Los Angeles, CA (July 2007) - A survey released this week by the Pew Research Center suggests that higher rates of unmarried childbearing is tied in part to the growing incidence of women choosing single motherhood through adoption or donor insemination.
Using U.S. Census data and responses from a phone survey of 2,020 adults. Pew researchers report that the rate of unmarried childbearing jumped from 5.3% in 1960 to 36.8% in 2005.
Observers note that since the 1980s, the number of Choice Moms (women deciding to have children without a partner) has increased, while their average age has decreased. Further, the decision to have at least two children has become more prevalent.
Choice Motherhood, which includes both straight and lesbian women, has developed into a national movement. Professional women seeking to have children without spouses or partners have created support networks for themselves which include newsletters, online discussion groups, blogs, and books focused on being a Choice Mom. Based on census data of unmarried women in their 30s giving birth, as well as the percentage of single women who adopt, roughly 50,000 women take this step each year.
"I'm finding that more women under 30 are becoming Choice Moms," says Mikki Morrissette, author of the 2005 book Choosing Single Motherhood, editor of the Voices of Donor Conception book series and founder of Minneapolis-based Choice Moms LLC. "This is likely part of the divorce culture—grown children largely raised by single parents who are now forming their own families in nontraditional ways. Women also are hearing the message that their fertility greatly diminishes after the age of 35, when many are finally settled into established careers, often with post-graduate degrees that have limited their attention to dating. And it reflects the trend that more women are choosing to leave men who don't want kids."
While official statistics are not readily available for the growing Choice Motherhood movement, changes in the clientele at fertility clinics and sperm banks tell the story. According to California Cryobank, the world's largest sperm bank, single women currently make up over 30 percent of their clients.
With this change in the market place, sperm banks and fertility centers are now marketing specifically to single women and lesbian couples. California Cryobank's CEO Gary Weinhouse explains, "Ten years ago about 80% of our clients were married couples faced with male infertility. Today, only approximately 40% are hetero couples, while the other 60% are single women and lesbian couples. As our industry grows and changes, it is our responsibility to continue to understand and address the specific needs and circumstances of all our clients and their families."
Increasing membership in online discussion groups as well as an expanding selection of fertility and related books aimed at single women also point to the trend. Ms. Morrissette's website, www.choosingsinglemotherhood.com, receives an average of 1,500 visitors each month and her book is in its sixth printing in less than two years.
Choice Moms LLC provides print, online and seminar resources for the growing community of single women who proactively choose motherhood. Contact: Mikki Morrissette at (612) 202-9022.
Founded in 1977 by Dr. Charles Sims and Dr. Cappy Rothman, California Cryobank (CCB) is the world's leading reproductive tissue bank offering conventional and open sperm donor programs, long-term semen, embryo and egg storage, and male infertility testing services. The company also operates an umbilical cord blood bank. The physician-owned company has a reputation for high-quality, caring service.