Woman’s dream to be a mother comes true, but not without challenges

CHARLOTTE — A local woman carved her path to parenthood becoming a single mother by choice, but that decision didn’t come without challenges.

Channel 9′s Erica Bryant reports on what Shayla McDaniel overcame to make her dream of becoming a mother a reality.

Bryant met McDaniel earlier this year when she was still pregnant to document her journey to becoming a single mother by choice.

“I will say when it comes to long-term relationships, they just have not had a significant amount of longevity,” McDaniel said. “So when I think about my personal timeline for building my life, it was just like, Shayla, you don’t have another two years to try and see if you can make another relationship work.”

McDaniel was 39 years old and financially secure when she went to a fertility clinic and started the process, which included searching cryobanks online to purchase donor sperm.

She could select certain characteristics, including height, eye color, and ethnicity.

“So, most of them did not have a lot of African American donors. There were some sites that didn’t have any at all,” she said. “I would say, I don’t recall any of the sites having more than 10.”

Minority sperm donors are rare, said Dr. Matrika Johnson, who is McDaniel’s doctor and founding physician of Reproductive Specialists of the Carolinas.

“It’s brown sperm, in general. It’s a bit of a challenge to find,” Johnson said. “But specifically, Black sperm is very difficult to find.”

Johnson said Caucasian men make up the majority of sperm donors followed by Asian, Latino, and then African American.

“Out of 748 potential donors, there were only maybe 20 to 25 of them that were actually Black,” Johnson said.

There is a shortage because of many reasons, the doctor said. One of the reasons is how and where sperm banks recruit men.

“They’ll do it at universities,” Johnson said. “They’ll do it at fraternities. Sometimes they’ll put them outside of gyms and that sort of thing.”

There are also social media and paid ads online that may not reach Black men.

“Even though my donor was primarily African American, there are some other mixed races, as well,” McDaniel said. “So, there’s some Caribbean in there. So, I liked that.”

McDaniel said her sperm donor has a great educational background and musical interests.

Traits that she is happy that her daughter, Zola, will possess.

She hopes her story encourages others.

“Just because you don’t have a spouse doesn’t mean that having a child is out of the question,” McDaniel said. “Whether you choose the route I chose or fostering or adopting, if you have a passion to parent someone -- the option is always there. You just pick the right road for you.”

Some cryobanks provide much detail about donors, including their family’s medical history. You can hear a recording of their voices and even view their baby pictures.

You can also find out if the donor is willing to be contacted later when your child is older or if they prefer to remain anonymous.