By Oliver Rogers
Tony and Barrie Drewitt-Barlow have five children from surrogate mothers
Two dads from Essex who became the first gay couple in the UK to have surrogate children are to open a surrogacy centre to advise others.
Tony and Barrie Drewitt-Barlow have had five children via surrogate mothers and aim to guide people through the surrogacy process.
Based in Maldon, the British Surrogacy Centre, opens in February.
Barrie told BBC Essex: "The idea came from us wanting to help other infertile couples, gay or straight."
"Over the years we have managed to build a database of surrogates and eggs donors, along with centres in around the USA and India, that have very good statistics," he said.
"It is about sharing what we have found out, and giving the knowledge to other people," added Barrie.
"We have helped 38 couples to become parents to 45 children in total, over the past four years," he said.
Information on egg donors and clinics can be hard to find say the couple
It is illegal to pay more than expenses for a surrogacy arrangement in the UK, but recent changes to the law now allow for two single-sex parents to be named on a baby's birth certificate.
"In the UK, the British Surrogacy Centre will be a free service, so people can pop along and pick up leaflets and information," said Barrie.
"It will be funded through advertising from clinics and doctor's surgeries."
In 1999, the pair became the UK's first same-sex couple named as parents to twins, Saffron and Apsen.
"During that space of time, there have been countless couples get in touch, but for one reason or another they have not been able to go ahead," he added.