Perinatal distress affects approximately 10% of fathers, but little is known about how gay fathers experience the challenges surrounding childbirth and early parenting of a child. This study explored gay fathers’ experiences of having a baby via transnational surrogacy, raising that baby as a gay parent, and the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with 15 Israeli men to understand their experiences of surrogacy and early parenthood, focusing on the impact on their mental health and the relational factors involved. Secondary narrative analysis revealed that fathers constructed surrogacy as a perilous quest that required strong intentionality to undertake. The first year of parenthood was conceptualised alternately as a joyful experience and/or one that challenged fathers’ identities and mental health. A relational framework was applied to better conceptualise the fathers’ narratives, revealing that actual connections—and the potentials for links—considerably shaped experiences of surrogacy, perinatal distress and recovery. Implications for research and policy are discussed.