Fathers play a crucial and often underestimated role in parenting, bringing the invaluable love of a father to their childrens’ lives. Beyond the traditional roles they’ve been assigned, modern fathers are breaking stereotypes and proving themselves to be amazing parents. With their unconditional love, unwavering support, and distinctive parenting styles, fathers contribute to the holistic development of their children. There’s endless ways in which fathers excel as caregivers, mentors, and role models, showcasing how their involvement enriches the lives of their children and the family unit as a whole.
Men Having Babies with the Help of a Surrogate
Speaking of breaking stereotypes, many men aren’t passing up the opportunity to have children simply because their body doesn’t allow them to be pregnant and carry a child. The desire to become a parent goes far beyond physical biology, and luckily science is here to lend a hand. Surrogacy has been a rapidly growing medical industry for over 20 years, and this is due to the simple fact that it allows anyone to have a child. This includes single men, same-sex gay men couples, and men in a heterosexual relationship with a woman.
In the following guide we will touch on surrogacy from a man’s point of view, providing relevant information and highlighting specific pain points men face in the process.
Adoption vs Surrogacy for Men
Many parents who chose the route of surrogacy are often posed the question: “Why didn’t you just adopt a child?”. Like surrogacy, adoption is also a very complex process with both pros and cons.
When you are speaking specifically about men adopting (without a female partner), they face a significant amount of stigma and hesitancy from adoption agencies. Most adoption agencies prefer to place children into heterosexual households, which also makes adoption a challenge for gay men as well.
When you are fostering or adopting, you are clearly not the biological parent. This can create challenges regarding custody and involvement of the biological family. The adopting parents may also be required or feel compelled to have contact with the biological family for the entirety of the child’s life. This can pose parenting and privacy challenges for the family.
When Intended Parents choose the route of surrogacy to become parents, they are either the biological parents or have used donor egg and/or sperm. When these donors go through the process, they grant all parental rights to the parents. When it comes to the actual parenting process, surrogacy tends to be a bit less complicated and allows fathers full autonomy.
Defining the Different Types of Surrogacy
There are two primary types of surrogacy: traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is biologically related to the child she carries because she provides the egg and carries the pregnancy, typically through artificial insemination.
In contrast, gestational surrogacy involves no biological connection between the surrogate and the child. The intended parents provide the egg and sperm (or donor gametes), and through in vitro fertilization (IVF), resulting embryos are transferred into the surrogate’s uterus. This method allows for a genetic connection between the intended parents and the child.
Gestational surrogacy is often favored for its clear distinction between the surrogate and the intended parents, reducing potential legal complications, while traditional surrogacy is less common due to its biological link between the surrogate and the child.
The Reasons Why Men Should Avoid Traditional Surrogacy
While the choice between choosing between these two types of surrogacy depends on individual circumstances and legal regulations in the specific location, it can sometimes be tempting for men to choose the traditional types of surrogacy where the surrogate donates both her egg and carries the baby. Why you may ask? Because egg retrieval from donors is expensive, and having a surrogate donate both eggs and be pregnant can save you tens of thousands of dollars. Not to mention that the waitlist for egg donors can be over a year long.
However, many surrogacy industry professionals advise against traditional surrogacy because of the possible ethical and legal complications that can arise. Having clear boundaries from the beginning is important, and erring on the side of caution is always advised.
Finding a Surrogate Open to Helping a Father
Surrogates always have first pick in selecting the individuals they would like to help have a baby. While many surrogates are open to matching with all kinds of Intended Parents, some women prefer to only help other couples with a woman, or single women. Men without a female partner can sometimes have a longer wait time to find a surrogate open to helping them.
In general, the waitlists for surrogates are usually over a year for anyone in the process. Being that men may possibly face a little more scrutiny, it is advisable to get on a waitlist sooner rather than later. There’s also surrogacy agencies who specialize in working with fathers. I would take a look at the Men Having Babies surrogacy agency directory for reputable agencies who have a proven track record of helping fathers.
The Cost of Surrogacy for Men
The cost of surrogacy is a substantial financial commitment for Intended Parents. In countries like the United States, where surrogacy is widely practiced, the expenses can range from $120,000 to $200,000 or more. These costs typically include surrogate compensation, which can vary based on location and other factors, medical expenses such as IVF and prenatal care, legal fees for contracts and parental rights, agency fees if an agency is involved, and other miscellaneous expenses like travel and insurance. Additionally, unexpected factors like the number of IVF attempts, pregnancy-related medical complications, and NICU baby hospital bills can really drive up the costs.
It’s essential for intended parents to thoroughly research and budget for surrogacy expenses, seeking financial guidance and exploring available financing options to manage the financial aspect of this profound journey to parenthood.
For men specifically, there are surrogacy financing options available. For LGBTQ+ gay dads, Family Equality has a directory of grants and scholarships for men starting the surrogacy process. Men Having Babies also offers discounted and free surrogacy services for men.
In conclusion, the concept of men having babies through surrogacy challenges traditional notions of parenthood and highlights the evolving landscape of reproductive options. Surrogacy has provided a path for single men or same-sex couples to experience the joys of biological parenthood, expanding the horizons of what it means to create and nurture a family.
However, this journey is not without its unique challenges, legal complexities, and significant financial commitments. It underscores the importance of open-mindedness, support, and clear expectations to navigate this remarkable but intricate process successfully.
Ultimately, the ability for men to have babies through surrogacy exemplifies the diverse ways in which love, commitment, and the desire for parenthood can transcend societal norms and redefine the meaning of family in our ever-changing world.