Single Motherhood by Choice

Dr. Jamie Peregrine and her baby.
Dr. Jamie Peregrine snuggles her baby. Photo by Elizabeth Hite.

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to whether and when to become a parent. At OHSU, we support and celebrate every choice. Our culture is getting better at embracing families of all kinds, and more fertility treatments and supports are available than ever before. Our fertility team is an important part of how OHSU supports all the many ways that people identify and build their families.

Our newest fertility team member, Jamie Peregrine, M.D., M.S., knows firsthand what it’s like to take a less common path to parenthood. Dr. Peregrine made the choice to become a single parent – and her beautiful baby arrived late in 2019.

“I chose to prioritize my reproductive goals and pursue motherhood without a partner. I was ready to be a mom,” says Dr. Peregrine.

What is single motherhood by choice?

The term is helpful to distinguish choosing this path to parenthood from becoming a single parent through chance or circumstance. “Neither is more valid or more honorable, but they are different pathways with different decisions along the way,” Dr. Peregrine says.

Having this term is empowering for those who identify as potential or current single mothers by choice (aka SMC, SMBC, choice mom), and makes it easier to find local to international communities of like-minded people, especially in social media search engines.

Consider all options

For women considering single motherhood by choice, age is often an important factor. A major decision point becomes whether to enhance future fertility options, by freezing your eggs, or to conceive now, with donor sperm. The right option for you depends on your relationship goals, your reproductive goals, and how you want to prioritize them.

Here are some differences to keep in mind:

  • Egg freezing isn’t insurance. There’s unfortunately no guarantee that your eggs will result in a baby when you’re ready to use them. It does offer preservation of a group of eggs with the fertility potential of your younger self.
  • Conceiving on your own means choosing a sperm donor – a big decision in and of itself. Whether you go with someone you know or an anonymous donor, you may consider a wide variety of factors, including physical characteristics, genetic information, pregnancy and medical history, and family size limits.
  • Consider the community of support you have around you. Raising a child on your own could be more or less difficult depending on how much help (emotional, logistical, even financial support) you have from family and friends.

There are other medical options too, including embryo freezing, using donor eggs or donor embryos, and using a gestational carrier.

“Our team wants to support you, whatever choice you make,” Dr. Peregrine says.

Ready to talk about your reproductive goals?

“I love my job because I help people build families in lots of different ways. There’s not one path that’s right for everyone,” says Dr. Peregrine. Single motherhood by choice is one path to building a family, but we’re here to help with any reproductive goals you have. Below is a list of tools and options available to patients, no matter their identity or relationship status.

  • Consultation and treatment for infertility or recurrent pregnancy loss
  • Egg and sperm donation (anonymous or known)
  • Egg freezing for future family planning
  • Insemination
  • IVF (in vitro fertilization)
  • Genetic screening and diagnosis
  • Reproductive psychology and counseling
  • Gestational carrier
  • Reproductive surgery
  • Semen and sperm analysis

“There’s no wrong time to come see us,” says Dr. Peregrine. “Whether you’ve chosen a path, are unsure, or are just starting to think about this, if you want to talk with an expert we can help.”

To schedule an appointment, call 503-418-3700.