The creation of a solo-mother family–a qualitative study

Marie Konge Nielsen*, Karen Frydenrejn Funderskov, Dorthe Boe Danbjørg, Mette Juel Rothmann, Anette Werner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The aim of this study was to explore women’s experiences of and perspectives on the process of creating a solo-mother family through assisted reproductive technology. This study was designed as an explorative, qualitative study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted face to face or by telephone to explore women’s experiences of and perspectives on creating a solo-mother family. We used systematic text condensation to analyse the data. Twenty solo mothers participated in the study and 38 interviews were conducted during and after pregnancy. Four themes related to the experiences of building a solo-mother family emerged from the data analysis: (1) Dealing with reactions on the choice to become pregnant by Medically Assisted Reproduction (MAR) and a solo mother, (2) Marketisation of motherhood, (3) Longing to be a ‘normal’ pregnant woman, (4) Grandparents as co-parents and leaning on siblings and friends. The women went through a process redefining themselves, because they considered the nuclear family as the ideal. They realised on a profound level that they were ‘on their own’. Generally, the woman’s biological family played a vital role, supporting her emotionally and in practical ways. The creation of a solo-mother family was often seen to take place with grandparents as co-parents. The women leaned to a less extent on close friends.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Fertility
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)373-384
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023


  • motherhood
  • single mother by choice
  • Solo mother
  • solo-mother family
  • stigma
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproduction
  • Humans
  • Female
  • Qualitative Research
  • Mothers/psychology


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