Mumsnet users accuse Tom Daley of ‘child abuse’ for becoming a father
Users of internet forum Mumsnet have attacked Tom Daley for becoming a father.
Olympic diver Tom Daley and Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black this week announced the birth of their son Robbie Ray Black-Daley.
A surrogate carried the child for the married couple, who used IVF to fertilise an egg from a donor.
The surrogate has asked not to be named in media coverage, and her identity is being protected over fears of tabloid intrusion.
But users of internet parenting forum Mumsnet – which has recently faced accusations of becoming a “hotbed” of anti-transgender organising – turned their fire on Daley over the announcement.
Members of the Mumsnet women’s rights board, which is dominated by self-identified ‘radical feminist’ campaigners who lead pressure campaigns against transgender inclusivity, lashed out at Daley.
In a thread titled “The mother of Tom Daley’s child”, users vented about the couple’s parenthood and speculated about the identity of the surrogate – who was repeatedly confused with an egg donor and erroneously referred to as the “biological mother”.
One shocking message, since deleted by Mumsnet, stated: “The baby was both deprived of its mother and abandoned by its mother. That this happened was planned. I consider that to be child abuse.”
Mumsnet user therealposieparker branded the pair “Vile entitled men if you ask me”, while another user called them “wankers” and “misogynist, selfish non-law-abiding men who got around UK law to rent an American woman’s body (…) who are now audaciously shouting it from the rooftops like it is exemplary behaviour.”
Another user questioned why Black and Daley were being referred to as parents at all, saying: “They’re not able to have a child because they are both male.”
Another user wrote: “Its so sad to take a baby from its mother like that. How brutal. sad.
“It’s so offensive to women and mothers the way these 2 men are carrying on too. Renting a womb like that and buying a baby.”
Others insisted that “removing an infant from its safe sensory world and plonking it into an entirely alien new one has the potential for profound damage”, adding: “Having children is not a right.”
A string of homophobic comments have been deleted from the thread, which has nearly 1000 replies.
Some attempted to defend Daley and Black, however.
One user wrote: “How patronising of you to dictate how this woman should be allowed to use her body.
“I think if I was younger I could happily act as a surrogate and would be proud to do so. She may well not want to be mentioned in public and we have no idea how they all interacted in private and quite frankly it’s none of our business.”
Another added: “It is totally inappropriate to use emotive language about taking a baby from its’ mother or equating it to child abuse. No one is harming this child – he will be raised in a loving family by parents who desperately wanted him.”
Heterosexual celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Tyra Banks, Jimmy Fallon, Elizabeth Banks, Lucy Liu and Sarah Jessica Parker have used surrogates without any criticism.
Daley and Black have previously opened up about their decision to use a surrogate.
In a radio feature on their journey, Black said: “We have made a decision to move forward on this with full transparency, and if at all possible shed some light on what surrogacy really is, what gay parenting really is. If it makes it easier for others going forward, we will do that.”
The pair also spoke out to confirm some of the details about their child’s conception – revealing that they conceived the child via an egg donor using another woman, who has asked not to be named publicly, as a surrogate.
The pair also explained that they don’t know which of them is the child’s biological father, having both given sperm samples.
Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black said: “There’s no accidental children in this world. There’s no glass of wine, good night, and a baby nine months later. This has been off-and-on two and a half years [in the process].
“Try as we did and have, we just couldn’t get pregnant on our own! Every effort was made, let me tell you.”
Of the decision to use a surrogate, he said: “We have long debated how we build our family. I think part of it flows from… both of us have lost parents at an early age. That teaches you that there’s a connection to the past and the future when it comes to family. Children can help you connect to that.
“There’s just something for both of us, where we felt we’d like to complete that connection when creating our family and to have a biological connection to our past, to bring that into the present and let it grow into the future.
“At least for the first couple – I’ve said many times I’d like to look into adoption for the future, but that has its challenges as well, and is not an easy process for LGBT people in the world right now.”
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Opening up about their choice of surrogate, Black added: “I’ve read a couple of the tweets and there’s some big misconceptions out there about what this process is.
“I’ve never heard of someone who does not know their surrogate, and doesn’t know them well. A part of the process is either choosing someone you know and love and have that relationship with… or you have to build a relationship like that.
“The women who are willing to do this and give this gift to couples who can’t have children – there is a love and a warmth and a generosity and a kindness that’s difficult not to fall in love with.
“We certainly have that with ours. We do love her very much.
“I don’t want to give too many details because she has asked not to be named publicly. We need to respect that, and I hope the press will respect that – but they become family.
“This is a person who we love and are incredibly grateful for.”