Bailey Ennis desperately wanted to have a baby, but not a relationship. So she opted for a DIY pregnancy: she found a sperm donor on her own, bought the supplies for artificial insemination on the Internet for 25 pounds (30 euros) and just over a year later gave the light the little Lorenzo. “Having a baby alone is the best thing she has ever done,” said the 24-year-old woman. “Being a mother is wonderful, I’m happy I decided to do it on my own.”
After her story makes headlines in the English newspapers, Bailey, who is from Bromley, a suburb of London, and studies law, recounts her life as a young single mom on TikTok, where she confirmed her decision. She sometimes gives advice on how to best organize (“prepare many meals all together”), sometimes she proudly claims her choice of hers. “I couldn’t be happier,” she says. “I’ve been wanting to become a mother since I was a teenager, and as a gay woman, I always knew it was going to be a case of artificial insemination. But I had no desire to be in a relationship. ‘ Or, apparently, to use proven methods, for example by using a specialist clinic, with selected donors, as experts advise.
There are more and more single-parent families in the United Kingdom: almost three million in 2019, according to the latest data available, equal to 14.7% of the total number of families in the country. While, in the same year, there were 5,700 cases of insemination through sperm donation in official fertility clinics – and increasingly involving gay couples.
Bailey’s path involves risks. Official clinics carefully monitor potential sperm donors from a medical and psychological point of view. And they ensure that they have no legal rights to the unborn child. A private agreement like the one entered into by Bailey does not offer the same guarantees. And the supervisory authority warns: “It is always safer to undergo this procedure in a licensed clinic.”
But an insemination cycle can cost up to 1,600 pounds (almost 2,000 euros), plus another 1,000 pounds for sperm. Costs that push some couples to do it yourself.
Determined to get pregnant, Bailey began searching in September last year, starting with sperm donor sites. She was not looking for particular characteristics or specific physical features, but only someone who had experience of her, who inspired her confidence and, above all, who was healthy. “I found someone who had a good medical record and had already been a donor for two LGBTQ couples,” she says. “We exchanged WhatsApps and met for coffee before agreeing that he would become my donor.”
Bailey then bought the insemination kit from a specialist retailer found online; the right time to try has come, she has invited the man home. “He brought me her donation and then helped me use the kit: sterile cups, syringes, ovulation tests,” she said. “It was really easy, and there was no embarrassment.”
Fortunately for her, the woman got pregnant on her first attempt, in October 2021 (“I was in seventh heaven, I wanted nothing else in life”). She carried on a peaceful pregnancy and after 38 weeks and five days, on July 2, she gave birth to Lorenzo in the hospital. «He arrived very quickly – she says – I did everything alone, without any partner during the birth».
As for the donor, Lorenzo «will be able to meet him if he wishes, at any moment of his life. He will surely have brothers when I am ready ». The man said he was willing to help her conceive again. Bailey is, perhaps, already thinking about it. On TikTok, you jokingly said that you went Google “what’s it like to have two children under two?”