Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Single Males Parent Newest Surrogacy Market

This isn’t Sleepless in Seattle.

Or Finding Nemo.

Or even Adam Sandler’s forgettable rent-a-kid schtick in Big Daddy.

Did you know that single males searching for paternity has become the newest trend?  Yup.  A growing number of single men today are actively and intentionally pursuing fatherhood without a wife.  They’re paying surrogacy clinics upwards of $165,000 to have a child for themselves.

Granted, the number of men who can afford such prices is small, and the number of single men so determined to be a single dad smaller still.  Last year, the total number of single male clients served by California’s most prominent for-profit surrogacy center was 25.  But that number is trending upwards.

To a certain degree, isn’t it hard to understand why anybody would pursue single parenthood?  Many single parents who have been placed in the situation through divorce or the death of a spouse would welcome another opportunity to restore their parental partnership; not only for the sake of their children, but also for their own sanity!  Perhaps it’s been easier adjusting to the phenomenon of single women, in their rush to beat their biological clocks, taking the plunge into single parenting, even if it still strikes us as a bit unnatural.  But single men?

Okay, in answer to the likely question-in-answer-to-a-question:  Yes, according to the Associated Press, many single men who arrange for having children out of wedlock are gay, with no intention of marrying the mother of their children.  They’re paying gestational surrogates to have children for them, which they then raise with the help of nannies, au pairs, and extended family members.

Make Room For SoloDaddy?

By now, for us evangelicals, a number of red flags are popping up all over the place.  Single?  Gay?  Men?  Deeply desiring offspring?  With surrogates?  For $100,00 or more?  Plus professional childcare givers?

If you’re going to spend that kind of money, regardless of your sexual orientation, what about adoption?  And, yeah, about that sexual orientation:  Aside from the moral considerations, even if you found a partner with whom you could share parental duties, that partner is going to be the same gender as you.  What about having parents of two different genders?  A “dad” and a “mom?”  Single women becoming mothers at least has the element of anatomical biology going for it.  But now, men?

Yes, fatherhood can be a wonderful thing, but at what point has parenting become just another hobby for some people?   Just another pursuit, or trophy, or asset?  Or just another way to try and fill a void in your life?

"I was in an adoption pool for a year and half, didn't get any calls and got bummed about the whole experience," a single male executive in Seattle explained, regarding his decision to create his own child via a surrogate.  "I just wanted to be a dad.  Time was not on my side, and I didn't have the luxury of waiting for an ideal mate."

So now he has twin girls whom he’s raising with the help of a full-time nanny.

We can point to many examples of how the traditional, Biblical model of the family has been changing here in North America.   Divorce, of course, is a big one.  Then there’s cohabitation, and a widespread acceptance of pre-marital sex, both of which are merely alternative forms of adultery.  Increasingly, homosexuality is demanding more attention in our national dialog.  Its prevalence makes it appear to play a greater role in the changing dynamics of the family than perhaps it deserves, since it’s still a relatively small number of people who claim same-sex attraction.  And while over 1,000 babies a year are now born in America via surrogacy, the percentage being born for gay men and women, statistically speaking, represents a tiny fraction.

For now.

As trends go, this one shows no sign of going away, especially as medical technology continues to advance, and North America’s broad social stigmas of single parenting in general and gay parenting in particular continue to recede.  As evangelicals, it might seem easiest to simply ignore the reality of it all.  But how can we do that, especially since the kids created by and raised in such families will soon be matriculating into our voting booths?

Daddy Dearest

It’s not just a question of wealthy homosexuals being able to afford the procedure, and agencies being founded across the country to cater to demand.  And it’s not a question of being able to wallow in a stealthy form of bigotry, where we smile on the outside, and rip apart their living arrangements with our gossip.  Yes, it’s beginning to feel like the sturdiest pillars of society are beginning to crumble all around us, but even in all of this, we're still to model the Fruit of the Spirit.  It may not seem natural to us, but God's wisdom and plans are not ours.

Meanwhile, for many evangelical singles who’ve never been a parent, the joy of holding one's newborn child, or even the weariness of sleepless nights, may seem somewhat abstract.  But wanting children is a human trait.  It is more than biological, or even emotional, or sexual.  Should we really be surprised that homosexuals still want to be parents?  It’s also a bit ironic, considering the likelihood that, as politically liberal as many gays are, they will tolerate abortion, although it denies so many people what a small but growing number of gays so deeply want.

And there’s another thing, for single Christ-followers who so deeply want to be a parent:  We look at the contrivances people like gay men are making for their parenthood, and part of us undoubtedly thinks, “sometimes, we can't get everything we want.”  Yet we can all be selfish. Impatient.  We can rationalize away stuff we really want and our methods for obtaining them.

If you are agonizing over the reality that you are single, that time appears to be running out, and that you may not ever become a real, genuine parent, perhaps even here, you who are in Christ can find some comfort. After all, can’t the same Fruit of the Spirit we’ll need to address the phenomenon of single gay parenting in our society be the same Fruit to provide you with what you need to endure a delay – or even denial – of something you so dearly want that could be so right?

As good a thing as parenthood is, following God is even better.

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