Blog > How to get pregnant as a single woman in the UK

How to get pregnant as a single woman in the UK

Embarking on the journey to motherhood as a single woman is an exciting, but big choice. We’re here to support, empower and guide you as you explore the pathways to pregnancy. Whether you’re a single cisgender woman or transgender man that hasn’t medically transitioned, we’re proud to offer inclusive options to help you grow your family.

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Written by Giulia Sciota

Table of Contents

    Navigating single parenthood 

    The volume of information around solo pregnancy can feel daunting. The good news is that thanks to science, there are plenty of pathways available, regardless of your gender identity, relationship status and medical history. Treatments usually apply across profiles, including single women, two women in a relationship, and trans men.

    On this page, we outline the main ways to get pregnant as a single woman in the UK.

    Getting a picture of your fertility

    Whether considering single parenthood for the now or future, the best place to start is with an understanding of your current fertility. Building a picture is key for making an informed decision about the best next step, whether that’s fertility preservation such as egg freezing, or a plan to conceive sooner rather than later. 

    Apricity’s fertility assessments have been designed to help you take control of your fertility with convenience and confidence. Each assessment includes a series of tests alongside a consultation with a fertility expert, who can answer questions and help you plan the next step.

    Discover fertility tests for women

    Fertility treatments for single women

    While sperm will always be necessary for fertilisation, there are several ways to get yourself pregnant without a man. The most common treatments for single women are IUI and IVF with donor sperm. If you’d like a family later in life, egg freezing is also a smart choice which allows for more options down the road.

    Intrauterine insemination (IUI)

    Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a common treatment for single women and women in same-sex relationships. In IUI, sperm is washed in a lab and placed directly into the uterus during ovulation in hopes of natural fertilisation. You can have IUI with fertility medication (stimulated IUI) or without (natural IUI).

    How IUI works:

    1. For natural IUI, Apricity’s Care Team will begin by carrying out tests to determine the correct window for ovulation. 

    2. For stimulated IUI treatment, women will begin with hormone therapy to encourage the ovaries to produce eggs.

    3. If using a donor, sperm is thawed (defrosted), washed and processed, so that the most active sperm remain. 

    4. The washed sperm is inserted into the uterus using a fine catheter, a quick and simple procedure.

    5. We advise a pregnancy test around two weeks later, and will be there to support you through the next steps.

    IUI is less invasive than in vitro fertilisation (IVF), and less expensive. The HFEA estimates that a cycle of IUI costs around a third of a round of IVF. But IUI is not an alternative to IVF as much as it is a different treatment. 

    IVF allows more control: eggs are collected from the ovaries and fertilised in a petri dish. Embryos are developed as they form, and the best ones are transferred back to a recipient or surrogate. With IUI, the fertilisation process happens naturally. 

    Success rates also vary: IVF is around three times more successful than IUI (HFEA), which leaves a lot of leg work for the body. That’s why IUI is not usually recommended to people with fertility problems. IUI is most successful for women and lesbian couples who are young and without fertility complications. For these women, IUI can be a great option. 

    Explore IUI

    In vitro fertilisation (IVF)

    IVF is the most common fertility treatment, and a strong medical choice for single women who want to get pregnant. In IVF, a woman takes medication in order to stimulate her ovaries to produce multiple eggs. These are then collected and fertilised in an IVF lab. Successfully fertilised embryos are then transferred back into the woman's uterus to grow in the womb, or frozen for future cycles.

     IVF for single women in the UK follows several main steps:

    1. A course of fertility medication encourages a woman’s ovaries to produce multiple eggs.

    2. A woman’s eggs are collected in a procedure called egg collection.

    3. Eggs are fertilised in vitro (in a petri dish) with sperm.

    4. An embryologist supervises the fertilisation into embryos. After a few days, the best embryo will be collected for transfer, while surplus embryos are frozen.

    5. An embryo (or sometimes, two) is transferred back into the uterus in a procedure called embryo transfer.

    6. After two weeks of waiting, a woman takes a pregnancy test. 

    IVF can be tailored to a person’s unique situation, including goals and any medical conditions, ensuring that as many people as possible have the opportunity to become parents. 

    Single women in the UK usually have IVF with donor sperm (and/or eggs). A couple with male infertility may opt for an extra step called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). There are also plenty of options for LGBTQ+ conception, including shared motherhood and surrogacy.  

    Discover IVF

    Egg freezing

    There are plenty of reasons why people freeze eggs.

    • Many women know they’d like a family later in life, but are concerned about the link between age and infertility.

    • Some women don’t know whether they’d like a family, but would like to ease the pressure to make a decision.

    • Transitioning is known to affect fertility, and trans men may consider egg freezing ahead of a medical transition to have more options down the line. 

    • Medical treatment such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy can harm fertility, and a doctor may suggest preserving fertility ahead of any treatment. 

    The process for egg freezing is the same as the first part of IVF, except that the cycle ends shortly after egg collection. Eggs are then fast-frozen using a process called vitrification, and placed into storage for later use.

    Explore egg freezing

    Keen to learn more about egg freezing? Read debunked myths and get an in-depth view of the process with our egg freezing guide.

    Things to consider before trying to conceive

    Navigating fertility treatment can be demanding. While we will offer you our full support, it’s important to know and prepare for the journey ahead.

    The nature of treatment. The physical, emotional and financial toll of treatment can feel really overwhelming, especially as a solo intended parent. 

    Risks. Generally, fertility treatment is considered very safe, with the majority of women being no more likely to experience problems than women who conceive naturally (HFEA). Still, any medical treatment involves some risks, and it’s important that you understand what they are.

    Uncertainty. We will give you the very best chances for pregnancy, but there are sadly no guarantees in all fertility treatment. Most women do get pregnant over multiple attempts, but it can take some time. Sometimes, the successful approach is not the one you pictured at the beginning of the journey. 

    Mental wellbeing matters. Support networks are known for being lifelines along the journey, and we encourage all intended parents to create a strong community to lean on. Reaching out to family, friends, professionals, and others who have been through the process are all great ways to build that network that can lend a helping hand if the going gets tough.

    To ensure you have easy access to emotional support, our fertility advisors are there for you seven days a week, and we offer unlimited fertility counselling within all of our treatment packages. 

    The Fertility Network also host a fertility group for single women. The Seed Trust and the Donor Conception Network are also great, unbiased sources of support and information for anyone who uses donor conception to conceive. 

    Getting started with Apricity

    Regardless of how it happens, trying for parenthood is a wonderful and empowering step to take towards building your family. We’re here to equip you with the best guidance, science and support to make your journey as successful as possible. 

    Would you like to find out more about fertility treatment with Apricity? 

    Call us on +447897 035438, talk to us on our live chat, or book a callback at a time that works for you.


    Frequently asked questions:

    Can I get started without a sperm donor? Yes. You can begin your fertility assessments to see where you stand. After you discuss your results with a fertility doctor, you can decide whether fertility treatment with a sperm donor is the route you’d like to take.

    How do I choose a sperm donor?

    Choosing a sperm donor - whether known or anonymous - is a very personal decision based on what is important to you. For women and same-sex couples discovering the process, the Seed Trust offers some great resources around finding sperm donors.

    Can I find a sperm donor through Apricity? 

    Through our partnership with Semovo Sperm Bank in the UK, we’re able to help facilitate the journey of finding a sperm donor.  


    1. Intrauterine insemination (IUI).” Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority, accessed 29 August 2023.

    2. Risks of fertility treatment.” Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority, accessed 29 August 2023.

    3. State of the fertility sector 2021/22.”, Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority, accessed 31 August 2023.

    Written by Giulia Sciota


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