Increasingly, single men are choosing to start their own families. Many are turning to surrogates to bear their biological children.
Single and loving it. Modern technology is making it easier for single men to start their own families - without a spouse.
In the U.S., unmarried men have begun turning to surrogates to bear their biological children.
For single fathers like Steven Harris, 59, in New York City, fatherhood did not require a wife or mother.
"Look, I looked to get married. I tried to get married. But it just didn't happen and for whatever reason, this is how I ended up having a child. And it works for me."
Harris said, nearly a decade ago, when he was 50-years old, he was engaged. Harris said he wanted a child and he planned to marry and start a family. But that didn't work out. After his engagement ended, Harris said the turned to the Internet to figure out another way to start a family.
Harris turned to a California-based agency called Growing Generations. Through the organization, Harris found an egg donor and a surrogate to bear his child.
After a lengthy process of consultations and medical screenings, a surrogate in the U.S. was impregnated and later delivered a healthy, baby boy.
Harris' son Ben is now 6-years old.
Harris said Ben is growing up in a loving home and with a loving family. He just happens not to have a mother. And Harris said Ben notices the absence.
"From the time he was two or three years old, he would ask, 'How come I don't have a mom?' And I was always very honest with him. And he would want to know how he was born. And from the time he could talk, he knew about the surrogate, he knew about the embryo. He doesn't quite understand it, but he knows all the terms. And this is his life. This is his history. This is who he is. So, it's not odd for him. And we fit in. You know, I fit in with all the other moms in school. I'm always the one dropping him off in school in the morning with all the moms. And that's just how it is. I'm at all the birthday parties. I like it."
Since 1996, the organization has helped mostly gay and lesbian couples start families. But now, due to changes in technology and social attitudes, families are changing.
"I think that probably for all time both men and women have acted on the compelling wish to be a parent in whatever way was available. It's just that now there are ways that single men can act on that goal, it's not even a goal, that heart's desire to fulfill their wishes to be daddies," said Growing Generations co-owner Dr. Kim Bergman.
"The technology exists, the legal climate exists, the social climate exists and the opportunity exists. So I think they are taking that opportunity to act on it now," she added.
"The issue of adoption, we get that a lot in general in the surrogacy industry. Why not adopt? There are so many kids waiting to be adopted. Well, that is true. However, there are so many restrictions on who can adopt those children. It's not as simple as declaring, 'I want to go adopt a child and I'm going to do it.' If you are a married heterosexual couple, there are roadblocks and it's really hard. If you are a single woman, there are roadblocks and it's really hard. If you are a single man, it is close to impossible," she said.
"In the last seven years, since I've had Ben, it's certainly become more. . . if not acceptable, certainly more expected almost. It's not that unusual. I mean, it's unusual for somebody to meet somebody like me, but the concept is not that unusual anymore."
Besides his method of conception, Ben is just like any other first grade boy. He is smart, playful, happy and talkative. He likes Minecraft, LEGOs and basketball.
There is a very high cost for a single man to have a child via an egg donor and a surrogate.
Growing Generations said the cost can range from about $125,000 (USD) to $200,000. That cost includes all the expenses including medical, legal and other fees.
But Harris said, if you can afford it, it is worth it.
"It was very complicated. Growing Generations was terrific. They walk you through it. It's not cheap. It's pretty expensive. But I would say it's cheaper than a wife, you know and that's the truth. So anyway, here we are."
So now, like the sisters, the brothers are now doin' it for themselves.
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