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Before the 1 of april 2016 - when the law was changed - many swedish women went to Denmark to

get help to have children on their own. But how does a woman make this life changing decision?
The Decision was broadcasted by the Swedish Radio, P1 Dokumentr, 20 march 2016 and podcasted
18 march 2016.

The Decision
Telephone conversation
Kicki:
The fourth of November?
Voice on the telephone:
Yes.
Kicki:
Two oclock. Mm, that will be fine.
Narrator:
Its October and Im doing something thats been on my list for ages: start recording.
Next on my list is: book an appointment.
So thats what I do I start recording and I book an appointment.
Telephone conversation
Kicki:
You dont have any earlier slots, how about next week?
No, no. I understand.
Narrator:
If I had saved all the lists that Ive made prior to this call,
I could cover a whole wall with them.
Lists of advantages and disadvantages, lists with the top three alternatives,
lists with blobbed ink because Ive cried over them,
lists with letters scratched angrily on paper,
lists far too private to leave lying around when I have parties,
which I realise all too late, lists that are clear to a fault.
But above all, lists that are completely meaningless
because its not possible to reach a major life decision by making lists.

Announcer:
Sveriges Radio P1 documentary department presents: The Decision, by Kicki Mller.

Kicki:
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven. Next weekend, probably.
My God, this is crazy. Shit. How the hell can you make a decision like this?
Piano
Narrator:
I sat down at the piano. It was a while since I did that but I know that it helps.
The clear-cut tones - something concrete to ease a troubled mind.
Im 38.
Ive just ended a relationship,
or had it ended, to be precise.
Things didnt turn out as I had planned, as I hoped, as I wanted.
Im on my own again and I want to have children. At least I think that I want to have children
which I suppose means that I want to have children.
I know that Im standing on the line. On the one hand, too late. One the other, not too late.
Im not quite sure when Im going to take the step but I know that this particular step
wont register with my legs. It will occur quietly and inconspicuously, if I allow it to.
Deep down, what do I want?
How much control do I have over this?
My thoughts are all over the place, but the piano helps,
and my friends.
Theres something about those lists. Theyre uncomplicated.
Theyre the complete opposite of gut feeling,
but they help clarify things for a while.
Sometimes I make lists with my friends, like with Maria.
Kicki:
The alternatives
Maria:
Keep waiting for that man that you want to have children with.
Kicki:
Wait, is that 1?

Maria:
Yes. Keep waiting like many women do until youre 45 and realise that it isnt going to
happen.
Alternative 2: Just pick someone, let nature take its course.
This might mean tricking someone into a relationship for the sole purpose of having a child.
Youre probably tricking yourself too, but at least you get a child in the process.
The purpose is fulfilled.
Kicki:
Yes, and then you have to deal with the other person, whom you were never really in love
with,
for the rest of your life.
Maria:
Yes, you will have to take this person into consideration for the rest of your life.
Kicki:
Right, OK. 1, 2.
Maria:
Another alternative is to sleep around as much as possible and maybe lie a little.
Tell them that youre on the Pill or something. Yet another alternative that is
becoming common these days is an agreement between friends. I want a child, you
want a child.
I have something that you dont have and you have something that I dont have.
People come to an agreement and I think that this method will become more
common.
Kicki:
Alternative 4, you like that one, do you? You think that I should opt for that?
Maria:
No, because youre so independent. That would mean another person,
to take care of. The next alternative would suit you better.

Kicki:
Alternative 5?
Maria:
Yes.

Kicki:
Which is, to travel to Denmark.

Maria:
Travel to Denmark. That is to say, get yourself sperm
without having any relationship whatsoever with another adult.
Kicki:
That sounds terribly bleak.
Maria:
But youre doing it for a reason. The result will not be bleak
regardless of whatever method you choose.
Kicki:
What would you have done?
Maria:
I dont know. I really dont. I cant answer that. Its too difficult a question.
Piano
Narrator:
Too difficult a question. Is it not the same for me?
There are days when this seems simple and I tell myself that Im going to travel alone
to Copenhagen for insemination and become one of all the single mothers
that have children this way.
It will work out fine,
and as Maria said, it would probably suit me.
Ill meet someone later; well become a different kind of family.
That, if anything, would probably suit me, a different kind of family.
These thoughts are easy to grasp and no one challenges them. My friends are positive.
Friend 1:
You never know. You can feel lonely in a relationship and that loneliness can be worse than
being alone from the beginning. And it could turn out that the person you had a child with
I mean, you can go on and on about this. I think it will be fine, Kicki.
I have complete confidence in you.

