Ian Thorpe’s partner Ryan Channing was spotted visiting an LA fertility clinic last week and the Olympic champion has just confirmed they’re taking steps to become parents.
“It’s still early days”
Ryan and Ian have been together since 2015 and are now exploring surrogacy in a bid to start a family.
“We’re talking about it and have for a while, but it’s still early days,” Ian told the Daily Mail. “We decided to visit the clinic in LA – it’s all part of the plan at this stage.”
Ryan popped in to Beverly Hills’ Southern California Reproductive Clinic while Ian remained in Australia fulfilling work commitments at the Australian Open.
Detailing the reasons behind their US baby-making mission, Ryan said it’s near impossible for same-sex couples to pursue surrogacy here in Australia.
“Becoming parents is something that Ian and myself would love to make happen,” he said. “Unfortunately the laws in Australia are difficult for [male] same sex [couples] in regards to surrogacy. California state law has really progressed in this space which makes it the best option legally.”
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Australia doesn’t have the same options for couples to enter into commercial surrogacy, with only ‘altruistic surrogacy’ permitted in most states.
In Australia a surrogate can’t be paid for carrying the baby – although the costs associated with her pregnancy and birth can be paid by the baby’s parents.
Ryan highlighted how unfair and heartbreaking the current surrogacy laws are in Australia, noting that it’s “something I would love to see progress further in Australia so same sex couples don’t have to travel abroad to achieve their family goals.”
“It feels easier”
While some invasive paparazzi photos of Ryan entering and leaving the clinic have prompted this confirmation, it’s clear that Ian’s now keen to be open about his life – in the name of living authentically and helping others.
It hasn’t always been this way. After years of not being ready to talk about his sexuality and denying he was gay, he came out during an interview with Michael Parkinson.
“I’m comfortable saying I’m a gay man,” he told Parky in 2014. ” I don’t want people to feel the same way I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay.”
” I am telling the world that I am gay… and I hope this makes it easier for others now, and even if you’ve held it in for years, it feels easier to get it out.”
“I’ve wanted to [come out] for some time but I couldn’t,” he explained. “I didn’t feel as though I could. What happened was I felt the lie had become so big that I didn’t want people to question my integrity.”
Ian’s gone from strength to strength since he opened up about his life. Later in 2014 he received a Doctor of Letters from Macquarie University for his contribution for the sport, philanthropy and indigenous rights. He also went on to campaign for marriage equality during the 2017 postal survey.
We hope that Ryan and Ian’s quest to become parents – and the awareness they’re bringing to the challenges same-sex couples encounter when they’re trying to have a family – incites some reform to commercial surrogacy laws locally.
Because love is love. And couples who want to have babies should be able to. We look forward to seeing Ryan and Ian’s little one some day soon!