Half of women of a certain age  'would ask a friend to father a child with them'

Couple kissing in bed

Biological imperative: Women are prepared to make do without Mr Right

More than half of women would consider asking a male friend to father their child if they fail to find the right partner by a certain age, a report found today.

A survey of attitudes towards contraception found that 56 per cent of women would would think about mating with a pal in the absence of the right man.

The report revealed that both single men and women in the UK have serious concerns about their fertility and meeting the right partner.

More than two-thirds of women not currently in a relationship worry they will not be able to conceive naturally, while 26 per cent of men have similar concerns.

Around half of single female respondents said they think about meeting the right partner on a frequent or daily basis, with many suggesting they would consider settling for second best if their search is fruitless.

Women aged between 28 and 31 were the most likely to consider turning to a male friend to father their child in the absence of a true love.

Psychologist Linda Papadopoulos said: 'Interestingly, social norms of parenting and of the conventional family structure are being challenged - no longer do we see the mum, dad and 2.4 children as the only ideal.

'Reconstituted families, same sex families and single parents are much more prevalent these days. And rather than ascribing to the 'norm' it seems that women and men are more flexible with their definition of "family".'

The survey also revealed that three-quarters of respondents think that if a couple were having ongoing trouble trying to conceive, it could lead to the end of their relationship.

More than one in three men and women would reconsider staying with a partner who could not conceive.

Dr Papadopoulos added: 'Having children obviously satisfies not only evolutionary and social needs but for most people the personal need to experience parenthood. As a consequence, when seeking out a partner one of the things that we are likely to pay particular attention to is their inclination towards parenthood.'

The report, commissioned by vitamin supplement firm Vitabiotics, is based on a survey of 3,103 men and women.

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