Essex: Gay father and businessman calls for UK surrogacy reform

PinkNews logo on pink background with rainbow corners.

Barrie Drewitt-Barlow from the British Surrogacy Centre says gay couples would benefit from a change in UK law in order to commercialise the sector.

Mr Drewitt-Barlow has been commenting about Sir Elton John and his civil partner David Furnish, who recently had their second child through a surrogate mother in the US.

The couple went through the Centre for Surrogate Parenting in California and reportedly paid the surrogate mother – who also gave birth to their first son Zachary £20,000.  

In the state, commercial surrogacy is legal and surrogates can be paid.

However, in Britain it is a criminal offence to pay a surrogate mother more than ‘reasonable expenses’ or to advertise you are seeking a surrogate or are willing to act as one.

It means that many British gay couples are forced to travel to countries such as the US in order to use a professional agency.

Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, a gay father of five, told the UK’s Metro newspaper: “The problem at the moment is there’s no legal structure in place for people going through the surrogacy route. Everybody might be really happy about Elton John and David Furnish having a surrogate, but would they all feel so euphoric if it was somebody like Gary Glitter, who’s a convicted paedophile?

“Of course they wouldn’t, but there’s nothing stopping him from doing it because the laws in this country don’t stop convicted paedophiles from using a surrogate.”

Mr Drewitt-Barlow added: “The sooner we can commercialise it here the better, because we can put safeguards in place that not only look after the surrogate who’s having the baby and the egg donor, but we can also put stringent things in place to safeguard the welfare of the child.”

He concluded: “What I don’t want to see are the children born through surrogacy ending up in local social services care.”

Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow made history in 1999 when they travelled to the US to conceive twins through a surrogate mother.

The couple now have three more children and started the British Surrogacy Centre in 2011.