Friend 2:
Just do it. All the practical stuff will fall into place.
If theres one thing that you need to bear in mind, its that you have good friends
that care about you and that are prepared to help you.
And help can be going to the park for a few hours on a Saturday.
It doesnt have to be more complicated than that.
Friend 3:
Your decisions are yours alone. I thought about that yesterday.
I alone am responsible for making my own decisions. But of course theres security
in sharing responsibilities with another person, youre more relaxed probably.
Narrator:
I listen and Im hesitant.
I know that my friends have photos of their dads in their photo albums.
I know that my friends say mum and dad like one word.
Mum-and-dad.
I know that my friends can stand before a mirror
and point at resemblances to their dads.
And I know that their children have dads,
and a grandma,
a granddad,
an aunt
or an uncle.
They may not be present. They may not be alive.
They may be alive and nothing but trouble but they exist.
Its not the practical aspects that scare me,
its the emotional
bleakness.
Piano
Narrator:
The piano, the keys.
Small gaps in between, clearly separating them.
A comfort when much is unclear in my head right now.

Telephone conversation

Kicki:
Yes, Ive had a hormone test.
Should I give it to? I can post a copy of the results on to you?
Narrator:
Im going to be 39 years old soon
and Im starting to prepare myself.
Kicki:
I will, yes, good. Yes, I can do that. Yes, absolutely. Good.
Narrator:
I have tests and routine examinations and Im told that everything looks fine.
Theres a good chance that I will conceive.
A list of the things I can do with this information:
1. Travel to Denmark and get it over with.
2. Decide to wait, trust your fertility and find a proper father for your child.
I allow both options to exist side by side and start dating a man.
When we meet Im not really present. I dont know if he notices.
We have dinner on a few occasions. I continue reading up
on ovulation, sperm donors, donor babies.
The man is out of my life and I hardly notice. I book an appointment for consultation
at the donor clinic in Denmark, via Skype.
Skype conversation
Kicki:
Yes, I was asked to provide my contact details, yes. I can confirm it now.
Yes, I understand.
Skype ringtone
Kicki:
Precisely, great, thanks, good.
Kicki:
There
Counselor:
Hi!
Kicki:
Hi, you can see me now?

Counselor:
Yes, I can see you, and you can see me.
Kicki:
Yes, precisely.
Counselor:
Youre welcome back here.
Kicki:
Thanks very much.
Narrator:
She asks, I answer that I havent decided yet but that I think that I want to have a child
more than I want to have a man in my life and that I know that the two ought to go together,
or at least I should feel that the two go together,
but that I dont really know what to think anymore.
Skype conversation
Counselor:
You think that youve been reflecting a lot, about doing this.
Kicki:
Mm.

Narrator:
I fantasize about who a donor might be.
Hes probably Danish, hes probably around 25.
What are my thoughts on him?
That hes young and naive?
That hes mature and sensible?
If he doesnt have children of his own,
how will he feel about his decision if he finds out one day?
I have the right to some information if I want it.
The only thing Im sure about is, the person I choose
will be someone that my child may contact
when they reach the age of eighteen.
Id rather not think about other choices I can make.
This isnt the right time to make the wrong decisions.
I must make up my mind.
Do I want to or do I not want to
choose hair colour, eye colour, height, read a personal letter, actually hear a voice?

Piano
Donor 1:
I chose to become a donor, because I dont see any reason not to, I help others as well as
fades
Donor 2:
To whom it may concern. Thank you for picking me as your donor. Im sure you made the
right decision. There is somebody out therefades
Narrator:
A voice that can be a part of my lifeyet never be there.
Donor 2:
I chose being a donor because Im aware of how much it means for a society
and its citizensfades
Donor 3:
I myself have two nieces and I love those girls. Since high school Ive spent
a lot of time travelling. I spent one month in Bali, eight months in New Zealand/Australia,
two months in fades
Piano music fades
Narrator:
The more I find out about the actual procedure the less I question it.
However, I do question myself.
Why has it come to this? Why dont I have a child with any of the men that I lived with?
Why dont I live with any of them anymore?
Is it wrong to try to have a child on your own?
Whose eyes are important?
Telephone conversation
Kicki:
Hi, I just wanted to update you, Im prepared to come to the clinic.
Mm Just making this call feels really strange.
Mm What if I change my mind on the way? So be it.
Im making my mind up now to come tomorrow.
Mm, OK. Theres a train that arrives there at six-thirty. Thanks, bye.
Good God, dear God, what the hell am I doing? What the hell am I doing?
Music, sound of a train

