Is Surrogacy for a Single Man or Single Woman Possible?
Can you become a parent through surrogacy if you’re single?
Families come in all shapes and sizes, so whether you have one parent, two parents, or even four parents, your child will be loved.
Becoming a parent through surrogacy as a single individual is a similar process for those who are in a relationship. Perhaps the biggest difference for a single individual is the need for a support person throughout the journey. Having support from your family, friends, and community is important, and Circle Surrogacy wants to ensure that our single intended parents are supported emotionally for each milestone and throughout their journey.
What should people know before coming into single parent surrogacy?
Anyone coming to surrogacy should know that the journey is so very rewarding—you have a baby at the end of it!—it is long and emotionally charged. It is important for all intended parents to be aware of their network and who they turn to for support.
Identify a Support Person
For this reason, it’s important for single intended parents to identify a support person—or a few support people—that they can rely on during the journey. And you will want someone on this journey with you as support, someone with whom you can share the little joys along the way, but also someone to lean on if you hit any bumps in the road; someone who knows all the details about what you’re going through.
Your support “person” can actually be your support “people,” as you know it takes a village. Each person uses their support differently. For example, you may have one support person who will be there as an emotional support to talk to about what you are experiencing and a different person who will be coming to the delivery with you. You can have as many people supporting you on this journey as you wish.
At Circle Surrogacy, when an intended parent is single, the agency will ask to meet with your support person. This provides the agency with an opportunity to share what our hopes and expectations are for the journey. We’ll share with the support person that we may ask that they take part in a milestone or meaningful parts of the journey or when struggles may occur. Perhaps one support person is an emergency contact and another is one to travel to the birth.
What is the role of a support person to a single intended parent?
The support person is there as emotional support during the journey and may be called upon to attend meetings from time to time with the intended parents and the Circle team. Some examples of times when a support person may be needed are:
When an IP is facing challenges and as an agency we want someone else to be aware to support them in their day-to-day life
To attend planning meetings for baby’s delivery
To be there if there’s an issue with the pregnancy and be an additional ear to hear the information.
When your baby is born, there is a lot happening. First, you are adjusting to being a new parent! There is also a lot happening after the birth with regard to legal and hospital paperwork. Many intended parents have to also travel home with their newborn, sometimes at great distances. It is helpful to have another set of hands (and ears!) and support as you navigate this transition. The support person for the journey does not have to be the person traveling with them for the delivery, but we do strongly recommend that all single IPs have someone who can come with them to the birth and stay with them post-birth.
The support person is also someone who might get to know the surrogate during the process so that the surrogate feels comfortable with the intended parent and sees that the intended parent—while single—is not on this journey alone. We often hear that this is meaningful for surrogates; they don’t want to worry about their intended parent.
Journey to Parenthood as a Single Dad
We thought the best way to educate others about what it is like to go through a surrogacy journey as a single individual would be to have someone share their personal journey. We chatted with Max from Austria, a single dad to a beautiful son, who opened up about his path to parenthood.
While every surrogacy journey is unique, Max shares his perspective about coming to surrogacy on his own, what the process was like, how his relationship with his surrogate developed, and what it was like traveling home alone with a new baby.
What brought you to surrogacy as a single intended parent?
Max: I always knew I wanted to be a dad, the moment I understood what a real family is. Somehow, I always knew that was meant to be for me. I was in a committed relationship and we tried to have a baby, but it didn’t work. We saw a doctor who recommended we try IVF. Our relationship was not strong enough to endure this emotional rollercoaster, but I knew I would do it on my own. Shortly after our relationship ended, I found myself having interviews with various surrogacy agencies and doing a lot of research on the internet.
What did you know about surrogacy?
Max: I have friends who had their twins with the help of a gestational carrier. Their experiences helped me to educate myself about surrogacy firsthand. It's a huge difference between reading about it and talking to professionals in the industry versus talking with parents who actually went through the surrogacy process. What I loved about working with Circle Surrogacy is that many of the people who work there have gone through the process themselves, and they are very open to sharing their personal experiences.
Talking with parents through surrogacy and hearing personal stories helped me deal with my own emotional stress during each step of the journey.
What was stressful about doing a surrogacy journey?
Max: I was aware that I was breaking a glass ceiling as one of the first single dads through surrogacy in my country. This put a totally different toll on me being a dad, and I learned that not everyone will welcome us with open arms and without preconceptions and prejudice. I faced a lot of dismissive comments and prejudices, such as rumors that I breached the law by becoming a dad through surrogacy, which in fact is not the case. These misconceptions added a lot of pressure on me becoming and being a parent. I cope with it by trying to be the best dad for my son, every single day, and to follow my feelings.
What were you most nervous about when it came to surrogacy?
Max: Once I made my decision, I was determined to be a dad. The surrogacy process itself is highly scientific, and in contrast, the approach is on a very personal level for all involved.
To build a relationship with two women—my egg donor and my surrogate—who will be on this journey with me, it’s very personal. And you’re making such an important decision in a short period of time; Who is going to be my egg donor? What will my surrogate be like? Those are the types of things I was in my own head about. Turned out, it was unnecessary to be nervous about matching and developing relationships with my egg donor and surrogate. Once I was searching the donor database for an egg donor—she was one in thousands—we hit it off when we first connected. And building a relationship with my surrogate was like meeting a new friend; it took a little time to get to know each other, learn about each other’s expectations, wishes, dreams and history. Now, we cannot imagine life without her! Both women are standouts, and we couldn’t be any more grateful for them in our lives.
As a single father-to-be, what was the surrogacy process like for you?
