- Sir Elton John has called for a boycott of designers Dolce and Gabbana
- He posted a rant on Instagram after they called IVF babies 'synthetic'
- Domenico Dolce told a magazine he was against 'chemical children'
- But in 2006 Stefano Gabbana revealed that he himself had asked a friend to be a surrogate mother for his child
- Both men - who used to be a couple - have spoken of desire to be parents
- Campaigners say they are being 'hypocritical' and have 'double standards'
Dolce & Gabbana have been accused of hypocrisy after it emerged that one of the designers tried to have a child before going on to criticise gay parents.
In 2006, Stefano Gabbana asked a female friend to carry his child via artificial insemination, saying, 'My dream is to have a baby.'
But in a new interview published this month, the fashion stars dismissed children born via IVF as 'synthetic babies', sparking a row with Sir Elton John and leading campaigners to accuse them of 'double standards'.
Mr Gabbana told an Italian newspaper in 2006, shortly after he split up with Domenico Dolce: 'My dream is to have a baby, not to adopt one because I am not up to it and I don't feel strong enough.
'I want my own child, a biological child, the fruit of my sperm, conceived through artificial insemination because it wouldn't make sense for me to make love to a woman I don't love.
'A week ago I asked a dear friend of mine, who is twelve years younger than me, if she would help. I asked her, "Would you like to be the mother of my child?" She was left a bit shocked and the following day telephoned and said she was still shocked, but thought it was a great idea.'
The previous year, Dolce and Gabbana were pictured together on the cover of Vanity Fair's Italian edition surrounded by young children, with the headline: 'The desire to become parents'.
In that interview, Mr Dolce said that he wanted an 'entire football team' of children, but added: 'In life I have had everything it is possible to have but I have the small handicap of being gay so having a child is not possible for me. I could adopt or get one from abroad but I'm paralysed by the fear that the child could feel exploited.'
But in their latest interview the pair were scathing about non-traditional families, provoking the ire of Sir Elton.
Mr Dolce told Italian magazine Panorama that procreation 'should be an act of love', adding: 'You are born and you have a father and mother. At least it should be like that. That's why I'm not convinced by what I call chemical children, synthetic babies.
'They are wombs for hire, semen chosen from a catalogue. And then you have to explain to these children who their mother is.'
Asked whether he wanted to be a father, Mr Dolce said: 'I am gay. I cannot have a child. I don't believe that you can have everything in life.' Mr Gabbana said, 'I would have a child right away,' but added: 'The family is not a fad. It is a supernatural sense of belonging.'
Mr Dolce continued: 'The only family is a traditional one. No chemical offspring and rented uterus - life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed.'
Sir Elton, who has two children with his husband David Furnish, yesterday posted a picture of the designers on photo sharing website Instagram writing: 'How dare you refer to my beautiful children as "synthetic".
'And shame on you for wagging your judgmental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children.
'Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again.
Veteran equality campaigner Peter Tatchell is now planning a protest outside the designers' flagship store in central London on Thursday after accusing the pair of 'double standards' for their views.
He told MailOnline today: 'It is hypocritical for Stefano Gabanna to oppose gay parents, given that in 2006 he expressed a desire to have a child via artificial insemination and surrogacy. He's guilty of double standards. Gabanna wanted what he now condemns other gay men for wanting.
'These comments are not only an attack on same-sex parents but on all parents who've had children with the aid of fertility treatment.
'Dolce and Gabanna are echoing ill-informed, outdated and homophobic prejudices about gay parents. Research spanning 40 years shows that children brought up by gay parents are just as happy and well-adjusted as those from traditional heterosexual families.
'Dolce and Gabanna are entitled to their views but we are entitled to protest against them. We urge everyone - gay and straight - to boycott their clothes. It's intolerable for these designers to make millions out of the gay community and then turn around and insult our families. They've stabbed us in the back.'
'SHAME ON YOU': ELTON JOHN'S FURIOUS RANT AGAINST DESIGNERS
'How dare you refer to my beautiful children as "synthetic".
'And shame on you for wagging your judgemental little fingers at IVF - a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children.
'Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions.
'I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again.
Primary school teacher Kathryn Bold, 32, who had a son using IVF after she and her husband tried for five years to conceive naturally, said it was a 'a bit hypocritical' of the designers to speak out against procedures they had considered using themselves.
'I was really offended,' Mrs Bold, from Wigan, told MailOnline. 'We've been through so much to have a baby - for someone to say that he's a synthetic baby is really upsetting. He's perfect, he's no different to anyone else.
'They can't come out with a statement saying IVF babies are synthetic then try and get that treatment themselves. It's a bit hypocritical really.'
Yesterday, the row escalated as Mr Gabbana posted a picture of Sir Elton on Instagram and wrote: 'Who wants to see him dressed in Dolce & Gabbana?'
He also shared an image of a mother and child, writing: 'We live in a democratic country and respect for the ideas of others is essential.'
Dr Gillian Lockwood of the Midland Fertility Centre said she was 'speechless' at the Italians' comments. She said: 'If there's anything more "synthetic" than Dolce and Gabbana I don't know what it is.'
The sister of Louise Brown, the world's first 'test tube baby', called their views 'shocking'. Natalie Brown, 32, said: 'They are small minded, pathetic little people.'
Yesterday equality group Stonewall also said it ‘strongly disputed’ the comments. Chief executive Ruth Hunt said: ‘Being a good parent has nothing to do with sexual orientation or whether a child has two mums or two dads. The important thing is a loving family, whatever its make-up.’
A string of prominent celebrities lined up to condemn the pair, many drawing on their own experiences as the parents of children born via IVF.
Ricky Martin, the gay singer whose twin sons were carried by a surrogate mother, wrote on Twitter: 'Your voices are too powerful to be spreading too much hate. Wake up, it's 2015. Love yourself guys.'
Ryan Murphy, the creator of TV show Glee, added: 'These designers' horrifying views are never in fashion. Their clothes are as ugly as their hate.'
Other parents whose children were born using IVF expressed fury at the suggestion that their families were unnatural.
British actress Alice Evans, who has two children with her husband Ioan Gruffudd, posted a photograph of her daughters Ella and Elsie with the message: 'I'm sorry you feel the way you do. Here are my much loved synthetic kids.'
Susan Seenan of Infertility Network UK, which supports parents who are struggling to conceive and campaigns for access to fertility treatments, said that the comments were 'totally out of touch with the majority'.
She told MailOnline: 'Children born via IVF are amongst the most loved and wanted children, and suggesting that they are "synthetic" is not only cruel and hurtful, but shows a lack of understanding around this whole issue.'
But others supported the designers, with one Instagram user writing on Sir Elton's account: 'They just expressed their opinion.'
Mr Gabbana said in a statement last night: 'We believe firmly in democracy and we think freedom of expression is essential for that.'
Mr Dolce added that his views were informed by his Roman Catholic upbringing in a traditional Sicilian family 'made up of a mother, a father and children.'
He continued: 'I am very well aware of the fact that there are other types of families and they are as legitimate as the one I've known.'
Sir Elton married long-term partner David Furnish in December. Their sons Zachary and Elijah are four and two.
The singer's previous spats include one with Madonna, whom he called a 'fairground stripper'.