‘I chose the sperm donor route as I had split with a long term partner of 7 years who had cheated continuously.’

Social Infertility

A recent HFEA report shows that the use of sperm donor with patient eggs has increased hugely over the last 15 years. This is down to the rise in: single women and women in same sex relationships using donor sperm. 

Many female teachers from around the UK (and abroad) who are either in the process of the sperm donor route on their path to solo parenthood, or who have already made their dreams come true to be a solo mother with a biological child of their own. 

Why women take the sperm donor route alone
  1. They haven’t met a partner and wont let this stop them from fulfilling their desire to be a mother
  2. They have come out of a long term relationship and don’t want to ‘waste time’ dating when they know they can do it alone

SENCO Beth said ‘I was in a good place in terms of my career,  I own my own home and everything else has fallen into place apart from meeting someone to have children with… I was fortunate enough that I was able to start [fertility] treatment in February 2021 at age 31 and now at the age of 32 I am 12 weeks  pregnant.’.


Head of department Jo  said ‘I chose the donor route as I had split with a long term partner of 7 years who had cheated continuously. I knew that I would rather do it by myself than bring up a child with a father who could emotionally hurt the mother.’


Bisexual teacher Annie watched as many of her friends started to get married ad have children, something she struggled with after wanting it for herself. ‘I decided that if I wasn’t near to having children with a partner by the age of 35 I would look into the donor route. My last relationship broke down a few months before my 35th birthday and it was at that point I decided there was really nothing stopping me’.

Why the majority of women going down the sperm donor route avoid telling leadership
  1. It’s a private matter
  2. They have concerns their career progression could be harmed if managers and leaders know they are trying to have a baby.

Senior leader Kitty didn’t tell her school she was seeking assisted conception via the sperm donor route as she felt that this would have been an ‘intrusion’ to her privacy. She was able to be vague about appointments and admits that she was lucky in the sense that there weren’t follow up questions to this.


Being a senior leader with a lighter timetable also meant she could make clinic appointments work around her work commitments. 


Beth said ‘I chose to keep the fact I was going through fertility treatment private and scheduled my treatment around school holidays. I was able to have my initial egg collection and fresh embryo transfer during the 2 weeks easter holiday. I was then able to have a Frozen Embryo transfer during the Summer holidays.’

How schools can better support female teachers going through fertility treatment via sperm donor alone
  1. Put an inclusive fertility treatment policy in place that addresses ‘social infertility’ (same sex or solo route to parenthood)
  2. Be supportive post treatment if fertility treatment is unsuccessful- they will be grieving 
  3. Be discrete about the personal circumstance of the teacher
  4. Be mindful about what could have happened for your member of staff to be taking the sperm donor path ie. Has there been an upsetting breakup, or a neglectful/ abusive prior relationship? Perhaps there has been yars of ‘failed’ attempts or of miscarriage
  5. Have an awareness of the emotional stress, financial burden and social pressure that this one woman must carry alone
  6. Paid leave for appointments 
  7. Talk to solo parents to be about how you can support them when they return to work e.g. flexible working, career progression opportunities, leave on time to collect child from carer, equitable treatment when child is ill or carer is ill

Note for teachers considering the sperm donor route

If you’d like to connect with a teacher who has had children through sperm donation then get in touch.

Note for senior leaders

If you’d like to learn more about infertility and the diverse range of staff this impacts in your school then book a discovery call to see how we can help you.

Book recommendation : Liv’s Alone, by Liv Thorne

Instagram Account to follow: The Stork and I

Uplifting quotation: ‘…we are at a time when we can create the life we want. The fetters of a more family dynamic are slowly coming loose… there are people longing to carve out their own magnificent family adventure who, for an abundance of reasons don’t fit the narrative that for so long we have been we have been informed is ‘normal’… they can dig deep, grab their fantasies by the horns and wave them around for all to see. To rejoice in the knowledge that there are other paths out there’.

Liv Thorne, Liv’s Alone.

A special thank you to the women who have contributed to this article- you are an inspiration.

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