Made In Chelsea star Ollie Locke reveals the highs and lows of his surrogacy journey exclusively for Slingo
Television personality and Made in Chelsea star Ollie Locke and husband Gareth have been on a well documented journey of surrogacy in their attempt to fulfil the dream of becoming parents. In an exclusive interview with Slingo, Ollie explains how the devoted couple initially came to the decision of wanting to be parents, their first unsuccessful attempt, the UK surrogacy legislation needing to change, being hopeful that their latest attempt will fulfil their dreams and more exciting news on what is to come career wise. Have a read of Ollie's full interview below.
So Ollie, when did you know you wanted to be a Dad?
I grew up in a world with Rupert Everett in My Best Friend’s Wedding and Four Weddings and a Funeral with Gareth and his long term ‘friend’ as they called it back then and all the fun gay guys in the 90’s when the legislation wasn’t around.
We couldn’t dare to think we could enjoy a life that straight couples could and I saw myself as that. But the laws have changed and we can get married and there is a way of having children and getting married that like our straight brothers and sisters have.
For me, I’m in my mid-thirties I thought that potentially there was something missing. All of my friends were having children and I learnt that I needed to be a Father and it was Gareth when he was playing with my goddaughter India, Binky’s daughter, and I sat there and I was like why am I being mad we are both in a situation where we could have children and Gareth is so good with kids and I’m really good with kids and I was like this is mad – we need a family. It was both of us watching India grow up that made us change our minds very quickly.
Did one of you need more convincing than the other?
Gareth was very open to having children – he’s keen to adopt and that’s a discussion for some time in the future. He’s incredibly excited about the prospect right now and is incredibly involved. We couldn’t be more excited between us.
Let’s talk about your surrogacy journey – what is the latest with it after the first unsuccessful attempt?
Well it was a really difficult situation. What I found interesting is that we weren’t successful the first time and you kind of imagine it will be! You keep all this hope alive and for some reason it just doesn’t take.
Luckily what’s happened through being on camera is that we have a wonderful support of people all around us and the people online are basically going through exactly the same process so at that point it’s not Ollie Locke from Made in Chelsea it’s just a guy that is going through the same thing as we are. It’s really interesting.
You’ve spoken about taking surrogacy legislation to parliament, is this something you’ve been able to do yet?
There’s two different routes we’re going down at the moment – one with a team that is a body that works with the government and there is also someone else we are doing it with which is very interesting so we’re very much on the path towards that.
We’re very lucky that we’re in a position where we can try and change things with the voice that we have and the platform we have it would be a lack of responsibility to not try and do something about it.
What is it that you would most like to see changed from your experience, and why has that spurred you to try and make a difference here?
The law hasn’t been changed in thirty years for starters. So when David Cameron became Prime Minister he changed the legislation so that gay people could get married and I think since then there has been a bit of a pause. As times have moved on in those ten/ fifteen years we need to refresh that.
At the moment its ‘oh you can get married but we’re going to make it really difficult for you to have children’, even the adoption process is very difficult. A lot of people say to us ‘oh why don’t you adopt?’ but a lot of those people interestingly haven’t adopted themselves and when you have that discussion its interesting because you say you want to go down the biological route and then they tell you \you’re being selfish’ but they’ve got three children and haven’t adopted?
I know it sounds silly but they say ‘well we can do it’ and we say ‘so can we it’s just a slightly different process’. Adoption is also a process that can be incredibly painful, incredibly long and difficult and again doesn’t guarantee a child at the end. The community is around us and the number of straight couples going through IVF is something that is absolutely not talked about – all of these situations are where trying to have a baby is not as simple as people might think it is.
I have an awful lot of straight people come us to and say thank you for bringing this to attention because this hasn’t been the easiest thing as we’re really struggling ourselves and it’s just not getting talked about.
What is the one piece of advice you would offer couples going through surrogacy?
Again, it is the people online, you will get so much advice. Annoyingly there is no one way of doing this there is an awful lot that needs to change in Britain and in the year we’ve made loads of mistakes along the way and lost loads of money through it.
There is not a booklet you can get that tells you everything about it. There are loads of different routes you can take with loads of different financial aspects that will match your own position.
I would basically say you have to go online and speak to as many people as you can, those who have been surrogates, egg donors, who have gone through the journey before etc etc. There are loads of forums where you can go and gain as much information as you possibly can before you jump into it.
Get a couple of months of talking about it under your belt first - it will save you a lot of time and money and also potentially a lot of hurt if you don’t go to the right place the first time around.
Have you had a good response to your journey from your social followers?
We’re really lucky – for some reason people are very much on our side! Everyone has been wonderful – we live in a very different world now and I think it’s great that we are talking about it because everyone knows someone who has a problem with trying to conceive a child.
It’s a very basic human aspiration and you’re allowed to have a baby if you want to have a baby. It’s a part of life if that’s your thing, I think it’s important people are there for each other.
You and Gareth have been filming some exciting shows on your Instagram – can you divulge further?
I can’t reveal anything just yet but there is something great coming. If you did want to know – there is something I can tell you is that we are in Cyprus right now and an egg has been transferred yesterday for the second time.
I’m sat here right now if I’m being completely honest with a beer in front of me in a beach club where we are taking it very easy with jazz in the background with our surrogate and her husband and she has an embryo growing inside of her hopefully.
We’re here for a week. We came out two days before the transfer, were in hospital all day yesterday and we’re all set ready to go! We have a two-week window where the egg will either latch or not. You’re basically pregnant until told otherwise but it’s just whether the egg takes and sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. we find out in two weeks!
What are you looking forward to in 2022?
A positive pregnancy test that provides us with a healthy baby. That’s what I’m looking forward to!