Barry Du Bois knew his children were his the precise moment they were created. He saw it, felt it. It was a hot morning in Mumbai, India, when the former builder was permitted into the hospital laboratory to watch his sperm being implanted into a donor egg.
As he writes in his new book Life Force, “I was there, watching, when I saw the cell, the single cell of one of my children go… blip… into two cells. I saw that happen with my own eyes. I was there for the creation of life.
“I knew this was the time. I knew they were my children, right there and then.”
Nine months later, their Indian surrogate gave birth via C-section, while Du Bois and his wife, Leonie Tobler, waited anxiously on the other side of the theatre wall. Within moments, newborn twins Arabella and Bennett were brought into the world and straight into their parents’ arms.
That was almost six years ago. Yet as the Living Room host told Mia Freedman on Mamamia‘s No Filter podcast, their status as parents is still something some people question.
“It so frustrates me when I’ve had people say, ‘What did the mother think?’ And I say, ‘Well, my wife’s the mother. What are you talking about?'” the 57-year-old said.
“I wish surrogacy was better understood in this country. You know, I can be easily frustrated. I don’t put too much thought into the uneducated opinion of some. But those children are our children.”
The path to parenthood was a difficult one for the couple. After multiple miscarriages and IVF, Leonie was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Saving her life meant undergoing a radical hysterectomy.
“We went from little heartbeats to sobbing, many many times. And IVF, it’s not making love; it’s jabbing your partner with needles 30 times a month and being told at a certain time ‘go for it, as hard as you can’. What an imbalanced plate that is,” Du Bois, who has also fought cancer, said.