Actress needs sperm donor - Caucasian preferred

For most Singaporean women, the thought of conception through an anonymous sperm donation elicits negative connotations.

But what if you were in your 40s, single, and just couldn't ignore any longer that loud ticking of your biological clock?

Three local celebrity women - actress Michelle Tay (pictured), singer-host Liu Ling Ling and 100.3 DJ Limei - opened up about heading to the sperm bank as a last resort.

Big family girl

For Tay, 42, who never had a boyfriend, the desire to have kids stems from the fact that she comes from a big family.

Tay told The New Paper, with a laugh: "I would love to have three kids and I don't mind what people say about me going to a sperm donor as there's absolutely nothing wrong with being a single mum.

"I'm not afraid of pregnancy. With my weight, it feels like I'm carrying around a baby every day anyway," she added.

The happy-go-lucky plus-sized comedienne weighs 90kg and is 1.46m tall.

"I think that a mixed-blood kid would be really cute so I guess I would prefer a Caucasian sperm donor," she said.

"But most importantly, if I could choose, I would want the genes of a man who has a good temper as I want my child to be good-tempered."

She admitted: "Of course the ideal thing is for me to meet someone, get married and have children the natural way. I'm giving myself till the end of this year and I will try my best to meet more people."

Tay prefers to hang out at home as she's very close to her family, especially to her two younger (and also single) sisters.

"We work and play together. So I guess with all the love, there has never been really a need to get out there."

Raising her kids as a single mum doesn't worry Tay as she's confident that her supportive family would be there every step of the way.

Tay, who has been in the local Chinese entertainment industry for the past 13 years, is a part-time actress who is an accountant in her family's office furniture business.

Tay: I rejected suitors

Tay: I rejected suitors

TV addicts will remember her in Channel U dramas Perfect Cut (2008) and Perfect Cut 2 (2009) where she played actor Julian Hee's squeeze.

Tay will also be appearing in upcoming Channel 8 drama Absolutely Perfect.

So what is Tay looking for in an ideal mate?

Someone who is hardworking, financially stable and faithful. Appearance-wise, Tay said that she wants a man who is pleasant but "not that good-looking" as she's afraid that other women would hit on him.

She revealed that when she was 22 years old, two suitors had come knocking on her door but she wasn't ready then to be in a relationship. That, she recounted, was her only brush with romance.

Both Chinese men - an interior designer and an IT engineer - wined and dined her, and marriage was also suggested.

"But when I entered my 30s and was ready to date, I didn't meet anyone even until now, it's almost like retribution!"

She admitted that she used to be insecure about her weight but has since taken it in her stride.

She tried losing weight, and joined a slimming centre in 2006. But that landed her in hospital even though she went down to her lowest weight ever at 64kg.

Said Tay: "I tell myself as long as I'm healthy, I'm okay. "I'm not panicking, as I believe the right person will come along. My prince is still finding his way, he's still cutting through a lot of bushes looking for me!"

Maybe in two months

Maybe in two months

Liu confirmed she will be seeking a sperm donor so that she can conceive her first child as soon as possible. The veteran getai singer is famed for starring in local film-maker Royston Tan's film 881 (2007).

Liu, 49, who has been separated from her husband for 10 years and is in no hurry to get a divorce, told The New Paper: "I started my journey four years ago when I decided to have a child via a sperm donor.

"I went to the doctors and they said that I have to produce good quality eggs first before I can consider conceiving.

"After taking Chinese herbs, that (local comedian) Mark Lee recommended, for a few months, I will go for a scan in two months, and if my eggs are okay I will go to Malaysia and get a sperm donor from their sperm bank."

She explained that being over 45 years, she is not eligible to receive aid from local sperm banks.

"I've always loved children but when I was younger, making money was my priority."

Liu, who has been married for 18 years, added that her husband, who is living overseas, doesn't know about her plans to conceive. She said that she won't contact him and is set on having a child as she is certain that she "won't marry again".

On being a single mum, she said: "You need to make up your own mind and once you have made your decision, you shouldn't let what others say affect you.

"As a singer, if I was affected by all the criticism like 'that costume is so ugly', I would never have made it on stage.

"We (single women) want to have a baby and there is absolutely nothing wrongwith that. I'm aware of the risks (of giving birth past 40) but I will go ahead anyway because I really want a child.

"I'm sure that the sperm bank will find a good donor for me."

