Wednesday 21 February 2018

Remember, a baby is for life, not just for Christmas

There's more to being a parent than signing a cheque and taking delivery of Junior, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Right now, every media organisation in the world probably owes a massive apology to Madonna for spending the last few years gleefully caricaturing the musical superstar as a celebrity who used her wealth and influence to collect African babies the way other people pick up a pint of milk on the way home from work.

Since Elton John and civil partner David Furnish announced to almost universal acclaim that they, too, have just picked up a baby in the Christmas sales, it's become ever more apparent that Madonna's only mistake was being a heterosexual woman rather than a gay man. Ditto, Mia Farrow and Angelina Jolie. Rich Hollywood women adopting foreign babies are basically treated as hormonal loopers with too much time and money on their hands, their innermost motives belittled and ridiculed and forensically questioned by all and sundry.

Sir Elton's sexuality, by contrast, has effectively shielded him from any negative commentary. The overriding response of the media was fear of being accused of homophobia if they did not treat the news that a 63-year-old gay man had become the surrogate father to a nameless American woman's baby as a feelgood New Year's fable. And yes, I know there is a difference between adoption and surrogacy, and I know Elton or David donated sperm -- they won't say which of them it was. But what all of these celebrity parenting devices have in common is that money is an important part of making it happen.

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