Surrogacy Journey Told in New Book, Designer Baby

JAYSON Brundson and his partner Aaron Elias were nervously waiting at the airport ready to bring their newborn to Australia when the worst happened.

After enduring years of paperwork and emotional stress, they finally had their baby — born to a Thai surrogate — in their arms.

But someone had tipped off local officials, and they were detained at Bangkok airport for “human trafficking”.

Their situation was delicate, as the couple had chosen a surrogate in Thailand just before the abandonment of surrogate baby Gammy made international news.

In the wake of Gammy, the Thai Government ordered an audit into IVF clinics which led to closure of the All IVF Center, which Aaron and Jayson were using.

Their surrogate, Supaphorn, was already pregnant.

After the audit of the IVF clinics, the lives of 50 Australian couples — Jason and Aaron included — were thrown into total disarray.

“It was only after intervention from the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, who arranged a pact with the Thai Government, which then agreed to allow pregnancies already in progress to continue,” says Aaron.

Aaron said the pair were devastated, and in limbo for months prior to the Thai and Australian government’s intervention, as at one stage, there was every chance they wouldn’t ever be able to bring their son home.

Fortunately, once the governmental issues were resolved, the pair travelled to Bangkok to be at the birth and to bring home their son, Roman. But leaving Thailand wasn’t an easy ride.

“We absolutely abided by new legislations, arduous protocol paperwork and with aid from the Australian embassy and various Thai officials we ended up with a safe return,” said Aaron.

“But en route, someone tipped off Thai customs to our departure and we were detained at the airport for ‘human trafficking’.

“We couldn’t believe it”, Aaron said, recalling the nerve wracking day at the airport.

“We were pulled aside, basically interrogated and asked where the ‘mother’ of our baby boy was.

“We quickly called our beautiful surrogate Supaphorn, who had signed all the appropriate paperwork, so she could come to the airport to reiterate the situation.

“There were last minute negotiations between the Australian Embassy and Thai officials who cleared the charge 15 minutes before the plane was due to take off, so we finally made the trip back home with our new baby.”

It had been a long journey to parenthood for the couple, who have been together for eighteen years.

Fashion designer Jason, and his partner Aaron were regulars on the party scene — enjoying the high flying life of parties, models, and celebrities.

But beneath the surface they had always wanted a baby. They struggled through years of health problems and their business going bankrupt before their dream of parenthood came true.

Aaron has now written a book about the couple’s journey Designer Baby: A Surrogacy Journey from Fashion to Fatherhood.

“I really wanted to write the book so the whole story, from beginning to end, could be told.

“I talk about it all, from Roman’s biological mother, to our Thai surrogate mother, the nay-sayers, Jayson’s fashion business going under during the GFC, his 3 year cancer treatment, the pressure of keeping the pregnancy quiet and everything in between.”

While the marriage equality discussion is still a hot topic, particularly in Australia, ‘gay’ parenting and surrogacy is an even hotter one.

But Aaron says it doesn’t matter what critics say, fatherhood is his “calling”.

“I am a better man today and with Roman in our lives, we are complete, a family,” he tells

“He made us understand what it means to have a father’s unconditional love for his child.

“There is nothing else I want more now, except his wellbeing and to be the greatest father in the world to him. I will give my life to him.”

Designer Baby: A Surrogacy Journey from Fashion to Fatherhood. from Impact Press hits the shelves on April 1

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*Melissa Hoyer has been asked to speak about this ‘modern family’ at the book’s launch

Why These Jeans Are So Very Wrong

NO. Just no. They’re called ‘Clear Knee Mom Jeans’ which in my book is fashionese for fairly hideous.

Jeans are usually a fairly predictable wardrobe proposition. You eventually find the shape, label and colour that usually suits you and sure, sometimes we’re overwhelmed with choice … but finally we get there and go home with a pair that you often can’t live without.

