Are Two a Family? Older Single Mothers Assisted by Sperm Donation and Their Children Revisited


concerning this article should be addressed to Ruth Landau, Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel. Electronic mail may be sent to


This study follows 40 older single-mother families created with the aid of sperm donation using either insemination or in vitro fertilization. The study is based on qualitative data obtained from the mothers 3 years after a previous study with these families. The mean age of the mothers at this time was about 47 years and of the children 7 years. The findings provide insights into the mothers’ and children’s current sociodemographic characteristics, physical health, socioemotional development and the children’s reactions to the absence of a father at follow-up time. The majority of the children raised by these older single mothers have good health. The salient result is that at follow-up, 45% of these older single-mother families comprise a family unit with more than 1 child, clearly demonstrating these families’ desire for a larger family than a mother–child unit. The desire and attempts of the mothers in the sample to give birth to additional children using assisted conception demonstrate the divergence in the fertility patterns of Israeli society from other developed countries.