World-first study shows solo mothers choose donor insemination because they lack a partner

More than two-thirds of single women who choose to have a baby by donor insemination (DI) do so because they feel that they are running out of time to have a baby, according to a world-first study by researchers at the Family and Child Psychology Research Centre at City University, London, UK.

However, children born this way appear to be thriving, and their mothers are coping just as well as the mothers in two-parent DI families, Dr Clare Murray told the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Vienna on Monday 1 July.

She said that although there was controversy around the issue of whether or not single heterosexual women should have access to DI, the results of her study showed there was no difference in the quality of parenting between solo and married DI mothers, and no difference between the two groups of children with regard to sleeping and eating difficulties. The only significant difference was that DI mothers in two-parent families tended to have greater interaction with their babies than did the solo mothers. "However, inspection of the findings showed that married DI mothers showed particularly high levels of interaction, whereas solo DI mothers were also above average. Therefore, this finding does not appear to have any effect on the children at this stage," she said.

In the world's first study interviewing solo DI mothers, Dr Murray and her team compared 22 solo DI mothers with 36 married DI mothers with a child aged less than one year. As well as investigating the well-being of mothers and children, the team also wanted to find out why solo DI mothers had opted to go it alone and whether they might be vulnerable to other pressures such as social stigma and lack of social support.

Dr Murray said: "While nearly a third of the women stated that they actively wanted to go it alone and have a child without the involvement of a man, half of all the single women felt that they had no ch

Contact: Emma Mason
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology

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