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Agony aunt Hilary Devey; Our gravel-voiced giver of good advice. No waffle, just wisdom.

Dear Hilary,

'I am nearly 40 and 'single. I'm desperate to running out of time.

I occasionally have one-night stands with random guys I meet in bars. I am beginning to consider not using contraception and leaving it to the gods to see if I become pregnant. I wouldn't involve the dad at all, he would never know. In my mind I think this is OK. It would be, wouldn't it? 'Jean, 39, Oxford


I realise that the perfect family is both rare and from experience, unrealistic. But no, that is not a good plan.

Random guys in bars are not baby-making machines. While I appreciate your yearning to have a child, I could never recommend using a stranger in this way. Aside from the fact you might get the clap, there is also the moral issue of taking someone's DNA without their knowledge. The potential child would undoubtedly ask about their father, and you would either have to lie or tell the truth - a no-win situation.

Lots of people settle for unsatisfactory relationships so they can have kids and it doesn't always work out so well. You say you 'wouldn't involve the dad', but if you have no interest in a partner, you should look into other means of having a child, for example, adoption.

I am concerned about the toll picking up men may take on your pride and self-respect. You are being careless with your mental and physical health. It might take a year or more of soulless one-night stands. That's a lot of drinks, bad chat-up lines, and risky situations. I suggest looking into donor insemination, as sperm has been donated with consent, health-checked and you would receive proper care and advice from the fertility centre. This can be expensive, but I believe you would feel more comfortable.

Alternatively, do you have a male friend willing to help you out with artificial insemination? I am not going to get in the way of your dream, but please make sure you have weighed out every eventuality and know the risks involved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 6, 2014
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