More and more adults are deciding to have children without a partner, this means that there are more single dads by choice.
One of the increasingly common ways in which single dads are having children is either through traditional adoption or with the help of a surrogate and egg donor.
Finding the right pathway to parenthood
There are a lot of considerations when it comes to intentionally becoming a single dad. Understanding the potential pathways to parenthood is the first step. You’ll want to do some research about your family building options, insurance and medical needs, coverage and costs, and the legal process to ensure you and your baby-to-be are protected.
If you’re considering working with a donor and surrogate, a good first step is to research reputable egg donor banks and find a match that’s right for you. You’ll want to consider variables like whether you want a known or anonymous donor. A known donor may enable your future child to one day know who their biological mother is.
You’ll want to select and coordinate with a well-rated surrogacy agency to help navigate the checklist of items you’ll need to cover, including securing insurance for the surrogate, working out the terms of the arrangement, including any related travel, and setting up the handshake between the egg donor and the surrogate for implantation.
Fostering and adoption
Some may opt to foster or pursue traditional adoption to surrogacy, which has a whole distinct set of protocols and considerations from a legal, logistical and emotional standpoint.
Adopting a baby or child as a single parent is an alternative to surrogacy that comes with its own set of unique circumstances. Some adoption agencies may evaluate you under a higher level of scrutiny to ensure that you have the resources to be able to provide adequate time and care for the child. Additionally, all states across the U.S. will consider single parents for adoption, but not all countries do, so do your research to help inform your search.
If you’re considering fostering, it helps to manage expectations from the start that this child may not be your forever kin, and that, depending on age and circumstances in which they’re coming from, may have unique needs or challenges. You’ll want to ensure that you are meeting them where they are. Learn more about some of the additional considerations for becoming a single foster parent here.
Once you’ve gone down the journey of building your family, as a single parent you’ll need to plan for adequate childcare and coverage for your baby. Do you have parents or relatives that live nearby and can lend a hand? Do you have resources to consider a night nurse and or a nanny?
Single parenting can be especially challenging, particularly those first few months with a newborn. Any extra help that you can get will make a big difference in being able to provide adequate care for your baby and allow you to get some of the rest and downtime that you will critically need.
Seek out other single dad support groups and networks. Find the single dad playground meetup group in your area. Read books about single parenting and join social media groups. Being a new parent can feel isolating. That feeling may be amplified if you’re going at it alone, so connecting with others who are in the same boat will go a long way in helping you find support and know you’re not alone.
All you need is love
Regardless of what your circumstances might be or what path your journey to becoming a parent takes, providing a loving and nurturing home to your child is ultimately what matters most. It doesn’t matter as much if the child is being raised in a single dad home, a single mom home, a home with a mom and dad, two moms, two dads, or a grandparent or aunt and uncle. If a child has their basic needs met and are showered with love and patience and attention, they will have all they need to thrive.
Just don’t forget you also need to sleep.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team