This is Infertility is a bi-weekly podcast where we fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give you a new perspective on what it’s really like to go through a family building journey. Each episode dives into the emotional, physical, and financial burdens carried by those who experience infertility on their path to parenthood. Be it IVF, IUI, egg freezing, surrogacy, adoption, etc., the path is never the same and it can be long, painful, and lonely. It’s our mission to give those struggling a platform to be heard, a community connection, and an opportunity to raise awareness of the 1 in 6 who, for many reasons, struggle with infertility.
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This is Infertility

Episode 182: Single Parent by Choice: Rethinking the Notion of Family

In today’s episode, award-winning journalist, Rachel Lehmann-Haupt shares insights from her two books, which have been ignited by the knowledge and passion of her own family building journey.

Her latest book, Reconceptions: Modern Relationships, Reproductive Science, and the Unfolding Future of Family, calls upon her experience of becoming a single parent by choice. She dives into her own family building journey; navigating using a sperm donor, understanding her support systems, and rethinking and redefining the meaning of family.

Guest: Rachel Lehmann-Haupt, Award-winning journalist and author

Host: Dan Bulger, Progyny  

For more information, visit Progyny’s Podcast page and Progyny’s Education page for more resources. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, @ThisisInfertilityPodcast and use the #ThisisInfertility. Have a question, comment, or want to share your story? Email us at

In Her Own Sweet Time

02:12 – 3:19

Rachel Lehmann-Haupt: I was living in New York and my 30s. And I noticed that a lot of my friends were putting off getting married and having children, and a lot of people were starting to worry about their biological clocks. So it was around the same time that egg freezing became a new technology that was available. And I decided to you know, write a book about that experience and the new choices that women are making in their lives. I looked at sort of egg freezing as this new technology, which now is no longer experimental. And egg freezing sort of became this new technology that women could postpone their biological clocks, put their eggs on ice and turn on their fertility when they were ready to use it. And that’s really my first book.


3:20 – 04:08

Rachel Lehmann-Haupt: The second book really came out of the researcher in the first book, which was that, you know, I got to be, a certain age and still had not found a partner and decided that I really didn’t want to lose the chance to have a biological child in my life. So, I decided to, again, use reproductive science, intrauterine insemination to become pregnant on my own as a single mom by choice. And the choice to have my son, as a single mom really led me to explore the new frontiers of how reproductive science is changing the shape of families, everything from gay families and the use of you know, donor gametes to eggs and sperm to the use of surrogates, in their family building process.

Turning her research into her reality

04:18 – 09:30

Rachel Lehmann-Haupt: It was very scary, the idea of, you know, potentially doing it on my own, you know, as opposed to doing it with a partner. I was nearing an age where my fertility was, you know, no longer going to be viable. And I just couldn’t imagine, you know, not living a life where I didn’t experience pregnancy and have a child, a biological child. Understanding that I had kind of alternative support structures to the traditional family, you know, really gave me the confidence to make that choice. And, you know, it’s the best decision I ever made.I remember one day; I was with one of my best girlfriends out of the beach surfing. And I had a really, really hard day. And I just couldn’t get the energy up to get up and like, I got good, caught up in a bad current. I woke up the next day and I was like, you know what, I wonder if I’m so tired, because I’m pregnant. So, I took a pregnancy test. And lo and behold, I was pregnant. That was, you know, having a bad surfing day led me to the discovery that I was pregnant with my son.

Alexander and I call his donor, his DD for short for donor dad. And, he’s known about it, you know, in, in two-year-old language, and then again, in five-year-old language, and every couple of months when now that he’s 10. I check in with him and say, “Hey, do you ever think about this?” And, you know, it’s, it’s not, it’s not a surprisingly huge deal for him. I wonder if that’s because, you know, he’s known forever, I think, when he gets older, when he you know, he starts to, you know, want to know more about his identity, and his genetic background, he’ll have this option to contact this guy.

Dan Bulger


Dan Bulger
Producer at Progyny

Dan has been in the healthcare industry for the past ten plus years as a multimedia content producer. Better known as ‘Video Dan’ he has interviewed numerous doctors, patients and other experts in the world of fertility. He’s also the producer for this podcast, This is Infertility and the producer behind the Progyny YouTube Channel which features interviews with dozens of the nation’s leading fertility specialists. On a personal note Dan’s parents started fostering kids when he was four years old, and he considers himself a proud older brother to over 100 foster children.

Rachel Lehmann


Rachel Lehmann-Haupt
Award-winning journalist and author

Rachel Lehman-Haupt is an award-winning science writer and expert on the future of family life, career timing, and the influence of science and technology on fertility, pregnancy, and family. Kirkus Reviews wrote her first book, In Her Own Sweet Time: Egg Freezing and the New Frontiers of Family (Basic Books, 2009), “gracefully combines a revealing, engaging memoir with admirably nuanced social commentary.”

The age of motherhood is on the rise across the developing world. As a result, many women and couples increasingly rely on new choices and science to create their families. This includes advanced reproductive technologies like egg freezing, invitro fertilization, the use of donor eggs, gestational carriers, and the option to become a DIY mom or dad, a phrase Lehmann-Haupt coined.

Lehmann-Haupt has been profiled by the Chicago Tribune for her practical and brave choice to freeze her eggs when she was thirty-seven and has been quoted on the front page of the New York Times. She has appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, NPR’s Talk of the Nation, the Wall Street Journal’s Lunch Break, Bay Area Focus, and Lauren Schiller’s Inflection Point podcast speaking on the topic. In her writing and public speaking, she gives a personal face to and offers life strategies for the most relevant social trends that intimately affect women’s lives. Lehmann-Haupt’s writing has been featured in the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsweek, Slate, New York, Vogue, Outside, Wired, Business Week, and Neo.Life. She is also the founder of StoryMade Studio. a boutique storytelling and editing studio.

Music From This Episode:

Artist: Lee Rosevere
Track: Easy Life
Track: Sad Marimba Planet

Artist: Kai Engel
Track: Seeker