THE CIRCLE OF LIFE
Celebrity LGBT parents
Even the most liberal of gay rights activists must have raised a curious eyebrow when Elton John’s first son Zachary was delivered on Christmas Day 2010. Surely this only happens in soap operas and on sitcoms?
For a couple who made a notorious fly-onthe-wall documentary together called Tantrums and Tiaras, about Elton John’s petulant behaviour, it wasn’t just the Daily Mail who questioned the immaculate timing of what many saw as the ultimate designer accessory. However, almost six years (and a second son later) all evidence seems to suggest that Elton and his husband David are both doting and hands-on fathers to two beautiful boys.
The couple’s remarkable quest to become parents famously began when they unsuccessfully tried to adopt a 14-months-old Ukrainian child called Lev in 2009. The couple found the baby boy in an orphanage near Donetsk and Elton announced their wish to adopt the child, explaining that Lev “has stolen my heart”. However, Ukrainian laws prevent gay men from adopting, while Elton’s age (he was 62 at the time) was also cited in the legal proceedings. The heartbroken couple vowed to support the boy financially and remain guardian angels to him as he grew up. Last year, it seems the couple lived up to that promise.
Following the unsuccessful adoption attempt, Lev was taken in by his grandmother, Yulia. While living in the south-eastern city of Mariupol, they found themselves in a potential war zone, with Russian-backed separatists threatening to attack the city. Yulia apparently
sent a desperate message to the singer, who is believed to have contacted Pinchuk (the daughter of former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma), who he knows through her work with the Aids charity she founded there in 2003. The foundation arranged for the couple to be evacuated to the country’s capital Kiev, some 500 miles away from the trouble.
Following the failed adoption, the couple found a surrogate mother in the United States and “both contributed” to the conception of Zachary – the mixing of semen specimens is not currently allowed in the UK. As part of the surrogacy programme, the semen was then used to fertilise a previously chosen egg. Their second son Elijah was born to the same surrogate mother and sharing the same anonymous egg donor, on 11 January 2013, narrowly missing Christmas but still a Capricorn. In a move that greatly aggrieved Germaine Greer, the couple kept the identity of the surrogate a secret, listing David Furnish as the “mother” on the birth certificate. The highly respected activist, academic and Celebrity Big Brother contestant felt the decision was damaging to the concept of motherhood, while she also criticised the idea of IVF. Incidentally, regardless of what the birth certificate says, the couple are known as “Daddy” and “Papa” by their boys.
Of course, Greer isn’t the first person to fall out with Elton John over IVF and gay parenting in general. In March of this year, the openly gay Italian fashion moguls Dolce and Gabbana caused a storm of controversy by claiming they didn’t agree with designer babies. “The only family is a traditional one,” Domenico Dolce stated in Italian magazine Panorama, going on to say that procreation should be an act of love. “You are
“Elton and David’s remarkable quest to become parents began when they unsuccessfully tried to ADopt A 14-montHs-olD Ukrainian child called Lev in 2009”
ELTON JOHN, WITH LEV, THE UKRAINIAN ORPHAN HE UNSUCCESSFULLYTRIED TO ADOPT
CYNTHIA NIXON AT DISNEYLAND WITH DAUGHTER SAMANTHA