More Women Choosing Single Motherhood

ByABC News
May 23, 2006, 4:33 PM

May 24, 2006 — -- Single women choosing to be single moms. It's a scenario that was once taboo -- even discouraged. Now it's a growing trend.

Watch "Nightline" on Thursday at 11:35 p.m. for the full story.

With more women focusing on their educations and careers, relationships are often put on the back burner. That is until a woman's biological clock goes off, usually around age 35.

Debbie Elkins was 46 years old, living in Manhattan and working in a high-profile position at a direct advertising firm when she realized something was missing from her life.

"Since I was 20 or 30, I would see a baby and my heart would melt, and there needed to be a child in my life," she said.

Elkins, like many women her age, felt the pressures of wanting a child but realized that in the modern age she didn't need a relationship with a man to make her dream possible. So she turned to an anonymous sperm donor to make her a mom.

"I never thought I would do it alone," Elkins said." I never wanted to do it alone. I always wanted to have children but time was running out."

In a March Lifetime Television poll, 35 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 29 said they would definitely or probably consider having a baby without being married or in a serious relationship. And as they get older, what was once a consideration is proving true. Places like California Cryobank, one of the largest sperm banks in the country, reports that single women make up 32 percent of the clients who buy sperm from its bank.

Fertility centers like those at New York University were originally set up for infertile couples. Now doctors consult with a growing number of single women looking to tackle motherhood alone.

"We're definitely seeing more single women," said Dr. Shelley Lee, a clinical psychologist and director of psychological services at NYU. "And particularly women who are professional women, who built a career and then realized that they missed the opportunity to be in a partnership or build a relationship to have a child, and I think many of the women I see for donor sperm expected that somehow they would have met somebody and they would have had a child in the context of the relationship. And then when they recognized their biological clock was really running out, this was a great option for them."