dr. antonio marsocci
the real STORY
Passionate About Inspiring Others
Antonio Marsocci, An HIV-positive British man 47, went ahead with his dream of being a dad and now is an happy father of twins girls
The fashion consultant was turned down by doctors who told him he would never find a surrogate willing to carry his baby.
But Antonio found a clinic where he was told the risk of passing on HIV through his sperm was not existent. And an egg donor was found in the Ukraine.
His mission to be a dad has caused a split with his family.
But as he cradles two-month-old daughters Anna and Maria, Antonio says: “I have dreamed of having a family – but the fact I was single, gay and HIV positive was always a barrier.
“Now I can’t stop looking at them and cuddling them.
“When a blood test confirmed both were free from HIV I broke down and wept.
“I knew the risk of me passing on the virus was not existent but there was always that little element of worry, so I was overjoyed when they tested negative.
“I have been through so much disappointment in my life. So to finally be a dad feels like a dream.
“And I am on tablets to keep my HIV under control. As long as I continue to take medication my life expectancy is normal. My daughters are healthy too.”
Antonio realises he could face a backlash over the births and the HIV risk to his daughters, no matter how small.
But he says the odds have always been stacked against him in his desperate quest to be a dad.
He was diagnosed HIV-positive at 32 and feared he may never have children. When a long-term relationship ended in 2017 he felt the odds had been slashed again.
“I always believed I’d have a baby with a partner, but then I began to consider going it alone,” says Italian-born Antonio, of South London.
He started looking into adoption and even travelled to America in the hope of having a family that way.
“Adoption agencies said I could, but priority would always be for couples and single mums. It meant I might wait years and never get to the top of the list,” says Antonio.
“Meanwhile IVF clinics said I would never find a surrogate to carry the babies of a man with HIV.”
Then a friend told him a clinic in Cyprus might be able to help.
“The doctors there were very professional. They told me modern medicine meant a woman could safely carry my babies and they would be born healthy. I was delighted.”
Within weeks of signing up, an anonymous egg donor was found in Eastern European.
“All I know is she is blonde, blue-eyed, tall and a married mum,” he says. Five of her eggs were successfully fertilised with Antonio’s sperm and the embryos frozen.
“It all happened incredibly fast,” he says. “Within a few weeks a surrogate from the Ukraine was found. Doctors said it was unlikely she would get pregnant straight away – so I was amazed when the test was positive after the first implant.
“Then at 12 weeks I found out she was carrying twins as the embryo had split. I was stunned.”
Over the next six months, Antonio regularly flew to Cyprus to accompany the surrogate to scans.
He says: “They were so emotional and I feel so grateful to both women.” In November, Antonio was told the surrogate was in hospital and his babies could be born any day.
He says: “They arrived two weeks shy of their due date.”
Anna and Maria were born by C-section in December, both weighing a healthy 5lb 7oz, as Antonio nervously waited outside the delivery room.
“I went in to see them and they were so tiny, so perfect. As I held each of them in my arms I was overwhelmed with joy.”
Three days later Antonio left the hospital with his daughters.
The whole process has cost him £80,000 – but he says: “My girls are worth every penny.” The only shadow over his joy is the lack of contact from his closest family members.
“Friends and some family were supportive and thrilled for me,” he says.
“But my parents could never accept I am gay. I didn’t come out until my 20s and even then I hid it years from my parents.
“A couple of times I tried to tell them but they didn’t want to listen. My father died several years ago.
“I hoped my mother and older brother would be happy that I’ve had the girls. I sent a book of photos of myself and the twins to them a few weeks ago, but I haven’t heard back.
“Some might say I have denied my daughters a mum.
"But I believe having a loving parent is what really matters and I will be honest with my girls about how they were conceived as they grow up.
“As a single working dad I will also have to have help – maybe a female nanny.”
Antonio says he may even try for more children.
“I still have four frozen embryos left – a little boy would be a lovely balance to my family.”