Last resort

Last resort

Unlike Tay and Liu, 100.3 DJ Limei said that the sperm bank would be a last resort and even then "talking is a lot easier than doing".

The host of the popular morning drive time show Don't Give A Damn (week days 6am to 10am) broke up with her boyfriend of eight months just last month.

She admitted that she thought he could be The One. DJ Limei, in her early 40s, told The New Paper: "To me, it's ideal for a woman to have children, it's what completes a woman and it's not advisable for a woman to give birth late in life.

"But there's still plenty of social stigma tied to visiting the sperm bank. For example I can imagine one's parents going 'you can't find a good man ah?'.

"I don't mind it but it's not something I would purposely seek out.

"Actually I have many good-looking gay friends who have offered to be sperm donors. But I want to try to find my own happiness first."

IVF all the rage in Hollywood

IVF all the rage in Hollywood

In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) has become all the rage in Hollywood, thanks to celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker, Celine Dion and Courtney Cox becoming mums because of the treatment.

IVF is a process in which egg cells are fertilised by sperm outside the body. It's a major treatment for infertility when other methods of assisted reproduction have failed.

In the US, patients are accepted as long as they are under 50.

Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross, 50, is famed for having skipped her honeymoon to get straight to IVF.

She used donor eggs to increase her chances due to her age and later gave birth to twin girls, Eden and Savannah in 2007.

In 2009, Sarah Jessica Parker, 47, used a surrogate to have twin girls Marion and Tabitha with actor husband Matthew Broderick.

The Sex And The City star had been married for 12 years when her daughters were born.

Twice-lucky is Canadian pop superstar Celine Dion who went through IVF in 2000 to have her son Rene Charles and used it again in 2010 to have her twin sons, Nelson and Eddy.

The 44-year-old revealed to the US media that she had a miscarriage and had six rounds of IVF before her successful pregnancy.

She was initially pregnant with triplets but miscarried one.

Apart from IVF, adoption has also been a hot trend in Tinsel Town. X-Men star Hugh Jackman's wife Deborra-Lee Furness, 56, suffered two miscarriages before they adopted son Oscar in 2000and daughter Ava in 2005.

Ex-spouses Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise are perhaps one of the most famous couples to adopt. Post-divorce, their children Isabella, 20, and Connor, 17, decided to live with Cruise.

In January, actress Katherine Heigl, opened up to Scholastic Parent&Child magazine about adopting her three-year-old Korean daughter Naleigh with husband, singer-songwriter Josh Kelley.

On the adoption process, she told the publication: "You're so amped up, you're so excited, you're so impatient - you know there's a child out there waiting for you, and you just want to get your hands on her."

  Don't wait, or risk complications 

Don't wait, or risk complications

With in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), it's not really "better late than never" for hopeful couples.

Professor Ng Soon Chye, the medical director of O&G Partners Fertility, said the quality of a woman's eggs drops as she gets older.

Comparatively, the quality of a man's sperm does not decline as much.

He said: "That's why you see older men fathering children but the same cannot be said for older women."

Prof Ng, a top gynaecologist who, in 1983, was one of the men behind Asia's first test-tube baby, added that because of age, a woman will face health issues during pregnancy, whether she conceives naturally or through IVF.

"She faces obstetric risks like increased blood pressure and gestational diabetes. The body cannot cope with the natural stress of pregnancy so well.

"If the patient is older, there is also an increased risk of abnormalities like having a baby with Down Syndrome. It is mostly chromosomal problems that develop due to age."

Dr Christopher Ng, the medical director at GynaeMD Women's & Rejuvenation Clinic, told The New Paper: "The chances of an IVF candidate getting pregnant past 40 is 8 per cent and that percentage drops by 1 per cent for every year they age.

"The risks of a 40-something woman's pregnancy includes stillbirth, chromosome abnormality, placenta abruption and difficult labour.

"But that being said, I just delivered healthy babies whose mums were 46 and 41, so it's not that it isn't possible to have a healthy pregnancy past 40."

Those who don't qualify for IVF treatment in Singapore can opt to use donated eggs. The problem, however, is finding a donor.

Prof Ng said: "I have heard of a woman, who is older than 50, who used donor eggs. The procedure is available in Singapore but it is difficult to find a donor in Singapore.

"So it's definitely better to get pregnant when you are young, preferably when you are younger than 35. Don't wait too long."

This article was first published in The New Paper .