Is a one-night stand a chance for pregnancy?
I’m a 36-year-old woman who longs for a child. I have given up searching for a partner but I obviously need a man, if only as a sperm donor. I was looking into assisted reproductive technologies and IVF, which is very expensive, when my mother (of all people) said I should just go out and have a one-night stand. Maybe she has a point. Finding a quickie is a lot easier than searching for someone to settle down with long-term. I could track my fertility and then go out on a man-hunt when the time is right. I just need to try and keep safe, choose wisely and avoid sexually-transmitted diseases. Are there any ways to avoid STDs but still get pregnant? What are the chances of coming across someone with STDs in Adelaide? What are the main warning signs? Can the panel offer any other advice regarding personal safety?
Your letter raises ethical issues that call for closer examination in order to make a decision that is best for all parties, ideally considering both biological parents and the child.
The safest and most responsible way for a single woman to become pregnant is to approach a fertility/reproductive clinic. Single women can and do access donor sperm, which is well-screened for diseases and genetic disorders. Attempting to get pregnant through a casual relationship, without letting the other party know, is not advisable for a number of reasons.
As children get older they nearly always want to know and meet their biological parent(s). Likewise, a man who impregnates a woman, albeit in a one-night relationship, also has a right to know he has fathered a child. A third option is to approach a male friend within your social network who can enter into an arrangement with consent.
While you are investigating donor sperm options the panel urges you to continue to direct your energies towards finding a long-term partner. There are single men at a similar life stage to yourself, interested in starting a family in the not-too-distant future.
Internet dating sites, used wisely, can introduce you to people with similar goals and values. Keep your address and personal details private, arrange to meet in public and have a friend know where you are, in order to reduce safety risks.
It also may be reassuring to establish you have a reasonable supply of eggs remaining. Speak with your medical practitioner with regard to this. A woman’s fertility does start declining from around her mid-30s, but assisted reproductive technology is also improving.
With regards to reducing your chance of getting a sexually transmitted infection, refer to www.mshc.org.au fact sheets.
One in eight sexually active Australians are estimated to have genital herpes. Chlamydia is also relatively common and often has no visible symptoms.
Testing can be done quickly, even online for some STIs nowadays. See www.getcheckednow.com.au – simply print out the form and take it to a pathology centre (eg IMVS, where you can be tested). A quick questionnaire also checks your level of risk, as some people do not actually need to get tested but think they do. You or a sperm donor can be tested at Clinic 275 or a Shine SA clinic, where you can also receive counselling and advice about your situation. Visit www.shinesa.org.au or phone 1300 794 584.
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Relationships Australia SA appoints panels of general practitioners, medical specialists, lawyers, therapeutic and financial counsellors to discuss each letter before the appropriate professional answers it.