Single mothers by choice

Almost 40% of the women to resort to a fertility treatment do it on their own

There are more and more women every day who decide to be single mothers without the support of a couple and they do it through assisted reproduction techniques. Almost 40% of the women who undergo these kind of treatments do it alone, according to updated data offered by the clinics of assisted reproduction. This increase has also been favoured by the obstacles faced by these women when they try to adopt a child in their own  countries or aborad. The lastest data of the Spanish Institute of Fertility talk about more than 1,500 women annually who decide to be single mothers by means of a donor in Spain; this number must be increased with the foreign women who undergo these treatments in Spain because the laws in their countries are not so permissive.

Tourism for reproduction purposes is becoming very important in Spain. In France, for example, assisted reproduction treatments are only available and allowed to heterosexual couples, married or proving that they have lived together for two years, only if they meet the fertile age, which their assisted reproduction law envisages. In Italy, it is exactly the same. In Portugal, it is legal for married couples or couples who have lived together for two years, provided that they have not separated by any means. In Germany, there is no regulation about this but the social security does not cover it when gametes of a donor are needed. Also, in Austria, women without a couple are neither allowed to be mothers through assited reproduction tecnhiques.

Some Spanish clinics offer their data: The number of women without a couple assited by the FIV MADRID clinic has grown from 2% to 12% in 10 years; the Manzanera clinic of LaRioja has proved a 35% increase in the last two years; Procreatec of Madrid has observed a 35% increase compared to 2010; CREA of Valencia counts on a 100% increase in these type of treatments to single mothers. The number of single mothers assited by the IMFER of Murcia has increased by 40% since 2008; besides, the IMF (Instituto Madrileño deFertilidad) strengthens that nowadays the number of artificial insemination treatments to single women carried out in the clinic amount to more than 53% whereas it was only an 18% in 2009 and the IVI declared that the number of single women who come to their sperm bank to be inseminated has increased by 200% in the last five years.

The web www.localhost, specialized on single mothers by their own choice amounts to more than 115.000 exclusive users every year and it also has a bigger number of followers in the social networks. “Between 3 and 6 new girls become members of the web each week and there are more and more women from abroad who apply for information”, comments Rosa Maestro, its founder; however, she adds, the delay of maternity (over the age of 35), forces 50% of these women to undergo different treatments or even ovodonation or embryo donation as a consequence of the loss of quality of their ova.

In spite of the above mentioned increase, financial laws and social aids are scarce though and furthermore difficult to obtain by single-parent families who therefore suffer a strong discrimination in matters such as:

  • The deduction per child in the income tax is higher for a two-parent family than for a single-parent family
  • They are not included in the social voucher.
  • There is no coordination between work life and family life.     
  • They are excluded from school canteen grants, public transport grants and grants for books
  • They cannot adopt a child in the same terms as a two-parent family.
  • Their leave of maternity is shorter than that of a two-parent family becaue they lack the 15 optional days offered to the father.      
  • Very few of them are accepted by the Social Security System to undergo a fertiliytreatment .
  • After waiting for four years for a certificate of large family with two children for special benefits, the answer is no, and this implies a discrimination against widows and widowers who do actually have it.

Author: Rosa Maestro

Madre sola, fundadora de la web masola.org y autora del cuento "Cloe quiere ser mamá.." entre otras cosas.