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The BBC's Jon Brain reports
"One set of twins, two proud fathers"
 real 28k

Sunday, 12 December, 1999, 02:16 GMT
Gay couple become fathers

Tony Barlow, left, and Barrie Drewitt with the twins' surrogate mother

Two babies have become the first British children to be registered with two fathers and no mother.

The twins, Aspen and his sister Saffron, were born in a Californian hospital on Thursday with their parents - gay partners Barrie Drewitt and Tony Barlow - looking on.

The couple, who have been together 11 years, told the Mail on Sunday newspaper that the birth of the children was the culmination of a four-year dream.

In a legal first for British children, a US Supreme Court judge ruled in October that the two self-made millionaires will be registered as parent one and parent two on the children's birth certificates.

Legal battle

The Mail said the mother's name will not be mentioned on the document.

Previously, only the biological father and surrogate mother have been named on the birth certificate.

The babies - whose surname will be Drewitt-Barlow - will move to the Essex home of Mr Drewitt, 32, and Mr Barlow, 35, next year.

The couple, reportedly the first gay couple in Britain to father their own children using in vitro fertilisation, are still facing a legal battle to register the twins as British citizens.

They spent 200,000 arranging a surrogate birth to an American mother after an application to adopt a child in Britain was rejected.

'Prejudice and criticism'

Rosalind Bellamy, 32, had the embryos of another woman and the sperm of one of the men placed in her uterus.

Mr Drewitt told the Mail on Sunday: "There has been so much prejudice and criticism about what we have done, but none of that matters now.

"We have a family and that is enough for us."

Both men have had DNA tests to show who is the biological father, but say they will not tell the twins until the time is right.

There was a mixed reaction when news of the couple's legal victory emerged, with lesbian and gay lobbying group, Stonewall, saying it hoped UK courts would follow the example of the US judge.

But the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Rev Tom Butler, said the arrangement was another example of the development of the "designer child".

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See also:
28 Oct 99 |  UK
Controversy over gay dads
27 Oct 99 |  UK
Legal landmark for gay dads

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