I want a baby but don't want the commitment of a partner | Agony aunt

Dear Fiona: I am 33 next year and really want a baby. I am not in a relationship, and can’t see one on the horizon, as I value my personal time and space.

In fact, the only way I can see myself doing this is to find a man and get pregnant without telling him.

Money isn’t a problem for me, and I own my own house and have a good job.

I have much to be thankful for in my life. I’m financially secure and in good health, but I know I can’t be happy until I have my own child.

A woman deep in thought. PA

I’ve read about women who have done this and I’m sure I can too. All I really need to know is how to find a man.

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L.R.

FIONA SAYS: PLEASE THINK CAREFULLY

I would not give you guidance on how to use a man this way, as it’s fundamentally unfair and risky. I am also concerned that you seem to be investing all your personal fulfilment in a baby, placing a burden on that child before it’s even born.

Furthermore, I receive many letters from single mums about how hard it is to raise a child alone, and it’s not just a financial issue, although money obviously helps.

There are huge emotional and physical responsibilities as well. Also, the need to be constantly aware of the needs of someone else will almost certainly impact the personal freedom you value so highly.

If you are determined to go ahead though, please consider sperm donation through a reputable donor agency.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority website (hfea.gov.uk) can help you through this process. It also has a useful information section for single women.

You could also consider fostering or adoption; there are many children in desperate need of a stable placement. You could potentially start with a short-term placement, which would help you to decide whether parenting is really for you. Your local Social Services would be able to advise you.

DEAR FIONA: SHOULD I GO ON A HOLIDAY I CAN’T REALLY AFFORD?

I have very little money to spare, but some friends have asked me to join them on a last-minute holiday abroad.

I would really like to go but it would take up all my savings. I just can’t decide if I need to keep my money, or spend it on enjoying something I haven’t had a chance to do for a long time.

Some of my friends say I should go for it, and others say I ought to keep my money for an emergency. Can you help me decide?

A. T.

FIONA SAYS: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS BEST?

I can’t decide for you, and neither can anyone else, including your friends. So take a step back and listen to yourself. You are obviously a cautious person, otherwise you wouldn’t be so undecided.

This indicates that perhaps you’re more comfortable keeping a financial security cushion in place. However, only you can know how big you need that cushion to be right now.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have a holiday at all. You could talk to your bank about your needs and perhaps set up a savings scheme – it’s a compromise that may suit you. You could consider taking out a loan for this holiday, with the knowledge that you’ll plan to pay it back within a fixed period (but think very careful before borrowing money).

With financial plans in place, you might feel more confident about spending a little every now and then, knowing you have a plan in place to replace the money in due course and keep growing your savings.

If this isn’t an extravagant holiday, it could be a good thing to have a break to recharge your batteries, which could give you renewed energy to find ways of boosting your savings.

Your accounts aren’t the only thing you need to keep in balance remember, your physical and mental health are important too. But if it is really unaffordable and spending the money will make you anxious, please don’t feel bad about being honest with your friends.

Perhaps you could suggest a cheaper get-away together? The bottom line is, only you can decide.