Last month, Tayo Onabanjo gave birth to her first child and she declared her intention to raise the child alone. She has not been abandoned by the father nor was the conception the result of rape or domestic abuse; it was as a result of Artificial Insemination by Donor (AID), performed at an assisted fertilisation clinic.
Tayo is one of the several women who are deciding to raise their children without fathers. It’s becoming increasingly easy for women to raise children without a father, but psychologists say this is unfair and self-centred.
According to a midwife, several births have been registered each year in the country and the space for the father’s name is left blank and, although legislation has always been in place to ensure that both parents register births, there is no practical way of insisting single women do so.
“Children have a right to know who their father is and, where at all possible, to forge a relationship with him,” says Bola Adeoti, a psychologist. “For a woman to have children alone is astonishingly selfish. Many children miss out on having a father through death, abandonment or other unforeseeable circumstances, but this is deliberate deprivation and treats the child merely as the mother’s chattel.”
However, some single parents argued they have a right to bear a child, but what about their children’s right to know their fathers, asks Tokunbo Ojelade, a parent. “This is not an attack on single parents; my own mother became one after my father abandoned us. But he was part of my life for 12 years, and I have had that most basic human need to know who I am and where half my DNA comes from, satisfied. I know, for example, that my eye colour, height and nose shape come from him, and who all my relatives are on his side. However, children of single parents who do not know their fathers will have to wait until they are adults to discover these fundamentally important facts about their genetic and emotional make-up.”
“I know how to play both the roles of father and Sola Oguche-Agudah, a reader of Busi-nessLife, shares her experience transiting into motherhood. She can be reached on [email protected]
mother to my daughter. We have been living together for eight years and she does not bother about her father anymore. It was unfortunate our marriage did not work, but that is not to say that my daughter will not enjoy all the care she needs,” explains an anonymous parent.
Although no official figures exist, research states that the majority of adopted children make an attempt to trace their birth parents, and most do so during their childbearing years, which suggests a desire not to inflict their pain on another generation. “Many of us will have witnessed the searing hurt that an adopted child has experienced when all attempts to trace one or both birth parents have come to naught,” adds Ojelade, “single parents often do a superb job in difficult circumstances, and only a fool would suggest a child of single parent is loved any less than one with a mum and dad, whether or not they are cohabiting. But however much one or two women may love a child, none of them is a father.”