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


radio show








November 2019
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Egg Freezing: When is it a good idea, when is it not?

New York City psychologist Joann Paley Galst has counseled hundreds of women over the years about dealing with fertility challenges. In her partnership with Choice Moms, she helps educate single women about their options to become mothers -- the realities -- the hopes -- the fears.

In this Choice Chat episode, Joann and I talk about the life span of our eggs. How many eggs need to be frozen for a potential viable pregnancy down the road? At what age are you more likely, and less likely, to produce those healthy eggs? When it is too late, how does she counsel women through their grief? And how does a woman decide between hope and scientific data when discussing treatment options with her doctor?

Thanks to European Sperm Bank of the USA for sponsoring this Choice Chat podcast in 2014.

Visit for the Choice Mom E-guide: About Eggs.


Direct download: GalstonEggs.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:26pm CST

Genetic testing of sperm donors

In this conversation with GenePeeks co-founder Anne Morriss, we talk about the rare genetic issue that led her to create the company... what new technology enables geneticists to do -- and not do... walk through the nature of recessive genes... and learn how GenePeeks weeds out about 15 percent of sperm donors whose particular combination with a woman's genetic make-up might be best to avoid. Though this service is not for everyone, it is new technology for those who are seeking to minimize certain unanticipated risks.

Thanks to European Sperm Bank of the USA for sponsoring this Choice Chat podcast on behalf of the Choice Mom community.

Direct download: AnneMorriss.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:11pm CST

At the Choice Mom networking event in Boston, one of the women we heard from was Holly, who told us in honest detail about her pathway to motherhood through foster adoption. The heartache, the joy, the stress. And, mostly, how a Type A personality as she is has learned to transform and change her pace through the gift of her special needs daughter.

Thanks to European Sperm Bank of the USA for providing the resources so I could bring Holly's story (16:30) to the Choice Mom community through this podcast. -- Mikki

Direct download: Holly.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:49pm CST

Dr. Moragianni (Boston): The basics you need to know about fertility

At the Choice Mom Networking Event in Boston (Fall 2013) we had an opportunity to talk with noted fertllity specialist Dr. Vasiliki Moragianni, of Fertility Solutions. In this discussion we hear from her about:

  • the hands-on patient-oriented approach of Fertility Solutions
  • age-related fertility factors
  • the difference between seeing a reproductive endocrinologist and an ob/gyn
  • the infertility statute of insurance (applicable in Massachusetts and in many other health plans)
  • recommended fertility testing
  • how -- at a basic level -- do our eggs work, and when do they start to decline?
  • explaining the timing and impact of menopause
  • why is IVF successful only some of the time?
  • the value of checking before you select your clinic
  • do single women have the same odds as married couples coming to a clinic with infertility issues?

Please forgive the sometimes lacking audio quality. I did not have my trusty sound engineer on hand.

Special thanks to Seattle Sperm Bank (aka European Sperm Bank of USA) for enabling me the time to create this podcast episode.

Direct download: DrMoragianniFertility.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:11pm CST

Thanks to the generous support of the Seattle Sperm Bank (formerly European Sperm Bank of USA), I am able to continue hosting the Choice Chat podcast -- interviews and conversation specifically for single women who are choosing to build a family on their own.

I sat down with Eric Kendall, Clinic Liaison of the Seattle Sperm Bank, to talk about its policies on open-identity donors, family limits, quality and return policies.

The somewhat smaller size of Seattle Sperm Bank enables it to maintain strong policies toward family limits and background checks -- and offers a large number of open-identity donors. 


Direct download: ESB1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:00pm CST

When fertility stress has you down

At a Choice Mom networking event in San Francisco, Maia Midwifery's Kristin Kali talked with women about how to balance the love they started with on this journey with the stress they feel from secretly fitting in doctor inseminations -- and cycles of 2ww and no smiley faces on the pregnancy tests -- with the rest of their work and personal life.

This 9-minute conversation is part of's Focus on Fertility ( package.

Thanks to Sepal Reproductive Devices ( and California Cryobank ( for their continuing support of these Choice Chat podcasts.

Direct download: kristinKalistress.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:02am CST

Lori Gottlieb: Marry Him

When Choice Mom Lori Gottlieb wrote in Atlantic Monthly that perhaps settling for Mr. Good Enough might have been the smart choice, it created a firestorm of debate in the community. Now that she's interviewed marriage and dating experts, neurologists, and married and single men and women -- and applied what she's learned into her own dating life -- she's back with the full report in her book "Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough." We talk in this interview about, among other things, the penchant many Choice Moms might have for the "alpha maie" pre-motherhood, and how much things change in time. She talks about the platonic friend she wishes she'd married. And the "hot date" material she's glad she didn't meet until she was 10 years wiser.

Sponsored by Sepal Reproductive Devices and California Cryobank.

Learn more on

Direct download: LoriGottliebMarryHim.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:35pm CST

Ryan Kramer: Finding half-siblings and donors In this powerful show, we talk with with Ryan Kramer, the extremely eloquent teenager who co-founded Donor Sibling Registry with his mother Wendy. We discuss 1) his curiosity about his roots from the age of two, 2) his own search for his donor, 3) what it is -- and is not -- that he is looking for in that search, 4) how the Donor Sibling Registry was born and the more than 6,000 matches that have been made since.

