Long before we saw Oscar Madrazo on Bravo's Mexican Dynasties, he had made headlines as the first openly gay man in Latin America to have children through surrogacy. To realize his dream of fatherhood, Madrazo traveled to Growing Generations, the first surrogate mother agency for the gay and lesbian community, and eventually he brought home his twins, Anyk and Axel.
Now, after revealing so much of himself on Mexican Dynasties, Madrazo is excited to share even more of his journey to parenthood through his new documentary, My American Dream, that he has been filming for four years.
Personal Space interviewed the Qué Madrazo talk show co-host to learn more about his new documentary, if he knew he was having twins, what his current relationship status is now, and much more.
Personal Space: How did it feel to be the first openly gay man in Latin America to have children through surrogacy?
Oscar Madrazo: I didn't know what it was going to be, because it was all new. For me, for the world, for my country, for Latin America, for my surrounding, for everything. But it was something that happened with all my heart. Of course, I had the courage to do it; that’s why I took those steps, but at the same time, there was a part of me that was like — never doubting — but always thinking, “Oh my god what am I doing?”
I said that I was the only crazy guy in the world that had that wish, that dream, but when I started doing the process, I saw that other guys from other parts of the world, far away, were pursuing the same dream. That’s when I thought I’m not crazy; I'm not the only one who is thinking of this. I’m glad that the world has had a great evolution, and it has transformed that way. That’s why I share my story, a story of love. Because I want people to see it in a very different way. I want the world to have this amazing evolution for my kids, for Anyk and Axel.
PS: What are some challenges you have faced in your journey to parenthood?
OM: Everything for a time is a challenge, and the challenges change every day, in every stage of their life. My first challenge was that I had to end two longtime relationships, because they didn't want to have kids. So, after I turned 30 I said I couldn't go into another relationship. First you see if the relationship works, and then you see if they want to have kids. I said I'm going to take my time. That’s where therapy helped me very much to understand that when you have a life decision, you have to go for it. You can’t depend on other people to have the same point of view as you.
One [relationship] had kids before, because he was married in a heterosexual relationship and he had two kids. We had a beautiful relationship, with the kids too, and that is part of how I found out that I wanted my own. I was very supportive of his kids, so it was very heartbreaking when I understood that he didn't want to have more kids. Now I understand it better.
PS: Where did you go from there?
OM: At first, I had some friends that wanted to help, but my lawyers said you better do it on your own with an egg donor and surrogate. I saw it more of a project as two people helping for a family of three. It was difficult, because I said what’s going to happen with my personal and love life?
My therapist said something very smart that gave me a lot of strength: Things don't come in the order that you always want, so you have to change the equation. First, pursue what you want most in your life — to have your kid (supposing that it was going to be one), and then you have this family picture, and someone is going to fall in love with that. Of course, the options are going to narrow because some people in the gay world are more into the party scene; the fashion, traveling, and a life without that kind of responsibility (that nowadays has changed very much), but at that time it was crazy for anyone I would date. They saw it as something that was a big compromise, and they saw it like putting them in second grade of importance in their life, because they (my kids) would always come first. So, it was very difficult.
PS: How did that affect your personal life at that time?
OM: I had relationships, but they weren't long-term, because it was difficult for them to assimilate, to understand, and to live it. At that point, I wouldn't share my personal relationships with the kids, because they were very young and they wouldn't understand, it wasn't the moment for them to see someone very close. But now, it’s been very recent where I'm sharing with my kids. Now that they are teenagers, they understand about my dream of finding love. They are meeting people that I date and they didn't understand how difficult it was to find a relationship, the time to date… and at that time I didn't want them to compete with that, or they would get confused… it’s been different now, a different kind of dating. It’s great. That’s life, and we are living it together from another point of view, now that they are teenagers.
PS: Did you always plan on having twins, or was it a surprise?
