We typically tend to see pregnancy as resulting from sex. I mean, that’s the very first thing we learn in sex ed, right? Sex sometimes leads to babies.
Generally, we assume that when a woman is pregnant, she and her partner will have made a joint decision to become parents.
Of course, we are well aware that not all pregnancies are born (no pun intended) out of committed relationships. Indeed, there are many pregnancies which are either unplanned or unwanted, but they still come about as a result of sexual intercourse.
Then there are the pregnancies which come about as a result of fertility treatments such as IVF.
But even though babies in these circumstances will not have come about as a result of sexual intercourse, the female undergoing such treatment will likely have attempted and failed, to fall pregnant by having sex with a partner.
As it turns out, this isn’t always the case – some women opt for fertility treatments without ever having had sex.
As unusual as it sounds in a biological sense, it is totally possible to have a bun in the oven without having done the deed.
This particular story is about a 29-year-old woman who is due to give birth in June. The expectant mother decided to retain some anonymity and only goes by her first name, “Lauren”.
So what spurred Lauren’s decision to become one of the very few virgin mothers in the world? Well, she was raised in a very religious household in the Canadian province of Manitoba. At some point, she decided she didn’t want to have sex but did want to have a baby.
However, Lauren denies that this decision is linked with her faith and admitted that she used to make “jokes” about people who insisted that she couldn’t have a baby because she didn’t have a husband.
“It’s the opposite of a religious reason,” Lauren said. She also described dating as being “pointless”.
“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?” she said.
So disillusioned by dating is Lauren that she admitted she would quite happily remain a virgin for the rest of her life.
But could there be a scientific reason why women such as Lauren have no interest in sex?
Well, in an interview with VICE, Lauren revealed that she was “was born with hypopituitarism, which means [her] pituitary gland is not formed properly.”
“It doesn’t send the right hormonal messages to the other glands in the body, like the adrenaline gland or the ovaries,” Lauren explained.
As a result of the condition, Lauren went through puberty at a much later age than normal, and unfortunately, this did not escape the notice of her peers.
“I got teased for being flat chested or having buck teeth. Kids would latch on to anything that was different,” she recalled. “A lot of that teasing has given me social anxiety to this day. My life started improving when I started looking like everyone else.”
According to Dr. Geetha Venkat, the director of Harley Street Fertility Clinic, virgin pregnancies are still incredibly rare, despite the fact that modern technology has made it an option for women. In an interview with Indy100, she revealed:
“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.”
It turns out that fertility treatment for virgin women is slightly less “invasive” as doctors cannot conduct any procedures (in the initial appointments) through the vagina:
“We cannot do any [initial] procedure through the vagina. 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.”
Dr. Venkat also assured Indy100 that no complications would arise specifically because the mother was a virgin when the baby was conceived.
“The baby’s growth will not be affected by this,” Dr. Venkat explained. “[Any] complications can occur in any woman – not necessarily just this virgin lady. There are no special issues with pregnancy because of this.”
Although Lauren is by no means the only virgin woman to become pregnant, it is still pretty rare. In fact, according to a survey conducted in 2013, one in every 200 women in the US becomes pregnant without having had sex.
But who knows, maybe in time to come, it will be the thing to do for women who have zero interest in sex but are determined to become a parent.