Britain’s first gay dads, Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow, plan to expand their family with a sixth surrogate child.
The couple made history in 1999 when they became the UK’s first gay fathers to twins (a girl and a boy named Aspen and Saffron), through a surrogate mother.
Since the birth of their twins, the couple went on to have another son Orlando, 8, and twin boys Dallas and Jasper, 2.
However, the couple are now planning on expanding their brood – and want to use embryo sex selection to ensure they conceive a baby girl.
Although gender selection is illegal in the UK, Barrie and Tony have eight frozen embryo eggs in storage in America, where it is legal but extremely costly. The reason the couple are hankering for a baby girl is because they want to give their daughter Saffron, a sister.
“I’m desperate for another daughter – a little girl called Honey. I do worry that we haven’t done right by Saff, not giving her a sister,” Barrie, 42, told the Mirror.
“I’ve really had to talk Tony into it. He says that we’d got enough, that our family was complete, but I know we have eight embryos in that cryo-bank. He said we could donate them to someone else – but even though they are only cells at the moment, they still feel like my children."
“The procedure is to implant two embryos at once. So, with our record, it could actually be twin girls next time!”
Gender selection can be done during the pre-implantation of the embryo process, using IVF.
Once the embryos have harvested and the sex has been determined, the embryo of the desired sex is implanted into the woman's uterus. This is a tricky method and involves using a laser incision into the egg membrane.
Using their experience of becoming gay parents, Barrie and Tony set up their own British Surrogacy Centre, which helps other gay, heterosexual and singletons become parents via a surrogate.
Rumoured to have advised Elton John and partner David Furnish before they had their surrogate son Zach, they admit to helping Steps singer Ian ‘H’ Watkins and his partner become parents.
“We really connected with Ian and Craig because, like us, they had struggled with the adoption process.
"We have helped more than 35 couples and singles become parents, producing 48 babies, many of them twins – and we’ve just had our 99th pregnancy confirmed.”