For decades women around the world have found themselves going through parenthood alone. Either because of death or failed relationships it has almost become an expectation that a mother can, and is prepared to handle the responsibilities of child-rearing. While there are a growing number of clinics that provide fertility service for married and single clients alike, private practices have the legal option to turn away patients who don't meet their standards. Karri O' Reilly, a single film maker, was refused reproductive treatment because of her marital status according to Dayton Daily News. Her experience is one that many single women have faced when seeking artificial insemination.
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In 1981, Jane Mattes a psychotherapist, founded a group called Single Mothers by Choice (SMC). The SMC group was established to provide support, information and resource materials to women who choose to raise their children alone.
The SMC defines their average member as "[c]areer women in our thirties and forties." These women, SMS claims, have turned to artificial insemination in many cases because they simply could not wait for a successful marriage before having a child of their own.
There are two main forms of artificial insemination: intracervical and intrauterine. According to DocShop, intracervical insemination is, "[r]elatively quick and usually a painless procedure that deposits donor sperm directly into the cervix."
American Pregnancy Association defines intrauterine insemination as, "A fertility treatment that uses a catheter to place a number of washed sperm directly into the uterus." This form of artificial insemination is predominately used by heterosexual married couples, or instances when the donor is a known participant.
AID (artificial insemination by donor) can be fairly expensive. DocShop breaks the general cost down by explaining the price as being reflective of investigation and diagnosis, drug therapy, the actual procedure and hospital stay. The Atlanta Center for Reproductive Medicine gives a range of £975 to £1,950 per cycle treatment for a single woman using donor sperm.
The Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago warns that on a monthly basis only 10 per cent of the single women receiving treatment become pregnant. For women over 40 they state that, "[s]uccess rates are much lower, and some women will need to use donor eggs to get pregnant."
Also, it's important to note that the percentage of women who get pregnant on a monthly basis does not reflect the actual percentage of those who are able to carry to full term.
Although many single women choosing to be artificially inseminated are doing so without the prospect of a hopeful relationship, they can and have asked close friends for genetic material. Ami Jaegar of Biolaw Group, a practice specialising in reproductive medicine, genetics and law, advises women to know before hand the legal issues that come with using a friend or known donor. Inheritance rights, support obligations, and name placement on the birth certificate are all areas to address with caution.
The other, more common route for a single woman, is to use an unknown donor. Unknown donors allow a woman to conceive without the legal complications. Sperm banks like those of the Sperm Bank of California ensure that "Sperm donors are not considered to be legal fathers of any children conceived from their sperm. Freeing them from legal or financial responsibility and protecting the donors privacy."
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- American Pregnancy Association: Intrauterine Insemination, IUI
- DocShop.com: Artificial Insemination
- Single Mothers by Choice: Who Is a Single Mother by Choice
- Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago: Artificial insemination with donor sperm
- Dayton Daily News: Kettering Hospital refused to help unmarried woman get pregnant