The Stigma around Single Parents and Surrogacy

Alcea Surrogacy
4 min readJun 9, 2023

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By: Friday Faraday

Families have always looked different whether we know it or not, but the societal norm has represented family as a cisgender set of two parents, a mom and dad. That has been pushed for decades and has become the goal for many single people (straight or not) that want to start a family, and when that happens, it’s a dream come true for many. However, a dream can look different across the board depending on the person, no matter if the underlying goal of the dream is the same.Call it unlearning societal norms, choosing your own path, or embracing your independence but we are in the age of asking ourselves what do we need in order to be happy, and for some that involves building a family, but it doesn’t involve doing it with another person.

The Story So Far

There was a time that being a single parent was often looked down upon, it was a symbol of failure or shame because once again a heteronormative marriage is the goal to a secure and successful life, and when that is not achieved the fallout of it all was placed on people AFAB.

Now, that’s not to say that stigma has been fully conquered because the patriarchy is still doing its thing, especially within older generations because we all have some family members that are just stuck in their ways.

But like it was said in the beginning, people are unlearning the things from society that no longer serve them, and are not letting any type of stigma stop them — including the stigma of infertility that carries an almost similar level of failure and shame placed on a single parent.

Many people believe that since raising a child takes a lot of time and resources it can only be done properly with a two parent household, and in choosing to start the surrogacy process that single intended parent is also choosing to place their child in a disadvantage that could lead to neglect. However, like most things that revolve around a stigma or opinion, it is often not based on facts and doesn’t take into account a person’s lived experience and what their life looks like.

Similar Paths

The advancement of assisted reproductive technology (ART) not only opens up the door for an intended parent to have a child but also to have the freedom to decide how they want their family to look based on their life. For many, the dream of having a family is not contingent on having a partner. Does that mean that the surrogacy process will look different for those that decide to become single intended parents? No, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make sure that you have all your bases covered. In the United States, surrogacy laws are pretty much the same for single parents as they are for couples, but regulations are in flux and can be quite vague depending on what is enforced or not from state to state, so across the board, always double and triple check everything.

The journey of both the gestational surrogate and intended parent when they are both single carry similarities that some might not connect. Of course there is the stigma that this might place both at a disadvantage because of the financial, emotional, and physical strain of not having a partner, but once again, this is often based on opinion. The more direct similarity is the creation of the support system before everything is started. Support systems don’t only exist in romantic partnerships, and while the luxury of having a live-in partner can provide a quicker access to support for both a surrogate and intended parent — quicker doesn’t mean better.

Just like early in the surrogacy journey all the legality, medical appointments, etc. are determined, so is how you access support and who do you want to be in the support bubble. What is often lost in translation when it comes to opinion and stigma is the advanced planning that a person does when they take on this journey. The lack of belief that a single parent and/or surrogate can handle doctor’s appointments or the days when exhaustion hits hard without the help of a romantic partner is a narrative that has and continues to be proven false. No one in this process takes this likely, and the creation of a support foundation was set in stone and adjusted as needed.

Remember, it takes a village.

The Important Bits

No one can argue that being a single parent is a tough job, matter of fact it is probably one of the toughest jobs. However, the stigma around it carries a weight that shouldn’t be placed on anyone, and while it is true that some single parents didn’t set out to do it without a partner, much like those that made that choice, they are not truly alone. Family, chosen family, and friends make a support system that provides a unique sense of love that rivals any sort of romantic attachment. Couple that (no pun intended) with advance planning in all areas that involve raising a child those stigmas and opinions that were shaky to begin with are consistently being toppled.

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