It’s about time:
A woman is set to make history in the UK by acting as a surrogate for her brother and his gay partner, which will make her the mother and aunt of the same baby.
In one of the first cases of its kind in Britain, the same-sex couple have applied for fertility treatment at Harley Street’s London Women’s Clinic enabling them to use donor eggs from the surrogate in this country instead of travelling abroad.
Until now gay men have gone to America, where surrogacy is common and the laws are more relaxed. Dr Kamal Ahuja, LWC’s scientific director, confirmed its ethics committee was considering the application along with one from two men who want to become parents, with a female colleague acting as the surrogate. The applications are the first the clinic has received from gay men.
Both couples seeking the help of the LWC would be legally recognised as parents. Since April, two men can be named as parents on a child’s birth certificate. Gay men can now seek special ‘parenting orders’ so that they are recognised as their child’s legal parents, not the surrogate who carried the baby. In the past, this right was restricted to heterosexual couples. Hampshire policemen Steven Ponder, 28, and his partner Ivan Sigston, 48, made British history last year when Mr Ponder’s sister, Lorna Bradley, acted as surrogate to their son William.
In an interview with the Evening Standard, Dr Ahuja said the two applications were the first the clinic had received from gay men. He said they highlighted how the rise in IVF had changed the nature of the traditional family. The fertility expert added: ‘The definition of a traditional family is progressively fading. Though we had concerns some years ago, the evidence now is that we need not worry in terms of same-sex parenting. ‘Families of the future may combine up to five parents. Regardless of culture, the evidence is that children adapt well and it’s the quality of the nurturing environment which is important.’
Barrie Drewitt and Tony Barlow from Essex were Britain’s first gay couple who became parents with the help of a surrogate. They went to California, where both donated sperm to enable an American to conceive twins.
The LWC was one of the first to admit lesbian women for donor insemination a decade ago. Since then, several hundred babies have been born to same sex couples and the proportion of gay patients has risen to nearly a third from seven per cent. It was revealed this week that a gay man and lesbian woman are facing a bitter court battle over their children.