A full 2,778 of the 5,805 single women inseminated in Denmark in 2015 came from foreign countries, attracted by the country’s liberal legislation, which allows even single women to select an anonymous donor on the basis of factors such as height, hair, eye colour and education.
“They actually come from around the world, but most of our customers are from neighbouring countries. Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland and France are the largest,” said Iben Kristoffersen, director of the Danish fertility clinic Stork.
According to Stine Willum Adrian, an associate professor at Aalborg University, who has studied fertility tourism, Denmark has Europe’s, if not the world’s, most liberal legislation, allowing single women to undergo artificial insemination since 1997.
“The legislation is very different across Europe,” he said. “There are some places where single women and lesbians do not have access to treatment.”
At Stork, more than 90 percent of the customers come from abroad and more than half are single.
Within Denmark, growing numbers of single women are opting to undergo artificial insemination without a partner.
A record 580 Danish children were born to single women who had become pregnant through articificial insemination last year, about one percent of all children born.
Elisabeth Carlsen, a consultant at Rigshospitalet Fertility Clinic and chairman of the Danish Fertility Society, said that few women going through the process were actively against having a father involved.
“Many of the women who come have lived in a relationship without having children, others have lived alone, but most have had a desire to have children as part of a family with a father,” she said.
Denmark’s DR2 broadcaster will on Monday night show the documentary ‘Love in a Straw’, made in 2014 by Danish documentarist Søs Hoffman, which follows Maria Sommer and Signe Fjord, two Danish single women, as they go through the insemination process.
Hoffman posted a clip from the film up on her Facebook page on Friday.