Shame the same can’t be said for these plastic, knee-panelled example of complete and utter fashion craziness.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of fashion crazy. A mushroom perm in the late 80s proved that point entirely. But you have to draw the line at plain kooky/ugly/crazy.

There doesn’t seem to be one redeeming feature about these windowpane knee wonders.

‘Mom’-style jeans (just think Kath & Kim’s Kath Day-Knight and you get the picture) are a hard sell at the best of times.

While there has been an upward swing in the ‘rise’ (aka of the height of the front and the length of jean’s zip or fastenings) in the past few seasons, there is a fine line in making them look, well, young and fresh and not too ‘mumsy’.

Enter Topshop — that affordable bastion for all fashion things relevant and, umm, on-trend — who are either taking the absolute style p^ss or honestly think their Moto Clear Patent Mom Jeans fit some kind of ‘cool’ fashion criteria.

The ‘comfy-fit’, tapered, pocketed jeans may be a tad healthier than the mega tight ones that are also currently causing a style stir but these distressed denim wonders — there’s an 80s throwback trend right there — feature two delightful, clear plastic panels halfway down the cropped leg, just in time for our nobbly/awkward/bulbous/discoloured/even hairy knees to get a lovely outing.

But it’s not a particularly attractive outing. Isn’t it a shame that one of the plainest, if not clunkiest parts of our legs has been given a visual stage, a shop window if you like to show off their wears. But why, oh why?

Imagine on a hot and steamy day, when those very clear ‘futuristic’ plastic panels start getting a little hot and misty? Or when you need to get down on your knees (get your mind out of the gutter please) to do something, anything, from picking up your kids from the playpen to literally getting on your knees to get something out of a cupboard.

Seriously, the whole style and concept of these are just so many shades of wrong.

Of course there will be fans of these ‘moms’. There will be a crew of cool-school, self-anointed fashion-squad members who will throw them on with a mega Louboutin heel, some fresh-coloured fishnets underneath, get it up on Insta and voila! A cult fashion trend will be born and any animosity toward them will be proven wrong.

Personally, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the washing-of-them situation. You’d have to definitely forgo the hot water and major rinse cycle for fear of ending up with a few shrunk panels.

Topshop and Nordstrom are promoting and selling them for around $95 a pop.

While the majority of (social media) reviews haven’t been particularly kind, a small spoonful have. “No more lonely kneecaps!,” one comment says. “Never going back to normal jeans,” says another.

Meanwhile over in Twitterville, the sceptics are well and truly out. “What fresh hell is this?” said @UnaLaMarche and with that, I think we pretty much get the picture as to where most of these jeans will end up.

Hello sale bin!

You can help Melissa by joining the fashion police to uncover more travesties on Twitter and Instagram

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The Golden Fashion Ticket Money Can Buy

ONE of the most exclusive ‘money cannot buy’ experiences used to be a front row perch at a Paris fashion show.

Invited guests onto the hallowed ‘frow’ (aka, the front row) have always been magazine editors, global fashion media, all-important buyers, A-list celebrities and ‘friends’ of the brands.

But according to Sydney-based entrepreneur Karim Gharbi, the opportunity is now available for everyone. But it will come at a price.

“What once was only accessible to the rich and famous (and Anna Wintour) can now be yours,” says Gharbi, whose lifestyle concierge company, The VIP Sydney says it can make a front row bucket list wish come true.

“For those with a love of fashion, we have the ultimate experience at the Chanel prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear) show during Paris fashion week,” Gharbi tells

“This access is generally reserved for Anna Wintour, the Beckhams and Beyoncé. Our package includes luxury accommodation, personal chauffeur, front row seating at the show, followed by a personal tour of the apartment of Coco Chanel.

“Sure, there are always tickets for buyers and media at all shows but there are just a very few that are put aside for the top concierge companies in the world, so this is how we have been able to do it.

“If you are a lover of fashion, you can die happy after this once in a lifetime experience for a total cost of 10,000 euro.”

