Heartbreaking: Brian Dowling has opened up about how 'so much homophobia' has been directed at him and his husband since they had a baby via surrogate

Brian Dowling and his husband have received anti-gay messages since welcoming their daughter via surrogate

‘There was so much homophobia’: Brian Dowling says he and husband Arthur Gourounlian have received anti-gay messages since welcoming their daughter Blake as a surrogate

Brian Dowling has opened up about how “so much homophobia” has been directed at him and his husband since they had a baby via surrogate.

The former Big Brother star, 44, and his partner Arthur Gourounlian welcomed their daughter Blake in September while Brian’s sister Aoife carried the baby.

The couple have been open about their surrogacy journey, and Brian shared how as a side benefit, they’ve received numerous homophobic messages, as well as constant questions about which of their biological fathers is.

Heartbreaking: Brian Dowling has opened up about how ‘so much homophobia’ has been directed at him and his husband since they had a baby via surrogate

Speaking on Kate Ferdinand’s Blended podcast, he said: “There was a lot of shame. The amount of homophobia that Arthur and I… it was so strange. Aoife has also shown herself publicly.

Brian spoke about his frustration at feeling he had to get permission from others to start a family given the lack of surrogacy legislation in Ireland.

He said: “Our journey to parenthood is very unique and with the lack of laws in Ireland, who dictates who can and can’t have families?

“I remember coming out in 2001 and we couldn’t get married, there was the (marriage) referendum in 2015. Who says I can get married?

Family: The former Big Brother star, 44, and his partner Arthur Gourounlian welcomed their daughter Blake in September, with Brian's sister Aoife carrying the baby

Family: The former Big Brother star, 44, and his partner Arthur Gourounlian welcomed their daughter Blake in September, with Brian’s sister Aoife carrying the baby

“Who decides when I can have my family? I just thought, no, let’s do that. There were times when we backed down if we were going to do an interview or something I would say you can avoid these questions.

He added: “There was interest as to who the father is. I get messages every day. People are obsessed with DNA and biology.”

Brian explained that although Aoife carried the baby, she is not the birth mother as they used an egg donor from Portugal.

About his appreciation for his sister and what she’s done for him and Arthur, Brian said he looks at her “so differently” now.

Brian said:

Brian said: “There has been a lot of shaming. The amount of homophobia that Arthur and I… it was so strange.

He said: “Aoife never thought the baby would be hers. Aoife knows it’s her niece. We have eight other nieces and nephews and it’s exactly the same relationship.

“When we made that public, we got all these things like, ‘How could she give her baby away? Shameful. She said it’s not my baby. Aoife doesn’t think motherhood is for her, but as a woman, she wanted to experience pregnancy.

“She was very emotional when she gave birth. She always wanted a cesarean, it was like that from the start. The whole long labor thing, but a cesarean, it’s more clinical. We were there with her and knew the date and time.

“There was a moment where we had the baby with Aoife and we quickly grabbed Blake and she said go, I have this. She was physically cut open and bleeding and I thought she is so vulnerable now in the hospital and she is telling me to go. I thought how brave is she?

Special moment: The reality star shared a shot from the delivery room of the couple holding Brian's sister Aoife, who was her surrogate, shortly after the birth

Special moment: The reality star shared a shot from the delivery room of the couple holding Brian’s sister Aoife, who was her surrogate, shortly after the birth

“I look at her so differently. She could tap me for anything at this point, and she didn’t.’

Brian shared how he and Arthur’s conversation about having children began when they were back living at his parents’ house in 2020 due to Covid.

He said: “In 2020 we were living again with mum and dad in the room I had with my husband as a child, it was the strangest thing. Covid gave us time to stop.

“It gave us time to catch our breath. It was time to go, what do we want? And we realized that we want a family.

“My sisters used to jokingly say I’ll do this for you, but the one who always really adamantly said it was my sister Aoife.”

How does surrogacy work and what are the laws in the UK?

Surrogacy is when a woman carries a baby to a couple who are unable to conceive or carry a child themselves.

Such couples may include those who have experienced recurrent miscarriages, repeated IVF failures, premature menopause, or a hysterectomy.

The risks of being a surrogate are the same as with any pregnancy and include nausea, heartburn, and back pain.

In extreme cases, surrogate mothers may suffer from high blood pressure or gestational diabetes.

straight surrogacy

It uses the surrogate mother’s egg and the intended father’s sperm.

It is the cheapest and simplest form of the procedure.

Host Surrogacy

Host surrogacy requires IVF using either the intended mother’s eggs or donor eggs and not the surrogate’s.

In this case, the surrogate is not genetically related to the baby.

Donor eggs can come from friends or relatives, or they can be donated anonymously.

what are the laws

Surrogacy is legal in the UK but cannot be promoted.

No third parties may be involved and surrogates may only receive payments to cover the costs incurred by the pregnancy.

In the US, surrogacy costs around $100,000 (£75,879), with laws varying from state to state.

Source: Surrogacy UK

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