As the end of another COVID blighted year approaches, the world continues to endure difficult times, yet also pull together in remarkable ways, with scientists from across the planet alighting upon several miracle vaccines
Whilst there may never be the perfect cure, the medical profession has more than done their bit for global humanity in 2021, restoring hope when all looked bleak, just as they did 42 years ago when pioneering a new way of conceiving for those previously doomed to infertility.
I’m sure we have all done our bit to help others in the last 12 months, so I hope you won’t mind me sharing a few things I have been involved in, following the launch of my first children’s book in November 2020, I have become an ambassador and writer for IVF Babble, as well as partnered with various other people and organisations who are instrumental in the fertility arena.
But the thing I am most proud of is my work with a couple of single mothers by choice, as I set out to produce a second children’s book that would tell the story of a single woman who uses a sperm donor to start a family. My main line of work is in the insurance industry, where we are constantly challenged to evolve and think outside of the box. However, I do not mind admitting that I am a creature of habit, who does not accept change readily, preferring the comforts of my mid-morning “Quavers” snack to excel spreadsheets and other even more daunting technology.
In contrast though, outside of the workplace, I have had to adapt
When first married in 2012, I would never have contemplated having to use a sperm donor to conceive our children, let alone sharing this information with close family and friends and then being open and transparent with others seeking help. I pause there to reflect on my use of the word “having”, as no-one forced me to use a sperm donor. Yes, there was my wife desperate to have her own child and, yes, there was me desperately unable to assist. However, ultimately, we decided together to embrace the wonderful luxury that using a sperm donor presents to those in need in the 21st Century.
And this brings me onto the subject of my second book
A few years ago, when my wife and I were first struggling to conceive, she mentioned a friend of hers who was also anxious to “crack on”, despite having no man in her life. I was intrigued to learn of her plans to use a sperm donor but at the same time silently worried on her behalf, not just about having to bring a child up on her own but also at what might be the reaction in her local community. I was also sceptical as to whether she should not wait for the perfect man to come along but how very wrong she has proven me.
This friend has gone on to conceive not once but twice via the same sperm donor and, at least to an outsider looking in, is the epitome of a successful happy parent: no co-parent to squabble with, two beautiful content boys, an inspiration to all those in the local community and beyond, not just those who may wish to embark on a similar journey but also the doubters who do not always like to be proven wrong.
I have met and spoken with quite a few other similarly single mothers in the last year or so and noticed a common theme
These strong ladies are almost always single mothers by choice, who could have chosen to not have children but have instead made a bold decision to start a family on their own. Some have made a conscious choice to become a parent without a partner; others may have preferred to wait for a partner but did not feel they had the luxury of time. Instead, like me, they bravely embraced the modern-day option of using a sperm donor and, again just like me, I have not encountered one such lady who regrets her decision.
And so, I feel privileged to have spent time getting to know some of these inspirational women and to have been able to work closely with a couple of them in finalising the content of my new book. In particular, I would like to thank Mel Johnson, The Solo Motherhood Coach, for making sure the story is an authentic representation for those reading the book, not just women and children who have been on this journey but any parents and children wishing to read about the diverse origins of some very special children.
Best festive wishes, JR Silver
Read more from JR Silver: