LOULOU D’AKI

Mother of Choice
Sandra and Lilje. Lilje was born after insemination treatment with eggs donated from Sandra’s sister in Finland. About her decision to become a single mother, she says:

’’ When the doctor came in and told me I probably shouldn’t wait too long to have a child, I thought: I’ll just do it - straight away! One year later, I was pregnant.’’

‟ I realised that one can disconnect the idea of a relation with the idea of having a child. A relation has no age limit, one could meet a life partner regardless of age. Once I understood that, I no longer felt stressed about finding a partner first or to settle for second best in order to have my child.”


Sofia, mother of Greta (born after one insemination at Stork Kliniken in Copenhagen, Denmark)

In 1972, the Swedish government launched a new manifesto called: ''The family in the future ''. It underlined the importance of individualism and independence, it’s motto that no adult should depend on another but should be completely independent. In April 2016, a new law passed in Sweden, permitting assisted fertilization to single women. Before that day, women would have had to turn to IVF clinics abroad or to private sperm donors in order to become pregnant. Mother of choice is a project about single women who have chosen to become mothers on their own because they can due to generous government support and welfare and due to the fact that being a single mother is no social stigma. Over 40 years after the social democrats launched '' The family in the future '' manifesto, Sweden is witnessing a big change in the traditional family unit. Through the individuals involved, my project tells us about this social phenomenon. For many women, the new law affirmed a changed and more equal view on new types of family constellations. It meant that women would finally be able to receive subsidized treatment from the government in public county clinics across the country and that becoming a single mother would no longer be an option for those who can afford expensive treatment only. ‟A family made up by individuals who are working for themselves. Independent, for themselves. If a woman is depending financially on the man it is impossible to know if she stays around because she needs to rather than because she wants to.” These standards, set by the social democratic government in the 1970’s may be more relevant than ever. My project focuses on women who already have become mothers through IVF or insemination abroad before the law came through, and on those who now plan to undergo or have begun the treatment in Sweden. It also looks to alternative methods such as men who, through anonymous websites, are willing to donate sperm for free to women without a partner.

Carolina with sons N. and S., both born after insemination.

Josefin and Abbe.Josefin, who is a journalist, wrote a book about her experience as a single mother.

Marika and Majlis, born after insemination in a clinic in Copenhagen, Denmark.

About her choice of being a single mother, Marika says:
’’ My biggest concern was the thought if something might happen to me one day, who would take care of my child then?…I want to be a mother, a woman, sister, everything…not only a mother.’’

Anna and Tristan.

Tristan was born after 1 IVF treatment.
About her decision to become a single mother, Anna says:
’’ I wished for a possibility to explore other dimensions of this life on earth, than I possibly could have explore other dimensions of this life on earth, than I possibly could have explored would I not have given birth to Tristan.’’

Sara and Elliot.

Eliott was born after 5 inseminations.
About her decision to become a single mother, Sara says:
’’ The absolute best decision I have taken in my life is to have a child on my own. The result is this marvelous kid.’’  

Paola and Zion.

Zion was born after one insemination.

Sofia and Greta.

Greta was born after 1 insemination in Copenhagen, Denmark. Sofia is the spokesperson for FEMMIS, an organisation for self chosen single mothers. About her choice to become a single mother Sofia says:  ’’  I realised that one can disconnect the idea of a relation with the idea of having a child. A relation has no age limit, one could meet a life partner regardless of age. Once I understood that, I no longer felt stressed about finding a partner first or to settle for second best in order to have my child.’’

Susanna and Axel.

Axel was born after two IVF treatments in Copenhagen, Denmark.
About her choice to become a single mother, Susanna says:
’’ Since a long time I had decided that if I hadn’t met a partner and father to my child at the age of 35, I would take matters into my own hands and go to Storkklinik in Denmark. Said and done, two years later, after a rollercoaster of emotions, tears and fears, Axel was born - the greatest joy in my life.’’

At a quarter to midnight, Sofia is still tapping away on the computer, thinks once again that she should be in bed by now.

Greta enjoys her oatmeal with cinnamon for breakfast before mother Sofia takes her to daycare on the way to work.

Josefin enjoys a glass of red when Abbe has been tucked in at night.

Marika and daughter Freja bakes a cake in the kitchen.

Picture taken by a friend of Marika.

Freja pictured by her mother Marika in the bath. She always loved water.

Heidi and Tim in the water at the summer camp for single mothers and children.

TIm who just arrived at the summer camp with mother Heidi, sits on a wooden fence.

Malin takes a picture of the syringes on her living room floor. They are a part of the medical kit she needs to prepare her hormons for an upcoming IVF. The clinic later cancelled her IVF appointment since she did not produce enough eggs for an outtake.

Gynecologist chair in a clinic in Malmö photographer by Malin during an examination.


Joesfin’s sketch of her family, the way she imagined it when growing up. She lives with her 5-year old son Abbe in a southern suburb to Stockholm and is the author of the book '' Den befriade familjen'' (The liberated family). 


Heidi’s sketch of the future family, the way she imagined it when growing up. She lives with son Tim in a southern suburb to Stockholm. 

Helena’s sketch of the family, the way she imagined it when growing up. She lives with her 2-year old daughter Vera in central Stockholm.


M's sketch of the family, the way she imagined her future family when growing up. She lives with her two sons, both born through IVF, outside Gothenburg. 


Lisa's sketch of her family, the way she imagined it when growing up. She lives in Gothenburg and was 6-months pregnant with her first child when she drew this. 


Jenny's sketch of her family, the way she imagined it when growing up. She lives with her son in central Stockholm. 

“Lyckan” started as an official county sperm donor to make a bit of extra money while unemployed and helped five women to become pregnant that way. He now has a job as a security guard and is no longer an official donor but gives two main reasons to why he continues to donate privately: 75% is the happiness he can give others by donating, 25% is the satisfactiion of being chosen for the most important thing a woman can do in her life: “It is a product that is delivered, of course a woman should choose the best one.”

The man who refers to himself as ’’Daniel’’ joined the website donordating.com after his last relationship ended. He wanted children but felt that he couldn’t wait any longer to meet that somebody special. He had the feeling that, after 15 years in Sweden, he had nothing and ‘ When you have nothing, even the smallest thing seems like a lot.’ Now he has helped 4 women to get pregnant and become mothers. He pays alimony and takes responsability as a father for all of them. He is still active on the site, to help others to make their dreams come true but also because of his male instinct to reproduce. ’’Daniel’’ is Argentinian and what bothers him on the site is that most women openly look for ‟ Scandinavian men with blue eyes” and many women stop chatting to him the moment they realise he is not Swedish. 

Björn got the idea to become a sperm donor while watching a lm called ’’Roadtrip’’. He did a bit of research and found the page do- nordating.com and also became an o cial sperm donor through the hospital Sahlgrenska in Gothenburg. From the beginning he was interested in donation as a way of earning money but quickly realised there is no money to be earned. Nowadays he donates to help. So far he has helped 3 lesbian couples and 3 single mothers and from this 1 child has been born.

The sperm bank at Sahlgrenska University hospital in Gothenburg. Since the law permitting single women to receive assisted fertility treatment in Swedish clinics, only a few counties have received the budget required to offer the expensive treatment. Gothenburg is still waiting.

A new kind of gender-neutral Gynecoligist chair called ’’Henstolen Kim’’ in an IVF clinic in Stockholm. The chair would fit man as woman and it’s name refers to a gender-neutral personal pronoun in Swedish intended as an alternative to the gender-specific hon ("she") and han ("he"). In July 2014 it was announced that hen would be included in Svenska Akademiens ordlista, the official glossary of the Swedish Academy.

Frozen sperm is moved to the storage in thermoses.

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