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Digital Subscriptions > > BEING A MAN


In an exclusive piece, fertility author Glenn Barden details his own personal journey through science, suffering and a yearning for a child to call his own.

The want first emerged fully formed on my 28th birthday. We were in an Asian fusion restaurant in Clerkenwell with my closest friends. Paolo made a little birthday toast. It ended "Glenn You've got a beautiful girlfriend, great friends, you live in the coolest city in the world. What else could you possible want?" Without hesitation I said, "A baby." There was silence from the table. And silence from my girlfriend.

Even I was shocked. For a while I had known something was missing but it wasn't until then, when it formed inside my head and heart and came rushing out my mouth, did I know what it was.

That night I knew I wanted to be a father. I wanted to give life meaning. I no longer wanted to wake up on Saturdays with a hangover. I wanted to be woken up by a child screaming "Daddy" and spend the mornings watching Peppa Pig.

I smiled at Jane across the table. Gazing into her eyes I saw the mother of my babies. But if I'm truthful I also saw something else - terror.

A few nights later we discussed babies and she made it clear that this was not on her agenda not at least until she had progressed further with her TV directing career. But I wouldn't let it lie and continually begged and pleaded her to reconsider. I even resorted to hiding her contraceptive pills. But she wouldn't budge and not surprisingly we split up 18 months later.

There was a hole in my life. I tried for a while to fill it with movies, art galleries, beer and one night stands. But that hole was the size of a small child. My desire to be a father would not wane.

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