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Colton Underwood on his switch from 'The Bachelor' to 'Daddyhood'

Underwood is opening up about male infertility.

Former "Bachelor" contestant Colton Underwood may be best remembered for jumping a fence in a "very dramatic episode" of the show, but now he's ready to leap into "Daddyhood" in his new podcast ... and in real life, too.

After he stopped by TODAY to chat with Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager, Underwood talked to backstage to share more about his path to parenthood.

Becoming a father "has always been a goal of mine," he says. "It's been something that I've always wanted to accomplish and I never thought it was possible as a gay man."

Overcoming obstacles to parenthood

Underwood and his husband, Jordan C. Brown, began trying to start their family two years ago. At the beginning, the pair were "just sort of casual about it," Underwood says. "And immediately, the doctor was like, 'You don't have any active sperm, so I can't do much there.' So I had to do my own homework."

When Underwood started sharing the issue with family and friends, he was surprised by how many men admitted they had the same problem — but they said it in a "whispering" voice. "It was a little bit of a hit to the ego. I think a lot of men feel that way, and that's why they carry shame around talking about their fertility struggles," he says.

Over the course of six months, Underwood worked with doctors to determine a "plan of action" that included changes to his lifestyle, diet and workout regimens. Even though Brown had a "very healthy" sperm count, he made all of the changes to stand in solidarity with his husband.

At the end of that process, Underwood says he had a "full bounce back."

Next, the couple got matched with an egg donor and created frozen embryos. "That's sort of where we are now, and then we're waiting for testing on our surrogate," he says. "There are a lot of steps that go into this."

With a nine-person medical team, lawyers, an egg donor and a surrogate, Underwood acknowledges that he faces this issue from "a place of privilege," but still, he says the journey has been surprisingly emotional. The couple had to be rematched with a new egg donor because of issues with genetic testing, and their first surrogate was disqualified from the process due to some health issues.

Underwood has found support in his husband and his therapist during the journey, he says. It has been challenging for him to both have difficult conversations and share how those conversations make him feel.

“What’s been really nice is saying the quiet part out loud,” Underwood explains.

Mental health advocacy has been a passion of Underwood's for years. The Colton Underwood Legacy Foundation has been raising mental health awareness for student athletes, and he has been working with Congress to pass the Targeting Emotional and Mental Stability (“TEAMS”) Act, which would give students a wider range of resources to reach out for mental health support.

Underwood on 'Daddyhood'

Through his new podcast, "Daddyhood," Underwood says that he "really is trying to take on this role of being a bridge to Middle America to say, 'Hey, I deserve a family, too.'"  It will detail the journey toward becoming first-time fathers, LGBTQ+ family planning, and the overlooked conversations relating to mental health and parenting. 

“Some people in our country might not think we’re on the same journey as a straight couple because we’re not carrying (the baby),” Underwood says. He wants to challenge that idea.

The trickiest part of creating a family in the LGBTQ+ community, Underwood says, is the barrier to entry. Between the cost and the legal hurdles, trying to figure out how you're going to build your family can feel daunting.

"The whole goal with this (podcast) is to humanize not only the fertility journey and fertility issues but to humanize the experience for LGBTQ people," Underwood says.

Practicing parenting ... on their dogs

Underwood and Brown "parent two dogs right now and our parenting styles are very different," Underwood shares.

"I'm more the cool and casual and calm dad. He very much has to be the disciplinarian. He's pulled me aside multiple times to let me know that I have to start disciplining the dogs because they will hate him if not," Underwood says with a grin.

The pair are opposites in other ways, too. Brown is a Stanford grad who loves to read, and Underwood says that if a book "doesn't have a picture in it, it's not for me."

But they are working diligently to find middle ground, and Underwood says that whatever he may lack in terms of discipline and details, he'll make up for by being a "morning person," so there won't be any arguments over who will get up early with the baby.

And as for the dogs, Underwood and Brown have been preparing them for the baby, too. They consulted their vet because their German Shepherd and Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix are "super smart." They have begun introducing a blanket into the house that not only has a baby scent, but also the scent of their surrogate so that they know when a new person comes in, "that it's family, too."