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Elton John and partner announce the birth of their first surrogate child

10 January 2011
Appeared 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'.

Andrew Pierce slams Elton John's fatherhood as grotesque selfishness
Pink Paper |  4 January 2011
Elton John and David Furnish become parents
Daily Telegraph |  28 December 2010
Elton John baby: 'Thanks to Zacahary, gay surrogacy will become more acceptable'
Telegraph |  2 January 2011
Three cheers for Elton, say I
Guardian |  2 January 2011
1 June 2015 - by Rebecca Carr 
Feminist writer Germaine Greer has criticised Elton John for allowing his husband, David Furnish, to be named as the 'mother' of their sons on their birth certificates...
14 February 2011 - by Natalie Gamble and Louisa Ghevaert 
Surrogacy has been around for many years and disputes rarely arise. There have only been a handful of published cases in the English courts where a surrogacy arrangement has gone wrong. However, the recently published case of TT (a Minor) (1) received national press and radio coverage, focusing on Mr Justice Baker's warning about the inherent risks of surrogacy, awarding care of the baby to the surrogate mother and yet again putting surrogacy in the media spotlight...
7 February 2011 - by Dr Julie McCandless 
While most of us were trying to forget the overindulgence of the festive season, the news that Elton John and David Furnish had become parents following a surrogacy arrangement hit the headlines. It was not long before a magazine had a picture of this newly formed family on the front cover. In a supermarket in Arkansas it was deemed necessary by the store manager to censor their story and a grey plastic cover-up with the words 'Family shield. To protect young Harps shoppers' (usually reserve...
17 January 2011 - by Kyrillos Georgiadis 
A Japanese MP has sparked a debate over the country's attitudes towards motherhood after giving birth to a baby boy through IVF at the age of 50....
13 December 2010 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
The UK's High Court has granted legal parenthood to the parents of a child born using a surrogate in the United States to allow them to keep the child in the country....
15 November 2010 - by Rosie Beauchamp 
The London Women's Clinic (LWC) has reportedly received an application for fertility treatment by two gay men wanting to raise a child who wish to use one of the couple's sister as a surrogate....
1 November 2010 - by Ben Jones 
Stonewall has released the first guide advising gay men on how to become a father. A Guide for Gay Dads provides practical and legal advice on various routes to fatherhood including adoption, co-parenting, surrogacy, sperm donation and foster care...
25 October 2010 - by Dr Vivienne Raper 
The first parenthood show for gay and single people was held on Saturday in London. The Alternative Families Show featured seminars about fertility treatment, adoption, surrogacy and other options for starting a family...
11 October 2010 - by Nishat Hyder 
A couple from British Columbia, Canada, have been embroiled in a complex ethical battle after their surrogate refused their request to abort the fetus she was carrying. The couple made the request after tests revealed the baby would likely be born with Down's syndrome...
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