Choice Chat for Choice Moms
The podcast for single women who proactively choose motherhood. Hosted by: Mikki Morrissette,


radio show








November 2008
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Choice Mom Tricks: Part 1 In this show, recorded at a New York City networking event for Choice Moms, authors Mikki Morrissette and Louise Sloan talk about their Choice Mom journeys. What has been harder than we expected? What has been easier? What advice do we have for other single moms? What have we learned from interviewing Choice Moms and from our own personal experiences?

It also includes insight from mental health therapists Patricia Mendell and Joann Paley Galst about the rights to complain, and to ask for support.

This show was sponsored by California Cryobank, which was the gold sponsor of the New York City workshop.
Direct download: LouiseNYC.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:07pm CST

Mary Pols: Accidentally on Purpose This honest conversation with Mary Pols, author of Accidentally on Purpose,  explores the emotions of a 39-year-old woman who unexpectedly found herself pregnant from a one-night stand. We talk about the reasons she had never wanted to become a Choice Mom -- and how grateful she is that it happened that way, despite her lack of planning, her lack of savings, and her formerly deep-seated belief that she needed a partner to complete her. We also discussed the co-parenting role she has worked out with her son's father.

We explore why Choice Moms need more role models in the public eye to help women realize that having a child can become a role even more fulfilling than being a wife.

This episode is sponsored by Pacific Fertility Center.

Direct download: MaryPols_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:25pm CST

Answering the Daddy Question Eventually every Choice Mom wonders how to address the inevitable "Do I have a dad?" question from their child. In this show -- excerpted from the new 50-minute CD about the same topic now available on the website -- experts including Jane Mattes (Single Mothers by Choice) and Berkeley-based family psychologist Anne Bernstein (author of "Flight of the Stork: How Children Think [and When] about Sex and Family Building") walk us through some of our concerns about this issue.

This show was sponsored by California Cryobank.

Direct download: daddyq.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:47pm CST

Talking out loud about grief In this conversation with New York City-based therapist Joann Paley Galst, we talk about the intense feelings that were brought up in a recent Choice Mom workshop by single women who are making the decision to raise a family on their own, by women who are facing fertility challenges, and by moms who are sometimes trying to be stoic or quiet about the difficulties they face.

We talked about how important it is for Choice Moms to be able to share not only the joy of parenting, but the grief of single parenting, with other Choice Moms -- in the existing online communities, but also in face-to-face experiences. We discussed the issues women tend to think through before they make this choice and the importance of male role models.

This show was sponsored by Pacific Fertility Center.

Direct download: grieving1_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:48pm CST

Rick Weissbourd: The impact of single-parent homes Harvard educator Rick Weissbourd specializes in identifying what our kids need in order to grow up strong in today's culture. He is the author of The Vulnerable Child: What Really Hurts America's Children And What We Can Do About It and the forthcoming The Parents We Mean To Be: How Adults Nurture--and Undermine--Children's Moral and Emotional Development.

He talks with us about how single-parent households do and do not have an impact on the health and well-being of our kids, myths about our most vulnerable children, how our focus on achievement is neglecting moral parenting, and the family values debate in American culture today.

This show was sponsored by Reproductive Science Center of the Bay Area.
Direct download: Rick.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:44pm CST

At-home insemination: everything you want to know but might be afraid to ask This is a MUST listen for anyone who wants to understand more about how conception works. Kristin Kali of Maia Midwifery and Preconception Services talks frankly and in detail about everything you need to know when attempting at-home insemination....including safety questions to discuss with a known donor... the differences between IUI and vaginal insemination ... the life spans of fresh, refrigerated and frozen sperm... why ovulation predictor kits might not tell you everything you need to know, and other ways of detecting ovulation timing ... the role of orgasm in the insemination process.

This show was sponsored by The Sperm Bank of California.
Direct download: Athomeinsem.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:21pm CST

Fertility Basics: What you need to know We talk with Dr. Isabelle Ryan of Pacific Fertility Center (SF Bay Area) about the basic steps a woman needs to take if she is proactively trying to conceive. We talk about the tests that can help assess the likelihood of fertility success before taking costly insemination attempts with donor sperm. We define FSH and ovarian reserve. And we discuss how treatment plans are devised based on scientific factors, and how success rates typically change at different ages.

