Single women looking to be moms through in vitro fertilization (IVF) is becoming a socially acceptable situation. But it's rare to hear in the case of men who are bachelors.
“We don't see enough of it, and we know there are men out there that don't even know how to get started or that becoming a father is possible for them,” Dr. Thomas Molinaro, a reproductive endocrinologist, told Today Parents.
One of those men who decided to find out his options was 47-year-old Tom Garden. Wanting to be a father was not in his life plan. He was focused on his business, a successful foreign language translation company. However, like the call of fate or destiny, events in his life fell into place and changed his future.
Tom told Today Parents that he never thought he would ever have a family. “I had been married to my business for 10 years so I was really never thinking about kids and I didn't have time to date or do anything else.”
In 2013, however, he sold his business. “[It] forced me to think about what's really important, and that's certainly not climbing the corporate ladder,” he told Romper.
Tom found his answer during a conversation with his cousin while on a trip to Israel. She asked him if he had any kids since last they met. When he answered no, she replied that if he didn’t have children, then it was the end for his family lineage.
“That was a pivotal, life-changing moment for me,” he told PopSugar. “I want to be a dad, and I certainly didn't want the family name to die out, although that wasn't the main reason -- I just wanted to be a dad.”
Back in his home in the U.S., Tom learned about IVF from his mom. He was clueless about IVF, but he was eager to learn and soon found a clinic. “I was too embarrassed to call so my mom made the call for me because it just seemed so awkward,” he added.
After exploring more about IVF, Tom pursued his path to fatherhood. He went through all the procedures, like genetic testing, psychological interviews, and selecting an egg donor. It took a long time and was expensive, shared Tom. He also discovered that finding a surrogate to carry his child was difficult because his age and single status became a hindrance.
Then, he met Nicole, a mom of four and a willing surrogate who carried his baby, Joseph. “He was born with a full head of hair, thicker than mine. It's hard to explain that moment, to relive it... I cried when the nurse handed him to me, and I don't think I've cried in 30 years,” Tom told Romper.
“Maybe [Joseph wasn't conceived] the traditional way, and it’s not something I thought I'd ever do, but who cares how it happened? There’s no greater gift than to bring a life into the world, and to share in that life, and to give love to a child. Whether it’s normal or not normal, it’s a beautiful process,” he added, stressing that though IVF in single, heterosexual men remains to be uncommon, this shouldn’t stop other men from becoming a father.
Today, as a full-time stay-at-home dad, the challenges Tom faces are very commonplace to other single fathers, including sleepless nights, a lack of changing tables in public men’s restrooms, and finding a partner that will be there for him and Joseph.
He shared with Inside Edition, “There are incredible moments when my son will come up to me and grab my leg and say 'da da' and smile and it melts your heart.”