UK & World News
Rise In Women Taking On Motherhood Alone
A growing number of single women are seeking fertility treatment as the route to motherhood.
For those unable to find a partner, IVF and donor insemination are increasingly being seen as a viable option.
Lisa Mead, who is 41, first considered adopting in 2006 but when the process was held up, decided to try for her own child, despite not being in a relationship.
She is now mother to Lennie, who is two, and five-month-old Bebe, both conceived with the help of a donor from America.
"All the women I know who have gone down this path, I don't think that any of them imagined they would be in that situation," she said.
"They all imagined they would meet a nice man and it would be how it would pan out how you expect ... you get married, you have kids.
"I don't think anybody has gone about it because they don't want a man around and a lot of women are hoping a nice man will turn up now the children are there, but the pressure is off to find that person in the time you have got in order to become a mum."
According to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, 259 single women had IVF treatment in 2007. By 2012, the number had more than doubled to 632.
And donor insemination for women without a partner also increased from 330 to 468 over the same period.
It became easier for single women to have children with the introduction of the 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act.
The Act removed the reference to "need for a father" when going for fertility treatment and replaced it with a requirement to provide "supportive parenting".
Professor Dr Geeta Nargund, medical director of Create Fertility, said: "It's not taken very lightly by the woman or by the clinic. There are very responsible rules.
"We make sure there is support from family and friends ... and we offer them counselling before they have treatment."
There are nearly two million single parents in the UK and the vast majority have been through a separation.
But critics like Josephine Quintavalle, from Comment on Reproductive Ethics, say that is very different than opting to go it alone from the outset.
"I'm quite horrified. I think it's very offensive and undesirable to reduce the role of fatherhood to a donation from an anonymous sperm donor. There's much more to fatherhood than that."
It is an idea that will never sit comfortably for those who disagree that having a baby is a woman's right, but for Lisa and others like her, taking on motherhood alone was the way to make life complete.