In our money that is just under $14,000, which, for someone with those kind of bucks to chuck around, isn’t actually too bad for what the package promises to deliver.

But if you’re planning on doing it soon, you’ll have to move quick as the Chanel show in Paris this season is happening next Tuesday morning.

After an expansion into the European market with the launch of The VIP Monaco last year, the boss of the Sydney based ‘lifestyle concierge’ company says European contacts and the new Monaco office have made the ‘front row’ experience possible.

The team from The VIP Sydney says it can assist clients from around the world to complete other ‘bucket list’ requirements and according to Gharbi, you could discuss Donald Trump during a private and intimate dinner with Bill Clinton or attend a one-on-one VIP meet and greet with Lady Gaga before her sound check.

“My philosophy is simple,’ ‘adds Karim.

“I believe that everyone deserves to be a VIP, how often is up to them. That’s why we are one of the only concierge companies without a membership as we want anyone to contact us at anytime.”

VIP Sydney ‘curates’ packages and experiences for their clients with Ghabi telling it has access to events as diverse as the Academy Awards, Met Gala, New York fashion week, Grand Prix races around the world, the MTV Awards, the Victoria’s Secret fashion show and Coachella.

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Why I Had No Hesitation Letting a Man Mind My Son

EACH to their own when it comes to at-home policy … but this one has left many not-so-easily-outraged, well, outraged.

“Lovely gorgeous men in public that would never hurt a fly can be monsters in private and I am not prepared to take that risk with my children,” author Kasey Edwards recently told The Project.

Like many people, Kasey’s recent opinion piece, where she suggests not hiring a male babysitter or nanny minimises the risk of her daughters being “abused” really did shock me.

What do we do? Not send our children to schools with male teachers? Not send our kids to stores or pools manned by male staff? Not ever, ever leave our children alone with their fathers or older male friends?
Everyone, yes, everyone makes a personal choice, but this one does seem severe and extremely broad.
The assumption that blokes are abusers or bad, and that blokes will potentially harm children is a harsh one indeed.

But to typecast and stereotype the male species as potential abusers is a giant step backward in the gender game. It’s a stand that alienates and no doubt, angers men who repel the notion of child abuse along with the rest of us.

I don’t know Kasey at all, but she sounds like an incredibly thoughtful, loving and caring mother. So please, this is NOT a ‘let’s have a go’ piece about the choice she and her husband have made when it comes to bringing up their children.

The role of any parent is to protect their child from harm’s way. But in regard to this decision, we’re going to have to agree to disagree.

I have known plenty of hardworking families who have had male nannys (OK ‘mannys’) and male babysitters. Here’s looking at you, Billy and George, both of whom were ace at keeping my 9, 10, 11-year-old happily occupied when I had to be out.

Not for one minute did the thought enter my mind that because they were male they may abuse, harm or doing anything untoward to him.

I fear this kind of sexual profiling creates a kind of unnecessary parenthood panic. Sure, there is no denying statistics. In Kasey’s opinion piece, there is a stream of stats.

“According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the prevalence of child sexual abuse is 1.4-8 per cent for penetrative abuse and 5.7-16 per cent for non-penetrative abuse for boys and 4-12 per cent for penetrative abuse and 13.9-36 per cent for non-penetrative abuse for girls.”

Kasey says that in the the “best case” scenario, one in 20 boys are sexually abused. The worst case is that one in three girls are. And further, the “evidence overwhelmingly indicates that the majority of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by males.”

Sure, there is no question that when you read those figures, and as a parent, they do get you thinking.
But we can’t live our entire lives with “what if”s and “if only”s. We can’t live a life in fear of what may happen by shielding our children from interacting with an entire gender.
Telling that to someone who has lost a child or whose child has been victim of child abuse is difficult. If not, near impossible.

But every single one of us can only do our best to protect our children from harm. I don’t think that by segregating an entire gender, because of what could happen, is the way to go about addressing the horrific incidence of child abuse.

