Parenting

Is Elton John selfish for wanting another baby at 65?

Is Elton John selfish for wanting another baby at 65?

Elton John with his partner David Furnish.

Exciting baby news from Sir Elton John and his David Furnish, who are expecting their second child with the help of a surrogate mother, has made for celebratory headlines and prompted an outpouring of gushing messages of congratulations.

But not everyone is happy about the famous couple’s decision welcome another child into their family via surrogacy.

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The announcement reignites an ongoing debate about the adoption of children by same sex couples, denying the babies a mother or father.

The discussion was previously fuelled in 2010 with the arrival of the couple’s first child, Zachary, with some saying the stage star’s decision to “buy” a baby was selfish.

Daily Mail columnist Andrew Pierce, who is gay and was adopted himself, wrote that he thought all children deserved a mother and father.

“Let me make my position clear,” he wrote.

“I am a gay man and I believe same sex couples should be allowed to adopt or have their own children — although I think that in ideal circumstances a child should be brought up by a mother and father.”

While Pierce’s position was unpopular, it was not totally unique, and as surrogacy and other forms of assisted reproduction available to gay couples grow in popularity and accessibility, the debate continues.

In an investigation in the November issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly, we look at the impact on children growing up in motherless households.

For the first time in history, says Professor Margaret Somerville, an Australian-born ethicist and the founding director at the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law and McGill University in Canada, society is becoming a willing accomplice in creating a “motherless” generation of so-called “stolen” children who, because of the anonymous nature of many overseas surrogacy agreements, may never be able to find the women who make up half their biological identity.

Professor Somerville is against surrogacy, saying that is breaks what is arguably the most intimate of all bonds, that of a mother and a child.

“To intentionally deprive someone of their heritage is wrong,” she says.

Yet other experts argue that concerns like those of Professor Somerville and Andrew Pierce, may be too pessimistic.

President of Surrogacy Australia, Sam Everingham, says such negative concerns are unfounded.

“As long as the parents are open and honest with the children about how they were created and they keep any books and records, then that is going to be the most important information the kids need as they grow up,” he says. “And this is an important debate for people to engage with and think about.

“We have large communities of gay dads and children in both Sydney and Melbourne, and most of those families have significant female influences, whether it’s grandmothers, aunties or even ex-girlfriends, who are part of these kids’ lives. So the fears that people have that there are not going to be women as role models are not usually born out.

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“Families in Australia are changing and perhaps the old model of the nuclear family is changing, too. There are many, many families in Australia where only one parent has a biological link to the child and sometimes neither parent has that link. And that is a reality.”

Elton and David are reportedly “over the moon” at the prospect of becoming of parents for a second time.

Their second child is reported to be due in the new year.

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