This show was sponsored by Pacific Fertility Center.
Direct download: Fertility101.m4a
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:19pm CST

Negotiating with a Known Donor We talk with two unique experts in this episode about negotiating with a known donor. First is Jon, who has been asked by three women to consider being a known donor. He talks about the kinds of issues they discussed, and in his case, why none of the requests actually turned into a "yes." Second is Ami Jaeger, long-time third-party reproduction law expert, with the Santa Fe-based BioLaw Group. She and I talked about why a written contract with a known donor is important, why the donor's name should not be on the birth certificate, and even how the law might perceive the parenting roles if a child someday has contact with the donor (known or open-identity). For more information on this topic, see the website, which has sample questions to discuss and more insight from Ami. This podcast was sponsored by Reproductive Science Center of the Bay Area.
Direct download: KD_3.m4a
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:02pm CST

Felicia: making the leap, miscarriages, and newborn days In this conversation with Felicia, a therapist and Choice Mom, we get up close and personal about a common issue that isn't talked about much: coping with miscarriage. In her case, twice.

We also discuss the leap of faith it takes to make this decision. And the vulnerability she felt after she brought her newborn home.

This episode was sponsored by California Cryobank.
Direct download: Felicia_3.m4a
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:20pm CST

What donor-conceived adults want to know A classic concern of anyone who uses donor insemination is how the child will feel about it over time. In this show, we talk with two people who have an intimate knowledge of this issue. Kathleen is a donor-conceived adult who felt she was special after she learned of her origins when she was eight; since then she has gone to great lengths to learn more about her donor and her background. Joanna Scheib (pictured here) is a researcher affiliated with The Sperm Bank of California who has done extensive research with offspring who are entitled to meet their identity-release donors. She tells us what they tend to want to know, and what concerns them.

This show was sponsored by Pacific Fertility Center.
Direct download: Scheib1.m4a
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:52pm CST

Cathi: Finding humor in fertility adventures Cathi has managed to find the humor in the ups and downs of her Choice Motherhood journey. From figuring out when (and how) to inseminate herself at home, using the sperm of a gay roommate, to dealing multiple times with the agony of the two-week wait, to moving when she was 33 weeks pregnant, Cathi is an upbeat inspiration.

This show was sponsored by Reproductive Science Center of the Bay Area.

Direct download: Cathi.m4a
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:44pm CST

Lori Gottlieb: The Mr. Good Enough Debate When Lori Gottlieb wrote an article about the merits of settling for Mr. Good Enough (Atlantic Monthly, March 2008), it set off a firestorm of debate within the Choice Mom community and across the U.S. in general. In this show, we talk with Lori about the strong responses she's gotten from people on both sides of the discussion. We also talk openly with Choice Mom Lily about the sometimes shamed viewpoint even within our own community that single parenting can be incredibly rewarding but also can be a lonely path. After you listen, feel free to comment on the Being blog of the website.

This show was sponsored by California Cryobank.

Direct download: GoodEnough.m4a
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:49am CST

Dealing with the emotions of fertility treatment Using insemination to build a family is not usually anyone's ideal method to parenthood. Sometimes we feel grief about not sharing the process with a partner. We might resent being asked by a fertility clinic to talk to a counselor before taking this step -- or wish we had someone to talk to about it. We don't know what questions we should be asking, or if we're working with the right doctor. How do we decide when it's time to let go of one method, and maybe consider another?

In this interview with Patricia Mendell, a New York City-based psychotherapist and co-chair of the American Fertility Association -- who has herself experienced the pain of fertility challenge -- host Mikki Morrissette gets insight about the emotions and stress of seeking fertility treatment for anyone who is using donor sperm, donor egg, or considering adoption.

