How Can a Single Man Become a Father?

By (embryologist), (gynecologist) and (babygest staff).
Last Update: 02/25/2020

Nowadays, being a father even if you are single is a more and more common desire among men. Possible options for this are adoption, co-parenting and surrogacy, colloquially known surrogate motherhood. Therefore, the traditional family formed by a father and mother is no longer the only option.

While it is true that not having a female partner complicates things for parenthood, this does not mean that it is not possible.

Although this article focuses on explaining the path to parenthood through surrogacy, it summarizes the different options a man has in becoming a single parent.

Paternity Options for a Single Man

The uterus is the organ necessary to carry a pregnancy to term and the birth of a future child. Obviously, men lack this organ and therefore the options for realizing their desire to be a father are as follows:

  • National or international adoption
  • Co-parenthood
  • Surrogacy

An important point is that men and women do not have the same rights to have a child. Single women who wish to have a child may opt for artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization with donor sperm. However, unmarried men in the U.S. only can resort to surrogacy in order to become the biological parent of a child.

The following section will discuss the possibilities for single men who want to have a biological child.

Adoption

Adoption, both national and international, is another alternative for a man to be able to fulfill his desire for fatherhood without the intervention of a woman. Adoption is not easy either, as there are many and varied requirements to be considered "fit" to adopt. Certain health, economic, social, etc. conditions are required.

What's more, intercountry adoption is more complicated because the criteria and laws established in each country must be taken into account. In particular, most countries provide for single-parent adoption for women, but not for men. This makes it more difficult for single men to adopt in international countries.

The main problem with adoption is the 'long waiting lists', although it is true that the average waiting time varies from country to country.

If you are interested in international adoption, we recommend you read the following article: International Adoption in the U.S. How Does It Work?

Co-parenthood

Co-parenthood consists of having a child with a woman without her being her partner. The situation would be similar to that of a family whose parents have divorced. The child will have a father and a mother but these will not be united by a loving bond. It is about sharing the rights and responsibilites of care and upbringing, both in education and financial support.

This option is complicated, since it will be necessary to establish agreements regarding the education of the future child, the responsibilities of each parent, etc. It should be noted that, normally, an unmarried man resorts to co-parenting because of the need to have someone else to raise the child and not because of fertility problems.

Surrogacy for single men

Surrogacy is the only reproductive process that allows a single man to be the biological father without having to involve another woman in the responsibility of parenthood, mainly for two reasons:

  • The woman who offers to carry the baby, although she is a fundamental part of the process, has no rights or obligations over it. Therefore, their involvement after birth disappears.
  • The man who wants to become a father can provide the genetic endowment (the sperm) and resort to the donation of eggs for the creation of the embryo that will give rise to the future child.

Access to this technique is not universal and there are few surrogacy destinations for single men. In fact, currently only the United States and Canada offer sufficient security and legal guarantee.

Another reason why many men cannot be fathers through this method is the high cost.

There are many steps that must be followed to finally reach the birth of the child and each of them involves a cost: choice of agency to find the surrogate and egg donors, compensation to both women involved, costs arising from pregnancy, lawyers, in vitro fertilization treatment (IVF), medical insurance, stay of the future father in a country other than his own, etc..

Surrogacy is the most challenging of all fertility treatments. For this reason, it's crucial that you rely on well-versed professionals. If you are looking for trustworthy agencies, this tool will show you destination countries where your family type is permitted, and provide you with a detailed cost estimate. Moreover, our specialists will evaluate your case in particular in order to recommend you those clinics that best fit your needs, and meet our rigorous selection criteria. We have 10 years' experience behind us.

FAQs from users

Can you describe the steps of a surrogacy process for a single man?

By Dr. Joel G. Brasch (gynecologist).
  • Choose the right clinic for you.
  • Semen Analysis and Initial Clinical Consultation
  • Further screening
  • Choose an egg donor
  • Donor screening
  • Legal clearance (fresh donation only)
  • Egg retrieval and embryo creation
  • Surrogate matching
  • Legal clearance and insurance clearance
  • Embryo transfer
  • Meet your baby!

I want to be a single dad and I've been told that Greece is a good and cheap option, is it true? I find a lot of contradictory information.

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

Greek law recognizes surrogacy as an altruistic act that can be performed by a woman to help a marriage or another unmarried woman. Single men or gay couples are excluded. There is still a long way to go before Greece can be considered a suitable destination. In the meantime, and since it is not accepted by law, a single man or a gay couple is simply forbidden access to surrogacy in this country.

How much does surrogacy cost for single men?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

The total cost is variable. Broadly speaking, a single man who decides to undergo a surrogacy process could spend between 80,000-100,000 Canadian dollars. However, this depends on the clinic chosen and other factors, so it would be more convenient to make a visit to get a personalized quote.

How does the surrogacy process work to have a child as a single parent?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

There are several steps in the process. Among them, the first step is to choose the country where the technique will be performed. Afterwards, it will be necessary to choose the pregnant woman and the donor. In order to do this, a subrogation agency must be contracted in the country of destination.

Other important steps are the contracting of medical insurance to the parties involved, the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process or the determination of filiation.

What is the fastest way to become a father without a partner?

By Andrea Rodrigo (embryologist).

As you can read in the article, a single man who has the desire to have a child has three options: adoption, co-parenting, and surrogacy.

In the first two cases, the time to have a child will depend on how long it takes to receive acceptance for adoption and how long it takes to find a woman who wants to share paternity, respectively.

These are generally more complicated options than surrogacy, although it will depend on each case.

Suggested for you

As we've discussed, adoption is another option for single men to be fathers. If you want to know what all the formalities are, you can continue reading here: How can you adopt a child in United States? or Adopting in the United Kingdom: – How Does it Work?

Specifically, men who want to adopt a child when they are child will have to meet a number of requirements if they want to go abroad. You can find out about this here: Single parent adoption.

Our editors have made great efforts to create this content for you. By sharing this post, you are helping us to keep ourselves motivated to work even harder.

References

Lindheim SR, Madeira JL, Ludwin A, Kemner E, Parry JP, Sylvestre G, Pennings G. Societal pressures and procreative preferences for gay fathers successfully pursuing parenthood through IVF and gestational carriers. Reprod Biomed Soc Online. 2019 Oct 26;9:1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.rbms.2019.09.001

Perrin EC, Siegel BS; Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Promoting the well-being of children whose parents are gay or lesbian. Pediatrics. 2013 Apr;131(4):e1374-83.

Rabinerson D, Borovich A, Wiznitzer A. SURROGACY - ITS MEDICAL, LEGAL AND ETHICAL ASPECTS. Harefuah. 2020 Jan;159(1):49-53.

FAQs from users: 'Can you describe the steps of a surrogacy process for a single man?', 'I want to be a single dad and I've been told that Greece is a good and cheap option, is it true? I find a lot of contradictory information.', 'How much does surrogacy cost for single men?', 'How does the surrogacy process work to have a child as a single parent?' and 'What is the fastest way to become a father without a partner?'.

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Authors and contributors

 Andrea Rodrigo
Andrea Rodrigo
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia along with the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Postgraduate course in Medical Genetics. More information about Andrea Rodrigo
Dr. Joel G. Brasch
Dr. Joel G. Brasch
Gynecologist
Dr. Joel Brasch is the Medical Director of Chicago IVF, founded in 2005. He is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and has over 25 years of direct experience in fertility treatment and reproductive care. He is also the Director of Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. More information about Dr. Joel G. Brasch
Adapted into english by:
 Romina Packan
Romina Packan
Babygest Staff
Editor and translator for the Babygest magazine in English and German. More information about Romina Packan

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