Narrator:
And thats what I do.
I havent taken a night train since I was 20 years old and went interrailing in Eastern Europe.
Im travelling in a 3-bed compartment. A woman comes in with a pair of long skis and puts
them in the corner. She says shes going skiing with a friend and then gets into the bed
above mine. The other woman sneaks in, says hi almost inaudibly and gets into the bed
under mine.
We lay there in the dark, three women in rickety beds with the same destination
but different objectives.
My compartment companions have something in common that they are unaware of.
They are the only ones in the whole world that know where I am right now.
Music fades. Train announcement in Danish.
Kicki:
Its very cold. I walked from the station and Im freezing.
Sat at a caf for an hour prior to my appointment.
Hi, pigeons. Want to know why Im sitting here?
Do you have children?
Whether its worth all this worry or not, Im going in there now.
Im not just going to forget about it and go home, Im going in.
I think the hardest part of this is that its so clinical.
Background noises
Midwife:
Hi, youre Kicki?
Kicki:
Yes, thats right.
Midwife:
Welcome!
Kicki:
It feels rather strange.
Midwife:
Yes, and also by coming here and being pregnant this way, thats also OK.
Conversation continues in the background
Narrator:
Are you sure? asks the midwife, minutes before its all about to happen.
No, I answer. Is anyone in my situation really sure?
She responds with a counter question:
Do you know what most of them answer when we ask what they fear the most?

No.
They answer: That this will be a success; that I will become pregnant.
Midwife:
Also, I want to say that the first time you come here
you dont really know what to expect fades
Narrator:
In the waiting room is a notice board on which women whove been here leave notes
for other women to contact them.
Theyre from Germany, the USA, France and Sweden.
Women in their forties whove all stepped over this threshold.
They could have turned around again at the door but they didnt because they
wanted
doubted
longed
and dared.

A note on the board is cut in the shape of a heart.


A woman from Paris has written it.
I wrote her e-mail address on the back of an old receipt.
Background noise
Narrators mum:
Have you been down there?
Kicki:
Mm.
Narrators mum:
Really? You never said.

Kicki:
No.
Narrators mum:
You might be pregnant then. No? So you know.
Narrator:
My mum, who met my dad when she was seventeen.
Became a nuclear family.
Mum, dad, two children.

Narrators mum:
Sometimes you just have to take control of the situation, do what you want to do,
and it will all work out in the end.
Thats the way it is. I know that you The future and being on your own
But you may not end up on your own.
Dear me, all those people with children getting divorced,
and they keep finding new partners it seems.
Kicki:
Yes.

Narrators mum:
We can have great expectations for the future
but theres no guarantee that things will turn out that way.
You mustnt be like me, planning everything in detail. When Im doing something
everything has to be well planned and written down: Its got to be this way or like that.
Forget that. I hope youre not like me in that way, because I always have to plan everything.
A little spontaneity and everything will work out fine.
All that stuff we worry about will work out fine in the end.
Narrator:
It will work out fine perhaps, but what is it exactly thats going to work out fine?
Mum, my friends and everyone else Ive talked to,
I realise they mean the practical aspects.
Im not worried about the practical aspects.
But how do I feel about having a child that hasnt been conceived
in a loving relationship?
How will the child feel about not being born into a loving relationship?
Thats what I have to come to terms with.
Thats what the child has to come to terms with.
That is what has to work out fine.
Narrators mum:
Ive thought about that Not your latest relationship but the longer relationship that you
were in previous to that. You wanted to leave him. He didnt want children. I remember that
you said: Well, Ive got two years to find somebody new and get pregnant.
Kicki:
Yes.
Narrators mum:
You were planning something that didnt make sense.

Kicki:
No.
Narrators mum:
You cannot go around making plans for the future the whole time
when you know that things might not turn out that way. Time goes by and then its too late.
Piano

Narrator:
When is it good to have a plan and when should you let it go?
I started making lists as a teenager. Every time I bought a new diary
I wrote in what I wanted to achieve that year.
And I did all that.
Ive always had dreams
a will
stamina
goals
but that was so concrete then.

List of things to do on my lists:


1. Find a summer job.
2. Take a course in pottery.
3. Get off with the dark guy in class 9d.
4. Buy those jeans.
Things arent that simple anymore. The first attempt was unsuccessful
and I realise that Im back to square one.

Will I go back again?


Do I want to or have I changed my mind?