I'll trick a stranger into giving me another child: A single mother who's desperate to be pregnant again, confesses all…
22:13 GMT, 13 June 2012
Longing for a baby: Sally and her daughter Ruby
When my daughter turned four, I began to yearn for another baby. The physical pang I felt could not be quelled. In fact, it began to gnaw at me like hunger.
So I have decided to find a man to provide a second child for me. The transaction will be an uncomplicated one: he will sleep with me — once, if my plan works out — and I will become pregnant.
And that is where his paternal duty will end. There will be no rights or obligations on his part: no access visits, no calls on his time and attention; and he will have no financial involvement in the child’s upbringing whatsoever.
His role in the creation of this new life will be a crucial yet transitory one: it will begin — and end — in an anonymous hotel bedroom. He will, in fact, be no more than a sperm donor.
How can I be certain he will have no association with our child The simple fact is that I will not tell him I am having unprotected sex with him for the sole purpose of procreation. It will be a one-night stand with no strings attached.
I will choose a complete stranger — and a foreigner — for this vital role (I do not want to risk him finding me and intruding on my life) and I intend to fly to Italy, a country I love, to find him. I anticipate that I will pick him up in a bar or club, or even engage him in conversation as I sunbathe on a beach.
Thereafter, I assume, the progression to the bedroom will be seamless: men in general do not need much persuasion to take part in uncomplicated sex with attractive, footloose 32-year-old women who ask nothing from them in return. I am sure I will elicit censure for being so blunt about my intentions. People will accuse me of selfishness, recklessness and irresponsibility.
But before you condemn me, read my story and consider this: since the beginning of time, women have ensnared men into becoming fathers unwittingly. They’ve contrived to have ‘little accidents’; more often than not, they’ve trapped the unsuspecting dads into marriage or at least into providing for their offspring. Am I not being more moral and honest than they are in wanting to do everything alone
My introduction to motherhood was an unexpected one. I fell pregnant with my only child, Ruby, by accident in the spring of 2007. At the time, I was the ‘wild one’ among my clique of party-loving friends; the least likely of us to be a candidate for parenthood. As a well-paid deputy editor of a weekly women’s magazine, I worked hard, but also relished the freedom I had to socialise, drink immoderately and lead the kind of decadent and self-centred lifestyle common to affluent, irresponsible 20-somethings.
Home was a factory conversion in Bow, East London — achingly trendy, but thoroughly impractical for children — and I shared it with a newspaper journalist and long-term friend, James Mills. I atoned for my hedonistic lifestyle by keeping fiendishly physically fit: I was training for a triathlon and in great shape thanks to swimming in the Thames, regular runs and long cycle rides.
James and I had been mates for five years or so; we’d chosen to share our flat as platonic friends, but had fallen into a romance unexpectedly after a Christmas kiss one night. We’d BEEN together as a couple for only a few months when I realised my period was late. I wasn’t unduly worried — after all, I was on the Pill — but I popped into Tesco and bought a pregnancy kit in my lunch hour, just in case.
Devoted: Sally with her daughter Ruby when she was a baby (left) and as a toddler (right)
The test was positive. Though the evidence was unequivocal, I couldn’t believe it. I checked the result with a friend who had children. ‘Yes,’ she confirmed. ‘You’re pregnant.’ I spent the rest of the day in a daze of disbelief and confusion. I wasn’t ready for parenthood. How could I be in charge of a tiny, dependent human being It crossed my mind to have a termination. I rang another friend in a panic, and she said: ‘Well, you could keep it.’
This was the first time the notion of being a mother had entered my head. I wondered how James would react. ‘How did it happen’ he asked, incredulously, knowing I was on the Pill. Then we remembered a bout of gastroenteritis that must have caused the contraceptive failure. I’d been at fault; I should have been more cautious, but James did not blame me. He said he would support whatever decision I made, but by then I had decided: though my life would change irrevocably, I wanted to be a mum. So I gave up drinking and partying, abandoned my triathlon training, and began to warm to the idea of parenthood.
More than half of all conceptions in the U K are now outside marriage
The next few months of nest-building
were happy. James, then 36, and I left London and moved to the seaside,
where we rented a house in Hove, East Sussex. He
commuted to work in London, I went freelance and, full of excited
anticipation, we decorated the nursery and bought a cot and pram. Then,
after the 20-week scan revealed we were having a daughter, we settled on
the name: Ruby. Our daughter was born, by emergency Caesarean, in January 2008 and we were overjoyed.
James and I adored her instantly and loved the idea of parenthood — but
faced with its practicalities, our relationship soon crumbled.
Looking back, I think we simply did not
have time to build a strong enough foundation to withstand the rigours
of bringing up a baby. Within a
year, James moved back to London. Though he remains a loving and
attentive dad, I have raised Ruby, now four-and-a-half, on my own ever
since. And the truth is I’ve
loved every second: Ruby has made motherhood a joy and a breeze. She is a
confident, independent and happy little girl, interested in everything.
I take her to karate, football and the gym, and she’s learning Spanish.
But as she has grown, so, too, has my yearning to have a sibling for
It’s almost a physical hankering: I ache to hold and nurture a tiny baby.
