ne of the most awkward questions every kid asks their parents is ‘where do babies come from?’ It’s difficult to answer and parents usually either use devious tactics to postpone the inevitable explanation or they illustrate a rather far-fetched story that actually does the trick of satisfying the little one’s curiosity.
One of these mythical tales is that it’s storks who bring the babies.
But these fanciful fabrications don’t last forever. When you grow up and you find out the truth about baby-making, your initial reaction is sheer horror, and then eventually realize the process is actually a lot of fun!
Right then, so babies are made by having sex. Weeell, most of the time… For a long time it was the only way to do it, but now with the progress of science and technology, doing the deed is not a requirement to getting pregnant anymore.
Fertility treatments, like IVF, are a widely available method that facilitates the road to parenthood. But still, even if a couple resorts to IVF to help them get pregnant, it’s probably because they’d tried the old-fashioned way first, but for whatever reason it didn’t work for them.
However, there are some cases where women have decided to undergo a fertility treatment without ever having sex first. Yup, that would make them virgin mothers. It may sound, let’s say, unusual, but what is a woman to do if she isn’t interested in sex, but wants to have a baby?
Once a taboo topic, the various kinds of sexuality is a subject often discussed openly nowadays. People are slowly realizing that it doesn’t matter whether a person was born straight or gay or bisexual, as long as they’re happy and they aren’t hurting anyone. And there are asexual people as well – people who are simply not interested in experiencing any kind of sex or even romance.
Today we’re talking about Lauren, who has decided not to share her full name in a bid for anonymity. The 29-year-old is going to become a mom in June, but she’s a virgin. Raised in an extremely religious household, Lauren decided early on that she didn’t ever want to have sex. She still wanted to be a mother, though, so she had a bit of a problem.
Lauren denies that her upbringing and her faith have anything to do with her decision, though. In fact, she sees dating as “pointless” and isn’t too bothered about people’s insistence that you need a partner to have a child.
“It’s the opposite of a religious reason,” she said. “I remember when I had an online dating profile the first comment I got was, ‘Do you want to come sit on my face?’ For one, does that actually work on anyone?”
Disappointed in the whole dating thing, Lauren realized she’d happily remain a virgin forever. But is there a scientific explanation for her lack of interest in sex?
Apparently, yes. She was born with a condition called hypopituitarism. This disorder means that her pituitary gland is not formed properly, which stops it from sending the correct hormonal messages to the other glands in her body, including the adrenaline gland and the ovaries. This affected Lauren’s puberty as well. She didn’t go through the process until a later age, a fact that was immediately picked upon by her peers.
“I got teased for being flat chested or having buck teeth,” Lauren admitted. “Kids would latch on to anything that was different. A lot of that teasing has given me social anxiety to this day. My life started improving when I started looking like everyone else.”
Considering how far medicine has come in recent years, it might be a little surprising that virgin pregnancies are still pretty rare.
Dr. Geetha Venkat, the director of Harley Street Fertility Clinic, said:
“In my experience, I haven’t come across this kind of thing. We haven’t come across such a patient but we do lots of egg freezing and we get lots of virgin girls freezing their eggs. They want to do it properly with their partner. But they don’t want to miss the biological clock. I have patients coming from Dubai, China and [the UK] freezing eggs.
“I am one of the few doctors who can do abdominal egg collection because not many are experienced in this. One of my [current] patients flew in from Beijing,” the doctor continued.
Since it can’t be conducted through the vagina, fertility treatments for virgins are apparently less invasive.
“We cannot do any [initial] procedure through the vagina,” Dr. Venkat explained. “We cannot go into the vagina. We cannot disturb the hymen, therefore what we have to do is an abdominal scan which is not close to the uterus and ovaries which… difficult to see. We do blood tests, check the hormones. We collect the eggs abdominally. No ultra scan. The insemination will have to have been done through the vagina.”
The fact that the mother is a virgin doesn’t complicate the pregnancy in any way, the expert claimed.
“The baby’s growth will not be affected by this. [Any] complications can occur in any woman – not necessarily just this virgin lady. There are no special issues with pregnancy because of this.”
Lauren isn’t the first virgin in the world to become pregnant. In fact, a study from 2013 determined that one in every 200 women in the U.S. becomes pregnant without ever having sex before.
Still, no matter how much more tolerant and accepting we’ve become, in the 21st century, a family still is often imagined as a union between a man, a woman, and children. That’s the traditional view, but this perception is slowly becoming outdated.
Why should a person who wants to become a parent and has the means to support a child be unable to do so, just because they don’t have a partner or because they aren’t interested in sex?
What a time to be alive, right?