A virgin birth was once considered to be a miracle but now, thanks to advances in fertility treatments, a number of women in Britain have given birth to a baby despite never having had sexual intercourse.
Around 25 virgins have given birth in Britain in the last five years, reports the Mail.
Fertility treatments have opened up the ways by which women and men can become parents and four British IVF firms have said they had assisted a heterosexual virgin to have a baby: Care Fertility, The London Women’s Clinic, Create Fertility, and the Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Centre.
The decision to provide fertility treatment in such cases was criticised by some religious groups, who claimed it undermined the importance of bringing up children in stable marriages, as well as from Josephine Quintavalle, from the group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, who said to the Mail:
"What is the child for these women? A teddy bear that they pick off the shelf?
"The message from nature is for a male and female to have a child, and I am saddened that we are willing to distort this.
"The diminished role of the father is not desirable for the child. Once you start down this route, where do you stop?"
However, Professor Balen, chair of The British Fertility Society, contested the idea that these "virgin births" were "not desirable for the child".
"There are some women who wish to have children who are not in 'traditional' heterosexual relationships and are either single or in same-sex relationships," Professor Balen told HuffPost UK Parents.
"There is good evidence that children conceived with donated sperm fare well during childhood and later life without any specific concerns or problems.
"All fertility clinics are required to provide careful screening and counselling prior to such treatment, which as not available on the NHS will have to be self-funded."
Mumsnet CEO Justine Roberts added that while advances in fertility treatments lead to "ethical conundrums", the idea that a person had to have been sexually active to become a parent hasn't held up for some time now.
"As medicinal science advances it presents new ethical conundrums for society to grapple with, but ultimately there's no such thing as the 'perfect' parent or the 'perfect' family," she told HuffPost UK Parents.
"Active parenting isn't always the result of sex - adoptive parents and same-sex parents are obvious examples - and love and stability seem to be what really counts in the end."
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