Times have changed': Jennifer Aniston discussed her views on artificial insemination while promoting her new film The Switch.

Jennifer Aniston has hit back at the rightwing TV pundit who said she was ‘destructive to our society’ for saying women don’t need to wait for a man to have a child.

Clearly stung by Fox News rottweiler Bill O’Reilly’s comment, the 41-year-old actress said: ‘Of course, the ideal scenario for parenting is obviously two parents of a mature age. Parenting is one of the hardest jobs on earth.’

But then she added acidly to People: ‘And, of course, many women dream of finding Prince Charming (with fatherly instincts), but for those who’ve not yet found their Bill O’Reilly, I’m just glad science has provided a few other options.’

Aniston sparked the storm earlier this week when she told a press conference for her new film The Switch: ‘Women are realising it more and more knowing that they don’t have to settle with a man just to have that child.

‘Times have changed and that is also what is amazing is that we do have so many options these days, as opposed to our parents’ days when you can’t have children because you have waited too long.’

But 60-year-old O’Reilly, renowned for his conservative views begged to differ on his show and said: ‘She’s throwing a message out to 12-year-olds and 13-year-olds that hey, you don’t need a guy, you don’t need a dad.

‘That’s destructive to our society.’

O’Reilly acknowledges that there are bad dads out there.

‘And any man who leaves his children is not a man,’ he says.

But he says Aniston is being unfair to the good fathers.

‘Aniston can hire a battery of people to help her, but she cannot hire a dad, OK? And dads bring a psychology to children that is, in this society, I believe, underemphasised. I think men get hosed all day long in the parental arena.’ In The Switch, Aniston plays Kassie, a single woman who is desperate for a baby and decides to have artificial insemination to fall pregnant.

Her best friend Wally (Jason Bateman), who is in love with her, drunkenly switches the donor sperm with his own, and doesn’t tell her. Speaking at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills, Aniston said she still wishes for a family of her own.

‘Love is love and family is what is around you and who is in your immediate sphere.

‘That is what I love about this movie. It is saying it is not the traditional sort of stereotype of what we have been taught as a society of what family is.’