The co-founder of a surrogacy advisory service with offices in both California and Essex, has called for the legalisation of commercial surrogacy in the UK, saying the current situation is too lax.
Barrie Drewitt-Barlow co-founded the British Surrogacy Centre with partner Tony after the pair commissioned the first of their five surrogate children in theUS. In 2000 they became the first gay couple to be legally recognised in the UK.
He told the Metro:
“The problem at the moment is there’s no legal structure in place for people [in the UK] going through the surrogacy route. Everybody might be really happy about Elton John and David Furnish having a surrogate, but would they all feel so euphoric if it was somebody like Gary Glitter, who’s a convicted paedophile? Of course they wouldn’t, but there’s nothing stopping him from doing it because the laws in this country don’t stop convicted paedophiles from using a surrogate.”
Under UK current law, it is legal to act as surrogate mother but illegal to do so on a commercial basis. Surrogate mothers may only be “reasonable expenses” and neither the surrogate mother or the commissioning parents may advertise.
Mr Drewitt-Barlow added:
“The sooner we can commercialise it here the better, because then we can put safeguards in place that not only look after the surrogate who’s having the baby and the egg donor, but we can also put stringent things in place to safeguard the welfare of the child. What I don’t want to see are the children being born through surrogacy ending up in local social services care.”
The British Surrogacy Centre advises both gay and heterosexual couples on surrogacy arrangements. According to the Metro report, the Centre worked with 63 couples during 2012, helping them have a total of 87 children, of which the majority were twins.