OM: I never knew it was going to be two! When I found out, I was in a panic: “How am I going to deal with two, if I don't know how to take care of one?” It was a great surprise, and the surrogate, she was amazing with me. We had agreed on just one, because she was scared of having a double or triple, a multiple pregnancy. By the time she went to the ultrasound and I called to see how everything was going, she said “Oscar, I have a surprise… there are two!” I was like, “Oh my god.” I was frightened and in panic because we agreed on something, and I respect my word. She agreed and said, “But for me it’s going to be a few months, and for you it’s going to be the rest of your life. I love you very much… and I'm going to let you make the decision.” Of course I’m keeping both babies! A few months after, we found out it was a boy and girl, and it has all been a joy, a blessing, and I'm really, really grateful for it.
PS: What did you do to prepare for fatherhood?
OM: This is funny because my dad was a twin; then my brother had twins, a boy and girl too, and now his daughter has twins. So there is something in the family, we have twins! Thank god I’m super organized, that is part of my success in parenthood. It’s easier to have twins, because you put everything in a program: They have to take a bath at the same time and eat at the same time… I really saw it with my sister, Paulina— she had a baby eight months after they were born, and one can be very demanding, so you just do everything around it.
With twins, you have to make it more practical and easy. I didn't really take any advice, I started developing my own skills and my own manual of life for them; it was great. Of course I’ve always had the support of my mom and my family, not with specific roles, because I like to do everything myself. I had a fantastic nanny. Really more than nanny, someone who had all those studies from nursing and how to educate, and she was with us for four and half years. I'm always very thankful to her, because she helped me through that process and also taught me a lot of things that I had to learn. But the most important thing is your instinct and all the love you have. You see they need you to take care of them and to guide them. Do it with your heart and your instinct.
PS: What else has changed now that they are teenagers?
OM: We have always been so close, but now I see them always with a line of respect that I’m their dad, but it’s more of that friendship. We are both going through different moments, we are together for that, so I give them my advice and experiences… I'm very open to them to everything. I explain everything — everything that is happening in life and around them, and things that can happen… so that gives me a very great communication with them, and they tell me everything.
Now that they have seen Mexican Dynasties, they see another side of me that they have never seen before. Like me dating and things that you don't share, because that is your personal life. but now that I have exposed it, they see it. (On Mexican Dynasties) when I was talking about a prostitute, that I had in those teenager years, where I used to go with my friends to have sex... they went, “oh my god! You did that? How was it?” It opened that conversation with them, and I am so happy that I can talk to them about everything. They understand it because I'm sharing my personal life with them, too.
PS: What does your dating life look like right now?
OM: For a few months (after that last episode), I was single, and I started a relationship five months ago. We met seven months ago, but we started five months ago, and I'm very happy now in this moment. I always see relationships as something you will never understand. Love is the told and the untold story of life, and you don't know where that is going to take you. I always enjoy the moment. When you look to the future all the time, you stop enjoying the present, and you start to change things. I don't want to make the same mistakes I have done in the past, so I'm enjoying it very much. I'm being myself and letting the other person be himself and enjoy time together… It’s been great.
PS: Have Anyk and Axel met him?
OM: Before I would have waited a long time to say, OK, you have to meet this person. But now they get everything, they get my feelings… when I tell them I'm having the opportunity to get to know someone better, they get curious and they want to meet the person. Now I like to see their reactions and how they get along together. They like him very much, and they are enjoying meeting him. It’s a great person who is very open to spend time with family and kids. And for me that’s number one… so I always see how that develops. Not that I don’t have my own time for the relationship. Of course I give it the independence it needs, I don’t talk 24/7 about the kids. I’ve been so happy when I'm single, and my life is all together and that is a plus. You have to find your happiness in different moments and different points of life.
PS: Are you interested in having more kids?
OM: I froze some embryos. I had them for many years, and it was very difficult for me, at a point, to decide not to have more kids. Not that I wouldn't like it, but it’s a big responsibility… and my kids are at a different age and moment. I decided on finishing with that story. Not that I would be closed to it, because when you are in a new relationship you have to be open to the possibility to fulfill their dream. For me, it was traumatic that I was with these two guys that didn't want to have more kids, and I thought it was very selfish. I didn't think it was very nice, because when you are in a relationship you have to be open to fulfill your couple’s dream. So, I would be open just because I lived that before, but I wouldn't take full responsibility for doing it on my own the way I did it. But I would be 100 percent supportive that the person would do it the way he wants to do it, and of course, be there as the second parent. To support their needs. But not something I would decide for myself again.
