Tom Ford — the 45-year-old Gucci designer who has cooed over the prospect of having a baby — may soon join the Pop Luck Club.
"I'm going to have a kid in 2008," Ford recently told Fantastic Man, the Gentleman's Style journal. "I've always wanted kids. I don't want to get to be 75 years old and just have made a lot of dresses, done some houses."
Ford is part of what appears to be a shift in attitude among gay men in their 30s and 40s, who hadn't traditionally been all that keen on becoming parents.
But now, according to medical experts and men in the gay community, neither gender, nor sexual orientation, nor age is an impediment to having babies. And in one of the last breakthroughs of the gay pride movement, more male same-sex couples are now embracing gestational surrogacy to have a biological child.
In Ford's case, Richard Buckley, former fashion photographer and Ford's 20-year-partner, has said in the past he wanted nothing to do with babies. In 2005, Buckley retired as editor-in-chief of Vogues Hommes International and moved to Italy after being treated for cancer.
The "who's-your-daddy" debate within the Ford-Buckley relationship underscores the generation gap within the male gay community when it comes to accepting fatherhood.
"When I was in my 20s, it was unheard of for gay men to want babies to begin with," said David, a 45-year-old gay writer from California, who preferred not to use his full name. "It wasn't a reality. Society said 'no way.' Society is slowly changing and there is [a] whole other level of coming out. Before, we worried about being gay and living with someone else."
By the time David was in his 30s, men with financial means considered adoption, but "it was still difficult. A lot of my older friends had come out of marriages and already have children — men who had come out of divorces when they finally accepted or confronted the fact that they were gay.
"Parenthood is now an option," he said. "Men are realizing that with all this support, 'I don't want to adopt a child, I can have some of my own genetic material.'"
Giving gay men the opportunity to have children also unites families, according to the Center for Surrogate Parenting, which has clinics in California and Maryland.
"Most men who fell in love with another man thought they would never have a family," said Karen Synesious, center director. "Through surrogacy, they could not only love each other, but raise a child together.
"Just because your son is gay, doesn't mean you can't be a grandparent," she added. "Families see it's not the end of the line just because their son is in love with a man. Now it's easier to accept."
In the 1990s, lesbians pioneered gay parenthood using artificial insemination from donor sperm. Rock singer Melissa Etheridge revealed that her two children with partner Julie Cypher had been sired with sperm from the "sixty-ish," "balding" and "overweight" David Crosby, according to a 2005 article in Rolling Stone magazine. "Though not the traits most women would look for in a donor profile," Etheridge apparently admired his musical ability.
But for gay men who want to raise a child from infancy, adoption is not always an option because there are so few available, domestically. Of the 135,000 annual adoptions, more than half are within a family, according to Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.