Young Women Who Seek Sperm Donors Have No Idea How Hard Parenting Is


screaming babyDating can be rough, no doubt, but increasingly it seems young women are giving up on men to get pregnant, and heading straight to a drama-free source when it comes to their need for a child -- sperm donors. The most surprising thing is just how young they are when they give up and go for it on their own. According to a British report, women as young as 18 are seeking sperm donors, and as many as 25 percent of users on some online sperm-seeking sites are younger than 25.

Maybe it's because my toddler daughter has been sick, and I haven't slept in three days, and my clothes have been soaked with vomit and snot, and I've had to miss work, and I can't imagine not having had my husband to help me during it all, but all I can think is: Are they crazy?

I believe families come in all shapes and sizes, and by no means believe a traditional nuclear family is the only way to go. Some of the best moms I know are single moms, but choosing to be a single parent at such a young age just seems like an impetuous decision clouded by pretty visions of parenthood.

I get the desire to have a baby, and parenting is beautiful and magical and the most incredible thing I've ever done, but it's also hard, oh so hard, and I can't imagine doing it alone. Plenty do -- and do it well -- but I think being a single parent is one of the most difficult jobs there is.

Some days when my husband is traveling, I'm so exhausted -- mentally and physically -- all I can do upon his return is grunt and retreat to my bed while he takes over at last. Never having that source of relief anywhere in sight would be exhausting. Sure there are family members and babysitters, but you can only expect so much from people who aren't a child's parents. And besides the actual work, it's the mental support a good partner provides that is key to making it through the tough times and really soaking up the good.

How young is too young to seek a sperm donor? I don't know, and there's always the whole aging female eggs one has to worry about, but life happens quickly and unexpectedly, and sometimes after a few bad dates, you unexpectedly find a partner. To miss out on that because of a rash choice in your early 20s or before that would be unfortunate. Not that women should spend their whole life searching for "the one," but if children are what they want, then searching a little longer than the teenage years seems advisable.

And yes, there are deadbeat dads and partners that actually make life worse rather than better for kids. Two-parent families are no guaranteed panacea for sure, and parenthood will always be a lot of work no matter what. But to give up at such a very young age that you'll ever be able to find a good partner to share both the joy and pain of raising children is both sad and I fear setting up these young women for extremely challenging parenting experiences.

How young do you think is too young to seek a sperm donor?

Image via N8tr0n/Flickr

baby prep, emotions, fathers, motherhood


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Stacey. Stacey.

Under 25, you can't even rent a car yet in some states!

MomX3... MomX3ThatsMe

I agree with Stacey.  I think under 25 is too young to be rushing into sperm donation.  In my opinion, you'd be a little more settled and ready to take on the single-parenting task when you are 25 (or better yet, closer to 30) and more financially established and generally more mature.  This is not to say that no one should have children before age 25 and that mothers under 25 are immature.  I just think that taking on SINGLE parenthood BY CHOICE when you are so young is sort of an irresponsible move.  Things happen and parents can make the best of it when needed... by why drag your baby through all that when you can just wait a few years to get yourself settled first?  

dandk... dandksmom321

If they really want a baby that young, who are we to say it's not right. It's their decision and not anyone else's.


hutch... hutchfam2007

My biggest concern in a case where a woman does decide to go for donation is that a good percentage of men are not looking for a "premade" family... why would you want to further limit your potential to find a life partner? I cant say that I do not understand wanting a baby that young, I had my first at 23 and will be 26 when #2 is born. BUT what I can say is that I had NO CLUE what I was getting myself into. I'm married and have a very dedicated husband to help and it was still Totally overwhelming. No amount of preparation can help. When I was in my first pregnancy everything was all rainbows and unicorns--I Was Really, really, really excited. I was getting a cute little baby. This time around Im excited, kinda. Im getting a needy BABY! AHHH!! I know what to expect and am much more nervous and terrified this time around.

