The rise of solo motherhood explained
Solo motherhood using donor conception is on the rise year on year. In 2017 according to the HFEA report, 2279 women underwent treatment without a male partner. Based on my experience as a social infertility coach, I would say that we will definitely see that this has risen again in 2018 and 2019 when those statistics become available.
Every day I am contacted by more and more women considering this route to motherhood. They are experiencing social infertility. Finding themselves single and therefore unable to conceive without the help of some form of assisted reproduction.
The office of national statistics shows that the number of single people in the UK (and it seems worldwide) are steadily increasing and marriage rates are declining.
The majority of the decrease has been concentrated between ages 20 to 34 years. As a result there are more and more single women who don’t have a partner in their most fertile years.
I’m constantly asked why I think there is a rise in the number of women considering and embarking upon solo motherhood. In order to be able to understand this more clearly, I’ve been doing some research on this topic.
Firstly we need to explore why more women are single.
Why are there more single women?
I’ve recently read an amazing book called The Unexpected Joy of Being Single where Catherine Gray analyses why there are more people single these days than in the past. She discusses these 3 main reasons which make perfect sense to me:
Expectations of a partner have changed
In the past marriage was to someone who lived locally who we might have quite liked! These days we are looking for our life partner, soul mate, passionate lover, father to our children and best friend! Our expectations are different. We are not willing to settle. We want the real deal!
Too much choice
In times gone by, we would have met someone from our local village in person and things developed from there. Now by the power of technology we can go on a date with any number of people from any country we happen to be in, at any time, via a variety of apps. Too much choice can sometimes mean we are less willing to settle with one person. Always wondering if someone else would be more suitable.
A women needed a husband to survive in the past. Now women have their own career, their own money, their own houses, their own friends. As a result of this, they don’t need to get married. Marriage is a choice not a necessity.
The fact that there are more women are single in their fertile years means that there are a growing number of women who may be feeling anxious about missing out on motherhood. They may be wanting to decide how to best progress and the options available for them.
There are 5 options available for single women:
- Do nothing and leave the outcome to chance
- Focus all your energy into pursuing a relationship
- Take an alternative route to parenthood such as fostering, adoption or becoming a step parent in a blended family
- Accept a life without children
- Start the journey to solo motherhood using donor conception
Why are single women choosing the donor conception route?
These days, more women have their own careers and are in the financial position to pursue the option of starting the journey to solo motherhood using a sperm donor. This makes this option more of a possibility than it might have done in the past.
Many women have already spent years trying to meet the right partner. Feeling sick and tired of having their dreams of motherhood dependent on whether they can find a suitable partner who also wants to have children. Starting the journey to solo motherhood feels like an empowering decision.
I need to point out that making this decision is only starting the journey as there is of course no guarantee of the outcome when it comes to fertility treatment. Women can take years to come to the decision that this is the path they will take, only to find out that there are issues with their fertility that make conceiving very difficult or even not possible.
This can feel like a cruel blow after investing so much time and energy into the decision.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below about why you think solo motherhood is on the increase.