07 Dec Fertility Treatment Options for Single Men Desiring a Child
As third-party reproduction options opened the doors for LGBTQ+ individuals and couples, those same doors opened for single men who desire a path to parenthood.
While fostering and adopting are always options, many men prefer to have a baby that is genetically related to them. Also, many men desire to have a more intimate and connected relationship with their baby’s pregnancy, labor, and delivery story.
Fertility Treatment Options for Single Dads
In 2019, the US Census Bureau released its first-ever report on men’s fertility. In that document, they cite two important details:
- Of 72.2 million fathers, 5.9 million (8.2%) have never been married.
- 9% are divorced, 3.2% are widowed, and 2.3% are separated.
This means that as a prospective single father in the United States, you are not alone. In your case, however, you’ll need support from a fertility center to make your parenting dreams come true.
Steps To Become “Pregnant” as a Single Dad
Just as single women opt to use IVF to become parents using donor sperm, single men have similar options. Here is a quick outline of the steps you’ll need to take. We also recommend choosing a fertility center with experience and a successful track record with third-party reproduction to simplify the decision-making process.
1. Submit a sperm sample
You’ll be using IVF and a gestational carrier (more on that below) to have your baby. That is an investment, so before we get started fertilizing donor eggs, we want to make sure your sperm is healthy. Once you’ve submitted your semen sample, our experienced lab techs will report back about sperm count, motility (how they move), and morphology (their general shape). If all is well, you can move forward.
If we find there are problems with the sperm, we’ll discuss your next moves. In some cases, low sperm count may not be a problem at all because we can wash the sperm sample and use intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to facilitate egg fertilization.
2. Search for an egg donor
Some patients have a sister or good friend who is willing to donate her eggs. However, many men do not have a known egg donor, in which case we will give you information about anonymous egg banks. Through them, you can peruse thousands of egg donor profiles to select an egg donor that resonates with your goals. Visit our Donor Egg IVF page to learn more about that.
Most fathers select egg donors who look similar to them (phenotype) to optimize the chances of a child that resembles you or other family members. You may also want to screen for egg donors who have talents, interests, or hobbies that resonate with you. Granted, as any parent can tell you, this doesn’t mean your baby will come out just like you. In fact, more often than not, the most significant parenting lessons of all is learning that your child is an individual rather than an extension of you.
3. Interview and select gestational carriers
On our page dedicated to surrogacy and gestational carriers, we explain the difference between the two:
Traditional surrogacy is where the surrogate is inseminated with the intended father’s sperm or donor sperm. The surrogate then carries the pregnancy and upon delivery, gives the baby to the intended couple.
The second form is gestational surrogacy, where the intended parents undergo in vitro fertilization in our program using their own gametes (sperm & eggs) or, less often, donor gamete(s) to create embryos that are then transferred to the surrogate’s uterus. The gestational surrogate carries the pregnancy and upon delivery, gives the baby to the intended parents.
We refer single men desiring a child to reputable agencies that specialize in pairing an intended parent with a gestational carrier.
4. Legal paperwork and agreements
Our clinic requires specific legal contracts and documentation from a specialized family law provider prior to initiating the process for any gestational carrier pregnancy. Visit RESOLVE’s page covering the Legal Aspects of Domestic Gestational Carrier Agreements to familiarize yourself with these ideas.
We also require a counseling session with a therapist who specializes in fertility cases. S/he can help you sort through the complex social-emotional issues that may emerge throughout your process – and your child’s lifetime, so you are more clear on how you want to communicate and handle these potential hiccups as they arise.
5. Move forward with IVF
Once you’ve selected your egg donor and gestational carrier, had your counseling appointment, and your legal paperwork is in place, it’s time to proceed with IVF. While you’ll skip the egg retrieval process, the rest of the process works just like traditional IVF.
The great news for you is that your IVF rates are stacked well in your favor because we’re dealing with healthy sperm, healthy eggs, and a healthy gestational carrier. Once eggs are successfully transferred into your gestational carrier’s uterus, you’re embarking on one of the most exciting and important journeys of your life: Fatherhood.
Are you a single man desiring to have a child of your own? The fertility specialists at Virginia Fertility & IVF have more than 50 years of combined experience with third-party reproduction. Contact us to schedule a consultation. 866-540-5190.