Being a single mother: frequently asked questions

The acceptance and consolidation of new family models in society, administrative problems, the incorporation of women into the labor market or the difficulty in finding a stable partner make fertility treatment to become a mother without a male partner more and more common.

Who chooses to be a single mother?

Being a single mother is always a carefully considered choice. Family models have evolved and have adapted to the different ways of life today, and that is why it is increasingly common for women to decide to fulfill their desire to be mothers, without a partner by their side. Nowadays it is a totally viable option due to the economic independence that many women have achieved.

There are different profiles of women who decide to become single mothers; in some cases they are women who for work or personal reasons have delayed motherhood, or they may be women who already have children but wish to repeat the experience and are without a male partner at that moment.

Why undergo fertility treatment to become a single mother?

According to data from the Spanish Fertility Society (SEF), around 1,500 single women resort to assisted reproduction treatments every year. This is because, although adoption is also another possibility, fertility treatments make it possible, through the use of a sperm bank, for single women to become mothers, either with their own eggs or with those of an anonymous donor, depending on each case.

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Treatments for single motherhood

Women who decide to become single mothers through assisted reproduction treatment must go to a reproductive medicine center to undergo a fertility analysis. Depending on the results, the specialists will determine which type of treatment is the most convenient in each case.

The treatments indicated in cases of women without a male partner are:

– Artificial insemination with donor sperm (AID). This consists of introducing sperm from an anonymous donor into the woman’s uterus. Before proceeding with the treatment, the woman usually undergoes moderate ovarian stimulation and ultrasound controls for the monitoring of follicular growth and the detection of her most fertile days.

– In vitro fertilization (IVF) with donor sperm. The woman’s eggs are obtained through follicular puncture after ovarian stimulation and are inseminated in the laboratory with donor sperm. The embryos obtained are transferred to the uterus of the future mother.

– Ovodonation. This is the fertilization of a donor’s eggs with sperm from a male donor. The embryo obtained is transferred to the uterus of the recipient woman. This technique is especially recommended in cases of women with low ovarian reserve or with ovarian function problems.

– Embryo-adoption. If a woman wants to become a single mother, she can consult the possibility of adopting the embryo of a couple who, after having undergone assisted reproduction treatment and having been successful, have decided to donate their embryos.

Will the Social Security cover my fertility treatment to become a single mother?

Any woman over 18 years of age with full capacity to act can receive or be a user of assisted reproduction techniques, regardless of her marital status and sexual orientation, according to Law 14/2006 on human reproduction techniques.

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Therefore, women without a male partner can have access to this type of treatment, as well as heterosexual and homosexual female couples, and heterosexual unmarried couples, not only for fertility problems, but also for life planning issues, for the choice of forming a single-parent family or for postponing motherhood.

However, it will depend on each autonomous community whether or not the Social Security covers fertility treatment, a fact that worries women who are considering becoming single mothers.

What are the requirements to undergo fertility treatment?

As a general rule, the age of the expectant mother is taken into account in order for the Social Security to cover the fertility treatment. The woman must be under 40 years of age in the case of in vitro fertilization and under 38 for artificial insemination, as well as have functional ovaries.

In the case of limitations, there are several parameters that prevent undergoing the treatment:

– Exceeding the established age

– Having previously undergone tubal ligation.

– Exceeding 4 insemination attempts

– Exceeding 3 in vitro fertilization attempts.

However, the limitations and requirements may vary depending on the autonomous community.