Big Brother's Brian Dowling opens up about struggle with surrogacy in Ireland

Dowling and Gourounlian announced they are having a baby through surrogacy and opened up about the difficulties they had to face as a same-sex couple in Ireland.

Dowling and Gourounlian are having a baby through surrogacy. In the picture, the couple with Dowling's sister Aoife, who is the surrogate for the couple.
Image: Via Instagram - @bprdowling

Big Brother winner Brian Dowling and his husband, choreographer Arthur Gourounlian have opened up about the difficulties they faced as a gay couple trying to adopt or access surrogacy in Ireland. On Thursday, May 5, the pair announced they had a baby on the way on their socials and later they revealed that Dowling’s sister Aoife is the surrogate.

 The Irish television rose to fame after he won the reality show Big Brother twice. In 2015, he married professional dancer Arthur Gourounlian and in 2021 the couple bought a house in Dowling’s home county, Kildare.

After their announcement on their socials, the couple opened up with Amy Huberman on the Aldi’s Mania & Me podcast about wanting to start a family together since 2018 but, they said, their journey for them hasn’t been easy. 

Dowling and Gourounlian explained how when they started exploring the possibilities for surrogacy or adoption in Ireland, they were shut down straight away for being a same-sex couple.

“Brian and I, when we moved back, we really wanted to adopt in Ireland.” said Gourounlian “But we got some doors shut down in our faces because of being gay first of all, or there’s not enough kids to adopt in Ireland or if you want to adopt in Ireland, we will be the last on the list for gay and the age. And there are so many things and it’s really hard for us. It felt really heavy.”

Dowling recounts ringing different people in Ireland to enquire about their possibilities but said many of those people were not even interested in starting a conversation with them, the reason being that they were two men.

“To be shut down straight away just … because you’re in a same-sex relationship and you’re married and you’re gay.” said the Irish TV star “Without even advising us… as soon as you said gay, the word gay, it was completely like different.”

There is currently no specific legislation governing domestic or international surrogacy in Ireland, which means that specific legal issues arising in surrogacy are not covered by Irish law and people are not protected from discrimination.

Fortunately, the journey for Dowling and Gourounlian has led to a happy ending, also thanks to Dowling’s sister Aoife, who decided to become a surrogate for the couple and carry their baby. The Irish presenter shared his gratitude towards his sister on social media, saying: “Aoife you are an INSPIRATION to all of us. You are literally giving us THE GIFT OF LIFE. So to you Aoife & our wonderful Egg Donor none of this would be possible without you both. From the bottom of our hearts thank you. I’m so happy to confirm that both Aoife & baby are doing BRILLIANTLY”.


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