Advances in fertility treatments and the expansion of health insurance are leading more women to choose single life.. One of the producers of “CBS Mornings” decided to do just that.
At age 40, Wendy McNeal gave birth to her daughter, Harlow. She said that having a child was an important lifelong dream of hers, so she decided to do it without a partner.
“I had a desire to be a mother. I had a desire to be a mother,” McNeal told CBS News. “I said to myself, ‘In 15 or 20 years, would I be more upset that I didn’t have a child or more upset that I didn’t fall in love and get married?’ And I was like, ‘If I didn’t have a child, for me, I feel like my life wouldn’t be as satisfying.
He chose a donor and went through three rounds of fertility treatments. Most of it was covered by her insurance.
With baby Harlow in her arms, McNeal said she made the right decision.
“Even when she’s like that and she gets a little fussy, I’m thankful that she made me a mom,” she said.
When New York psychotherapist Jane Mattes became pregnant 40 years ago, fewer women were having children on their own.
“I was 36 years old and all my friends had fertility problems,” she told CBS News. “And it occurred to me that I might not get this opportunity again.”
So Mattes decided to have a baby, knowing that the father would not be in the photo. To get the support she needed, she created her own town and started Single Mothers By Choice.
“You really can’t raise a child alone,” Mattes said. “But you can make sure that as a single parent you have a lot of people in your child’s life who love them.”
Over the years, the network has connected 30,000 women. Mattes attributes the rise in mothers choosing to have children on their own to better fertility treatment, more inclusive health insurance, a change in social attitudes and higher incomes for women.
As for Mattes’ son, he has started his own family, making his mother a grandmother.
Meanwhile, brothers Mackenzie and Cooper Schoenthaler were born to a mother who had them with the help of the same donor more than two decades ago. She was 41 and 45 years old when they were born.
“My genes were chosen,” said Mackenzie.
“We love our childhood, we have a very loving mother,” Cooper replied when asked if he missed not knowing his father.
Although they have an extensive medical profile, the brothers have only a few demographic details about the man who provided half of his DNA.
CBS News asked the brothers: what would you say to your biological father?
“I would appreciate it if you would give away your sperm because I know that might be a strange thing for someone, knowing that you have potentially 10 or more children running around the world,” Cooper replied. “I would also thank you for being tall.”
“He hasn’t given us anything but genetics, and that’s crucial,” Mackenzie said.
As for baby Harlow, she can decide if she wants to find out who her donor is when she turns 18. Until then, McNeal said she is prepared to answer questions.
“I will always be open and honest and transparent. You know, she doesn’t have a dad. She has a donor,” she said.