Liz Jones confessed to stealing the contents of the condom of her now former husband Nirpal (pictured)
When Ruby was two, I bought a puppy,
thinking it might assuage my urge to be a mum again. But it hasn’t. I
desperately want another child, not only for me, but for my daughter,
who has little friends with siblings and wants one, too. ‘Why can’t I have a baby brother’ she pleads, and though I tell her ‘We have our doggy instead,’ I know he’s not a substitute.
You may consider the obvious solution to my broodiness is to find
another partner, but I truly believe it would be dishonest to embark on a
relationship just to have another baby. Besides, I don’t have the energy or time to devote to a man — and Ruby already has a daddy she adores.
I certainly don’t want to confuse or upset her by introducing a father substitute into her young life.
But, of course, the fact remains: I can’t have a baby without sperm. There is, of course, the option of going to a clinic and conceiving via a sperm donor. I’ve considered this; I have the resources to pay privately for such a service. However, there is a desperate shortage of donated sperm and I would not be considered a priority. Childless women, older couples requiring IVF and lesbians desperate for a baby would all come ahead of me, a healthy young woman who is able to conceive naturally and already has a daughter of her own.
I’ve considered — and discarded — the idea of using underhand methods.In November, Mail columnist Liz Jones confessed to stealing the contents of the condom of her now former husband Nirpal. She wrote: ‘I don’t understand why more men aren’t wise to this risk — maybe sex addles their brain. So
let me offer a warning to men wishing to avoid any chance of unwanted
fatherhood: if a woman disappears to the loo immediately after sex, I
suggest you find out exactly what she is up to.’ Unlike
Liz, I don’t intend to steal anything; merely to acquire what I need by
straightforward means. In crude terms, I intend to get pregnant as the
result of a one-night stand, as women have, often covertly, from the
beginning of time.
Sally in the late stages of pregnancy
Of course, I accept some people will
think me grossly irresponsible. What if the man I choose, on the basis
of his looks and the most cursory knowledge of his personality, has a
sexually transmitted disease — even HIV My
response is: I am prepared to take the chance. After all, the risk is
minuscule. It’s one even monogamous women take if their partners have
affairs. If this makes me reckless, I am culpable, but I admit my desire for a baby outweighs my fear of catching an STD.
Perhaps having a second child is a wholly selfish act. After all, I’m depriving a child of their biological father. But will I ever regret having that child Not a chance. Will Ruby wish she’d never been blessed with a sibling I doubt it. And will my loved second child wish they’d never been born because their mother made the decision to have them alone I don’t think so. So my dilemma lies with the rights of the father; a man I do not intend actively to deceive. I will be led by instinct when I choose him. I am sure physical attraction will play a major part, and if I had any qualms about his personality, I would, of course back out.
But if the man is congenial, if he is willing to have unprotected sex and not inquire about contraception and is happy to leave the next morning with little more than a fleeting goodbye, am I really being any more morally reprehensible than any other woman who has a one-night stand If asked, I would not lie and claim I was using contraception. That would be utterly deceitful. And I’d procure similar information from him as any man who donated sperm to a clinic would be required to give. I’d want to know his name and where he lived — these details would not be difficult to get — and I’d keep them so my child would have the means to contact him when they turned 18, as sperm donor offspring are able to do under the law.
Of course, many will argue that I have no right to impose an illegitimate child on an unsuspecting man. Finding out, 18 years on, that he had fathered a child could be disruptive; a source of trauma or regret. But I do not believe, after so many years had elapsed, that any father would not embrace a new family member. Neither would I keep secret from my second child the origins of his or her conception. I would merely tell them they were loved and wanted so much that I was prepared to go to such lengths to have them.
And I could, indeed, tell them more about their father — what he looked like; whether he was out-going or shy; had big feet or freckles — than any offspring of a sperm donor would ever know.
Yet because I do not want this prospective father to play any role in my child’s life, I must put a distance between him and me. That’s why I intend to fly to Italy within the year to seek him. I have chosen Italy because I adore its lifestyle, culture and the manners and mores of its people.
It also has a preponderance of tall, dark, handsome men.
Of course, my first attempt may not be successful. I have thought of that, too. Would I return to try again I can’t honestly say until I have had that initial encounter. I may feel empowered; I’m prepared to concede I might also feel queasy, uneasy and loath to try again. But I know I will make one attempt, because I do not want to turn into a bitter and regretful would-be mother who wishes she’d taken the chance before it was too late. Were I older, I might consider adoption or surrogacy. But I’m 32 and I want to act now, rather than look back with longing and wish I’d been braver.
I believe, above all, that I will be an exemplary mum, just as my mother, Brenda, 72 — who supports my plan wholeheartedly — is to me. She is strong and resourceful and ran her own hairdressing business in Crawley, West Sussex, where she raised me single-handedly after separating from my father, Bob, 77, a retired engineer. And though Dad lives 200 miles away in Southport, Lancashire, he was, and remains, a supportive dad.
So, my future child would have the love of a wonderful grandad in my father and a devoted uncle in my brother David, 47. Ruby’s godfather, my 47-year-old best friend Fergus would be another caring, supportive male role model. Above all, my second child, no less than Ruby, would be loved and cherished. And in a foreign town there will be a man who doesn’t know he’s a father — but, I ask my critics, will anyone actually suffer harm as a result
Interview: FRANCES HARDY.