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Big increase in single and lesbian women receiving IVF

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There has been a substantial increase in the number of single and lesbian women using IVF since new laws were passed removing the need for a father to be present before fertility treatment can become available.

The figures, revealed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, show that the number of single women using IVF rose from 350 in 2007 (before the new laws were passed) to 1,571 in 2010.  The number of lesbian women receiving the treatment also increased from 148 to 417. 

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which is responsible for regulating fertility treatments in the UK, stated that: ‘The increase is likely to be attributable to legal alterations and social acceptance of families without a father figure.’

Fatherless families

In 2008, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act controversially removed the requirement for clinics to “consider the child’s need for a father” before granting access to IVF, focusing instead on the need to show the availability of “supportive parenting”.  

This is despite the fact that 77% of the British public were found to believe that “it is very important or important” for a father to be considered for children resulting from IVF.

The move was also heavily criticised by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, who said that the rules downplayed the importance of a father figure and would have a “detrimental effect” on children.

"On the whole the absence of fathers generally has a detrimental effect on a child, and it's the vast majority that are going to be a positive influence - if they are connected to that family," he said.


Many studies have shown that children do best when they have both a father and a mother acting in complementary roles.

In April 2011, the Centre for Social Justice published a report which concluded that a child growing up without both parents was “75% more likely to fail at school, 70% more likely to become a drug addict, 50% more likely to have an alcohol problem and 35% more likely to be unemployed as an adult”.

Numerous studies have shown a direct link between crime and an absence of a father figure. 70% of young offenders in Britain identified by Youth Offending Teams have been shown to come from lone-parent families.

In contrast, same-sex parenting has been found to expose children to a higher risk of gender confusion and other negative outcomes.

An Australian study called ‘children in three contexts’ found that Children with married heterosexual parents perform better at school than those from families led by homosexualcouples and “offer the best environment for a child’s social and educational development”.

A study published by the Journal of Marriage and Family found that “the risk of abuse and neglect is likely to be exacerbated where substitute individuals fill the roles of biological parents ... pre-schoolers in step-parent – natural parent homes . . . are estimated to be 40 times as likely to become abuse statistics as like-aged children living with two natural parents”.


Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:

“All of the evidence shows that children prosper the most when they have a married mother and a father. Government policy needs to recognise the importance of the role of fathers and of stable marriages.”

“The requirement for clinics to “consider the child’s need for a father” needs to be restored as every child deserves a father.”


Daily Mail


Christian Concern: Bioethics

Christian Concern: Family