Mary Portas has revealed that her brother Lawrence donated his sperm so she and her wife Melanie Rickey could have a child together.
Although at first the revelation might seem more than a little eyebrow-raising, it was Melanie who carried the baby, not the 'queen of shops' herself.
Mary, 54, was keen to have a genetic link with her son, and so she and Melanie, 42, approached Mary's brother, Lawrence. He agreed to become the couple's sperm donor, and Melanie fell pregnant on her second round of IVF.
The unusual arrangement means that Mary is technically an auntie as well as mum to Horatio, now two. She recalls the moment Horatio, who calls his father 'Daddy Lawrence', was born:
"Lawrence was the first one there,and he picked him up and it was just very emotional," Mary told the Times Magazine. "I said to him 'thank you' and he said 'it's my pleasure', and we just held each other.
"And now when I look at Horatio, he is a complete mix of her and me. Of course now I know that it could only ever have been Lawrence who was Horatio's father."
It might all sound a bit complicated, but Mary and Melanie already have one high-profile supporter - scientist Richard Dawkins, who lent his vocal support to the pair via his Twitter account.'Beautiful. Sperm donor father is the brother of the lesbian partner of the mother. I can see why he felt "honoured",' Dawkins tweeted to his 1.12 million followers.
Beautiful. Sperm donor father is the brother of the lesbian partner of the mother. I can see why he felt "honoured". http://t.co/aLY8hoWxpB
- Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) February 15, 2015
'Shopping tsar' Mary, who was married to businessman Graham Portas for 13 years, is already a mum to Mylo, 21, and 18-year-old Verity from that marriage.
She met fashion journalist Melanie after separating from her husband, and the glamorous pair were one of the first couples in the UK to convert their civil partnership to a marriage after same-sex weddings were legalised in December last year.
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