Never Forget…
… where we have come from.

I was born in 1967. At the beginning of that year, it was illegal to be gay in England. Yes, a man would be sent to prison or worse, chemically castrated, simply for having consensual sex with another man. This was the sad reality for all homosexuals in England and Wales until the Sexual Offenses Bill was passed in July 1967. The sad truth is that homosexuality was still illegal in Scotland and Northern Ireland until the 1980s.

In the USA in 1967, interracial marriage was illegal in several states.  Again, you could be sent to prison or worse, publicly lynched, just for marrying a person of a different color. It was in 1967 that Loving v. Virginia led to a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court which struck down all state laws banning interracial marriage as violations of the Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. 48 years later, Loving v. Virginia was cited as precedent in the U.S. federal court decision to hold restrictions on same-sex marriage in the U.S. as unconstitutional. This led to the 2015 Supreme Court decision that gives same-sex couples across the U.S. the right to marry.

In 1978, just three years after Mirco was born, Louise Joy Brown was born. Louise is known for being the first human being to have been born after conception by in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Finally, in 1985, the U.S.’s first egg-donated IVF surrogacy took place, in quite a tragic case that became known as “Baby M.”

So why am sharing these historic facts with you all? Well, if someone had told my mum, as she was nursing me back in 1967, that I would grow up gay, emigrate to the U.S., fall in love with a man of a different race, get married under U.S. law, AND have a daughter and a son who are genetically related to each other and to their daddy and papa, respectively, then my mum (and anybody else who was listening) would have told them that although it sounds like a wonderful utopia, the story in and of itself was just a powerful work of social and scientific fiction.  

Well, it is not. Amazingly, it is all my family’s truth.

It gives me and Mirco and the greatest pleasure to introduce to you all our family. For those of you who don’t know, Mirco and I got married on March 29, 2019. Then, on June 4, 2019, at 11:.44 p.m. our daughter, Dominica Mirco Mildenhall was born in Long Beach, California. She weighed in at an impressive eight pounds, 12 ounces.  The surrogate birth mother, Lauren, was just incredible — a woman with a heart the size of a planet and the strength of a real warrior. 

Thanks to Lauren, my and Mirco’s hared dream of becoming parents became a reality. Then, five weeks later on July 8 at 12:57 p.m., our son, Oliver Mirco Mildenhall was born in Rolla, Missouri. Now, this little guy weighed in at a whopping 10 pounds, 8 ounces! That’s right — he was the second heaviest baby the nurses on the maternity ward had ever delivered. Needless to say, Ashley, Oliver’s surrogate birth mother, deserves the highest award in the land for delivering him into our arms after a pretty intense eight-hour labor. Ashley is the stuff of female legends. She is up there with my mum in terms of the strongest woman I know.

So, now we are all back home in San Francisco, California. Honestly, there is not a single day that I do not pinch myself that I get to live this life with my family. A life that when I was born was seemingly impossible but is now my brilliant (albeit a little sleep-deprived) day-to-day reality.  

All around the world right now there is increasing anxiety, hate, and anger. That said, we must not forget quite how far we have come as a society in a little over 50 years. Lovehope, and creativity are what keeps pushing the human race forward. I am truly hopeful that by the time my kids are my age they, too, will be able to write about the incredible leaps humanity has made that create equality, fairness, and loving opportunity for all.  

Life is good.

Life is beautiful.

But mostly, love is all that matters.

Finally, they say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, in our case, it took a village to birth a child. Over the last three years, Mirco and I have worked with over 65 professionals including doctors, psychologists, social workers, geneticists, lawyers, financial planners, counsellors, and nurses, among others. But this message would be incomplete without a huge thank you to the agency we worked with, Growing Generations, and the ultimate gift of kindness that we received from our surrogates, Lauren and Ashley.  

Lauren and Ashley, myself, Mirco, Dominica, and Oliver are forever in your debt. 

Thank you.

Love, the Mildenhalls

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  • Jonathan Mildenhall is the Co-Founder and CEO of the brand consultancy TwentyFirstCenturyBrand. Prior to that, he was the CMO of Airbnb. Jonathan lives with his husband (and now daughter and son) in San Francisco.