Interest in “non-married birth” has increased due to the South Korea-based Japanese TV personality Sayuri Fujita. Through the years, there have been social changes in women’s self-determination on pregnancy and childbirth.

In South Korea, there is a lack of social acceptance for unwed mothers and their children. As Sayuri went public with her decision, a nationwide conversation regarding single motherhood arose. Although the country’s birth rate is relatively low, artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments are not legal options for unmarried women.

Moreover, sperm banks set their own criteria for accepting patients and do not provide services to single women. Real Research conducted a survey to know the public’s opinion regarding this matter as many Korean internet users sent congratulatory messages and support to the Japanese celebrity. The following survey results in present information that will be valuable to discuss this issue publicly.


  • Respondents feel mainly “positive” towards single women who gave birth through IVF. Although, the gap to those that feel “negative” towards them is only little.
  • Those who feel positive do so because of their advanced awareness of women’s self-determination in carrying their own child even without marriage.
  • Those who feel negative think that IVF displays violation of the child’s human rights.
  • Moreover, the majority agrees that unmarried IVF birth is not a solution for the low birth rate of women and government support should only be given partially to those who prefer to do it.
  • Many have heard about sperm banking and believe that single women should have the right to choose sperm while sperm donors’ identities remain to be anonymous.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Treatment for Single Women

birth through IVF
Figure 1. How do you feel towards single women who gave birth through IVF?

After Sayuri gave birth through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) as a single woman, the discussion of whether it is possible to get pregnant and give birth without being married in South Korea has been hot. When 3,000 South Korean respondents were asked how do they feel towards single women giving birth through this method, almost 35% were “positive.”

This shows that despite not being widely recognized and accepted within Korean society, people respect those single women who will prefer to do this method of giving birth.

On the other hand, with only a 4% difference, people are also feeling “negative” towards these women. These are probably individuals who think that the natural way of birth should be followed by women, in general. Additionally, their values may contradict those who are open to single woman motherhood.

positive about IVF
Figure 2. If you are positive about IVF, what could be the main reason?

Moreover, when specifically asked about the reason why they feel “positive” towards single women who will do IVF birth, the majority answered that they have “advanced awareness of women’s self-determination”.

It is typical for women to face issues surrounding pregnancy. Experts say that all women should have the right to self-determination on issues around pregnancy — whether they are looking to have a healthy birth and raise their child, prevent an unplanned pregnancy or obtain a safe abortion.

Those who show positivity on Sayuri’s decision as well as those who will do the same appreciate single women’s courage and determination to give birth even without a husband. These people also display attitudes of being advocates of women empowerment — honoring single women’s freedom in their lives.

Real Research insights
Figure 3. If you are negative about unmarried IVF birth, what could be the main reason?

On the negative side, the majority (~36%) of those who seem to disagree with IVF birth for single women think that this process is a violation of the human rights of the fetus. These include the child’s right to be raised and form a family. In addition, being born to a single woman may negatively affect the child upon growing up, particularly on their right to association with both parents and freedom from discrimination on various basis.

30% of the Koreans also expressed disfavor on unmarried IVF birth as they think it is a violation of bioethics, promotion of commercial/illegal transactions of sperm, and a form of human trafficking.

IVF Birth Outlook: Low Birth Rate Solution and Government Support

low birth rate solution
Figure 4. Do you think unmarried IVF birth can be a solution for the low birth rate in the future?

When asked about their opinions on IVF being a solution for the low birth rate in the country, the respondents were considerably divided. The majority (48%) answered No. On the other hand, only 28% answered Yes, with the remaining 24% being undecided, choosing I am not sure as their answer.

From this data, the leading answer is No. This reflects a certain coherence with answers coming from the previous data charts. However, the number of respondents who chose Yes as their answer is still large enough to be considered significant. It seems that participants are torn between Yes and Not Sure.

Real Research media Insights
Figure 5. Do you think there should be government support for voluntary unmarried birth?

When it comes to the topic of giving government support for voluntary unmarried birth, the respondents were pretty generous. A majority (67.3%) of voters chose Yes. This huge segment of voters can be further divided into two — partial and full. 26.9% think that the government should provide entirely. On the other hand, 40.4% said that government support should be given only partially.

The third-largest chunk of votes went to the answer No, the individual should pay the full responsibility. This accounts for 23.5% of the votes.

Lastly, the smallest portion went to the answer I have no idea with only 9.2%.

Choice of Sperm: Views on Sperm Banking

Real Research Media Insights
Figure 6. In your opinion, do single women have to be given rights to choose sperm from the sperm bank?

Almost half (49.5%) of the participants agree that single women should be given the right to choose their preferred sperm. A smaller number (28.8%) disagreed and chose No as their answer. The third segment (21.7%) voted that they do not have an idea for this issue.

The existence of more than 20% in the neutral stance highlights that the topic is still new and sensitive to the audience. Not having a firm division manifests the lack of discussion for the subject matter.

Opinion on Sperm Donor Identity Disclosure

Real Research Media Insights
Figure 7. Do you think the anonymity of those who donated sperm to single mothers should be guaranteed?

There’s a lot of opinions when it comes to the identity disclosure of sperm donors. The leading answer is Yes, anonymity must be guaranteed with 48.5% of votes. A significant segment (23.6%) answered that it has to be disclosed transparently to everyone. Thirdly, a fraction of 16.8% of participants wanted it to be left to personal choice. The smallest group (11.1%) answered I have no idea.


Survey TitleIn Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Single Woman Motherhood Public Opinion Survey
DurationJanuary 11, 2021 – January 15, 2021
Number of Participants3,000
DemographicsSouth Koreans, males, and females, aged 19 – 60+
Participating CountriesBangladesh, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar[Burma], Nigeria, Poland, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, United States, Vietnam