Beyond the Nuclear Ideal: A Qualitative Analysis of Forum Posts by Single Mothers by Choice


Single mothers by choice
Support forums and donor-conceived children
Sperm donation and single mothers
solo motherhood
choice mothers


In 2018, 3.2 per cent of all fertility treatments were undertaken by single patients. Despite this prevalence, there is limited research that explores the experiences of single mothers by choice through sperm donation. Previous studies have highlighted the value of online forums, in terms of accessible support and information sharing with others who have similar experiences. This paper aims to offer an insight into women’s experiences and concerns, and the advice they offer and receive when pursuing this pathway to motherhood. A thematic analysis of an online fertility forum of 39 forum posts by 28 different forum contributors was undertaken. Three themes were identified: ‘Making the choice’, ‘the challenges of becoming a single mother by choice’ and ‘support provided by the forum’. Women seeking solo motherhood through sperm donation appeared to carefully consider this decision, and plan for the potential future challenges. Furthermore, the use of online forums provided a sense of belonging and validation that created a safe space to share experiences. This enabled women to receive support that was presented as a crucial element in their journey to motherhood.
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2023 Martha Dean-Tozer


Download data is not yet available.