After reading Kasey’s piece I even questioned myself for a minute. But to be totally honest, the thought of my son being harmed, by any of the young men who looked after him when he was younger, never even entered my head.
Was that really dumb and naive on my part? I really don’t think so.

We shouldn’t allow our young children to develop gender prejudices. Or to be fearful of the male species. This kind of alienation can only breed contempt.
While no-one can be 100 per cent sure of the motives of anyone in our lives, gut instincts are usually a driving force.

I just don’t want to teach my son and other kids around me that men are always the baddies.
But as I said before, each to their own in the parenting game.

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Is This the Greatest Fashion Sin of All Time?

I love a fashion trend as much as most. But sometimes we need to tread with caution.

Take the corset. The much-maligned wardrobe piece was essentially outlawed by feminists and women who wanted to claim back their bodies in the 60s and 70s, but as of now it’s been re-claimed by some fashion high-street stores. And straightaway that has set off alarm bells.

See, the organ-constricting, bone-crunching corset as an underwear-as-outwear look is NOT for everyone.

To me, the corset (circa 2017) is one that belongs on Kimmy K. It’s Hailey Baldwin, Rihanna, the Jenner’s and Gigi Hadid. It’s Nicole Kidman in Vogue. It’s a high-end runway and streetwear look that rocks on the bodies of svelte, gigantean models and in highly-styled, aspirational fashion editorial shoots.

It rocks. It’s cool. It’s a lust-piece.

But it’s just a bit too close for comfort and not for most of us.

I just can’t see awkwardly cinched T-shirts and oversized shirts making their way to drinks at the pub on a Friday night; a BBQ, to Saturday sport or even to the office (no matter how cool you think your office may be).

The whole reason women ditched the corset and the history that went with it — think of Gone With Wind’s Scarlett O’Hara being tugged and strapped into hers as she held onto a bed post so she could attain a perfect silhouette — was that they were just bloody painful.

The times I ever wore seriously corsetted dresses (a coupla Logie awards gowns spring to mind) left me feeling sick, in pain, with a bruised ribcage and just wanting to get back to my room and into a hot bath.

It was bad enough when we all discovered shapewear, in earnest, about a decade ago.

The stories about people fainting, not eating, having painful organs and just feeling like crap all night (albeit with a very smooth stomach and body line) are still an everyday occurrence.

So, with this corset revival, do we really want to/need to/intend to inflict any more pain on our bodies?

Don’t get me wrong, I still get the whole underwear-as-outerwear thing and that’s pretty much thanks to Madonna waaaay back in her Like A Virgin days and then in her Jean-Paul Gaultier -cone-bra and corset days.

I mean, the underwear as outerwear thing can be great. And sexy. Who hasn’t flaunted a little lace bra and boob action under a jaunty jacket, hey?

But according to successful Aussie high street fashion store, Witchery, “this season sees the corset move into outerwear; cinching and instantly transforming the traditional silhouettes of classic winter staples.”

Like taking a chunky sweater and making it look even more cumbersome by wrapping a corset around your waist?

When a high street store embraces such a – well – acquired and sometimes painful fashion trend, chances are the term “jumped the shark” may come into play.

Sure, the Witchery styles aren’t as earth-shatteringly strapped-on as those that were from a century ago, but I’m still not convinced.

It’s funny to think that the decades it has taken to rid ourselves from the structures of what was an unseen fashion item our great-great-great grandmothers used to wear has now done a turnaround, the corset now being worn on the outside.

It is as if the celebs, models and normal peeps who ARE wearing them as outerwear are giving the oppressive history of the corset the finger. Sure, they’re cool. They CAN look sensational. But it IS fashion. The corset can join other trends like patterned tights, babydoll dresses, leg warmers, MC Hammer pants, knicker-bockers, T-shirts over long sleeves and men in jumpsuits. They can have their moment and we’ll get over them.

So if you do plan to re-enact a scene from The Crown or channel your inner Marie Antoinette,

beware the possible consequences:

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