Monday, 3 September 2012

From Australia: Dad's destiny fulfilled in a picture perfect life

Dad's destiny fulfilled in a picture perfect life



HAROLD David never dreamed of becoming a dad a few years ago - the single gay photographer just didn't think it was possible. 
But with the help of a surrogate program in India, the Sydney snapper today celebrates his first Father's Day as the loving dad to six-month-old twins Franklin and Henry.

"Being a dad means everything to me," David told The Sunday Telegraph from his home in Sydney's west.

"I am over the moon. This is my world now.

"When this happened I just knew this is what I was destined to do and be."

Becoming a father was an 11-month process for David, who engaged the services of doctor Shivani Sachdev-Gour, of New Delhi's Surrogacy Centre India.

"Dr Shivani led me by the hand the whole way, I trusted her completely," he said. "She sent me lots of options for surrogates and I chose. We got pregnant straight away with twins and nine months later, I had my babies. It was very straightforward."

In total, David paid up to $45,000, including the cost of two trips to India.

Dr Shivani's services cost between $22,000 and $28,000 and clients can choose to pay more if they require an egg donor in addition to a surrogate mother.

Prospective women are heavily screened and must be married and finished with having children before undertaking surrogacy.

David used his sperm and chose to pay extra for an "educated egg donor", meaning his sons' biological mother has a university degree.

"The woman had her masters degree in psychology so the eggs cost $1000 more," he explained. "I paid extra money for a certain set of criteria."

David, 50, moved to Australia from the United States in 1995. He is single but had been in a relationship for 15 years previously.

David is one of our most respected fashion photographers, with his work featured in magazines including Vogue, Marie Claire, Harper's Bazaar, and Grazia.

As a freelance photographer, his work hours change weekly so he has three different nannies on call to help with caring for his boys.

"I have always wanted to be a father," he said.

"I remember the one thing my mother said to me when I told her I was gay is that it is really sad because you're never going to have a family. It is fantastic to live in a world where that is not the case and I feel really good about that."

David met Henry and Franklin's surrogate mother after their birth. He has decided they will have no contact with her, although they have the option of getting in touch with her through SCI at any time.

David concedes surrogacy is a controversial issue but to those that don't agree, he says: "I don't care what they think. It is none of my business what they think. These guys are going to have such a rich and fortunate life."