“What if Prince Charming had never showed up? Would Snow White have slept in her glass coffin forever? Or would she have eventually woken up, spit out the apple, gotten a job, a health care package, and a baby from her local neighborhood sperm bank?” 
Having a baby alone? is both a testimony and an investigation in which Guillemette Faure,  a single woman approaching her forties, realistically presents her journey into assisted reproductive technology (ART), from New York to Paris. The year is 2008.
At the Single Mothers by Choice organization (SCM),  she is surprised to meet women who, just like their offspring, “look normal”. Almost all of those initially thought to be “radical… radical feminists, radical lesbians…”  would have actually preferred to have a child within a relationship, and most of them still hope for a romantic relationship.  They were “single mothers by default.”  “Being is measured against the lack which is proper for the norm. There are social norms in the absence of any sexual norm.” 
She joined the SMC, selected the method she was considering (the options being adoption, insemination, etc. and in the end, just in case, sexual relations ), and got her kit sent: contact details of other New York members, articles, addresses of doctors, of sperm banks, and above all “a guide to decision-making,”  alone, with a self-evaluation form.
Alone too, when it comes to talking about the mode of conception. “If you say you used an anonymous donor, even if you don’t say the word ‘sperm’, that’s what people will think about.”  “ARTs force us to think about procreation, for which we don’t usually have a representation […], to represent the unrepresentable […], of origin and procreation.”  She would be told: “But why don’t you get pregnant without saying it?” Or: “Ask a good friend!”  But how? “It’s like organ donation, except you can keep your organs?”  “And what about adoption, have you thought about it?” In France, single people have no chance compared to married couples, and abroad, few countries are open to single parents. 
“Buying a dad in the supermarket” 
When “the myth of the child of love begins to wear away,”  donor insemination is the simplest method of artificial procreation.  But in France the treatment  is reserved for heterosexual couples of childbearing age. Single French women go therefore abroad,  where sperm banks are a booming market,  along with “Nobel baby banks” scams.
While women in heterosexual couples have in mind a donor who looks like their husband, single women want “to have a choice.” Please select a donor and enter your credit card number to find out more. The amount of information about donors available in catalogs is always increasing, banks try to outdo each other. She chose Reprolab, “the Lecrerc of sperm banks,”  feeling guilty for daring “to have a baby on sale.” 
A la carte families?
Back in Paris after her failed inseminations in New York, she considered an IVF in Belgium – Thalys babies they are called, after the high-speed train between Paris and Brussels. Mothers know that one day they will have to answer their children’s questions, “so how will she give voice to the bottled ancestor?”  Lacan already said in 1957. Each child will elaborate his own mythical version of his coming into the world, no matter how he was conceived. “Would you like to be my true-fake daddy?”  a 6-year-old boy born from a donor asked his mother’s new lover.
Some women hope that “beginning” a child will attract the man with whom they will start a family. Others keep their frozen embryos for the day they meet someone, or keep a stock from the same donor in the hope of conceiving “real siblings.”  There are those who think they need to be “freed from the constraint of reproduction”  in order to find their soulmate, without having to wonder whether the man they meet would make a good father, and some can even be “afraid of getting pregnant from a boyfriend instead of a donor.” 
Having a baby alone? Far from creating certainty, this urging question rather widens the gap between demand and desire. In this lapse of solitude an answer like no other is invented in an attempt to address a unique mode of jouissance. Although sexuality, motherhood, love life and procreation are sometimes disjointed, none of these women actually reject the traditional family model. Ten years later, has that changed so much?
Translation: Cédric Grolleau
Rereading: Alejandro Sessa
Photography: ©Swoboda Frédéric : Www.proximac.blog
 Cf. Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City. Season 3, episode 1, 2000.
 Faure G., Un bébé toute seule ?, Paris, Flammarion, 2008.
 Guillemette Faure is a French journalist and writer. She moved to New York in 1995, where she was a correspondent for Le Figaro, La Croix, Les Inrockuptibles and Têtu. She went back to France in 2007, and has worked for Rue89, Les Inrockuptibles and M, le magazine du Monde.
 Single Mothers by Choice is an organization founded in 1981 by Jane Mattes, a psychotherapist and author in NYC.
 Faure G., Un bébé toute seule ?, op. cit., p. 23.
 Cf. ibid., p. 16.
 Ibid., p. 21.
 Lacan, J., Declaration on France‐Culture on the subject of the 28th International Congress of Psychoanalysis, 1973. https://freud2lacan.b-cdn.net/IPA-28th_Congress-TC.pdf
 Faure G., Un bébé toute seule ?, op. cit., p. 23.
 Ibid., p. 24.
 Ibid., p. 111.
 Ansermet F., « L’envers de la procréation », La Cause freudienne, n°65, mars 2007, p. 34.
 Cf. Faure G., Un bébé toute seule ?, op. cit., p. 109.
 Ibid., p. 29.
 Cf. ibid., p. 122.
 Ibid., p. 43.
 Ibid., p. 28.
 Cf. ibid., p. 36.
 Provided by centers for the study and conservation of human eggs and sperm (CECOS).
 Cf. ibid., p. 37.
 Cf. ibid., p. 71.
 Ibid., p. 47. Leclerc supermarkets can be compared to Tesco or Aldi.
 Ibid., p. 78.
 Lacan, J., The Seminar: Book IV. The Object Relation, 1956-1957, ed. by Jacques-Alain Miller, transl. by A. R. Price, Polity Press, Cambridge 2020, p. 367.
 Faure G., Un bébé toute seule ?, op. cit., p. 176.
 Ibid., p. 59.
 Ibid., p. 172.
 Ibid., p. 174.