Donor Sperm & Single Motherhood

Your Stories

Becoming Mum

 Why I decided to solo parent and use a sperm donor

Jane McNamara looks at the cost, legalities and choices surrounding solo parenting in Ireland, using sperm donation and talks to one Cork woman who went down that route (Originally published on



Making the Decision

Mary, who became a mother through sperm donation, said she would make the same decision “100 times more.”

Mary Butler was approaching her 40s when she decided that if she wanted to become a mother, she may have to go it alone. Her doctor put her in contact with Waterstone Clinic, and after getting the green light to go ahead, she gave birth to her daughter Iris in May of last year.



Solo Parenting

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, she said she had almost given up on the idea of motherhood before deciding to investigate sperm donation.  “I had kind of pushed it away a little bit in terms of, I didn’t really want to dream that I could have a baby on my own,” she said. “It wasn’t even something that was really on my radar. I suppose I thought it was for celebrities or the really rich people who had nannies – I didn’t think it was for someone like me.”

She said she spoke to a lot of her friends and family about the idea before taking the plunge. “I said look, I am thinking about doing this. Do you think I would be able to do it? As in physically look after a child on my own?” she said.

“I have to say everyone was so, so supportive. A lot of my friends who have children said, well it’s hard but it is hard for everyone initially and they said you absolutely are able for it.”

Incredible Support

She said she was prepared for people to question the decision, but “no one ever did.”

“I think my family were definitely worried for me in the sense that it is a lot to take on on your own,” she said. “But they were so, so supportive, and it is something that I am always so grateful for that I had that support. My mother came with me to all of my appointments. When all of the tests were done, when I actually had the procedure, she was there holding my hand. I have always felt that incredible support.”

"I am so proud of how we have become a family"

Mary said she wants Iris to know her story as soon as she is old enough to understand. “It is never something I am going to hide from her,” she said. “I am so proud of how we have become a family. What I really want to talk to her about is that there are so many different types of families and I think, in this day and age, there are so many different types of families.

“You have one mum, two mums, one dad, two dads, or, you know, parents who don’t live together – there are so many different types of families, and I suppose what I want her to know is that that is the norm.”

No Regrets

She said she has no regrets about her decision. “It is so hard to know what to expect until you are in the middle of it,” she said. “It has been hard at times. It is hard being a single parent at times – being a solo parent and being a new parent, but she is just amazing.

“She is just incredible, and I have no regrets. I would do it 100 times more. I would do it 100 times to get Iris, but I am happy with me and Iris as our family and I am going to stick with just the one for our family!”