He talks openly about the disappointment he felt when he learned of several half-siblings whose parents didn't want them to know each other. He also discusses the relationship he has since developed with a half-sister. We talked about whether being an only child has an impact on the curiosity. He offers tips for families making contact with half-siblings and donors, and he explains in articulate detail how he hopes the industry will change in the coming years -- which requires the participation of the Choice Mom community as one of the largest numbers of consumers.

This show was sponsored by the Donor Sibling Registry.
Direct download: RyanDSR_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:06pm CST

My life as an anonymous sperm donor In this unique, detailed show, we hear directly from a formerly anonymous sperm donor (now running this service for donor families), who contributed for 15 years, about the contact he has now had with a few of his offspring. We talk about how the industry has changed since he provided fresh sperm to infertile couples. He honestly discusses his motivations at the time, the responsibility he now feels for the 200-plus offspring he estimates he now has, and what his experience tells him about the interest donor-conceived offspring have about their donor. After he made contact with offspring via the Donor Sibling Registry, he admits to confusion about the best way to proceed and talks openly about the issues it has brought to his own family life. He also talks about the value he believes donated gametes have in enabling people to build their own family, despite the complications it can bring.

This show was sponsored by California Cryobank.

Direct download: kirk2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:35pm CST

Tracking pregnancies:  why it’s important A majority of families using donor conception do not report births after the fact. This has a tremendous impact on the industry -- for example, the numbers of offspring born to a sperm donor, and even to egg donors, are generally vastly underreported, and if there is a genetic abnormality that surfaces in later years, families cannot be notified.

In this show, American Fertility Association board member Patricia Mendell, who is also a New York-based fertility counselor, talks about regulations in the fertility industry today. What do we need to do differently? Why are changes coming so slowly? What can Choice Moms do, as a sizeable share of the fertility industry market, to make a difference? In light of the aftermath of the octuplets birth in California to a woman who already had six children, how should regulations, ethics and counseling play a role?
She also shares resources to help women become more educated consumers.

This show was sponsored by Fertility Cryobank.

Direct download: FertilityRegs_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:14am CST

Estate Planning Basics Estate planner and Choice Mom Racheal Isan explains the basic options for anyone who is creating an estate plan for her child, including the difference between a will and a trust, the benefits of having a trust, and how to pick a guardian. She discusses what happens if we don't have an estate plan in place, the cost of setting up a plan, and how state regulations have an impact.

This show was sponsored by financial planners Rebecca Hall (D.C.) and Rene Tidwell (NYC), and estate planner Daniela Lungu (S.F.).

Direct download: estate2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:20pm CST

Creating an estate plan: the lesson from a Choice Mom's death Two women share the story of a Choice Mom whose unexpected and tragic death -- leaving behind a son born posthumously -- remind us of the reason we need to have life insurance in place before we conceive, and an estate plan created before we bring our children home.

Stayed tuned to the website and newsletter for details about an upcoming Choice Moms event in D.C. to honor this woman's legacy with a seminar that will give single women information they need to be the responsible parents we all want to be for our children.

This show was sponsored by financial planners Rebecca Hall (D.C.) and Rene Tidwell (NYC), and estate planner Daniela Lungu (S.F.).

Check the Choice Moms website for a growing state-by-state directory of financial planners, estate planners, and insurance agents who have special relationship with the Choice Mom community.
Direct download: estate1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:28am CST

Dating as a single mom In this episode we hear from two single moms about how they have managed to include dating into their lives. First I talked with my friend Darla about how she has juggled Choice Motherhood with a long-term relationship, including her experience and insight about when to introduce a boyfriend to her child...and how to tell a new man in her life that she was attempting to have a second child through donor insemination.

Second I talk with Rachel Sarah, author of "Single Mom Seeking," about the fact that many women grieve not being in a permanent relationship when they have a child, what she's learned about how to introduce her child to someone, and how her screening process and needs have changed since becoming a mom.

This show was sponsored by Fertility Cryobank, and is produced by
Choice Moms.
Direct download: dating.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:49pm CST

What every Single Woman should know before becoming a Choice Mom Recorded at the New York City Choice Mom event, this podcast features mental health counselor Joann Paley Galst discussing the basic tips she offers any single woman who is considering Choice Motherhood.

This episode was sponsored by Pacific Fertility Center.

Direct download: JoannTIPS.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:45pm CST

Choice Mom Tricks: Part 2 Recorded at a San Francisco Bay Area networking event for Choice Moms, this show features the experience of Choice Moms founder Mikki Morrissette, the humor of author Mary Pols ("Accidentally on Purpose") and the insight of Choice Mom and therapist Felicia Shamma, as well as audience members, to discuss our fears and coping strategies.

A focus of the discussion was about finding partners in the journey -- friends, male role models, colleagues -- and the strengths, and weaknesses, we find in ourselves after we become mothers.

This show was sponsored by Pacific Fertility Center, which co-sponsored the networking event.
Direct download: Choicetricks2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:30am CST

Choice Chat with Jennifer: support network in action This episode features Jennifer, 8 months pregnant, who was part of a Choice Moms conversation circle that included six women talking about how we got to this stage of our journey, concerns we have for our children, how men play a role in our lives, and more.

It is a great example of the kinds of honest discussions we can and do have with each other, the thought that goes behind our decisions, and the plans we make for building the best world we can for our children.

The Choice Mom community is vast and varied and worldwide, and as this podcast allows us to hear, when we consciously reach out to each other we can be our own best support network.

This podcast was sponsored by California Cryobank, which sponsored a CD about "Answering the Daddy Question" that came out of this roundtable discussion.
Direct download: Round1_2.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:40am CST

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