First gay couple to become fathers in UK spend 65k to ensure next child is a girlBarrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow already fathers to four boys and a girlHave travelled to the U.S. to seek specialist IVF treatment'We wanted girls to balance our family,' says Tony
15:37 GMT, 12 June 2012
Britain’s first gay fathers have have spent 65,000 travelling to the U.S. so they can undergo IVF treatment which will ensure their next child is a girl.
Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow, from Chelmsford, Essex, hit the
headlines 12 years ago when they they
became they became the first same-sex couple to be legally recognised in the UK.
They have used a surrogate mother and egg donors to father four boys and a girl, spending more than 1
million in the process, but they are now desperate for another daughter and have looked to overseas fertility specialists so they can choose the baby's sex.
Happy brood: The family laugh while dressing up as the Von Trapps for Closer's Sound Of Music-inspired shoot
It is currently illegal to use IVF in the UK for sex selection purposes other than for medical reasons.
weeks ago, three embryos were implanted in a surrogate mother in
California that the pair chose to provide their new baby.
Now they are waiting to hear whether she is pregnant with their sixth child.
time the two men have used a controversial method, costing
65,000 that is allowed in the U.S. but banned in Britain – to
make sure the baby will be a girl.
Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow with children (from left) Aspen, Dallas, Saffron, Jasper and Orlando
As three embryos have been used, there is even a chance that the surrogate could give birth to triplet daughters. They already have two sets of twins Aspen and Saffron and Jasper and Dallas.
42, told Closer magazine: 'We would love to have three more girls.
Saffron would love to have little sisters to play with.'
CHOOSING A BABY'S SEX: THE PROCESS
It is possible to almost guarantee the sex of a baby using IVF and a type of embryos screening called Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD).PGD takes place during IVF where the sperm fertilises the egg in a test-tube in laboratory conditions.
The fertilised egg grows for a few days before a single cell is removed and tested to find out either the sex of the embryo or if abnormal genes are present. Removing one cell does not seem to affect the embryo's development.
In most countries, PGD is used only for medical reasons. So if there is a genetic disease which runs in boys, couples would be allowed to have PGD to implant only female embryos.
Some countries, such as the U.S. and Russia, do allow sex selection – however in Britain it is illegal.
The millionaire dad added: 'We can’t wait to spoil our new daughters. I want to buy them pink Prada dresses and babygros.
will recycle too. We are going to use Saffron’s old wicker crib from
Harrods, which cost 5,000, and divide one of the 100,000
diamond necklaces she does not wear any more into individual pieces for
'And we want to decorate the nursery as a rainforest!'
Barrie and 47-year-old Tony say that the sex selection technique is only available in the U.S., Mexico, Italy and Thailand.
Tony said : 'If sex selection was not possible, we would still have more children and love them, whatever their gender.
the technology is available and we wanted girls to balance our family.
It causes outrage but I bet most people would do it.'
added: 'The kids love the idea of getting sisters. They are so close.
They are all such different characters, but get along so well.”
says they will adopt overseas if the current attempt at surrogacy fails
to work. Whichever way they achieve their dream of a new daughter, they
have promised to spoil the newcomer.
He said: “Saffron’s clothes come from every designer from Gucci and Karen Millen and she has 500 pairs of shoes.
'We spent 50,000 having her room designed like a swanky London flat with a 39-inch plasma TV and furniture from Harrods. The boys are not as bothered about clothes, but we get them the latest iPads and laptops.
The Drewitt-Barlows were the first British homosexual couple to be named on their children's birth certificates
'People say we should not spoil them, but they deserve it.
pair became famous in 1999 when they became the first British same-sex
couple to be named on their children’s birth certificates.
Read the full story in this week’s Closer magazine on sale now
Twins Aspen and Saffronwere born to a surrogate mother in California.
After a ruling by an American court, they became the first British
children to be registered as having two fathers and no mother.
Four years later, they used the same egg donor and a different surrogate to have Orlando.
In 2010, the couple welcomed their fourth and fifth children, twins Dallas and Jasper, into the world.
They were born to the same surrogate mother who carried Orlando. The couple entered into a civil partnership in 2006.
The couple sold a clinical testing business in 1998 and found themselves swamped by same-sex couples seeking advice. With Tony’s clinical expertise, they set up the British Surrogacy Centre in Maldon, Essex, in February 2011.
Last year, the couple, who have made millions from cosmetic research, were accused
of fabricating the test results in clinical trials.
They were also accused of lying to an ethics committee by saying that Barrie
was a nurse when he did not hold the appropriate qualifications.
Euroderm Research, which went into liquidation in March 2008, conducted tests for dermatological and cosmetic products. They pleaded not guilty to the allegations.