Saturday, September 30, 2023

“I Don’t Need to Worry About Mr Right Anymore” A Kiwi Woman’s Unconventional Journey to Motherhood – Why Egg Freezing & Sperm Donation Was Right for Me

Fertility Associates Post Top

Let's be friends!

The books we're reading, the vibrators we're using, the rants we're having and more in our weekly EDM.

Sarah Retter is strong, successful and gorgeous – but like so many incredible women, she’s never met her Mr Right. Determined to become a mother, she shares her egg collection and sperm donation story with Capsule and tells why she’s not waiting around for a man to make her happy.

Brought to you by Fertility Associates

“My journey started when I was 36 when I began thinking that one day I’d really like a baby, but I was single.

And then, my sister had a little boy. Honestly, I was incredibly jealous of where she was in her life. She was having a baby and all the things I ever wanted were happening to her, but none of it seemed within my reach.

I’m a lawyer so I work a lot and I’m on my own. I needed to think about my future and what that looked like if I wanted to have a baby, and figure out what I could control myself. My neighbour at the time was going through fertility treatment, having egg collection and I thought ‘wow’ – this is something I need to look into.

Eventually I made the decision to head to Fertility Associates in January 2021. I didn’t know if I even had a chance at the time, based on my medical history and my single status. It’s a knowledge is power thing – I just wanted to know what my options were. I went along and had a chat and I had my AMH level tested, which came back relatively high, which was actually great.

The AMH test (Anti Mullerian Hormone) gives you a bit of an indication of how many eggs you might have – it’s a measure of a hormone they give off. It can tell you roughly how many you might have, but not necessarily the quality.

But because my result was good I went ahead with the first step of freezing my eggs which involved an egg collection. In my mind I wanted to do it before I turned 38, so I went down the egg freezing  route, and luckily I finished my cycle the week before Auckland went into lockdown last year!

I’m not going to lie; it was a pretty rough experience from an emotional perspective – I would cry at the drop of a hat for no reason! But the team was really helpful and they made sure I understood all elements of the process which was great; I’m quite an analytical person so I wanted to know and understand, and it helps you process and deal with it.

So now I have the eggs ready and waiting in the freezer – but of course that’s only half the equation!  I’ve also gone on the sperm donor list. I’m just waiting for it to be my turn so I can go to the next stage… Unless I meet ‘The One’, which would be amazing! (But, I’m also in Auckland and let me tell you… the dating scene is terrible!) And of course, being in a pandemic for the last two years doesn’t help with meeting people.

It’s something other people seem to be struggling with too – before the pandemic the sperm donor wait list was at about two years, now it’s about two and a half.

I’m 18 months into my wait and when it’s my turn I’ll get a call and head in to pick a donor. I think you get a choice between three and five donors and you get a picture of them and some statistics. Some donors say they want to meet people, some don’t.

I don’t really have any ‘criteria’ about what I’m looking for – I mean, doing that is almost like trying to pick your partner! (We’ve all tried to do that though, am I right?!) People mostly say, ‘as long as they’re a nice person’. I haven’t really put a lot of thought into it but knowing me a month or two before the call, my brain will go into overdrive! I just want a healthy little bundle of joy.

There’s a process around counselling too, you need to make sure you’re prepared for what’s on the other side of sperm donation. 

Being able to do this by myself has been a really empowering process. I’ve got quite a few friends who have been down this route – one of my friends has a two-year-old boy.

My parents were a little bit apprehensive about the whole thing, I guess because it wasn’t something that was done in their time. It took a little time to talk them through it, especially my mum. But she sought out a workmate who had had a baby by sperm donation and talked to her, which was really helpful. She told my mum it was the best thing she ever did.

And sometimes it’s not even the sperm donation part that people are funny about – it’s the single mum issue. There’s definitely a stigma there still. But, so many mums are on their own and are absolutely nailing it. I’m in a hugely privileged position – I own a house, I have a great job and a lovely life. There are so many women doing it tough and who are doing an amazing job raising gorgeous, well-adjusted children.

It’s been really empowering to say, ‘If I really want a baby, I have that option’. I know that this isn’t the ‘traditional way’ of having a baby, but it’s a really empowering way for me. It gives me a sense of being able to control the situation as much as I can, rather than worrying if Mr Right doesn’t come along, where does that leave me? I don’t need to worry about that now.

I wasn’t ready to have kids in my 20s – I was starting a career and travelling, and all the fun things we did before Covid! But had I known then what I know now, I would have done things differently and I would have frozen my eggs earlier.

It’s nowhere near as scary as you think it will be, you’re so supported through the whole process and given all the information you need. If it’s something you’re thinking about, go and have a chat, you won’t regret it – I certainly haven’t!”

You can book a free nurse consult with Fertility Associates here

And, if you know any good men who might want to donate sperm, send them to Fertility Associates or!

Money, Honey: Inside the Life and Budget of an Auckland Recruitment Consultant on $75,000 a Year

How much are we all earning? How does your profession add up? How are women your age spending their money? Is everyone in debt?...

A Three-Star Family-Friendly Fiji Resort at a Five Star Location. Here’s Where to Take the Kids Next Holidays That Won’t Break the Bank

“OMG, exciting. Have you joined the Facebook Group?” It wasn’t quite the response I had been expecting when I told a friend that we were...

The Mental Cost Of ‘Intensive Mothering’: A Feminist Philosopher On Why Modern Motherhood Is So Hard

The importance placed on 'intensive mothering' means that many parents constantly feel like they're falling behind. Elise Addlem, an Australian born feminist and motherhood...

The Kindness of Strangers: During a Weekend of Wild Windy Weather, We Learn How Much it Can Mean When Strangers Help Out

It was chaos at Auckland Airport last night, with cancelled flights and displaced passengers. Sarah Lang was one of them. Yesterday and so far today,...