PMA: At 37, Magali went to Spain to have a baby on her own.

Magali had always wanted children, but hadn't found the right person with whom to share this adventure. Unwilling to give up her desire for motherhood, she embarked on a course of medically assisted procreation (MAP) in Madrid at the age of 37. Thanks to a double donation of oocytes and sperm, she is now the happy mother of 2 boys. Discover the MotherStory of a courageous and inspiring woman.

Mother and two children sitting on the grass

Magali, can you introduce yourself in a few words?
I'm 41 years old. I was born and raised in Paris, but I've moved around a lot and lived abroad for several years. I'm an elementary school teacher and the proud mother of two boys, Nathan 2 years and Simon 2 months.

Have you always wanted to be a mother?
Yes, but I never found the right partner for the adventure. I didn't want to give up my desire to be a mother, so I decided to have and raise a child on my own.

On my own?
Not at first. The initial plan was to get pregnant with my partner/friend at the time. We weren't a couple, but we both wanted to become parents. So we decided to have IVF at home, in France. I got pregnant straight away, but unfortunately, after 3 months, I had my first miscarriage. Following this first failure, this person was no longer sure she wanted to continue, whereas I was! I was 37, it was now or never...

So you resorted to sperm donation?
At first, I thought that sperm donation alone would suffice and that my oocytes would be in sufficient supply and of good quality. So I confidently went to Spain, to a clinic in Barcelona (recommended by my gynecologist) because, in France, it was forbidden at the time to have a child alone (the law changed in 2021 in France). I tried IVF again, with my own oocytes and a sperm donation, but it was another failure and a real blow! I was disappointed by the way the clinic treated me, their lack of seriousness, information, communication and support. 

After a 1st setback in France and a 2nd in Spain, where and how did you find the right clinic?
There was a real lack of information and visibility, so I had to do my research on my own! Choosing a clinic that is competent, professional, humane and caring isn't easy, especially when you're dealing with such an important life project. It was thanks to the MAIA association and my gynecologist that I discovered the Tambre clinic. I also visited Spanish PMA forums to find out where Spanish women go and read what was written about the various clinics. Tambre stood out from the crowd.

How did you find the care at Tambre?
Tambre is a clinic on a human scale! The place is sober, pleasant and welcoming, and their team is always available and ready to listen. I particularly appreciated their discretion. Patients are never exposed to the gaze of others. It was always the same person, a French-speaker in my case, who took care of my file and all the administrative/logistical/organizational aspects, which can be very time-consuming in a MAP program, especially when you come from abroad... And then, at all times, I could count on Tambre's responsiveness, whether in the evening or at the weekend, which is invaluable because there are so many questions/doubts.

Why did you finally resort to egg donation?
Pre-IVF treatments such as hormonal stimulation are long, painful, costly and physically and emotionally demanding. Not wanting to start all over again with no certainty of a positive result, I finally accepted the idea of egg donation. This enabled me to set the record straight, increase my chances of becoming a mother and minimize the suffering and setbacks.

Is this one of the reasons why you chose the Tambre clinic?
Yes. After a great welcome, a good feeling with the team and the premises, I decided to make a double donation (oocytes + sperm) with them. Another advantage of this clinic is that it uses a unique facial biometry program called Fenomatch which helps biologists and doctors analyze the physical characteristics (skin color, eyes, hair, height, weight, morphology...) of future parents/future mothers and find the best sperm donor or oocyte donor.

How was the whole process at Tambre?
Thanks to double donation, I obtained 2 embryos. In June 2019, we inseminated one of the two but I had an early miscarriage, another one! The clinic was really present and supportive. She asked me if I wanted to try another insemination or if I preferred to have further tests first to better understand the reasons for these failures. As I only had one embryo left, I decided to take my chances and agreed to undergo investigations in France. Following the results, my treatment was adapted.

At the end of September 2019, the second transfer took place and this time, for the first time, it was a SUCCESS (smile)! I got pregnant, my pregnancy went well and I finally became a mother for the first time of my little Nathan.

Two years later, I decided to have a second child. I really wanted the same donors so that my children would be alike. The clinic was really efficient and managed to obtain 4 embryos from them! On October 1, 2021, the transfer took place successfully. Today, I'm the proud mother of 2 boys, 2 brothers who are 2 years apart.

Once you were pregnant, where did your pregnancy follow-up take place?
In France. For my 1st pregnancy, I didn't say anything to my gynecologist about my MAP abroad, as it wasn't legal to have a child alone. I was afraid of being judged/stigmatized. As nobody asked me, I didn't say anything. For my 2nd pregnancy, I decided to change gynecologist and went back to the one I had for my 1st MAP in France. As she knew my situation, I was able to be honest with her.

Do your family and friends know about your 2 PMA journeys? Were you able to find support from them?
My mother and close friends were very supportive. Even though it wasn't a secret, I preferred not to say anything at work because it's still very personal. Tambre has also been a huge support. They've always been there for me, listening to me and being kind.

What will you tell your children when they're old enough to understand?
I'm already talking to them about it, it's no secret. I explain to them that in our family, there's no dad and that it's one family configuration among others, no better, no worse. To help me, I regularly talk to a child psychiatrist. I also read them the following well-written children's books: "Le mystère des graines a bébé", "Pourquoi je n'ai pas de Papa", "Our story: How we became a family".

Do you find it difficult to be a solo mom?
I don't know what it's like to be a non-solo mom, so I can't compare (smile). I do what I can. I'm lucky to be able to count on my mom, without whom I wouldn't have had the strength to embark on this adventure.

How much did your PMA course cost you?
You should know that it's not cheap! In my case, it cost between €16,000 and €20,000 for my 2 children. Then there are all the treatments and tests that are not covered, as well as the logistics of travelling to and from Spain and France, for which you have to add around €5,000 (plane, hotel, etc.). Pregnancy-related expenses were covered by my insurance in France. In any case, it's an investment well worth making, and one that has enabled me to become a mother, the greatest gift in the world (smile).

What advice would you give to a woman hesitating to have a child on her own?
Don't waste any time... If I'd been better informed and more aware, I wouldn't have waited until I was 37 to embark on this project. I wish someone had told me about egg freezing when I was younger, I would have done it without hesitation.

Do you have a message to pass on to help change people's attitudes to single parenthood?
Having a child is the most difficult and beautiful thing in the world. There's room for all families. Being a single mother is neither simpler nor more complicated, it's just different. Don't hesitate to take the plunge, even on your own. All that matters is that we'll do anything for our children, and when you're a solo mom, that starts long before you have them.

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Fertility clinic in Madrid
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