Brian Dowling and Arthur Gourounlian are set to become parents in the coming days! The pair will welcome their first child via surrogate thanks to Brian’s sister, Aoife.
The couple, who admit they had been planning to become fathers since they got married, decided to document the surrogacy journey in an RTÉ series.
Brian, who found fame on Big Brother in the early noughties, is no stranger to being followed by cameras. But the decision to create a documentary was much deeper than just any old reality show.
Speaking to VIP Magazine at the RTÉ Autumn launch, the couple confesses they want to raise awareness around surrogacy in Ireland.
“Surrogacy in Ireland isn’t legal, but it’s not illegal so there’s a loophole there somewhere,” Brian tells us.
“We sought treatment in Portugal for IVF. So when we got pregnant, we weren’t even sure if we’d be able to take Aoife to a doctor or a hospital in Ireland in case they told us, what you’re doing is wrong.”
Over the course of their journey to become parents, Brian and Arthur were forced to learn a lot about surrogacy here in Ireland. And they want to educate viewers at home about the difficult process.
“We know who the biological father is, we’ve not disclosed that, but legally it leaves one of us in limbo for two years. They have no rights. Aoife is not the biological mother of our child, we used a donor, but in Irish law, her name goes on the birth cert and at any point, Aoife can change her mind and decide to keep the baby,” he continues.
Of course, the journey to becoming fathers has been marred by online abuse and “homophobic” trolls. Brian tells us that one message read: “When you choose to become gay, you lose your right to become a parent.”
“We had been abused more or less every day on Instagram and Twitter, and being accused of the most horrendous things because we’re two men who have chosen to have a family and because we’re using surrogacy,” he confesses.
“You think, Jesus Christ it’s 2022. The things we’re being accused of doing in this day and age through surrogacy is still shocking.”
However, Arthur is quick to point out that it is not just same-sex couples who use surrogacy, saying: “It’s for everybody.”
Brian admits that he would love to chat to a straight couple who went through surrogacy to compare their journeys.
When asked if they think they would get the same amount of abuse if they were a straight couple, Brian immediately responds: “I honestly don’t think so.”
“A lot of the stuff we got, it was also homophobic. I’d love to compare our journey and our hate with someone else’s because I do think it’s all religious-based, homophobia. When you have a family that’s not the norm, everyone has an opinion. But we deserve the right to have a family.”
Brian & Arthur’s Very Modern Family will air later this year on RTÉ