By Ilan Weisberg, who lives in Brooklyn and works as a doctor in Manhattan

As Father’s Day approaches this Sunday, I still can’t believe that I am lucky enough to be the father of a one-year-old little girl, Ellie! When my daughter was born, I was in total shock for a few seconds and it was as if the world had frozen. Then I felt like the happiness man in the world and that feeling has only intensified.

I had my daughter through a surrogate, using the surrogacy agency, Family Source Consultants. It’s based in Illinois and Florida – two of the country’s most surrogate ‘friendly’ states.

I decided to embark on this journey because I had always dreamt of have a biological child and, as a single gay man at the time, I knew my options were limited. For example, I have heard that I would face many obstacles if I wanted to adopt and health insurance tends to cover fertility options for women only.

Before I met with Family Source Consultants to find out the surrogacy process, I had so many misconceptions. One of my worries was that the surrogate might keep the baby – and a lot of my close friends and family had this fear, too. The reality is that surrogates already have their own children and don’t want another. They sign up to the process to help make baby dreams come true for other people.

Yes, it is important that the surrogate delivers in a state where the intended parents’ legal rights are protected, but I soon realized that the surrogate also needs her right to giving up the baby to be legally protected. Some of the best states for legal protection of both intended parents and surrogates include Illinois, Florida, California, Nevada, Arkansas and Connecticut.

Intended parents can expect to have a close bond with the surrogate and her family for the rest of your life. It’s not just the surrogate who sign-ups to the process – it’s her whole family because the pregnancy can also affect her husband and children. I have such a special connection with my surrogate and her family (they recently attended my daughter’s first birthday party!) and I feel blessed that they will always be part of my life. I’ve never felt fearful of getting too close to them.

My daughter has also brought my own family closer – her grandparents especially adore spending time with her – and I have been lucky enough to meet a supportive partner who is like a second father to her.

Family Source Consultants is one of North America’s leading surrogacy agencies. When matching and facilitating Gestational Surrogacy and Egg Donation arrangements, Family Source Consultants work with traditional, gay or lesbian couples and individuals of all races, religious and ethnic backgrounds. They provide personalized support throughout the entire process and work with leading reproductive law attorneys and doctors.

Staci Swiderski, CEO and owner of Family Source Consultants has been involved in the field of reproductive medicine since 2002. Staci has vigorously grown the comprehensive egg donation and gestational surrogacy agency to become a worldwide leader in the third-party reproduction field. Staci is a former intended parent herself. She and her husband welcomed their son via gestational surrogacy in 2005. Additionally, Staci had the experience of assisting an infertile couple (AKA Recipient Parents) build their family through her efforts as an egg donor, with her donation resulting in the births of their son and daughter.