’’I wouldn’t change it’’ ... Di Morgan is single but that did not put her off her quest to have a baby. Photo: Jacky Ghossein
Di Morgan considered herself ''a catch'' at the age of 30. She was at the top of her marketing career, was dating a nice man and was ready to have children. But when that relationship ended she says her dreams of a happy family were shattered.
Now 42, Ms Morgan is expecting her first baby next month after receiving a sperm donation from a 24-year-old in the US. She estimates she spent more than $100,000 on seven rounds of IVF treatment, a swag of natural therapies and treatment for endometriosis over two years in her quest to get pregnant.
''I had always wanted children in my early to mid-30s,'' said Ms Morgan, of Lane Cove. ''There was this guy and it didn't work out … By the time I turned 39 I thought, 'Right I am going to do this.'''
Increasingly, professional women in their late 30s are opting to start a family on their own, said Professor Michael Chapman, of IVF Australia.
''The numbers are creeping up. Compared to 20 years ago, [this trend] has dramatically increased.''
Ms Morton's baby was conceived after five miscarriages, using a Sydney group, Fertility First.
The medical director of Fertility First, Anne Clarke, said single women now made up 4 per cent of her patients. Ten years ago it was ''negligible''.
''There has been a massive trend of partnering later and a lot more education about a woman's fertility,'' Dr Clarke said.
A gynaecologist with Sydney IVF, Devora Lieberman, said she was seeing a ''small, steady stream'' of single women, although lesbian couples were far more common.
Ms Morgan said although she had supportive friends, it had been difficult embarking on parenthood alone.
''There is some judgment, and people think you're being selfish having a baby on your own, or ask me whether my boyfriend left me.
''You do feel very alone … but I wouldn't change it for a second.''
Caroline Lowther, a business consultant from Melbourne, was also 39 when she wanted to start a family, but had no partner.
Rather than spending thousands on IVF, she became pregnant via a ''friend with benefits'' - a choice she described as ''a lot more complicated and emotionally tied up''.
Ms Lowther, 41, said being a single mother to a daughter, now 2, was ''the most confronting and difficult thing'' she had ever done.
The father, who was not on the birth certificate, had no input into the girl's life and had never met the child.