Jonathan Kaplan talks about the triumphs and challenges of single fatherhood

Jonathan Kaplan talks about the triumphs and challenges of single fatherhood

Retired international rugby referee, speaker and columnist Jonathan Kaplan chose to parent a child via surrogacy. He talks to Rian van Heerden about the challenges and triumphs of single parenthood. 

jonathan kaplan with son

After a storied career as a South African Rugby Union referee that saw him officiating as many as 100 Super Rugby matches, among other fixtures. He gained a reputation as a fair and professional referee who upheld the integrity of the game and retired as the most capped Test referee

Once he had retired, he turned his attention to one of life's great challenges: raising a child. 

Not willing to let the fact of not having a partner prevent him from fulfilling a promise to himself, Jonathan chose to seek out a surrogate mother for his child. 

Speaking to Sport24, Jonathan said: "I grew up thinking that a family unit was the only way to go - get married, have kids and live happily ever after. But for some people, that is not their path. I had to go down a different road to get my family. It was about learning what the process was and then being brave enough to follow through." 

Now, Jonathan is discovering the joys of fatherhood with his son Kaleb Eli, who is now two years old. He details this journey to a beautifully unconventional family in his book, Winging It: Jonathan Kaplan's Journey from World-Class Ref to Rookie Solo Dad, which was co-authored by Joanne Jowell. 

Show's Stories