to answer the question to the post... I would say that if you havent found your match by age 30+ and are still terribly anxious to have children, then go for it. This mainly comes from a financial standpoint and the assumption that by age 30 you have your finiances somewhat in order. Nobody needs to be wealthy to have children, that is not my point but at age 30 you have a much better chance of having things in order than at age 20.

corri... corrinacs

Well, it depends.  I'm 26 and doing EXTREMELY well for myself.  I have a loving husband.  As far as on my own, perhaps I could do it in my current single state of things.  I think it more depends on the person and why they are doing this so early on.  I wouldn't immediately discount a 25 year old from being a good single parent.

nonmember avatar lys810

I think it depends on the person. I am 20 and using a known sperm donor. I've always wanted children young, and recently found out that I'm going to be struggling to get pregnant, and it could take a long time. I don't want to wait until it's too late.
I've always done quite well for myself, financially, and will be finishing my bachelor's degree in about a year, and already have a full time job with full benefits.
I know that parenting is going to be hard- I used to work 50+ hours a week as a nanny, and with even that level of responsibility was no cakewalk.

On the finding a partner point that you made- If a man cannot love both me and my child, then he is not right for me. Even if the family is "ready made".

I don't think you can judge decisions based on age. Every person and every situation is incredibly different.

Even if I found a partner first, that's no guarantee that I won't end up being a single parent anyway.

Why should I have to put my dreams on hold because I haven't found the right man yet?

CoolR... CoolRelax

That's just dumb.  But it's their dumb ass choice to make - let them make it.  There are plenty of young girls who are making babies with "sperm donors" - they just had more fun doing it.

Emma Hartnell-Baker

I created FSDW in 2003- however it continues to be different as it is ONLY for AI, known sperm donors. Contrary to the stats given here the average age of single women joining FSDW is around 34. FSDW donors would generally not donate to young single women because they actually care about the resulting child (its why they join FSDW). They want to choose a woman or couple who seems to be financially and emotionally stable, and who has a good support network. Being a single parent is hard. As FSDW donors donate for free, Ai only (no sex) and no anonimity (they WANT the child to be able to ask questions and contact him if they want) it weeds out the men wanting sex or money - and to then run. Which is probably why the age group of single women there is older- thats what they want from a donor. Also perhaps the younger single women dont want to pay the $20 a month to use a moderated members area with behaviour code. I find that the single women who join FSDW have careers, supportive families- and have LIVED. They feel ready, but also recognise what a big step this is.
So dont lump all sperm donation sites together - and please realise that some of us help women and couples find sperm donors as we want to help build child focused families within a supportive community.
Creator of FSDW
Child (not just baby making)focused aasisted reproduction

Tommy Simmons

As a FSDW donor I can say I wouldnt donate to a young single woman.

I saw this article and read The Child Listener's post about it on the FSDW facebook page. Ive copied below as I think its accurate and something journalists should be exploring. Focus on the men who are participating in this rather than the women who may not know better.

Em said
"It goes without saying that there isnt a hard and fast rule about how old you need to be to be a good parent. Far from it. However my concern is that there are now so many young women trying to get pregnant- using 'free sperm' - and that so many men are willing to offer this without caring about the resulting child. In a way its like a 'free pass' to have sex ( all other sites other than FSDW allow for sex ie NI) because the woman is saying she doesnt WANT him to play daddy- or pay support ...."

Men try NOT to get a woman pregnant usually because of child support etc. These sites seem to offer them free sex and no responsiblity to the child?

Stacie-Mai Pemberton

I think it should be left to te decision of the individual, in some cases then yes it is really not sensible, but not everyone is as fertile as myrtle at 18, I know that from experience. It is unfortunate that people think of all 18-25 year olds as being immature, but there is sensible young people out there with houses and jobs and education, children is the next natural step.I know a lot of people who have lost their parents by the time they are 20 because their parents had them at an older age :)

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