Options to consider as a Single Father
Have you always dreamt of being a father, and are considering going it alone? You’re not the only one! In the US, 7.21 million families are headed by a single father. Of these, some are raising children with an unmarried partner. Others chose solo fatherhood from the start.
If you’re a single heterosexual or gay man who wants to build your own family, there are two options you can consider. Assisted reproductive technology has made it possible for single men to have their own biological children. Adoption is another option. Learn more about these two paths to parenthood below.
Adoption as a Single Male
Changes in adoption law legalized single parent adoption in the US, and adoptions by single men, while still limited, are gradually becoming more common. Before you’re given the go ahead to adopt, your personal finance, work schedule (and childcare plans), medical and life insurance are reviewed. Since you’ll be doing this alone, there will be added scrutiny to ensure you can meet your adopted child’s needs, both in the immediate and long-term. Meeting all requirements and sorting out all paperwork can be challenging, but nothing compares to giving a family to a child who needs it.
Single Fatherhood through Surrogacy
Egg donation and surrogacy are an option for single men who wish to have a biological child without a female partner. You will need an egg donor and a gestational carrier. The egg donor provides the egg and this is fertilized with your sperm using in vitro fertilization (IVF). The resulting embryo is then transferred into a gestational carrier (or surrogate), a woman who agrees to carry the pregnancy. The gestational carrier is not biologically related to your baby, but the egg donor is. Building your family through surrogacy can be complicated (and expensive) so it’s important you’re surrounded by all the necessary expert support.
If you do consider surrogacy, one of the first steps is to complete some basic fertility assessments with a fertility doctor. You can also get a head start on this by testing your fertility at home. Yo Sperm Test measures your viable sperm and reports a quality score which you can keep personal or share with a professional. This gives you a better idea of where you stand and what you can do to improve your fertility before starting your surrogacy journey.
Building a family as a single dad comes with very specific challenges: you’re solely responsible for your child’s needs, including meeting all expenses. Having a child is a lifetime commitment. There are also societal and cultural expectations about gender roles that you may have to face. That said, whether or not to take this step is your choice. While difficult at times, parenthood is a beautiful journey. You’ve got this!