“My emotions on the backseat”. Heterosexually partnered men’s experiences of becoming fathers through surrogacy

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Christina Weis ()

Wendy Norton

Published Feb 23, 2021


Surrogacy is a family building option for people unable to conceive or carry a pregnancy. In heterosexual couples seeking surrogacy, a woman who is not the intended father’s partner, facilitates this pregnancy. Whilst normative discourses reinforced by contemporary healthcare policies highlight the importance of involving fathers throughout pregnancy, little is known about heterosexually partnered men’s experiences of surrogacy.

This qualitative study explores how surrogacy shapes men’s construction of their father identity and parenting expectations. Drawing on interviews with ten men (nine self-identifying as white and one as white-Asian; all employed in professional occupations) during or after their surrogacy arrangement, we explore their transition to fatherhood, interactions in the pregnancy, and relationship with the surrogate and their intimate partner.

This is the first study explicitly focusing on heterosexually-partnered men’s experiences of surrogacy. The findings provide new insights into this unique form of family building, expanding understanding of men’s role preference and level of involvement in a triad surrogacy relationship.

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