PS: What advice would you offer to someone who is interested in surrogacy?
OM: Surrogacy, I see it as a miracle to make things happen for any person who would want to have babies. It’s a great option that we have nowadays. It’s great to live in this era where you have that option… of course that’s why I share my story, to say go for it — if it will make your life complete and happy.
When some people tell me, 'I don't know if I should have kids' … the worst thing is to doubt it, because if you let the time go by, you're going to think why didn't I do it? For me, the best thing was to be as sure as I was that I wanted it. If you make a decision that you don’t want to do it — like when I ended my story with the frozen embryos, that’s when you have to decide for yourself. When you are in one extreme, or the other, then it’s easy to decide. When you are in the middle, it’s terrible. If you are just doing it because you are married and that’s the next step, when you are unsure about it…
That’s what happened to Paulina, my sister. She was in a relationship and was married. She had two beautiful kids, and everything, then her relationship finished because she wasn't sure when she already had the kids. It’s very difficult if you are in the middle… or if it’s because it’s the next thing to do in the marriage or to keep the marriage. I tell people, just do it from your heart. Take the time or therapy to understand, to make a decision. Because once you make the decision, you are responsible for the decision you are making, and you won’t regret it in the future.
PS: How did you decide it was the right time to share your story?
OM: When they turned 10 years, I thought if the world has changed, and they have less prejudice because there is always prejudice, but if they started seeing it from another perspective, with a lot of respect, I would share my story so the kids could feel very proud about it. For me, it was very important from the very beginning, to be very transparent with them and tell them how great their story is and for them to understand that they are messengers of love of a new generation.
Every great gift in life comes with a lot of responsibility and a big message. They are super proud of our story, and they understand. It’s great, in the meantime, in those years it helped very much when Elton John did it, when Ricky Martin, Sarah Jessica Parker, when celebrities started doing it. It helped very much for people to understand, most of all, the process.
For people, before talking about embryos and surrogacy and transfer, they saw it like an experiment... I didn't want people to see it like that, because in the end that’s a procedure, and that’s just the way to realize your dream. I wanted people to see it with heart and love, and that was very important so that’s why I share it. I want people to understand the main concept: It’s just finding out the way to design your own life, and to have the most precious thing we could all have, which from my perspective, was having a kid… to bring them into this fantastic world.
That’s why I decided to do Mexican Dynasties with Bravo, because they saw it the same way I see it, and portray it with the same love that I have and that’s also why I started doing this amazing documentary movie called My American Dream.
Four years ago, when Anyk and Axel were 10 years old, we took this amazing trip to Los Angeles, California, because they were born there and that’s where I did that process. I call it My American Dream, because in my country it is forbidden, we have a lot of issues — they consider it trafficking tissues. So, it’s a whole different thing… 16 years ago, when I started the process, the only place I found was in California… I had a few options (it was legal in five U.S. states), but I felt very safe in California, when I saw it was really professional and happening. I said yes, I’m going to do it. I took my time, I took therapy, and working on it. Not to be sure, because I was born sure about it. But I wanted to understand the responsibility… to watch through that path and understand. One day, it was the 31st of December, I said I wanted to do it... I submitted my information that day and I started the process. Luckily one year and a half after, I had Anyk and Axel with me because everything went smooth and well.
PS: Tell us more about your documentary.
OM: I’m super excited… there will be a continuity of our family and our legacy! My American Dream, we’ve been filming for four years and we are in the last process of post-production: color-correcting, sound, and we have to do some interviews with Anyk and Axel. Now that they turned 14 they have a different point of view and we can complete the film... in Mexico, it’s already arranged with distributors and cinemas. I just want to continue to give people the other point of view to the story, it's beautiful.
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