A large number of single women are opting for motherhood by using donor insemination and IVF.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has stated that 259 single women underwent IVF treatment during 2007. This number had increased to 632 by 2012. Donor insemination by women who did not have a partner increased from 330 to 468 during the same time period.
The 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act has made it much easier for single females to have children. The ‘need for a father’ clause was removed and replaced with a ‘supportive parenting’ clause.
The Medical Director of Create Fertility, Professor Dr Geeta Nargund, has stated that this action is not taken very lightly by the clinic or the woman as both parties have responsible roles to play. The clinic ensures that the female has support from family and friends and they receive counselling prior to the treatment.
Critics of this process, such as Josephine Quintavalle, from Comment on Reproductive Ethics, state that this is a completely different scenario to facing motherhood alone from the start. She said that she is quite horrified by the idea and that it is undesirable and offensive to reduce the role of fatherhood to that of a donation from an anonymous sperm donor. She stated that fatherhood consists of more than that.
Dr David Richmond, the top maternity doctor in Britain, has stated that the move towards older motherhood cannot be reversed. He stated that there is no point in warning females to have their children by the time they reach the age of 35 or risk their children suffering from various medical problems. He stated that he believes the trend of older mothers is here to stay.
The doctor believes that most women who choose to have their babies later in life know the risks they are facing. The average motherhood age is currently at 29.8 years in England and Wales. The average age of fatherhood has also been increasing steadily.
Dr Richmond has stated that many females place a hold on starting a family until later in life because they want to feel secure financially and professionally, before the need for maternity leave.
There will always be those who disagree that having a baby is a female’s right, but for those who choose this route, motherhood has offered them a whole life.
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