10 January 2011
ByAppeared in BioNews 590
Elton John and David Furnish announced the birth of their first child, Zachary Kackson Levon Furnish-John born on Christmas day to a surrogate mother in California.
It is believed that the couple used a surrogate mother and donated egg. The procedure was facilitated by the Centre for Surrogate Parenting in the United States and can cost up to £98,000 which includes medical and legal costs and a fee of up to £19,500 to the surrogate mother. No other details of the surrogacy arrangement have been disclosed, and a spokeswoman for Elton John said the couple intended to respect the privacy of the surrogate.
Like many other couples wanting children through surrogacy, Elton John and David Furnish travelled to the United States. Britain's law surrounding surrogacy, in particular strict rules on paying a surrogate mother anything besides reasonable expenses and a ban on advertising such services, has meant that few couples have access to the service in the UK.
A decade ago Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow, became Britain's first gay surrogate parents and are believed to have been approached by Elton and David's aides for advice. The couple, who also travelled to the United States for the surrogacy, launched a legal battle for the right to have both their names on the birth certificate, being designated as Parent one and Parent two.
Barrie and Tony Dewitt-Barlow plan to open the British Surrogacy Centre in February in order to help couples in the UK through the process by having offices both in Essex and in California. Barrie Drewitt-Barlow told the Daily Telegraph: 'At the minute, couples in this country are being ripped off by greedy lawyers charging up to £50,000 for completing the legal requirements to have a gay or lesbian couple both named as parents on a surrogate child's birth certificate. Yet it can be done quickly and easily in our San Francisco centre for as little as £250'.