And just when you thought you were completely across the modern family, we welcome: VIRGIN BIRTHS.
Yes, you read that right. Virgin Births. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably sitting there scratching your head, trying to reconcile high school sex-ed lessons, bible stories of the Virgin Mary, and maybe some hand-drawn diagrams of the fallopian tubes from your mum in grade two. Virgin births….how?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s the 411 on the all-new Virgin Births.
Not quite the miraculous immaculate conceptions you were hoping for, the all-new ‘virgin births’ are referring to the young women across the UK and US who are paying around $10,000 for IVF treatments to start a family – regardless of the fact they have never had sex.
Many of these women have never had a relationship either, with reasons ranging from sexual and social phobias to religious or cultural beliefs.
Let’s make a few things clear. Firstly, the demographic we are discussing are are heterosexual females, not homosexual women wanting the chance start a family. Moreover, these are heterosexual virgins – women who list the only reason for IVF as not wanting to embark on a sexual relationship with a man. They have no other fertility issues that they are aware of.
Secondly, it’s also important to note that in the UK there are no pre-requisites (as with adoption) that require a female to be married or in a relationship before embarking on IVF. It is open to all. However, private health insurance and/or the government will not provide funding to IVF treatments unless you can prove that you have exhausted all other options, with the NHS requiring you to have engaged in at least 2 years of normal sexual behaviour before being allowed to try IVF treatment. So whilst it’s very expensive, it’s completely legal.
Lets start with the big question: should heterosexual virgins be allowed to artificially inseminate themselves with donor sperm to avoid having sex?
Apparently, some frustrated women in the IVF system are feeling outraged that such an important service is being offered to women who are both healthy and able to carry a child, particularly in the midst of a major donor shortage. Is it fair to put these women in the same category as women with fertility issues who have been trying for many years, or same-sex couples who have legally battled for the right to even obtain IVF in the first place?
Child psychotherapist Dilys Daws said the fact that virgin women were resorting to IVF “…suggests someone who is not emotionally mature enough to be close to someone else – and that matters when it comes to bringing up a child. It implies the woman has a fear of having a close physical relationship with someone else, in which case the baby will not be brought up with that love.”
What does seem to be a common strand with the IVF seeking virgin is that it’s not that they wanted to have had sex and missed the boat – it’s that they’ve never wanted to.
Professor Geeta Nargund, of Create Fertility, and Mohamed Taranissi, of UK IVF clinic ARGC, both said the women they had helped conceive were mostly women with issues about sex, who were in relationships.
‘This tends to be as a result of a physical or psycho-physical problem, although cultural and religious influences may sometimes be a factor,’ said Professor Nargund, whose London clinic had seen around a dozen of these couples since 2010.
‘In some cultures it is the stigma associated with childlessness which causes some women to head for fertility treatment rather than counselling for psychosexual issues.’
Dr Taranissi added: ‘It’s fear of sex. Most of them don’t have a fertility issue – it’s more a psychological problem.’
The Daily Mail reports 25 straight, virgin women had been administered IVF over the past five years. In a system that doesn’t care if you’re single, married, gay, straight, rich, poor, or a virgin, IVF prides itself on allowing access to parenthood for those who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity. But should there be restrictions on women with obvious aversions to sex? Is this a mental issue more than it is a physical?
What do you think?