Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Solo mother by donor – the plan B of motherhood. A perspective on person-centered reproductive medicine

Marie Engholm Frederiksen, Ulla Christensen, Tine Tjørnhøj-Thomsen, Lone Schmidt

Abstract


Assisted reproductive technology has been developed to treat couples with reproductive diseases. Recently, however, there has been an increase in single, fertile women who want a child by donor insemination (DI). In Denmark, it has been legal since 2007 for medical doctors to offer assisted reproduction to single women. To explore the reason why single women decide to use DI for becoming a mother we conducted in-depth interviews with six single, heterosexual women receiving DI treatment at a public fertility clinic.  Data were analysed by a hermeneutic approach. We identified three main themes; 1) Images of children and family, 2) Taking action and 3) Absent fathers. Despite their decision to use DI, the women would have preferred to have a child in a relationship with a man. However, motherhood was of such importance that the women chose to use a donor because they feared they would otherwise become too old to have children. The women were aware that the absence of a father may have consequences for them and their child and they still hoped that their future family would include a man. The empirical findings are discussed in the context of the sociologist Gidden’s notions about choice in modern society. Staff at fertility clinics need to expand their knowledge of single motherhood in order to develop person-centered reproductive medicine approaches for this new group of patients who differ in their needs from couples seeking fertility treatment due to having a reproductive condition such as infertility.


Full Text:

PDF

References


Rosenbeck, B. (1995). Pro et kontra. In: Forplantning, køn og teknologi (Reproduction, gender and technology) (eds. B. Rosenbeck & R.M. Schott), pp. 13-25. Copenhagen, Denmark: Museum Tusculanums Forlag.

Nelson, A.M. (2003). Transition to motherhood. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing 32, 465-477.

Rosenbeck, B. (1987). Kvindekøn. Den moderne kvindeligheds historie 1880 – 1980 (Womenkind. History of the modern femininity 1880 – 1980). Copenhagen, Denmark: Gyldendal.

Gillis, J. R. (1996). A world of their own making. New York, USA: BacisBooks.

Christiansen, P. O. (2007). Indledning: Længsel, historie og familie (Introduction: Longing, history and family). In: En rigtig familie (A real family), (eds. L. Andersen & P.O. Christiansen), pp. 7-23. Copenhagen, Denmark: C.A. Reitzels Forlag.

Løkke, A. (1993). Forældrebilleder (Images of parents). Social Kritik, 25/26, 7-21.

Dermott, E. (2008). Intimate fatherhood: A sociological analysis. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Benzies, K., Tough, S., Tofflemire, K., Frick, C., Faber, A.& Newburn-Cook, C. (2006). Factors influencing women’s decisions about timing of motherhood. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing 35, 625-633.

Frejka, T.& Sobotka,T. (2008). Fertility in Europe: Diverse, delayed and below replacement. Demografic Research 19, 15-46.

Brewaeys, A. (2010). Men not included: A review of single and lesbian mother DI families: mother-child relationship and child development. F, V & V in Obstetric and Gynecological Monograph, 74-79.

Ministy of Health and Prevention. (2006). Bekendtgørelse af lov om kunstig befrugtning i forbindelse med lægelig behandling, diagnostik og forskning m.v. (Announcement of law concerning assisted reproductive technology). Ministeriet for Sundhed og Forebyggelses bekendtgørelse nr. 923 af 4. September.

Jadva, V., Badger, S., Morrissette, M.& Golombok, S. (2009). 'Mom by choice, single by life's circumstance...' Findings from a large scale survey of the experiences of single mothers by choice. Human Fertility 12, 175-184.

Klock, S. C., Jacob, M.C.& Maier,D. (1996). A comparison of single and married recipients of donor insemination. Human Reproduction11, 2554-2557.

Leiblum, S. R., Palmer, M.G. & Spector,I.P. (1995). Non-traditional mothers: single heterosexual/lesbian women and lesbian couples electing motherhood via donor insemination. Journal of Psychosomatic and Obstetric Gynaecology 16, 11-20.

Murray, C.& Golombok, S. (2005). Going it alone: solo mothers and their infants conceived by donor insemination. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 75, 242-253.

Stige, B., Malterud, K. & Midtgarden, T. (2009). Toward an agenda for evaluation of qualitative research. Qualitative Health Research 19, 1504-1516.

Dahlager, L.& Fredslund, H. (2008). Hermeneutical analysis - understanding and pre-understanding. In: Research methods in public health, (eds. S. Vallgårda & L. Koch), pp. 159-184. Copenhagen, Denmark: Gyldendal Akademisk.

Statistics Sweden. (2009). Barn eller inte? Resultat från en enkätundersökning om kvinnors och mäns inställing till barrbafödande (Having children or not? Results from a questionnaire survey about women´s and men´s attitudes towards having children). Örebro, Sweden: Statistics Sweden.

Tjørnhøj-Thomsen, T. (1999). Tilblivelseshistorier. Barnløshed, slægtskab og forplantningsteknologi i Danmark(Stories of coming into being: Childlessness, kinship, and procreative technologies in Denmark). (Ph.D. thesis). Copenhagen, Denmark: University of Copenhagen.

Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self-identity.Cambridge, U.K: Polity Press.

ESHRE Capri Workshop Group. (2005). Fertility and ageing. Human Reproduction 11, 261-276.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5750/ijpcm.v1i4.56

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.