Marco-Stefano is 33 years old, from the Netherlands, works as a store manager and also as a fashion designer. Someday he'd love to be a father and to share that dream with another man. Years ago, he and his then-boyfriend had come close to becoming parents through surrogacy. But after his boyfriend's brush with cancer, their plans were put on hold. The relationship unfortunately didn't last.
The biggest thing holding Marco-Stefano back right now, he says, is going it alone. We spoke with him to see where he is on his road to fatherhood.
Tell us about your preferred path to parenthood. Adoption or surrogacy. For me this was only the option I thought it was more for me (and my former partner) I had the offer to be a donor for some friends... but I don't want to be a weekend papa... I'm always open for other options.
Have you found enough information about your preferred path to parenthood? I have only found information on the internet and at a clinic.
Marco-Stefano with his mother and role model
What do you think is your biggest obstacle to becoming a dad? I think my biggest obstacle is that i am single now. I would love to have a partner to share this together, but it's hard. In the dating scene not everybody is thrilled to maybe one day be a parent. But I'm open and positive that it can be good.
What steps have you taken towards becoming a dad? A few years ago when I was still with my former partner we talked about what I was missing in my life. I said I dreamt of becoming a father one day and to start a family. We looked at the possibilities, like adoption or IVF. We went to an IVF clinic in Belgium to get more information, and I talked with some friends who wanted to carry the child for us. Unfortunately a few months later he was diagnosed with lymph cancer, so my priority was his health first. After a long battle with chemo and many visits to the hospital he survived, but our relationship didn't and we broke up after 8 years together.
What fears or concerns do you have about becoming a dad? Does your sexuality/gender identity play into those fears? I think the fear I have is with the outside world; it can be cruel sometimes, especially for a kid with same-sex parents. But if that's only my fear and my kids are okay with it, then I can learn from them.
What most excites you about becoming a dad? I hear from new parents who've had babies that they only sleep, cry, drink and poop and that you would have little sleep. I can't wait to experience this!! And to see them grow to teens and then adults, and that you always have their back with love and support.
How soon do you hope to start your family? That depends if it's destiny to have kids. It's up to time and the gods to decide.
Marco-Stefano is a wonderful and patient babysitter ... ;)
What are you most looking for in a potential partner? For me, personally, it would be someone who is ambitious, romantic and passionate. It's give and take, and that no matter what, we always fight for each other when needed and to share our love with each other and hopefully our family.
As a gay man who wants children one day, what is dating like for you? Difficult, because I make it perfectly clear that I'm not into one-night-stands. I'm open to something serious, but when talking about the future and hopefully to have kids someday, it doesn't match sometimes with their future plans.
Would you consider becoming a single dad? If so, what are your biggest concerns about becoming a single dad? This is an option I've thought about already for a long long time. I always had bad luck in my love life so maybe it's not for me. The kid(s) would have infinite love from me, my only concern is that financially it can be a struggle to raise them all alone.
Answers slightly edited for clarity.