family ties

Tom Daley on the reasons he and Dustin Lance Black opted for surrogacy


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Olympic gold-medal-winning diver Tom Daley has been talking about parenthood this week. He and his husband, screenwriter and producer Dustin Lance Black, are dads to three-year-old Robert Ray Black-Daley, who was born with the aid of a gestational surrogate.

Daley, 27, talked with Giovanna Fletcher on her Happy Mum Happy Baby podcast about their decision to use a surrogate.

Daley lost his father, Rob, to a brain tumor in 2011, and Black, 47, lost his mother in 2014.

“Lance and I […] had lost so many people in our families and there was something about surrogacy that we were drawn to that just meant that we could pass on the people that we’d lost, their genes and their thoughts, their feelings, their personalities and being able to bring someone into the world, that felt so extremely special.”

Daley also talked about the challenges he and Black faced, as a gay couple, to become parents.


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“Once I started to realize that I was gay, it was like, how am I going to have children in the future? What does this look like for me? What are the options?

“Having to figure out exactly how that was going to work, looking down the routes of adoption, surrogacy and all of those different things.

“It is a lot more complicated for same-sex parents to have children and you have to really think about it and like really, really want to have kids in order to be able to make it work and it’s extremely complex for same-sex couples in a number of different ways.”

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He said his close relationship with his own father had motivated him to want to experience the same thing with a child of his own.

“For as long as I could remember, I have wanted to be a parent. […] I think because of the relationship with my mum and dad, we were so close.

“Then, when I lost my dad, it was like, I want to be everything that he was to me to someone else because every child deserves to have what I had with my dad because it was such a special relationship, we were so close.”

Daley met Black in early 2013. They married in 2017 and recently celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary.


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Robbie arrived in 2018, and they’ve indicated they are interested in extending their family further.

Daley says that he feels there is “extra pressure” on same-sex couples to prove themselves as good parents.

“Being same-sex dads, I felt a lot of extra pressure to be good parents and to be doing the right thing.

“You do always feel a bit judged when you’re out in public because you want to be showing that you’re doing the best you possibly can, and I think it can be weird sometimes for people to see two dads and a baby.

“We always felt like we had to be the best parents that we could ever be and do all of the right things, we were desperate to be parents just like everybody else.

“It was that constant feeling of having to prove ourselves above and beyond.”

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He also revealed the family, who are based in London, are still in touch with their surrogate.

“There are no words to describe how grateful you can be to someone our surrogate is so special, we speak to her all the time on Facetime with Robbie.”

These sentiments echo comments Black made in an interview with The Guardian in 2018, when he said, “I would say – this is not scientific, but close – what happened to us is what happens to 99% of people: you fall desperately, deeply in love with your surrogate … We talk daily, we send pictures, not just about him, about anything.”