Fertility treatments among single mothers by choice in Israel, their experience and support systems
Limor Rimer RN MPA
Background: Purpose: the study examines the difficulties and support systems of single mothers by choice undergoing fertility treatments.
Design: A mixed-method research design was employed to collect quantitative and qualitative data simultaneously from single women undergoing fertility treatments.
Methods: A questionnaire that evaluates the women’s coping with the fertility treatments and their support systems, where such systems exist, was distributed to a random sample of 150 single women, ages 34–45, undergoing fertility treatments in Israel. In addition, 5 interviews were conducted.
Findings: Many participants reported financial difficulties, lack of family support, and fear of being alone in the process and after giving birth. Despite these difficulties, 45% of the participants reported that they would not quit treatment but would continue intensively.
Conclusions: Single mothers by choice must contend on their own with the mental, physical, and financial burdens of prolonged fertility treatments. Often, they express their difficulties but avoid psychological treatment, even when it is offered. Clinical staff should be aware of their difficulties, offer explanations, and refer them for appropriate assistance.
Clinical relevance: The emotional aspects of fertility treatments are integral to coping with the difficulties such treatments pose, and many studies have indeed focused on them with respect to couples. This study, however, examines the coping of single women, specifically single mothers by choice who have undergone fertility treatments in Israel in which centrality of traditional nuclear family is dominant, and their various difficulties arise from their decision of choosing single motherhood.