More and more women in Armenia are choosing to have a child alone, through artificial insemination. A meeting with Nona and Lilit
Today in Armenia there are about 50,000 women between 35 and 53 who are single and childless. There is a chance for those who want to be a mother while remaining single, but whether or not to follow this path depends on both individual choices and the attitude of society.
Nona, 41, has been visiting one of the fertility centres in the capital Yerevan for the past six months. She is planning the birth of her first child. The woman is not married, she does not have a partner, the pregnancy will take place through artificial insemination, with the help of a donor. She says she thought a long time before taking this step.
"I had been dreaming of having a baby for 5 years. The moment came when I realised that I don't want to get married, but I want to become a mother. At first I was looking for my child's father among my acquaintances, I thought I would find the right one there , to just get pregnant. Then I realised that this right guy could have misunderstood me. It is difficult to live in Armenia and say to a man: 'Hi, I want to have a child with you, let's have sex and goodbye'", says Nona.
When Nona finally gave up on the idea of looking for the right man, she started looking for a clinic that specialises in fertility issues. After finding it, she chose a doctor among those available and made an appointment for the first visit. She says she was a little worried that the doctor did not understand her desire to become a mother without having a husband, but she was amazed when the doctor not only understood her very well, but also received her warmly and supported her at every stage.
"When I decided to become a single mother, I shared my idea with some friends and relatives. Unfortunately no one supported me, everyone said it would be difficult, that I shouldn't do it, that I would meet my man anyway. Given all this I thought that the doctor would say to me: 'Go home, find your other half', but he has helped me a lot".
In recent months she has taken all the necessary medical tests and is ready for future motherhood, artificial insemination will take place in the next few days.
"You cannot imagine what a moment this is for me! Today I entrust myself only to God and my doctor, I dream of the moment when I will feel my baby move under my heart...".
If Nona is chasing her dream, Lilit, 38, has been enjoying motherhood for 3 years already. Unlike Nona, she got pregnant naturally, but she broke up with her partner as soon as it happened. "When I told my partner about my pregnancy he asked me to have an abortion and when I refused, he disappeared", says Lilit, whose parents certainly did not welcome the news of her pregnancy.
"My family was against me being a single mother. They said people would label me immoral. I talked a lot with my parents, it was hard to get their support, but I insisted. Even today, people who surround me do not fully accept the fact that I am a mother without a man by my side, many think that I am an 'easy' person, but it does not matter to me, the important thing is my child, who today lives a healthy and good life", says Lilit, adding that she does not rule out asking for help from doctors in the future to have a second child through artificial insemination. "My child needs a sibling, I don't want them to be alone in the world. It is not likely for me to meet the right man, I will not wait forever, then I will grow old, it will be difficult".
There are not many brave women like Nona and Lilit in Armenia, ready to be single mothers and who do not fear the judgment of society, although things have improved in recent years.
Every year, several dozen unmarried women become mothers through artificial insemination at the "Fertility Centre" in Yerevan. Eduard Hambardzumyan, director of the centre and a gynecologist specialising in fertility, says that the single patients have recently increased.
"If 8-10 years ago there were very few women who turned to us, today there are many more who manage to find the necessary courage. They have learnt not to take into account everyone's opinion, not to ask the permission of the whole nation, to make their own decisions and to contact us", says the doctor.
Today it is mainly women between 40 and 45 who turn to specialists. Hambardzumyan advises not to postpone and to act before reaching the age of 45, because afterwards functional problems appear and the pregnancy becomes complicated.
"Women under 45 can get pregnant with the help of donor sperm, this is so-called artificial insemination, an affordable option which costs around 200 dollars, while artificial fertilisation costs around 2,500, depending on the clinic and the complications", explains the doctor.
According to the specialist, if the service is made more accessible, the number of women who will turn to it will increase. "After becoming a mother, there is no woman who does not say it was the best decision of her life. If a woman wants to become a mother, I repeat, she must not put it off. The years go by, no matter how miraculous the doctors are, nature does its job".
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