Dubai: Dubai-based Indian music teacher Yusef Khan, 37, always wanted to become a father but wasn’t particularly interested in getting married. And because he is single, no adoption centre would process his application. Faced with multiple rejections, Kuwait-born Yusuf took an unconventional route – gestational surrogacy.
On December 2, 2019, his long cherished dream of being a single dad was fulfilled in his 12th surrogacy attempt when his baby boy, Kabir, was born at a hospital in Panaji, the capital of Goa in south west India.
“Being a father is the best thing that has happened to me,” Khan said.
It has changed my life and taught me about a love I never knew I had. I can’t tell how happy I am. It’s an indescribable feeling… the most rewarding experience I have had,” he said as he sat for an interview with Gulf News while cradling the infant in the crook of his arm.
Khan said it took him only two nights to learn everything from changing nappies and feeding to burping and bathing techniques. “Now I can do all of these with my eyes closed,” said Khan, who returned from India last week to resume work at The Music Box, a boutique music school he runs in Dubai Silicon Oasis.
Being a father is the best thing that has happened to me.I can’t tell how happy I am. It’s an indescribable feeling… the most rewarding experience I have had.
Originally from Pune, Khan said he began exploring surrogacy options two years ago after being repeatedly bumped down the waiting list by adoption centres in India.
“For 10 years I tried to adopt a child but all I got were rejection letters. So I decided to go for a IVF surrogate baby,” he recalled.
The journey was fraught with challenges.
He had to make 11 IVF attempts across three Indian cities before striking luck at Dr Kedar’s Hospital & Infertility Clinic in Panaji. Khan said they followed all legal formalities and the egg was donated by an agency.
“My family is complete now. It’s about time adoption agencies realised that parenting should not be restricted by gender or marital status. Raising a child is not just a feminine trait; men are equally good at it. Sadly, the media portrays the single dad as the goofy parent who burns the toast and doesn’t know how to tie a girl’s hair. These stereotypes need to change too,” said Khan who got the child’s residence visa stamped recently.
Before Kabir’s arrival, Khan lived alone with a pet Mini Maltese dog.
So who looks after the newborn when he’s away at work?
“I will figure that out. These are still early days as I have just come back from India and haven’t really started full time work. I will send Kabir to day-care perhaps,” he said.
“Raising a child as single father is tough, but the challenges I face are no different than those encountered by other single parents. Also, I feel one incredibly focused parent is better than two absent parents. I could be lacking a relationship gene but I have a very strong parenting one and I will make the most of it,” he added.
Khan said he will shower his son with so much love and affection that he will never feel the absence of a mother.
“I am going to spoil him completely,” he said. proudly showing gold bracelets around his son’s wrists.
Now a month-and-a-half old, Kabir has inherited several physical appearance traits from his father, including a shock of black hair.
“People look at us with what seems like a mixture of awe, admiration and concern. Single fathers shouldn’t have to hide their status. It’s not something to be hidden but to be celebrated,” he added. “I am enjoying fatherhood in Dubai which is one of the most family friendly cities in the world. It’s just that I wish there were more changing tables in men’s restrooms here,” he said.
Famous single men who became dads via surrogacy
• Cristiano Ronaldo, renowned footballer announced he’d become a dad in 2010 with a message on his Facebook page. At the time he said he’d have ‘exclusive guardianship, as agreed with the baby’s mother, who preferred to keep her identity confidential’. His son Cristiano Ronaldo Jr is now nine years old.
• Andy Cohen, host of Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, chose to become a single father through surrogacy at the age of 50 and welcomed his son, Benjamin Allen, in 2019.
• Michael Jackson. The late pop singer became a single dad via surrogacy in 2002 when his youngest, Prince Michael II, was born.
• Ricky Martin, pop singer, went through the single father surrogacy process in 2008, when his twin sons, Valentino and Matteo were born via surrogacy.
• Karan Johar, Bollywood director, surprised his friends and fans when he become a father to twins (a boby and a girl) through surrogacy. The babies were born on February 7, 2017 in Mumbai.
• Tusshar Kapoor, Indian actor, became a surrogacy dad in June 2016. His son Lakshya is now three and a half years old.
Did you know?
India doesn’t have any legislation governing assisted reproductive technologies (ART) even though guidelines drafted by the Indian Council for Medical Research in this regard have been worked—and reworked—many times over the last two decades.