New sexual revolution

You've seen the ads that state "one in five new relationships begins online." Over the past two decades, more and more of us are using online dating sites. I think the jury is still out on whether relationships that start online are better off than those originating in person. There is a documented tendency for relationships that begin online to move more quickly to marriage (average courtship prior to marriages lasts 18.5 months compared to 42 months for marriages that start offline; ref: MacLean's Magazine February 2013). However, online relationships do not all have the staying power that offline relationships do. Psychologists believe this might be a factor of accessibility to other options. Perhaps it's easier to leave a relationship when the going gets tough if you believe there are "plenty of fish" out there for you.

Despite the success of online dating in matching people, there are still a large number of men and women who find themselves single and are considering having a child as single parents. Usually it's women who take steps to conceive on their own as it's far easier if you have two of the three essential prerequisites to having a child (eggs + uterus). We see between five and ten such women every week at Olive. Some of these women want to have their fertility assessed to see how much time they might have left to conceive, some want to freeze their eggs for a future use when they have met Mr. Right, and some want to conceive right now on their own using donor sperm. The chances that egg freezing or conceiving with donor sperm will achieve a successful pregnancy depends most importantly on the woman's age. Also important is her ovarian reserve (estimate of the number of eggs she has left), the state of her uterus and tubes, and her general health.

Sorting these out with a fertility doctor is all covered by our provincial health plan so there is no barrier for a woman to learn more about her fertility and options to have children. If you are entering your late 30s or are in your early 40s and considering having children, it's a good idea to start the discussion with a fertility doctor. You can do this all the while dating online or offline or whichever way you choose. Online dating, egg freezing, and single parenting by choice are all part of the new sexual revolution. This revolution is happening fast, and those who are the most informed about their own reproductive health will benefit the most.