This show was sponsored by Pacific Fertility Center.
Direct download: MendellF.m4a
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:40pm CST

How to choose a sperm bank...carefully There are important changes needed, and slowly happening, in the donor sperm industry. On this show host Mikki Morrissette talks with three people about what anyone should understand and think about before choosing a sperm donor from a particular sperm bank. We hear from Jessica,  a Choice Mom-in-the-making, about what she learned in researching 26 U.S. sperm banks. We talk with Dr. Charles Sims, co-founder of the California Cryobank, about the progress being made in industry reform. And we learn from Alice Ruby, director of The Sperm Bank of California, the only non-profit sperm bank in the U.S., who defines what consumers need to look for when selecting a sperm bank.

This show was sponsored by California Cryobank (which had no editorial input into the content of this show).

For more on this topic, visit, as well as forthcoming calls to action for the Choice Mom community about the reform movement, which will be posted at

Direct download: Choice_Chat_Podcast_FINAL.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:46pm CST

Jane Mattes: 25 Years of Single Mothers by Choice I talk with Jane Mattes, the matriarch of the Single Mothers by Choice network, a 25-year-old organization that offers support networks for Choice Moms. We talked about how society's views of this movement have changed, what women making this choice need to know, why our kids seem to be turning out well, and coping with the leap of faith this decision requires.

This show was sponsored by Reproductive Science Center of the Bay Area.
Direct download: Jane_Mattes_25_Years_of_Single_Mothers_by_Choice.m4a
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:23am CST

Louise Sloan: Knock Yourself Up I talked to Louise Sloan, the author of "No Man? No Problem. Knock Yourself Up," about what the actual message of her book is, the humor she found in her 14 attempts to conceive before her son was born, and how the lesbian single woman journey might differ from the straight single woman’s journey to Choice Motherhood.

This show was sponsored by Choice Chat sponsor Pacific Fertility Center.
Direct download: LouiseSloan.m4a
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:28am CST

Ken Daniels: Taking pride in our donor-conceived families In this 15-minute conversation with New Zealand-based social scientist Ken Daniels, author of “Building A Family With the Assistance of Donor Insemination,? we talk about several controversial topics: the diverse make-up of families today, how to talk to children about being donor conceived, the role of the donor in a family’s life, and the importance of being proud and confident about the way we build our families (regardless about whether society wants us to feel some shame or stigma about it).

This show was sponsored by Choice Chat sponsor California Cryobank.

I define families very broadly….now of course we have such a diverse range and forms of families. But the central bit of a family remains the same. Families are about loving and caring and nurturing. That can be done by one person, by two people, by more than two people.

The way I encourage parents to tackle this [telling the child of donor origins] is ‘I want to tell you about our family history, this is about us as a family, this is how we came to be.’ When I say this to parents it is as if the light goes off and the bell rings….it is so much easier [than separating the child by saying ‘you were donor conceived.’]

There tends to be an emphasis on donors and children and parents. I prefer to think of it as families. In a sense, the donor is part of the family. Not in the sense that they are a parent and they’re going to be involved. But they’ve had a part in the creation of this family, and to deny that is to try to pretend that something is not what it’s really like.

The history of donor insemination….is shrouded in secrecy. There’s been a lot of stigma and shame. I’m keen to bring this out in the open and say, ‘let’s be proud of the way we’ve built our family. We love these kids.’

This book is designed to help parents parent in a confident way. To be secure about what they’re doing. Because if you’re not secure, kids will pick it up.
Direct download: DanielsFINAL.m4a
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:52am CST

Shelly Damm: Why I chose open adoption This second in the series of Choice Chats is with Shelly, whose second child was added to the family through open domestic adoption. She explains why she chose that route, and offers thoughts on raising a multiracial family.

The show is sponsored by and Choice Moms LLC, and is hosted by Mikki Morrissette, author of "Choosing Single Motherhood: The Thinking Woman's Guide"
Direct download: Choice_Moms_2_Finished.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:10pm CST

Who Are Choice Moms?

Mikki Morrissette, author of Choosing Single Motherhood: The Thinking Woman's Guide and founder of Choice Moms LLC, discusses 3 typical myths associated with the Choice Mom lifestyle, and gives background info about why she became a single mother by choice.

This first episode in the Choice Chat series is sponsored by Choice Moms LLC.

Direct download: 02_Choice_Moms_Conversation_Circle_Episode_1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:09pm CST