Brian Dowling has gushed over his sister Aoife as he revealed she is acting as a surrogate for himself and his husband Arthur Gourounlian.
Big Brother star Brian, 43, opened up about his journey to parenthood in this week’s episode of Made By Mammas: The Podcast, with the married star going on to explain that he had always wanted to be a father and how his sister offered to make his dreams come true.
Brian said: “I always wanted to be a parent, I remember I brought my two younger sisters somewhere to Paris, Disney, I was working at Ryanair at the time, I think I would have been no more than 20 or 21 and they were super young. And remember telling someone that I was their parent to get them on a ride.
“I kind of thought, ‘actually do you know what, I actually do want to be a dad’, but then you know, being gay and you’re going back here to the 90s, I didn’t think it was possible to be gay and then to be able to have children, I just didn’t think it was possible.”
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Brian, is married to dancer and choreographer Arthur, with the couple expecting their first child together thanks to the help of Brian’s sister who had volunteered to act as their surrogate.
The TV star recalled the moment Aoife made the offer of a lifetime as he said: “In 2020 at Christmas, Aoife was like, ‘I’m definitely interested in doing this for you’, and we kind of thought: ‘Oh my god , maybe this is something we really need to think about’, I said to Arthur, ‘I’m 44 this year and I said by the age of 45 I just feel I’m going to be too old’ –Arthur’s two years younger than me.
“And then it was really in 2021, Arthur and I in January, we moved into our new home that we got and Arthur and I have never lived in Ireland together, so this is the first for us because I left Ireland in 1998 and I moved back in 2020.
“And her and I went for a walk and she said: ‘I’m really interested in doing this, I really, really want to help you guys out, I think you’ve done so much for me’.”
He added: “She’s single, she’s 32, so you know, so experiencing that whole thing would be an amazing feeling. But then not having the responsibility.
“So, the way it happened it was so organic, and it was Aoife that initiated these conversations and that was very reassuring for us.”
While surrogacy brought them one step closer to their dream, it wasn’t without its own hurdles, something Brian discussed candidly as he explained the journey towards parenthood for the couple.
He said: “There are still no guarantees, you can retrieve 20 eggs, 20 eggs means f**k all because you may get one viable embryo, two viable embryos! So, you can harvest as many as you like, there are no guarantees that you’ll get you know a viable healthy embryo which is really, really important. But also, when you do, your embryo transfer on that day, that may not turn into a pregnancy, it may not turn into a healthy pregnancy, there are no guarantees.”
“We were lucky you know when we went because we had lost two – we had an embryo that split into twins, but it wasn’t viable, there was an issue with it so that, so we’d lost that.
And even for me and Arthur, I cried that day. I was so sad because to me it’s not just an egg and sperm, this is an embryo, and they knew the gender and for me that was a loss.
“I know that sounds really dramatic. But for me that was a loss. I was really sad that day and I said to Arthur – we’d one embryo left, and this embryo was in a freezer for months before anything happened – and I remember thinking to Arthur… just being really sad and just thinking ‘that’s our baby and they are now by themselves’.”
However, the couple were able to successfully get an embryo to attach and Brian recalled how it all became real once he attended Aoife’s first scan and discovered that she was pregnant.
Brian recalled: “Aoife and I went for our scan, it is an internal scan which I was so worried about because I just thought a scan is just a scan, but this was an internal scan and I was like, will this hurt because this is quite a big scan.
“They were like no it won’t hurt Aoife and no, you’re going to be fine and then they put it in and Aoife and I are holding hands, and we’re crying and we hear bom, bom, bom and I tell you, I get emotional now.”
“And I tell you I just stood there and I remember just thinking oh my God, we have a baby, like, we’re pregnant and it was the strangest feeling of thinking, oh my god, we are the luckiest people in the world .
“You know, but every time Zoe, I was so afraid this was going to be taking away from us, even our scan last week, we saw the baby’s face, nose, everything and our consultant was like you are bang on trend when it comes to the size of your baby’s head, you know the fluid in the sack, the baby’s mouth was opening, tongue was coming in and out and it was almost like shit, we’ve like we’ve done this!”
While many have been supportive of Brian and Arthur’s decision to become parents, some cruel trolls have made horrific comments to Brian since he shared his and Arthur’s baby news.
Brian: “As much as we’re getting amazing feedback and amazing comments, there are people out there explained that can’t abide the fact that two men who chose to be gay are forcing this.
“You know, ‘raping a womb’, ‘renting a womb’, ‘forcing this woman into a situation'” and we’ve had that from stuff like, ‘well I hope she doesn’t get cancer from the hormones’, ‘hope she won’t die during childbirth’, ‘you shouldn’t be allowed to have a baby’, ‘you’re disgusting’, what we’re doing to this child, what we’re bringing this child into.
“On the day when that we chose to be gay, like, how odd is that, we give up the right to be parents… But you know, that is based on pure homophobia, that’s all that is.”
Brian Dowling is this week’s guest on Made By Mammas: The Podcast, out May 31, 2022.
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