Max: When I was doing my research, I reached out to the contact of the surrogacy agency, and he emailed me back suggesting that we have a video call. I was connected with a social worker and a lawyer at Circle Surrogacy, and they explained the surrogacy and egg donation process to me from all aspects and answered all of my questions.
That video call lasted a few hours—I wasn’t expecting the introductory call to be that intense, but in the end, it made it easier for me to make a fully informed decision about which agency was the right one to work with for me, at this stage in my life.
What was your support system like during and after your journey?
Max: After my relationship ended, and I decided to continue my journey to parenthood by myself, I started talking with my "inner circle" first, well aware of the fact that not everyone would understand my decision. My best friends—except one—have been nothing but supportive of me during and after my journey.
What I wasn't fully aware of was that my friends, whenever it came to that subject, had to explain why they are pro surrogacy, pro my decision, and how it all works to others. The concept of an egg donor and a gestational carrier is not familiar in our culture.
Looking back, it was a turning point in my life on many levels. I've lost friends, and I’ve made new ones. Besides my best friends, the people I met along the way—other parents through surrogacy—that offered their advice and support have become friends. We celebrated major milestones of the journey together and shared our views on parenthood. We still do.
My support team changed during my surrogacy journey, and it wasn’t all the people whom I expected to be there for the entire way. I had my son’s godfather with me for the delivery. Due to the pandemic, it was harder to travel for many of my loved ones, and I missed their physical presence in the first weeks after the birth quite a bit.
Reflecting on the journey with some distance, it has always felt—and continues to feel—like the best decision I've ever made. And I can admit, it wasn't always easy, being single on this journey, waking up in the middle of the night, in my head about something, but I knew I had friends to talk through it with me.
What was it like the day you met your baby?
Max: Overwhelming. It was the beginning of the rest of our life as a family together.
What was the relationship with your surrogate like?
Max: Due to the pandemic, I was only able to meet my surrogate in person for the first time two weeks before the due date! Up until that point we had frequently called and texted during the journey. It took some time to get to know each other, but we both felt an instant connection. I tried to be as present as possible without interfering in her life too much; I never pushed. We didn’t follow a rule book to build our relationship, we just did what we felt was right for us, and it worked perfectly well.
In fact, I just ordered a Christmas surprise for her and her family to get it delivered just in time since we spent the holidays in Europe this year. We’re still in contact several times a week (more or less); we still share major life events with each other. It helps that we’re living close to one another—our U.S. home is a short driving distance from her and her family. We can’t wait to go back home to the U.S. and meet in person again.
What was the most difficult part of your surrogacy journey?
Max: In general, one should be ready to acknowledge that the whole journey is a marathon, not a sprint. It's an absolute thrill of anticipation to become a dad while dealing with a lot of different emotions.
Being a single parent doing surrogacy, you may experience additional challenges. I’m Austrian, and surrogacy is not common in Austria. I faced a lot of negativity, dismissive comments, and prejudices, but I still kept a completely open approach to surrogacy, in the best interest of my future children.
Personally, I went through a hard time in my personal life alongside my surrogacy; my mother suffered cerebral bleeding and was treated in the Intensive Care Unit for weeks, and was in hospital care for months. Being an only child, the responsibility of being there for her on top of managing my surrogacy journey was very draining emotionally.
When starting this surrogacy, I didn’t think about how other big events in life can and will come in the way, but talking with other parents through surrogacy about what I was going through helped me to cope with my situation. Learning from their experiences, about their challenges and how they kept going to fulfill their dream of having a family gave me strength and helped me to continue moving forward.
Giving up on my dreams was never an option.
What was it like flying home with your baby after your surrogate gave birth and establishing citizenship?
Max: We managed to fly home in the middle of the pandemic, when my son was a little over four weeks old, with flights back to Europe postponed on a daily basis. We left our home in Florida, where there were close to zero COVID restrictions, and landed back home in Austria in a lockdown.
According to law, my son was Austrian by birth. To establish his citizenship and rights has been a nerve-wracking experience. I studied law and worked in a law firm for many years, so to see and experience our rights being withheld and taken so easily from us, will be a lasting impression.
We were denied to establish his residency in the first place, and it was recommended to me to register my son as a refugee! Plus, on top of this, my son was denied a social security number; a social security number is important to establish the stately health insurance, which was denied to us for more than 6 months of his life! Fortunately we live in Austria and the US, and his expat insurance covered all checkups. Because of this, my son thankfully never went one day without proper health insurance.
I have to mention that there were, finally, some really nice and supportive officials too, who, after listening to our story, did a great job to help us to establish our rights as a family.
What do you tell others about surrogacy who might be interested?
Max: If you dream of having a family, go for it. There is never the perfect time. Life will continue to happen when you go on this journey, it goes on. There will be challenges, but if having a family is what your heart desires, giving up is not an option. For me, although I’ve been through a lot, my little family means the world to me, and I would do it again, without any procrastination or uncertainty.
There are a lot of people willing to help you, share their experiences, and give you a hand to make your dream of having your family come true. I just encourage you to go out there and go for it.
Becoming a parent through surrogacy when you are single is possible! Circle Surrogacy has a great deal of experience supporting single intended parents. We have watched so many singles have the family they’ve dreamed of, and we’d be happy to guide you on your journey to parenthood.
Begin Your Own Journey to Parenthood
If you’d like to learn more about becoming a parent through surrogacy, visit our parents page to learn more about what the surrogacy process is like. When you’re ready to ask questions and speak with an experienced parent team member, just fill out this short form and we'll connect with you.