| 16.5°C Dublin

fighting stigma Single childcare worker Rachel shares her journey to becoming a mother using donor sperm

"I can honestly say my biggest fear in life is not being able to have children"

Close

Rachel says she has always wanted to be a mother.

Rachel says she has always wanted to be a mother.

Rachel says she has always wanted to be a mother.

A single woman who is documenting her solo fertility journey has told how she was encouraged to ‘go and have a one-night stand’ to conceive a baby.

Rachel McGuinness (33) is now hoping to stamp out any residual stigma associated with solo parenting and the ignorant comments that hopeful parents are often faced with.

The childcare worker, who lives in her childhood home in Kilbarrack, Dublin, bravely set up her Instagram page @donor_andme to encourage women to not give up on their dream of starting a family just because they haven’t met ‘the one’.

“I always said by the time I am 25 I want to be married, I want my own house and I want kids. Growing up I was constantly surrounded by my nieces and nephews, and I always loved caring for them. It was never ever a question of if I wanted kids.

“As time kind of ticked on it just never happened for me. I never had that big serious relationship. There was no near engagement or wedding.”

Determined to create her own family unit, the Dubliner began to take matters into her own hands.

“People said to me ‘you’re still young’ but I didn’t want to have to wait and see another ten years slip by and I didn’t want to have to wait to meet a man, what if that never happened?

Close

Rachel McGuinness is starting fertility treatment. Photos by Steve Humphreys

Rachel McGuinness is starting fertility treatment. Photos by Steve Humphreys

Rachel McGuinness is starting fertility treatment. Photos by Steve Humphreys

“I know a woman who is in her 50s now, and she told me that not having a baby is the biggest regret of her life. I just thought I don’t want that to be me because it would be the biggest regret of my life. I was made to be a mammy; it is all I have ever wanted. I can honestly say my biggest fear in life is not being able to have children.”

Encouraged by her mam and sister, Rachel quickly came to the realisation that she didn’t need a relationship to get pregnant.

“When I saw other people find their partners and have their babies I did think, ‘why not me, what is it not working out for me?’ But then I realised you don’t need a man to raise a family, you just need his ingredients.

“Initially I asked a guy I was seeing on and off would he give me his sperm, but he said he would think about it and then it never happened. I actually asked my gay best friend years ago to do it too.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

“There were loads of people who said, ‘why don’t you go out and have a one-night stand and I just said, ‘no way, I’ll more than likely come home with an STI than a baby.’ There was just no way I was going down that route.”

Rachel began to research IVF (in-vitro fertilisation) and IUI (intrauterine insemination), in the hopes that it would finally lead her to motherhood.

“My journey really started two years ago when I first contacted a clinic in Greece and then that never happened because of Covid. It just felt like knock back after knock back. Now I am considering IVF or IUI with Sims Clinic.

“It’s going to cost so much money and will start from at least €10,000. It’s crazy to think that money could be the one thing that could stop me from having a baby because I don’t know how many rounds of treatment I will need yet.”

To complicate things further, Rachel also suffers from endometriosis, a long-term condition which sees tissue similar to the womb lining grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. The condition is associated with an increased risk of having difficulty becoming pregnant.

“Money really is a huge worry. Obviously, I’d love to say I’m not going to stop until I have a baby but financially I can’t be in €60,000 debt and have no home or no baby.

“I tried years ago to get a mortgage and they wouldn’t even look at me because I wasn’t earning enough. I can’t buy a house because I’m single and I might not be able to be a mam because of my single status too.”

Despite more women conceiving to become single parents, Rachel admits that there is still judgment on women who break societal norms.

“It is like a huge weight has been lifted from me. Friends and family were telling me I needed a car or asking if I wanted to go on holiday and in my head I was saying ‘I am saving for treatment for a baby, that’s my only priority, I am not wasting money on things I don’t need’.

“When I told everyone I instantly felt lighter because people could actually appreciate what I was going through. I find that it’s just not talked about and that’s why I said I would share my journey. I really don’t know a close friend or family member that has been through it.

Close

Treatments such as IVF and IUI are used.

Treatments such as IVF and IUI are used.

Treatments such as IVF and IUI are used.

“People were brilliant and said ‘fair play to you’ but Ireland is very backward because it isn’t what people are used to but there are so many different families now and in a couple of years I think it will be the absolute norm.”

Looking towards the future, Rachel has a short checklist when it comes to choosing a sperm donor.

“I just basically want someone who has dark hair and maybe brown or green eyes, and a little bit of height because I’m a short arse.

“When I go to bed now I am already visualising having my baby here and where it is going to sleep because I have a fitted wardrobe in my room and I live at home with my mam who has been amazing throughout.

“I set a goal this year in January that I was going to have a baby and that’s what I keep manifesting.

“Everybody keeps telling me how brave I am and how inspiring I am but I don’t see it. I am just doing what I have to have my baby. My journey is just a little different from other people’s.”

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy