Becoming a Single Dad – What Are Your Reproductive Options?

By (embryologist) and (fertility counselor).
Last Update: 03/24/2015

The traditional family model, comprised of a mother and a father, is no longer the only possible choice. Nowadays there are many legal and socially accepted options which has let family diversity to become a reality.

Provided below is an index with the 5 points we are going to expand on in this article.

How can a man have a child without a woman?

Heterosexual couples can become parents naturally or, if there is any fertility or sterility problem, they can undergo an assisted reproduction treatment in order to start a family.

Lesbian couples and women desiring to become single mothers can get pregnant thanks to donated semen and assisted reproduction methods, such as artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization.

However, what happens when a gay couple or a single man decide that they want to become parents? Pregnancy can occur only if there is an uterus and, of course, men have different reproductive organs. For that reason, they should consider the following options:

What is co-parenting?

Co-parenting stands for the process in which a man and a woman decide to have a child without being a couple. In this case, a single man who wants to be a father shares the responsibilities and rights of having a child with a woman who wants to be a mother and accepts these conditions.

This is a complicated process, even if the future mother is a friend or acquaintance. How to educate the child and what to teach him might be a motive of confrontation between the parents, which can be problematic for the child.


Another option for men who want to become parents without a mother figure is adoption, which can either be national or international. This creates two main problems.

One of those problems is the national adoption waiting list, which is usually very long. As for international adoption, the problem is connected to the fact that single men or homosexual couples are not allowed to adopt in every country. Men need to adequately study the chosen country.


Surrogacy is a new assisted reproduction procedure through which a surrogate mother gestates the child of another person, such as a single man or a gay couple. This is done altruistically or in exchange for an economic compensation.

The woman's sole function is to carry out the pregnancy and give birth to a baby, who will be delivered to the parent or parents after childbirth and they will be the ones responsible for the child and his or her education.

For the process to become easier, the surrogate mother shouldn't have any genetic bounds with the baby. Single men or gay couples should use donated eggs. The semen used for the in vitro fertilization process usually belongs to the father-to-be. However, donated semen can also be used.

For instance, surrogacy is currently illegal in Spain. Men wishing to become parents through this procedure should consider travelling to a foreign country where it is permitted by law.

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 Andrea Rodrigo
Andrea Rodrigo
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia along with the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Postgraduate course in Medical Genetics. More information about Andrea Rodrigo
Adapted into english by:
 Sandra Fernández
Sandra Fernández
B.A., M.A.
Fertility Counselor
Bachelor of Arts in Translation and Interpreting (English, Spanish, Catalan, German) from the University of Valencia (UV) and Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton Campus (Edinburgh, UK). Postgraduate Course in Legal Translation from the University of Valencia. Specialist in Medical Translation, with several years of experience in the field of Assisted Reproduction. More information about Sandra Fernández

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