David Watkins always knew he wanted to be a dad – in his teaching job, he saw parents picking up their kids from school gates and dreamed of the day it would be him. “It’s a bit cliché to say that I’ve always wanted to be a father, but as far back as I can remember, I think part of me has always wanted to raise a child,” he said. .
“Helping to bring a child in the world and be a role model – in some ways that’s why I went into education. I really started thinking about it – I thought, how am I going to do this as a gay man?
David, now 42, began considering his options – initially he thought adoption would be his only path, although a biological link to his child was something he had dreamed of for his future. “I wanted to raise a child, to look like me, to look into his eyes and see me,” he said.
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A little over 10 years ago, David began to consider various avenues for parenthoodincluding co-parenting or organizing IVF treatment with a friend. After pursuing these options with varying degrees of success, David began to realize that surrogacy was the only way forward for him.
“I started investigating surrogacy as a single man, and when I first investigated in 2017, I was turned down by a few surrogacy organizations,” David said, of Southampton. MyLondon. “They said, ‘You can’t do it. You must be in a relationship, it is not possible for you.
To go the surrogacy route, you must sign a parenting order when the child is born. This order extinguishes the parental rights of the surrogate mother and transfers this responsibility to the future relative (in this case David). Before 2019, only couples could sign these orders – if you were single, it was impossible.
David extended his hand to SurrogacyUKa non-profit surrogacy organization and network founded in 2002. He was told that the law would change in 2019 and that he could follow this path to parenthood if he waited a few years.
“I waited,” David said. “And in January 2019 the law changed – single people were allowed to sign parenting orders. SurrogacyUK said to me: ‘You are a member!’
“I had tried all these other avenues, it had never felt right. Now I was like, ‘All I have to do is find a surrogate. How do I do this? Where is the manual? Where do you find a woman who will carry your child for you? It seemed so impossible at the time, but I absolutely knew it was the right decision for me.
The next step for David was to create an embryo, which would later be transferred into a surrogate mother. He said MyLondon he ran into some problems when he found an open clinic to work with him.
“I was laughed at on the phone by one place,” David explained. “Culturally, the idea that a single man could do this hadn’t really filtered through – some clinics didn’t understand why a single man wanted to create an embryo for the purpose of raising a child.
“I found a clinic in CRGHin London Portland High Street. It was one of the few clinics that knew the law had changed, so they were very welcoming. They found me an egg donor very quickly, made my embryos and I left.
“They were on ice waiting for this incredible woman who was to become my surrogate. I ended up meeting my surrogate through SurrogacyUK six months later, and the rest is history.
David went the route of host surrogacy, which means his embryo, made with his sperm and an anonymous donor’s egg, was implanted into the surrogate who had agreed to carry his baby for him.
“I didn’t know my surrogate five months before she was pregnant with my baby, so it was really intense. Everyone is there for the same purpose – she wanted to make me a dad, and I was desperate to be a dad. I was even in the pool with her when she gave birth.
Now David’s dream has come true: he lives in Southampton with his adorable 20-month-old baby, Miles. David said that being a dad at Miles has been an absolute joy. “I got what I asked for in so many ways – I got my son, but no parent, single or in a relationship, is ever prepared for the reality of what a child brings into his life,” he said.
“We are very happy and we have a very good life, but it is sometimes exhausting […] there are sacrifices you make, your life changes totally.
Even today, David said some people assumed he was the babysitter when he was walking with his son. “People aren’t used to seeing men being caregivers, they’re not used to understanding that you can be the only caregiver for a child,” he said. “A lot of people think there’s a woman behind the scenes – they have no idea it’s her grandmother.
Since becoming a dad, David has used his platform to offer advice and support to other single men considering the path of surrogacy. Its website, dad.ukoffers information and resources for men who want to become single fathers, and he documents his fatherhood journey on his Instagram account.
“The process is not cheap,” admitted David. “But it doesn’t have to be a bank heist either. There are ways to do this inexpensively. Don’t feel intimidated to try it – you totally can. Men all over the country are doing it as we speak – and for me it’s been an amazing journey.
For more information on David’s journey or to access his resources, click here.
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