A 48-year-old gay man talks about what it was like to become a dad. Andrea Woelke decided to become a dad. But the costs he incurred were unbelievably high. But nothing stopped him from taking those steps forward. No matter the costs.
Andrea Woelke made a decision that changed his life.
Andrea Woelke’s decision to become a father was quite gradual. As a 48-year-old gay man of that generation, he thought he would never become a parent. But there are others like him do it and he thought maybe it was an option.
Andrea worked in family law. He did a few parental order cases and met many people. Straight and gay people who had become parents through surrogacy. He decided to take up surrogacy.
He tried hard to find someone who wanted the same thing. But he was not very successful. He felt like he was getting older. Hence he decided to go at it alone and become a single dad. One he made the chose he wanted to go through with it no matter what the costs were.
“I was mentally prepared to go ahead with it no matter the costs.”
Andrea Woelke said he wanted to do it in Canada but there were very few surrogates in the country. Later, he chose to go to California. He went through an agency that matched him with a surrogate and he found an eff donor. The surrogate became pregnant through IVF. In 2016, the process was started. And Andrea Woelke became a dad.
The cost he incurred.
Andrea spent tons on this whole process. From travel to healthcare and agencies to surrogate fees, it was a lot more than he has estimated. The total cost came up to £153,000. But Andrea was still very excited and happy with the decision he had made. He did not feel any regret in spending that money. He says, “As far as midlife crisis purchases go, this is the best one! Becoming a father is life-changing.”
It became a huge financial risk. Andrea is a German citizen that lived and worked in London for 27 years. He also has a British passport. Moreover, before he decided to become a parent he was self-employed and running his own family law firm.
The firm got a six-figure turnover. In a good year, money could be put aside after paying overheard. But in a bad year, things were light. Andrea is someone who buys labels or eats at expensive restaurants and spends money like other people. He lived frugally.
He is getting by with whatever he has. And in the end, he does not regret any money that he has spent on his child’s upbringing.
Having a child is a bit expensive.
Andrea Woelke says that having children in London can be expensive. The local nursery charges about £2,000 a month for five days a week. Instead, Andrea decided to hire an au pair. That cost him £85 a week. And that was including board and lodging. Moreover, there was a second adult around to talk to for Andrea. He says, “That kept me sane.”
Andrea deiced to close his office and work from him. He did so to cut cost but he still ended up breaking even. Over the past few years, he had been living on savings. That is when he decided to stop working completely and move to Berlin in August 2019.
He realized that the cost of childcare was way less in Germany. Kindergarten was free for infants until they start primary school at the age of six. However, not everything is affordable. Over the counter drugs are super expensive. Paracetamol costed only 25p in England. But in Germany, the pharmacies sell only branded ones that cost about £6.50.
Andrea still was not complaining. He knew how to get by with little money. That is what he has been doing now as well.
Moreover, in Germany everyone had insurance. But it is very complicated and varies from person to person. In Germany, if one id unemployed, the job center pays for it. Even so, Andrea had to get a job to slot into that system. While he looks for that, he still has private insurance and he has enough savings to support him and his child.
No matter what, Andrea Woelke does not begrudge giving up his job to have a child. He says, “People who have children when they are in their 20s or 30s sometimes feel they missed out on their career and desperately want to go back to it, but I feel I have done everything I wanted to do as a lawyer. I did it to the max. I’ve started a new chapter in my life.”