Hundreds of mothers are now choosing to become a Solo Mum – opting to forego a relationship and bring up a baby on their own.
According to figures from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), in just one year the number of women deciding to go through IVF alone has increased by 22 per cent,
This makes for a dramatic rise of 226 per cent since 2006. Figures from 2013 show that 952 potential single mums signed up at IVF clinics.
Journalist Victoria Lambert, writing for the Telegraph, questioned why so many women (and some men) are deciding to take on the huge challenge of raising a child alone.
While some experts have put it down to factors such as lessening stigma of being a “single mum,” others have said women are simply more career focused now, or else are finding it increasingly difficult to secure a suitable long-term relationship.
Caroline Young, a 40-year-old mum who chose to have her one year-old son alone, explained, “I simply didn’t meet the right man at the right time, and as I was getting older, I knew I had to revise my idea of what my ideal family unit looked like.”
Lucy Workman, 43, who conceived her twins, Ned and Nancy, via sperm donation and IVF, also felt inspired to take matters into her own hands in order to become a parent. ”People say ‘I’d never do what you’ve done’,” said Lucy. “But unless you’ve been 40 years old without a child you can’t know how it feels.
‘”The twins were as far from being an accident as is possible. It was a painful business, emotionally and physically. Some people accused me of being selfish – but now my life is all about children and as unselfish as can be.’’
Although there is some concern about how solo parenting may impact the children involved, current research suggests that non-traditional families can be as healthy as two-parent set ups.
Dr Sophie Zadeh, researcher at the Centre for Family Research at Cambridge University said that good parents come in all forms: “Our research has consistently shown that it’s not the structure of families that’s the most important, but the quality of parenting and parent-child relationships.”
When it comes to the task of explaining their unconventional parentage to their child, Solo Mums acknowledge that they’ll just have to muddle through it – just like any other parent.
Lucy said: ”I don’t have a crystal ball so I can’t foresee how the twins will react. They already know they don’t have a father and they know that lots of children have different shaped families.
“I do believe that the earlier they understand the reality of their situation the better so it won’t come as a shock. But a lot can change. I might meet someone and get married, and they will have a father.’’
Source: Telegraph/ Victoria Lambert