Britain’s first gay fathers have have spent £65,000 traveling to the U.S. so they can undergo IVF treatment which will ensure their next child is a girl.
Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow, from Chelmsford, Essex, hit the headlines 12 years ago when they they became they became the first same-sex couple to be legally recognised in the UK.
They have used a surrogate mother and egg donors to father four boys and a girl, spending more than £1 million in the process, but they are now desperate for another daughter and have looked to overseas fertility specialists so they can choose the baby's sex.
It is currently illegal to use IVF in the UK for sex selection purposes other than for medical reasons.
Two weeks ago, three embryos were implanted in a surrogate mother in California that the pair chose to provide their new baby. Now they are waiting to hear whether she is pregnant with their sixth child.
This time the two men have used a controversial method, costing £65,000 that is allowed in the U.S. but banned in Britain - to make sure the baby will be a girl.
As three embryos have been used, there is even a chance that the surrogate could give birth to triplet daughters. They already have two sets of twins Aspen and Saffron and Jasper and Dallas. Barrie, 42, told Closer magazine: 'We would love to have three more girls. Saffron would love to have little sisters to play with.'
The millionaire dad added: 'We can’t wait to spoil our new daughters. I want to buy them pink Prada dresses and babygros.
'We will recycle too. We are going to use Saffron’s old wicker crib from Harrods, which cost £5,000, and divide one of the £100,000 diamond necklaces she does not wear any more into individual pieces for the babies.
'And we want to decorate the nursery as a rainforest!'
Barrie and 47-year-old Tony say that the sex selection technique is only available in the U.S., Mexico, Italy and Thailand.
Tony said : 'If sex selection was not possible, we would still have more children and love them, whatever their gender.
'But the technology is available and we wanted girls to balance our family. It causes outrage but I bet most people would do it.'
Tony added: 'The kids love the idea of getting sisters. They are so close. They are all such different characters, but get along so well.”
Barrie says they will adopt overseas if the current attempt at surrogacy fails to work. Whichever way they achieve their dream of a new daughter, they have promised to spoil the newcomer.
He said: “Saffron’s clothes come from every designer from Gucci and Karen Millen and she has 500 pairs of shoes.
'We spent £50,000 having her room designed like a swanky London flat with a 39-inch plasma TV and furniture from Harrods. The boys are not as bothered about clothes, but we get them the latest iPads and laptops.
'People say we should not spoil them, but they deserve it.
The pair became famous in 1999 when they became the first British same-sex couple to be named on their children’s birth certificates. Twins Aspen and Saffron were born to a surrogate mother in California. After a ruling by an American court, they became the first British children to be registered as having two fathers and no mother.
Four years later, they used the same egg donor and a different surrogate to have Orlando. In 2010, the couple welcomed their fourth and fifth children, twins Dallas and Jasper, into the world.
They were born to the same surrogate mother who carried Orlando. The couple entered into a civil partnership in 2006.
The couple sold a clinical testing business in 1998 and found themselves swamped by same-sex couples seeking advice. With Tony’s clinical expertise, they set up the British Surrogacy Centre in Maldon, Essex, in February 2011.
Last year, the couple, who have made millions from cosmetic research, were accused of fabricating the test results in clinical trials. They were also accused of lying to an ethics committee by saying that Barrie was a nurse when he did not hold the appropriate qualifications.
Euroderm Research, which went into liquidation in March 2008, conducted tests for dermatological and cosmetic products. They pleaded not guilty to the allegations.
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