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She had, she explains, been unlucky in love and her urge to have a child was pressing; too urgent, it seems, to wait for a man she loved to come along and pursue the conventional route to parenthood.
‘I’d been engaged three times and none of the men were what I wanted for myself, let alone to be the father of my child,’ she says.
After that, she planned to embark on life as a single mum.
She figured she could manage perfectly alone: she is resourceful, financially secure and owns her own house outright. I was quite overwhelmed and when he kissed me it felt very right.’Under different circumstances Frances, a legal secretary, and Toby, whose job as a researcher takes him round the world, could have been made for each other.
But this is her explanation: ‘I worried about the failure rate of IVF and how traumatic it is to go through.
‘Besides, I wasn’t keen on the fact that you never got to meet the donor.
Toby, 30, who is affluent and handsome with a glamorous job in the film industry, and Frances — attractive, articulate and privately-educated — were introduced via a website that matches potential sperm donors with would-be mothers.After she singled him out as a prospective father, they corresponded before arranging to meet and have intercourse.No money would change hands but, at the end of their brief encounter, Frances fervently hoped, Toby would have bestowed on her the priceless gift of life.‘They’d been duplicitous, unfaithful and unreliable. Yet, for years, I’d wanted to be a mum, and the yearning became very strong after the break-up of my last engagement.‘I had a miscarriage without even realising I was pregnant.
I took consolation in the fact that our baby would have such good genes.’In these days, when the traditional nuclear family is fast becoming a rarity, Frances’ decision to become pregnant by sperm donor is no longer exceptional.