10 January 2011
ByAppeared in BioNews 590
The UK's first centre to advise same-sex couples wanting to have children will open later this month. Tony and Barrie Drewitt-Barlow will run the British Surrogacy Centre in Essex to guide couples through the surrogacy process. They want to match couples from Europe with surrogates and egg donors in the US, to help with this they also have an office in California.
'Its aim is to bring together intended parents with egg donors and surrogates, along with sperm donors, and offer legal advice from qualified legal professionals', said Barrie Drewitt-Barlow. 'I will be responsible for the assessment of intended patients and the assessments of potential egg donors and surrogates, and for helping with all legal documentation to allow each couple to bring home their baby to the UK', he said.
The Drewitt-Barlows have five children who were all conceived using surrogates. They made history in 1999 when they became the first UK same-sex couple to be named as the parents on their children's birth certificates. Their twins, Aspen and Saffron, were born using an egg donor and surrogate in the US.
Speaking of the news that Elton John and David Furnish were going to be using a surrogate to become parents, Barrie Drewitt-Barlow said: 'It's positive news for gay parenting. The more high-profile the people using surrogacy to start their families, the more mainstream it becomes'.
He added that his and his partner's actions had helped pave the way for gay couples to become fathers: 'Like any first, we have taken most of the criticism and the flak which will make it easier for anyone else taking this pathway to parenthood. There are many gay parents now in the UK thanks to the measures we took more than a decade ago'.