Single Intended Parent
Single Intended Parent
The Journey to Parenthood
by Meghan Ochs
“It takes a village” is a well-known idiom used to describe the understanding that it takes multiple people to raise a healthy, happy and well-adjusted child. But what about when it also takes a village to make one? Meet Chris Harper. Chris is a 45 year old single intended father of two beautiful twins named Martha and Barnaby. The twins were born in Oregon, conceived through a fertility center in Las Vegas, coordinated through a surrogacy agency based in Israel, and now, at 21 months old, live in the United Kingdom. They are immensely loved and cared for by a large village of Chris’ family and friends.
Becoming a parent, by any means, at any age, or place in your life, is never an easy decision. Sometimes, it is not even a conscious choice; however, for Chris the choice to become a single parent was filled with purpose and direction, “I wanted to take charge of my own life. I reckoned there were millions of single parents out there. I am volunteering, how can it be any different? I asked myself if I was comfortable being a single parent for the rest of my life. The answer was yes.”
Chris is a theatre producer in London. His career has always been a top priority and also immensely demanding. When he turned 40 and still hadn’t found the right partner, he started asking himself the tough questions and wondered if he should hang around and wait, or follow through on his dream of having a family. He chose the latter. “They are the best thing I have ever done. I still love my job but it is in perspective.” Regarding his other job, the one outside of raising his children, he still works hard, but he works differently and feels more effective with his time. His favorite job is now raising his two adorable twins. Chris credits his children with not only helping him achieve balance, but also giving his mother—who passed away this past Christmas—a reason to keep going for longer than she might have, otherwise.
No matter how you shake it, being a parent is not easy, nor is it inexpensive. Chris’ journey to become a parent was harder and longer than most, as the entire process from start to finish—from his initial research of adoption through his decision to try surrogacy—took years. Fortunately, once he chose surrogacy, the process from agency to the twins’ birth, was a total of 11 months. Granted, his children were born 10 weeks early; however, his surrogacy was a smooth, short process, considering. Financially though, it was expensive, costing him the equivalent of about $140,000.
After the emotional and financial commitment to the process, Chris had some even harder decisions to make: who would be his egg donor, and who would carry his children? Deciding whose eggs Chris would use was quite different than choosing his surrogate. Chris explained that the egg donor was less emotional and based on health and the possibility of being able to contact her in the future if questions arose. The surrogate was more personal and based on trust and a mutual connection. “I was moved by her strength and mental stamina to give me a family. It feels like the most extraordinary gift that a woman, whom I only met a few times, could ever do for me. I can never repay her.” Chris is eternally grateful and recognizes the emotional expense. “We have a really unique, special relationship. When the kids were born I asked if she was ok keeping a relationship, she asked for how long. I said, like my children, for life.”
For Chris, it was all time and money well spent. Each decision he faced and every pound he spent only solidified his desire to become a father. Chris’ happiness and love for his children is tangible, even over the phone line, “This all feels like such a small price to pay for two incredible children who have changed my life so considerably and who are loved so dearly by my friends and family.”
Everything that had to happen in order for Chris’ children to be born was a conscious choice and a well-thought-out decision. From the moment he decided he didn’t need to wait to a find a partner, to eventually choosing surrogacy over adoption; choosing an agency, and then the choice of a healthy egg donor; and finally choosing a surrogate with whom he connected and trusted—each arrangement was detailed and important. While Chris had to make a lot of choices that not all parents need to, he also got to make a lot of choices that many parents do, such as what to name his children and who would help him raise them. While it was a long journey, full of tough decisions to get to this point, he is thrilled with the result. “I love it. I am so happy with the choices I have made. I couldn’t wish for better, happier kids. I can’t believe they are here. It feels like a genuine success story.”
Meghan Ochs is passionate about many things: animals, skiing, fitness, travel, the outdoors, coffee, and good food. Her friends and family, too. The order of these interests depends on the day. In between all of these things she occasionally finds time to put her thoughts to paper.