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Thursday, 1 June, 2000, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
Gay couple to have third child

Mr Barlow, left, and Mr Drewitt with the twins' surrogate mother
Britain's first gay fathers are planning to have a third child.

Barrie Drewitt, 32, and Tony Barlow, 35, of Bicknacre, Essex, have agreed the details with an unnamed Californian woman who has agreed to be the surrogate mother.

Mr Drewitt spoke of their determination to have a family of three, and he said: "We want a girl and we will call her Jasmine. We love having children."

We love having children

Barrie Drewitt

Last year he and Mr Barlow spent 200,000 arranging a surrogate birth to an American mother after an application to adopt a child in Britain was rejected, and had twins, Aspen and Saffron.

They said they had holidayed in North Africa with the new surrogate mother to finalise arrangements privately.

"We arranged for her and her family to fly over to Africa and met them in Tunisia and had a really good week," said Mr Drewitt.

"We did have a traumatic time with Aspen and Saffron, but it has made us wiser. We are determined to go for a family of three children, and then that's the end of it.

Biological sibling

"If it turns out to be twins again it will be even more wonderful."

The couple will use some of the 24 embryos they had frozen before the birth of the twins, and eggs donated by the twins' biological mother.

They will aim to transfer the cells to the surrogate mother in November, after she has completed a course of drugs.

"The new baby will be a biological brother or sister to Aspen and Saffron," said Mr Drewitt. "The only difference will be the surrogate mother."

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 twin's birth certificates.

Every child deserves to be raised by its genetic mother and father

Dr Adrian Rogers

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

News that the two men are planning another child prompted immediate criticism.

Valerie Riches, director of pressure group Family and Youth Concern, said: "Children born to a homosexual couple in this way may be given all the material things they want, but they will be living in an extremely unbalanced situation and for emotional and sexual development, it will be bad for them."

Dr Adrian Rogers, of the Family Focus group, said: "Every child deserves to be raised by its genetic mother and father."

But Stonewall, the gay and lesbian lobby group, said the gender of parents was not important.

"The sexuality of a person is not an indication of how good a parent they are or would be," said a spokeswoman.

"Lesbian and gay people have children, that should come as no surprise to anyone. They have proved they can be as good parents as anyone else."

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See also:

12 Dec 99 | UK
Gay couple become fathers
28 Oct 99 | UK
Controversy over gay dads
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