Men’s health

The road to becoming a solo parent, as a man

November 11, 2022
Dr. Gidon Lieberman

A growing number of men are choosing single parenthood and finding it a rewarding, fulfilling experience. We’ll explore some of the reasons you might be thinking about single parenthood for yourself and some of your options for next steps.

Deciding you want to be a single parent

One of the main reasons you might be considering single parenthood is feeling that the time is right. You might already be having thoughts about things like you:

  • career and financial stability
  • concerns about getting older
  • no longer wanting to wait for the ‘right’ relationship
  • feeling confident in yourself as a single parent
  • a desire to have children now

Financial stability is one of the main things people worry about when choosing to become a single parent, so think about:

  • your income
  • your job security
  • whether anyone else would financially support you
  • if you have any money saved

It’s also worth looking into any benefits or tax reductions you’d be entitled to, as well as the costs of using a surrogate and egg donation if the route you choose to go down.

The network of friends and family around you are also really important as a single parent. Consider the people in your life and whether they’d encourage you, be willing to support you, and whether they have the time, desire and financial resources to do so.  

Using a surrogate

In most surrogate arrangements a single man will pursue a gestational surrogacy. This means the surrogate is not the biological mother of the baby, as the eggs come from a separate donor. In a traditional surrogacy the same woman would donate her eggs and carry the pregnancy, but this tends to have more legal and emotional complications.  

You cannot pay someone to be a surrogate in the UK, but you do have to pay for reasonable expenses, the cost of the surrogacy clinic you use and legal fees.

Reasonable expenses related to the pregnancy can include:

  • your surrogate’s travel costs
  • any loss of earnings they experience as a result 
  • maternity clothing
  • physical or psychological therapy
  • any other financial burden caused by the pregnancy

In the UK surrogates have claimed up to £25,000 in expenses before, though it tends to come in between £10,000 and £18,000. 

On average a London surrogacy clinic will charge around £25,000 to cover all the procedures associated with surrogacy such as egg donation, retrieval, sperm donation, fertilization and embryo transfer. This could become more depending on how successful the initial round of treatment is.

Legal fees around surrogacy tend to come in between £8,000 and £12,000, though it depends on the individual hourly rate of the lawyer you use.  

Your lawyer will draw up surrogacy arrangement documents at the start of the process. You’ll also need to apply for a parental order 6 weeks to 6 months after the child’s birth to become the legal parent and remove the rights of the surrogate. 

Since 3rd of January 2019 single parents can apply for parental order (but only if you are a biological parent).  

Egg donation 

There are lots of options to consider when you’re deciding the kind of relationship you want to have with your donor. You can choose:

  • an anonymous donor whose identity you’ll never learn
  • a semi-known donor who’ll share limited information 
  • a donour you’ll get to know through the course of the surrogacy 
  • a donor you know personally already 

What relationship you want to have with  your donor will affect whether you go through an agency to find someone or ask someone you know.

It’s always worth asking potential egg donors to go through an evaluation or screening to make sure they understand the implications of being an egg donor, like taking ovulation stimulating drugs over a long time.

Embryo donation

Embryo donations happen when there are leftover frozen embryos from a couple or individual’s fertility journey that they’re happy to donate to another person who wants to be a parent. This is a great option if you do not want or are not able to have a biological child.

In embryo donation, donors do not get paid or get any compensation for their frozen embryos so it can be more affordable than egg donation. 

Using a co-parenting partnerships

It’s becoming more common for two single adults without a romantic relationship, to decide to co-parent a child together. This could be done through online websites like Modamily, or you may enter into an agreement with someone you already know.

Make sure you do your homework and share values, finances and parenting styles as much as possible with your future co-parent. It’s also important to communicate clearly on how you want to conceive your child so there isn’t any confusion further down the line.

Using adoption

Adoption is a great route if being the biological parent is not important to you. You can apply to adopt in the UK if:

  • you have a fixed and permanent home address in the UK, and you’ve lived in the UK for at least 1 year.
  • you have never been convicted of certain offenses such as sexual offences or offences against children.
  • you are over 21

After applying an adoption agency will further consider your suitability and look at factors like your:

  • age and health
  • financial circumstances
  • support network
  • religion
  • ethnic background 

There are lots of ways you can become a single parent, and choosing the right one for you will help you take the first steps on your fertility journey.

Every person or couple has a different experience when it comes to trying for a baby. Some people get pregnant quickly, and for others it can take much longer. If you’ve been trying for a baby for a year or more and your partner is not pregnant or if you'd like to get your sperm tested, it’s a good idea to speak to your Fertifa Patient Advisor who can help you with the next steps.

If you're not part of Fertifa, but you're interested in putting fertility support and benefits in place at work, get in touch here to book a call with our team. We'd love to chat about how we can help 💜