Many parents take a long and winding route to starting their new family.
Settling down takes times, and complications like financial or fertility troubles only add to the delays.
But Nathan Chan, a single man from Calgary, Canada, faced a unique set of roadblocks in his eight-year journey to becoming a dad.
Chan, 33, settled on becoming a father at age 25.
"Call it paternal or maternal instinct," he told CBC News. "I said, 'Hey, this is the right time to become a dad.'"
The only problem? Chan was (and still is) a single man.
"For me, I just didn’t meet the right person," he admitted to Global News.
"I realized this wasn’t something I wanted to be putting on hold because I didn’t want to be an old dad," he told The Star Calgary.
While you might think it would be easy for a man with a steady job to simply adopt a child, Chan says that was not the case.
He says several agencies turned him down outright before he was finally allowed to submit an application. Their reasoning was that no mother would want their child to be adopted by a single man.
Despite becoming the first single man in his province to be approved for domestic adoption, Chan realized the path was a dead end. So, he settled on surrogacy instead.
While using a surrogate is becoming more and more common for couples who suffer from fertility issues, Chan says he felt stigmatized while starting his family with a surrogate as a single man.
He remembered getting "really random comments" when he described his choice to use surrogacy, including, "Why don’t you just go and get a girlfriend?" and "Why don’t you wait until you get married."
His surrogacy journey was also marked by a number of unfortunate setbacks, and featured "three countries, five fertility clinics, six surrogate moms, two egg donors and so many embryo transfers."
"I've experienced late-term pregnancy loss with a stillborn and also a miscarriage," he revealed.
And while everyone empathized with the surrogate mother who lost her child, Chan says his feelings were often overlooked.
"Of course I shared this pain with the surrogate mom," he said. "The different surrogate moms that have had these losses with me."
But the years of waiting - and about $250,000 spent on treatments - finally paid off earlier this year, when Chan finally welcomed his baby girl, Nanette, after his sixth surrogacy attempt paid off.
"I’d been waiting for her all this time. She was finally here. I want to do everything I can do to raise her as best as I can," he said.
"Even though I’m only one, where a traditional family would have two parents, I will do everything I can to make it up more than double."
Now, Chan wants his story to be an inspiration to other men looking to start families of their own. And he’s helping would-be parents achieve their own dreams with his surrogacy consulting business, Proud Fertility.
He says that people who are stigmatized in the world of adoption and surrogacy, whether they’re young and single or old and married, deserve the chance to start a family of their own.