Have you heard? A social media firestorm occurred over the weekend centered around IVF, surrogacy and gay adoption. Iconic fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, interviewed by Italian magazine Panorama, made what most deemed to be incredibly insensitive remarks,calling IVF babies “children of chemistry, synthetic children.” They then went on to describe surrogacy and sperm donation as: “Uteruses for rent, semen chosen from a catalog.” Adding fuel to the fire, both men came out against gay adoption too.
Their comments were outrageous, rude and callous and they hit where it hurts most: the hearts of the men and women who have become parents via IVF and/or surrogacy, many of whom endured years of struggle, emotionally, medically and financially, to build their family.
Bravo to another icon, Sir Elton John, who responded on Instagram, calling for a boycott of the designers’ fashion brand: “How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic’. “And shame on you for wagging your judgmental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfill their dream of having children.”
Of course, we are incredibly proud to have helped Elton John and his husband, David Furnish, create their two beautiful children via surrogacy. “If you ever saw David and Elton with their two kids, you would never see a more loving, compassionate family in your life,” says Center for Surrogate Parenting founder and president, Bill Handel. “Why anyone would ever take that sentiment away from the creation of this family is beyond me.”
Our pride swelled even further today when we heard Elton John took the lead in condemning Dolce & Gabbana’s remarks. He has been joined by a ground swelling of support, both from celebrities and the non famous, who are arduously defending their children and focusing attention on how society’s views need to change about this medical procedure that accounts for over one percent of all births in the U.S.
The five million + IVF children are real, including the children of our owners, Karen Synesiou and Bill Handel as well as the children of the many parents we have helped through CSP. The love that IVF and surrogacy parents have for their children, starting way before they are born, is real. The struggles all IVF parents experience, gay and straight, to build their families is real. The science behind developing and perfecting in vitro fertilization and other assisted reproductive technologies is real. The love that surrogates have for helping others fulfill their dream of parenthood is real. There is nothing synthetic about any of this. Everyone has a right to freedom of expression and their own views, but when you insult the children and family building options of the mama and papa bears of the world, then you also have to expect their reaction.