As nontraditional families have become increasingly common, more and more individuals have become single parents by choice. Every year, thousands of single men and women add to their families, many of them through surrogacy.
Single intended parents generally experience the same process, enjoy the same benefits and face the same challenges as couples pursuing surrogacy, with some exceptions. Here, find more information about the single-parent surrogacy experience.
Single Parent Surrogacy Process
In general, the surrogacy process is the same for single parents as for any other intended parents. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is used to create an embryo that is then carried to term by a surrogate mother.
In traditional surrogacy, a single man could hire a surrogate mother, whose eggs would be used to create the embryo. However, most intended parents pursue gestational surrogacy, in which the surrogate (also called a gestational carrier) is not genetically related to the baby. While many couples are able to use the intended mother’s egg and intended father’s sperm, every single intended parent will need to use an egg or sperm donor in gestational surrogacy. This is the main difference between single-parent surrogacy and surrogacy for couples.
Many surrogacy agencies will help you find a donor and surrogate concurrently, or they may be able to refer you to sperm banks and egg donors within their networks. Single intended parents may also choose to work with a known donor, such as a close friend. Once you have identified your donor, the surrogacy process will continue as it would for any other intended parent.
Single Parent Surrogacy Laws
In the United States, surrogacy laws are generally the same for single parents as they are for couples. However, the legal surrogacy process is far from simple. Regulations vary from state to state, and because surrogacy is a relatively new method of family-building, many of these laws are vague and can vary in application.
If you are considering surrogacy for singles, consult an experienced surrogacy professional and attorney to better understand surrogacy laws for your state and circumstances.
Pros and Cons of Surrogacy for Single Parents
Hopeful parents have many options when it comes to starting a family, and single intended parents should consider all of the benefits and challenges of surrogacy before committing to the process. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of single-parent surrogacy:
- Surrogacy allows individuals to fulfill the dream of parenthood, even without a partner.
- Intended parents have an opportunity to maintain biological ties with their child.
- Surrogacy can create meaningful, long-term relationships between families and surrogates.
- In some cases, single-parent surrogacy may be easier than adoption because many birth mothers choose two-parent homes.
- Surrogacy is expensive, and single parents may face additional challenges budgeting with one income.
- Because of the high costs of U.S. surrogacy, many intended parents choose to work with surrogates overseas; however, international surrogacy laws may prevent single parents from working with surrogates in some countries.
- Single parents may face a stigma throughout the surrogacy process and following the birth of their baby, and managing time and resources as a single parent can be challenging.
It is up to each prospective intended parent to consider all of the advantages and challenges of pursuing surrogacy in their current situation. If you are struggling to determine whether surrogacy is right for you, reach out to an experienced surrogacy specialist or family counselor for more information.
Single-Parent Surrogacy vs. Single-Parent Adoption
For many individuals hoping to expand their families, the choice comes down to two main options: surrogacy and adoption. Both can be fulfilling means of achieving parenthood, but there are some differences to consider when deciding which method is right for you.
Surrogacy and adoption are each complex issues involving their own laws, processes and variations. In general, prospective parents can expect adoption and surrogacy to differ in the following ways:
- Genetics: Surrogacy allows the intended parent to be related to his or her child, whereas adoption involves the transfer of legal rights from the child’s biological parents to the adoptive parent. This creates significant differences in the legal process. In adoption, for example, birth parents’ rights must be terminated before the child can be adopted into a new family. In gestational surrogacy, the intended parent is legally recognized as the child’s parent before birth, and the surrogate does not have parental rights that need to be terminated.
- Cost: Domestic infant adoption and surrogacy both involve a variety of expenses, including agency fees, advertising and matching services, legal costs and more. In addition, surrogates receive compensation throughout their pregnancy, which can make surrogacy significantly more expensive than adoption. Also, there are fewer grants, loans and tax credits available for intended parents than there are for adoptive families.
- Wait: Adoptive parents may wait months or even years to find a pregnant woman considering adoption. However, there are many surrogates waiting to find intended parents, often making the matching process much shorter.
- Control: Hopeful parents generally have more control over the surrogacy process than the adoption process. In surrogacy, the intended parent chooses a surrogate and donor, whereas the birth mother has the choice of adoptive family in adoption. Because the intended parent has legal custody of his or her child before birth and surrogacy contracts are signed ahead of the pregnancy, the intended parent does not have to worry about disruption and can ensure the surrogate is receiving proper prenatal care throughout her pregnancy.
Surrogacy can be a long, expensive and emotionally challenging process for any intended parent, regardless of marital status or sexual orientation — but it can also be an incredibly rewarding path to parenthood. For single intended parents, surrogacy is an opportunity to have a biological child without a partner. With a solid support system in place, the joys of surrogacy and single-parenting are well worth the challenges.
Are you interested in learning more about surrogacy or starting the process? Complete our form to request free surrogacy information now.