, my quality of life is just so much better. My daughter gets to see her granny more. I get more help. My parents don't have to travel as much. Everyone's happier. So personally for me, it's been massively advantageous.
Will I be single forever?
Mel: I would say absolutely not. Some things are easier, some things are harder about dating with a three-year-old, but you can meet someone at any time at any age. I really don't think you're signing up for being single.
Is it always confidential?
Mel: It's different in different countries. In the UK, we've got something called release ID donors, and that is basically legislation. You have to release the ID donor in the UK. When your child is 18, they can get the contact details of the donor so that they know that at 18 they'll be able to access that.
If they choose to before 18, they can take a DNA test and see whether there are any matches. We'll absolutely support her to do that if that's what she wants to do.
How did you pay for it?
Mel: I am in a very lucky position where I have got a good job that I've had for years and managed to have a lot of savings behind me.
Sadly, it does have to be a consideration because it is a barrier for a lot of people and it's really tough. My only advice is save as much as you can, as soon as you are even considering this to be a possibility.
If you really, really want something, I feel like there are ways to make it happen. I've heard of people, two people moving in together—like two solo moms—to share a nanny cost. Moving in with your parents, renting out downsizing the house, or whatever it might be. Is there a more inventive way that you can make it affordable?
Mel has now coached hundreds of women who are considering solo motherhood. She says it's not the right route for everyone, and she's not a saleswoman. Her job is to just show you the options. She wants to give you the information and empower you to make a decision on whether this is the right path for you She hopes to create a space where women feel comfortable and open contemplating the same thing. Have questions about motherhood? Connect with Mel at TheStorkandI.com or reach me for an inquiry call to learn how I can best serve you.